‘Windows into nature’ – a new art school for Canberra

THERE’S a new art school for Canberra, and it’s based in the world of nature.

Fairy wrens, by Peter Marsack

NatureArt Lab opens its doors from early October at M16 Artspace in Griffith with courses and workshops to inspire new interests in art, science and conservation. With a fully set up art laboratory, students will be able to learn from some of Canberra’s most accomplished natural history artists, scientists and conservationists.

The director and founder is artist and naturalist Julia Landford, who also established Wildlife and Botanical Artists in the ACT nearly 20 years ago.

Tiger moth, by Jan Adams

Landford says, “Through the establishment of NatureArt Lab, people will experience the joy of learning to observe, draw and paint nature….Canberra offers the ideal location for the school, with the city surrounded by nature and conservation parks, and an abundance of natural history subjects”.

The Lab will includes offerings for beginners to experienced artists and programs will combine scientific and artistic expertise, using equipment like microscopes, hand lenses and natural history objects for drawing reference. Scientific accuracy will be matched by perception of patterns and colours in nature, setting the stage for artworks which are ‘windows into nature’ and digital art will not be forgotten.

Banksia serrata, Nilavan Adams

Canberra wildlife artist, Peter Marsack, illustrator for the CSIRO’s “The Australian Bird Guide,” will teach bird illustration, field sketching and wildlife observation skills, while watercolourist Cheryl Hodges will teach botanical and insect illustration, drawing on guest entomologists to understand insect structure.

Canberra artist and educator Lesley Wallington will teach introductory and advanced courses on watercolour, colour theory and spirals in nature while artists Nilavan Adams and Halina Steele will teach botanical art classes at a range of levels.

Eucalyptus sideroxylon, by Cheryl Hodges

As well as morning, afternoon and evening sessions, there will be one and two-day workshops on topics including workshops on eucalypts in watercolour, cockatoo portraits with acrylics, feathers in gouache, creating silky moth wings and shiny beetles with coloured pencils.

Landford says she welcomes new and experienced artists to join programs and to attend events such as conversation evenings with guest speakers.

Canberra NatureArt Lab,  M16 Artspace, in Griffith, Canberra. Courses and workshops start in early October, and bookings are now open through the website www.natureartlab.com.au


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