Short break in Melbourne

This week I had a lovely but cold short break in Melbourne, and took some photos of what inspired my arty side, which included AC/DC Lane, the Zine exhibition at the State Library, and sketching time at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

The highlight for me though was the Wallace and Gromit exhibition and once Ive sorted through my many pictures I will post those at the weekend.

Here are the first lots of photos that I have posted into my Facebook page:


Sleeping Koala illustration

Koala illustration sleeping

Last week we ventured along the Great Ocean Road.  On the road towards Cape Otway Lighthouse must be one of the best locations to spot koalas – there was almost one on every tree!  But the downside is that they are eating their way out of their habitat as trees were nearly bare of leaves.  But they were soo cute – if only we could bring a few up to Queensland!

The Great Oz Eddventure Continues To Kangaroo Island

Welcome to Kangaroo Island!!

At the end of October Hazel and I visited the very beautiful Kangaroo Island in South Australia.  As always, my sketchbook was at hand and below are the illustrations of some of the wonderful wildlife we came across, which KI is known for.

Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo

The first animal we saw were a flock of Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos having an afternoon snack in the tree tops.
A bimbling Superb Fairy Wren
As we were having a picnic in the bush one day we were watching some Superb Fairy Wrens bimbling around quite close to us.  As I had already drawn these birds a few times before, I wanted this time to demonstrate their ‘bimbling’ movements, and so added in the line movements.
Kangaroo Island is very famous for the attraction of being able to see the next three animals on one holiday outing!!  So first up are the seals and sea lions… 

Living life on the edge!

A poser!

It’s been a hard day…

In need of a stretch…

The third animal, and our favourite, are the little fairy penguins.  We were very fortunate to see around 12 penguins on our tour, the majority being babies waiting for their parents to return home with some food.  Our tour was immediately after a heavy lightening storm and the penguins were sheltering in their little rock caves.

Aww, cute little penguin sheltering in the storm.

Sketches From Stradbroke Island – Whalewatching & aTurtle!

Last weekend we went to Stradbroke Island – absolutely beautiful!  Not only did we see a koala and a kangaroo, but also a whole bunch of ocean wildlife to marvel over without even having to get wet!!  We saw humpback whales, turtles, bottlenose dolphins and manta rays!!
So, as always, the sketchbook came with me and I just added some digital colour back at home to a couple of sketches:
Whale watching

Ptchhhh – the first thing you see and hear from a whale is the water being expelled from it’s blow hole, then it’s dorsal fin breaking the surface, and finally it’s caudal fin disappearing back into the water.

Turtle under the surface

Hazel took some absolutely beautiful photos

A lot of illustrations from our little festive break

Over the festive period, Hazel and I had a little holiday north of Brisbane around the Bundaberg region.  We stayed in a beautiful little cottage on a sugar plantation.  On our first evening we were visited by two very cute little green tree frogs.  They were sat on the outside window ledge, and whenever a nice juicy bug landed on the window’s fly screen they snatched it quick!

A cute Green Tree Frog

G’day Green Tree Frog!

They weren’t they only amphibian visitors, we saw plenty of cane toads too, doing what they were actually brought into Queensland to do – gobble up all the cane beetles.
Cane Toad

The farm we stayed on had some chickens which were fun to watch and they produced some very tasty eggs!  Our cottage even had a little fish pond which was nice to feed the fish in it every day!  Then out in the open we saw dragons bathing in the sun!

Chicken silhouette

Pond life – flowering lilly pad and little goldfish

Sun bathing dragon!

On day trips we went to Bundaberg Botanic Gardens where we saw freshwater turtles popping their heads up out of the water to say hello, and also saw one sunbathing on rocks along with a Pied Cormorant and a dragonfly.

Freshwater turtle head
Life on the Rocks – sunbathing turtle, Pied Cormorant and a dragonfly
We visited a wildlife park where I was reacquainted with my kangaroo friends, and with regular visits to beaches I drew a seagull!
Munching kangaroo
Paddling seagull
One day, Hazel surprised me by booking us into a scooter tour around a town called 1770.  We each had our own scooter, which were made up to look like Harley’s and in a mass convoy we followed the staff.  It made me laugh as we were provided with helmets and jackets to look like a tough biker gang, yet our scooters sounded like we were riding lawnmowers!!  As we initially learnt how to ride the bikes around the carpark, they played the tune “Born to be Wild” – very amusing, and I thought it was the perfect theme tune for our cheeky little possum that regularly visits us – so I imagined him on his own motorbike. 

‘Born to be Wild’ – Possum on a motorbike
The main highlight of our trip was to visit the beach of ‘Mon Repos’.  This beach is famous for being the mainland breeding spot for the endangered loggerhead turtles, and right now is the season for the females coming ashore to lay their eggs.  This is one of the top things to do on my life’s to do list so I was very ecstatic, especially to see it on my 30th birthday!  We arrived at the Visitor Centre at 7.30pm, along with the other 300 odd people, and they split us into 5 groups, we were in group 4.  Rangers and researchers were patrolling the beach looking for turtles and when one was spotted a group could go down to watch, so we had to wait until the fourth turtle came ashore – that was 11pm!  So excitedly, we (and the other 50 people in our group) huddled around the turtle.  I felt quite sorry for her as at this intimate moment in her life when she would just like some peace to do her thing, she gets swarmed by onlookers!
Turtle coming ashore
It was fascinating how flexible their back flippers were in digging out the hole in the sand, into which they lay around 150 eggs!  Sometimes the turtles lay the eggs below the high tide mark, and so the researchers on the beach move the eggs to a higher place in the beach in order to do all they can to ensure survival of the species.  Being large clutches of eggs, they asked us ‘spectators’ to help in moving the eggs.  That was a very privileged and rewarding experience to hold and move the eggs to their new location!
In that evening we were also privileged to watch 2 more turtles laying, and by 1am we had left the beach.  Wow, what a birthday night out!!
I also learnt that night that the turtles reach maturity at the age of 30, so it seemed a very fitting moment in my life to watch them on this birthday!

Edward the Turtle!

Welcome to Queensland..

Being an Australian nature lover I was keenly looking everywhere for anything.  I’d obviously been Canberra-ised thinking that all city’s must have kangaroos hopping across the roads, and flocks of galahs and cockatoos on street corners, but not Queensland, you have to search just a little bit harder through the sprawling city life…
As we were spending the first few weeks house hunting, we were looking at different suburbs to live in, and what I did start to notice were bush turkeys!  And I still believe there is a bush turkey in every suburb.

Where galahs were so readily seen everyday in Canberra it took me almost 2 weeks to see my very first Brisbane galah!