And the lucky winner is…

This answer appealed to my inner Science Fiction Afficionado ( nerd) side AND lists some neat places to have an Art Retreat too!

“I love the girl with the circle around her eye Jane! She looks very mysterious, almost other worldly or maybe she is at the forefront of technology and that is a special ‘vision’ device? My ultimate art retreat destination would be either the middle of Northern Territory (in Winter) – the colours of the dessert and canyons are amazing, or by the beach on Frazer Island – we could explore the rainforest, swim in the lagoons and chat to the dingoes while sketching away.”

Congrats Robyn W! The Jill Berry Stencils are YOURS! Long may you treasure their awesomeness!

Thank you to everyone who entered – I have added many places to my list of Art Retreat fantasy locations!




I did it! I did it! I did it!

I am dancing a jig, bouncing from foot to foot! I just uploaded the last image of hundreds and hundreds of images for my book.  The design files, the manuscripts, the PDF’s, the cover ideas – the glorious list goes on. Five solid months worth of devoted time.

And I am a week early on my deadline ( round of applause). This is even more amazing because my computer TOTALLY pooped itself last week, and I had to complete the last stages of the book on a new machine. No tantrums, no dramas.

I leave for my big trip to the USA this weekend and instead of feeling a bit of pre-travel stress over it, it feels like a reward for all my dedicated work.

Aside from this flush of joy of wrapping up a big project ( which looks amazing, but them I am totally biased), I am feeling quite calm. How is this possible?

jill berry workshop 1Well, right from the get-go, I planned some stress relieving, eye freshening, head clearing field trips  spaced out every few weeks during my book creating process. I knew I was going to need them.

And it has worked like an absolute charm. I arrived at my finishing line with energy and clarity.

My first planned holiday was a weekend workshop with Orly Avineri, the next was a little time in Perth to visit family and to host a workshop of my own, then I went up to Brisbane for a 3 day workshop with Jesse Reno,  next I hosted a workshop at ‘The Nest’ and the final fun excursion was last weekend with Jill K Berry.

Jill is an artist, author, workshop leader and one of my Stencil Sisters with  Her book ‘Personal Geographies’  and upcoming book ‘Map Lab’ are devoted to her love of maps, art and journaling.

The workshop was dedicated to creating maps of our lives, and as I discovered a map can be virtually anything!

In this map my landscaping fantasies are bought to life:

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The three days passed in a flurry of colour, paint, drawing….

jill berry workshop 8and… le gasp…. sewing!

I actually took my much ignored Pfaff on the trip and we stitched up a storm! Not exactly a map, but I disapeared into my own little world and bonded with my sewing machine. We are like best buds now!jill berry workshop 7

I had a ball ‘drawing’ with a needle on the coloured papers I created in the workshop the day before. Rather addictive!jill berry workshop 6

Unfortunately I can’t show you any more of what I created just yet because I used Jill’s upcoming stencil collection on them, and that’s all hush hush until they are released ( which is soon!).

It was a small workshop group and over growing mounds of colour tissue, maps and muslin, we all chatted away. Creative people are lovely, rather naughty and very funny. I had a delightful time!

The highlight for me was Jill gifting me with  a ‘Hand Turkey’.

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Jesse Reno mentioned these creatures several times during his workshop, but there was too much else going on for me to ask what he was referring too. When Jill referred to one, I demanded to know what exactly was this ‘Hand Turkey’!  Apparently every kiddo in the USA grows up drawing these little critters around thanksgiving… so Jill created one for me – laughing the whole time – he went straight into the journal!

This is Jill and the workshop’s organiser, Anne from Timeless Textiles, a wonderful gallery dedicated to textile arts in Newcastle. We were having a giggle during my ‘Selfie’ lesson! ( Anne made a fig, chocolate and ginger slice that will be waiting to open the Pearly Gates for me when I expire someday. )jill-jane-and-Anne--selfie

Thank you Jill for coming on a tour Down Under and Anne for organising the Newcastle workshop.

I hope we keep enticing such wonderful artist teachers to come all this way!


This is Jill’s next book: map-art-lab


I’ll try and keep you up to date as I travel in the USA. I have SUCH awesome adventures ahead, and I’ll be meeting lots of fabbo peeps in ‘real life’ in all my workshops, and I can’t wait for all the fun to unfold.


Jane/ Danger

Potent. Epic. Meaningful Art.

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I’m writing my book at the moment, and it’s a big deal.

Creativity and Imagination are invisible. They are concepts. They make us feel, but they are not emotions. They are intangible and intuitive. So talking about art and where ideas come from and the creative decisions I make is like untangling the vines that covered Sleeping Beauty. The serene truth lies within, I just have to make it through…

This isn’t my first rodeo. I have written books before, so I know how intense the process is for me.  It’s easy to get lost and find the stress instead of the joy of such a big project. So, I factored in some retreats to my schedule from the start ( clever, right?). My first break was a workshop with Orly Avinieri. My second break was a workshop with Jesse Reno last weekend.

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I am still processing what happened in those three days. It was potent. Epic.  I de-calcified and came to some great understandings of my own art practice.

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Art Workshops are are way to unleash your creative force. A chance to get uncomfortable and challenge yourself. To grow in confidence. To test your skills and to nourish them. You can walk in another artist’s shoes and see how MAGIC the creative process is to witness.

Watching Jesse was like being part of a mystical circle where the head magician conjured up spirits.


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The Aurochs is a recurring symbol for me. It turns up when my art conscious wants me to feel how strong and powerful it is. I feel protected when I draw horned creatures.



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I had a realisation about exposing and accepting the meaning in my work. I learned there is room to work intuitively and thoughtfully. Jesse also has a way of thinking about composition that took me three days and 5 paintings  to grasp. I dreamed about it. It won’t make me change my art ( it is what it is!), but it has opened pathways within my process. And I had many, many aha moments.


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This piece went through huge transformations. Hearts and people came and went. A skeleton arm arrived, a rabid dog, I thought it was finished… but seeing it here, I know that it isn’t.


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The reason I found this workshop so nourishing, so creative, so mind-blowing is because of Jesse’s ability to communicate his creative process. He never relied on “just use your intuition”… he would ask the questions of himself that sit behind artist intuition and let us in on the conversation.

I know those are hard questions to answer, because it’s what I do as a teacher. The creative process is so dense with movement and concepts, emotion and ideas. On the face of it, it’s intangible and trying to tease it apart takes courage.

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‘Space Bunny’ was a small piece that I created with a specific reason in mind – I was trying to settle Jesse’s concept of colour composition into my brain. I dig his traffic control hands most of all.


I have been to many workshops where we simply watch the artist create. The whole workshop is a demonstration. That can be entirely inspirational and informative. But when an artist can create AND communicate about the choices they are making by offering a running commentary as they are caught up in creative flow… well that’s a rare experience.

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‘Hungry Unicorn ‘ has huge significance to me. All horned creatures are symbolic of magic to me, and unicorns are symbolic of the unseen and the unique. But there are things in there that are still waiting to reveal their full meaning, hence the question/demand ‘WHY’.

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I believe I teach this way. My creative methods and style are very different to Jesse’s, but I could see elements of commonality. Maybe that is why the workshop resonated to my absolute roots. The weekend wasn’t easy, I didn’t coast. I had to work hard and stay focused and deplete my energy, so I still feel kind of exhausted after all that painting. But my inspiration cup is full.

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My biggest highlight was watching Jesse paint on the floor, his fingers flying, paint flowing… and when he liked something he would say ” Oh that’s pretty, yeah”. Hearing a dude embrace his love of pretty? Oh man… revolutionary, extraordinary, crazy talented and entertaining.  Well, you can see how happy I was.

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If you EVER get the opportunity to study with an artist that inspires you, embrace it! Seriously.  Take the risk, move heaven and earth, tuck your fears away and go have an adventure.


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‘Mountain Man and Cloud’ was one of the paintings Jesse created during the workshop. I can’t believe it is hanging in my Studio now.

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So back to the book.
My task is deciphering the creative choices I make as an artist into words that are cohesive and inspirational. It’s so different to teaching in person and online. There is no body language to let me know if I have untangled a concept to satisfaction. No faces in the audience to light up or  soft “ooooh’s” and “aaaaahs” as I demonstrate. No Facebook Group to turn to to see the awesome homework rolling in.

Writing this book It is a monster challenge and every page is making me a better teacher. Probably a better artist as well.


Jane/ Danger



The only spaces I have left on my USA tour are the 2 day workshops at Art is You:  “Girlimals” and  “Mermalicious”.
Both are a golden opportunity to work in-depth in your own style with me. We will be creating total magic.

The retreat is on Olive Branch Tennessee – 30 minutes from the Memphis airport and promises to be an amazing experience. You can select from a smorgasboard of amazing workshops and attend for 1 day or all 7.

Workshop details are here: click


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pps. This is a quick little painting of Tinsel…