Self Build van for a long art trip

A recent new venture for me, I want to drive more Australian art into my brain and I figured the best way to do this is to travel the country for an extended period of time. Obviously it won’t happen now for a while until Covid 19 has all ended but one day……….
As such, I bought an empty Ford Transit and we converted it ourselves into an off grid camper with full solar set up. I have done a van tour with my wife Gaynor which you can find on this YouTube link

Success at the Society of Animal Artists show in New Jersey

What a great trip we’ve just had. Two blissful weeks in the United States with a holiday built around attending the Society of Animal Artists annual exhibition in Oradell, New Jersey. I have to admit I was delighted to be even juried into the society as a member a couple of years ago because their standards are extremely high. Then I found I was juried in as a signature member, the highest level you can be juried in at. Surprise number three came when I was accepted to their annual exhibition at my first attempt. Anything else would be the icing on the cake so image my joy when I won an Award of Excellence, the highest award they give at the exhibition. Blown away!!

The rest of the trip was a blast. We hiked in the Appalachians in New York State with great friends and fellow scratchboard artists Lori Dunn and Cathy Sheeter, took photographs of Peregrine Falcons right across from New York City, and then we did the usual touristy things in Manhattan.

This is the medal I will be receiving for my Award of Excellence

With my Meerkat Montage

Lori Dunn, also a recipient of an Award of Excellence, with her wonderful art. There were six scratchboards out of 125 pieces in the exhibition and two of them received Awards of Excellence (eight were awarded) a strike rate we can be proud of.

Cathy Sheeter with her amazing kingfisher clayboard

Tamara Pokorny with her incredible scratchboard of a lionfish. I don’t even know how she does what she does!

Julie Askew with her piece Lifeline 4, Red-Crowned Cranes

Kim Diment won the cover of the exhibition catalogue with her Green Sea Turtle “Adrift in Turquoise”

The long and short of it, SAA President Reneé Bemis being dwarfed by artist Rachelle Siegrist and board member Cynthie Fisher

Our home for a week. The Hiram Blauvelt artist in residence Cathy Sheeter lives here and kindly hosted Gaynor and I. It was such a beautiful place.

Exhibition venue the Hiram Blauvelt Wildlife Art Museum

The Mansion on the same grounds. It is in a state of disrepair and if ever there was a perfect venue for a haunted mansion movie, this is it.

Peregrine Falcon with a bluejay dinner. This was quite a distance away so I am zoomed in as far as I can go

Black Rat Snake

Pupae of a Sphinx Moth

Gaynor and I signing off from an amazing trip.

Things are going well.

I’ve had a nice run recently. I submitted my nine piece Meerkat Montage to the annual exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists (being held right now in New Jersey) knowing that they only take a small proportion of the entries. I was delighted when I got accepted and even more delighted when they informed me that the art was further selected for their smaller travelling exhibition which is a massive honour for me. As such, even if it doesn’t sell over there, I won’t see it again for well over a year as it goes from one side of the States to the other. As such I couldn’t resist so I booked a ticket and will be flying over there with my wife Gaynor for the artists opening. We will be staying with our friend and most amazing artist Cathy Sheeter (check her work out – and then we’ll have a holiday in New York City and be tourists.

I also won a highly commended award for my bonobo “Pan”  up at the Mcgregor Art Extravaganza in Queensland. I’m glad this has finally won an award because it’s one of my favourite pieces and being large, it took me forever to finish.

And then to top it off I’ve just won the scratchboard section in the Nossal Art Show in Victoria with “Temptation”, Meerkat and Grasshopper.

I’ve finished my solo exhibition for SALA (South Australian Living Artists) which is always fun and I’ve also been conducting workshops. When I go to schools I like to pass a small scratchboard around and get everyone to contribute to it. Hence the following two scratchboards have input from over 50 kids, about two minutes each. Their styles are so totally different and of course not everyone follows the fur direction or works out the light. We are talking about some kids being less than ten and when I was that age, I didn’t know which end of the pencil to hold so it’s understandable that the results are a bit “all over the place”. I then use the boards to show how forgiving a medium scratchboard is. I spend no more than 30 extra minutes on it with a bit of diluted ink and a fibreglass brush and the difference is massive. That’s what you get when you use the best boards in the world (made by Ampersand). The finished boards, (on the right) are darker because they’ve been varnished.

Who doesn’t love a meerkat!!




Annual Exhibition of International Society of Scratchboard Artists in Adelaide

The International Society of Scratchboard Artists normally holds its annual exhibition in prestigious galleries in North America, but in Feb 2017 it is in South Australia. Come to the opening night, February 10th, and see some of the finest scratchboard art in the world. We have exhibiting artists from the US, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, China and South Africa, not to mention all over Australia in the lovely Stump Hill Gallery in the beautiful winery region of McLaren Vale in South Australia. Many artists are flying in to attend the show and it is a great opportunity to meet some of the world’s finest artists, see and purchase amazing art.
If you can’t come to the opening night, the exhibition lasts for five weeks until March 16th 2017.



I will have a couple of pieces in the exhibition and these are below, so if you are in the area, I’d love to see you there.



It’s a small world

One of my favourite artists, Avril Thomas from Magpie Springs Gallery, Vineyard and Cellar Door, is holding an exhibition of small works from people all round the world. Proceeds from this show will go towards helping Marilyn Jetty Swim raise money for Cancer Research with Cancer Council SA, something that is very dear to Avril. All works are unframed and only 4″x6″ to make postage easy and inexpensive. The art will be displayed at her gallery in the Adelaide Hills and sales will be via auction. Gallery hrs:- Fri Sat Sun 11 – 5 Magpie Springs, 1870 Brookman Rd HOPE FOREST SOUTH AUSTRALIA 5172

Check out Magpie Springs Facebook page and also the “It’s a small world” page.

I have been honoured to be asked to take part and have sent this small piece called “A mother’s Protection”.