Premier Issue


AUS $7.50

techniques and inspiration

the best sites for artists and photographers to sell online

for artists and photographers

of wildlife, art and photography


one of Britain's leading wildlife artists, a multi-award winner.

Garden Guests Diary A photographic journal of backyard flora & fauna in Queensland, Australia

Capturing Critters through the Lens by Australian artist Lesley Smitheringale

FEATURED ARTIST – Ernestina Gallina’s
gorgeous hand painted rocks

Featured Wildlife Artists, Photographers & Crafters interviewed with examples of their work

WIN PRIZES by subscribing to Nature’s Paint Box to celebrate the launch of this new eZine for wildlife artists, crafters, photographers and nature lovers.

to a brand new eZine for professional and aspiring wildlife artists, photographers, crafters and nature lovers.
A very warm welcome to this premier issue of the official Nature’s Paint Box eZine produced and published by Lesley Smitheringale Fine Art. This quarterly eZine aims to inspire, instruct, promote, educate and acknowledge the outstanding talent of nature artists, photographers and crafters throughout the world who are inspired by the wonderful array of animals, birds, insects and flowers with whom we share our world. Even if you are not an artist or maybe want to learn how; all nature lovers will enjoy seeing our flora and fauna observed and then created by artists in a range of media including paintings onto canvas, watercolours onto paper, screen and lino prints, scratch art, illustration, digital art, sculpture and jewellery, polymer clay and ceramics, photographic prints and many more.. This eZine is chock full of goodies to download as well plus lucky draw prizes for subscribers and a quarterly competition. Please let us know what you think of this eZine!

Lesley Smitheringale

Interested in advertising, being a featured artist, guest writer or contributor in Nature’s Paint Box eZine? Drop me an e-mail with links to your product, site or work.

Lesley Smitheringale, Editor, Designer, Producer & Writer


| Nature’s Paint Box eZine


The Art of Silk Painting
by Lesley Smitheringale
“Legend has it that the Chinese Empress Hsi-LingShi, (who is still honoured as the Yuanfei, the patron of silk), was in her palace garden one day and happened to notice the 'fruits' of the mulberry tree moving. On closer inspection, she observed that they were not fruits, but silkworms spinning fine threads which had a unique sheen.”

l to r: silkworm larvae munching Mulberry leaves, adult silkworm with eggs, silkworm cocoon

I first discovered the art of silk painting whilst browsing the art & craft section in a book store when I lived in Scotland. I was flicking through a book on the technique and was very inspired by the art form which I had never heard of. I purchased the book “ A Complete Guide to Silk Painting” by Susanne Hahn and was keen to try it out for myself. After purchasing a wooden frame, silk, silk dyes, a pressure cooker (for steaming) brushes & gutta I began experimenting from the book, made lots & lots of mistakes but eventually got the hang of it. “Birds in Flight Silk Scarf” – my most popular design
Books on Silk Painting – from l to r: “A Completer Guide to Silk Painting” by Suznne Hahn, “Beginners Guide to Silk Painting” by Mandy Southan, “Silk Painting: The Arists Guide to Gutta and Wax Resist” by Susan Moyer

A very young “me” with one of my silk paintings

I bought Suzanne Hahn’s Guide – it got me hooked


| Nature’s Paint Box eZine

Featured Artist

Ernestina Gallina

Website e-mail Job Title Rock Painter

Cesenatico Preferred Medium


Country of Birth Italy, Cesenatico Country of Residence Italy Available for commissions Yes

An interview with...

Ernestina Gallina
When did you realise that art had to be part of your life? Since I was a child I dreamed of becoming an artist, but I thought that I wasn't good enough to make a living from it. So I decided to study education and became a teacher. I discovered rock painting by chance in 1998; it fired my imagination and my enthusiasm. I absolutely had to try it! I still remember my first painted rock, it was a cow and I was fascinated by how paint could transform an ordinary rock into a life-like looking creature. From that moment rocks took on a new meaning and became a significant part of my life. I have painted thousands of them and continue to find this art form irresistible and magical. What or who has inspired you throughout your artistic path? The beauty of nature and rocks. I am a careful observer. I watch animals, study their anatomy, draw sketches, and collect photos. That is one way of learning how to see an animal in a rock.

Ernestina Gallina

What is your favourite media and why have you chosen to work with these media and techniques? I work exclusively with acrylics. These are incredibly versatile; they take to the most unusual surfaces and work wonderfully on rocks.


| Nature’s Paint Box eZine

Equipment used: Canon EOS 400D (10.1 mp) EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, Canon Speedlite 430zEX Flash


by Lesley Smitheringale I often think that there is a misconception out there that photography as an art form is easy, especially as there is an excellent range of cameras which do a remarkably good job even set to auto where we can just shoot away to our heart’s content. Now, it’s true, in my opinion, that the top of the range digital cameras do a fantastic job but I also feel that the photographer needs to know what they are trying to actually achieve in the photograph and it is another form of art after all where the person looking through the lens has to consider composition, lighting, focal point, background, colour, texture, mood, personality, focus etc before pressing the shutter. You will understand that I’m not talking about quick snapshots in this article but photography as an art form. I have included this post due to my current photography competition which I am running entitled “New Year Garden Guests” (link at the end of this article) which is open to amateur photographers like me. I am not a photography expert but I do have professional training in art and design. I thought that these examples I am about to show you and discuss might give you some tips and inspiration for the competition. Ok, this is a real example of a mini photo shoot I had with a garden guest - the fantastic stick mantid which has personality plus! I have only ever seen two and this series is from my second sighting and he appeared quite out of the blue when I was in the bathroom, believe it or not, and I happened to see him on the outside of the window. Now, I have to confess at this point that I am particularly “obsessed” with any form of wildlife in my garden since I purchased my camera and it has opened up a whole new world that I never knew existed to the point where I do not want to weed my yard for fear of killing some of these critters I have photographed. How’s that for the ultimate excuse in not working in the garden! Shot 1 is the very first photograph I took (outside my bathroom window) simply to show you that this is a real photo shoot. This is what I consider to be a “snap shot” and a picture that is taken quickly, without any thought, simply to capture the moment or evidence of what you saw. The only bonus is that he happens to be looking right at the camera. I was using an additional macro lens to take these photographs. The second shot is an improvement as I have zoomed in to get rid of the ugly, unnatural background of the window but there is still the horrible man-made brick background with some strong shadows which detract from the mantid. He is looking up at the camera which is good and his head is a focal point but still not the ideal shot.

Shot 1

Shot 2


| Nature’s Paint Box eZine

Featured Artist
Website e-mail Job Title Professional Artist Preferred Medium Oils/Pastels Country of Birth United Kingdom Country of Residence United Kingdom Available for Commissions Yes

An interview with...

Eric Wilson
When did you realise that art had to be part of your life? I was born with a powerful conviction that I was meant to do something special with my life. Many people feel this way I'm sure, and for me it goes back to my earliest memory, when I was still a baby in my cot. I had a very powerful dream, believe it or not about my own brain and it made such an impact on me that I have never forgotten it. It drives my ambition to this day. I'm still puzzled at how a baby could dream about, or even conceive its own brain but believe me, that’s exactly what happened and I came away from the experience with the powerful conviction that I was to use mine. I could always draw well, it just came easily to me and I can clearly remember even in the nursery, arguing with other infants who painted the mandatory blue strip along the top of their painting to represent a sky, that the sky in fact should come all the way down to meet the strip of green that represented the land. I just couldn't understand why the other kids didn't get it. More than just having ability though, I really felt a love for art and that art was something I both understood, and would be able to communicate with. What or who has inspired you throughout your artistic path? Rolf Harris made quite an impression on me back in the mid 60's. He had a TV show where he would paint a picture live and I would be sat in front of the TV with paper and pencil frantically trying to keep up. My first experience of a real artist. He was a hero to me - and still is. After that I was very inspired by the fantasy art of Frank Frazetta and then the incredible realism of Norman Rockwell. In the field of wildlife art I greatly admire Robert Bateman, Carl Brenders and for sheer oil painting technique, Anthony Gibbs. I am inspired by powerful subjects, and having a lifelong passion for wildlife has led me to paint the predators and other large impressive mammals, they have that primal quality of fear and awe that appeals to me. I love all wildlife, and can delight at seeing a robin on a branch, but it doesn't particularly call out for me to paint it in the way the predators do.

© Eric Wilson
‘Nambian Elephant Dusting’, Pastel, 17 x 25 inches


| Nature’s Paint Box eZine

Featured Artist
Website e-mail Job Title Travel Agent Preferred Medium Digital Photography Country of Birth Australia Country of Residence Australia Available for Commissions Yes

An interview with...

Steve Bullock

When did you realise that art had to be part of your life? Probably when I was about 10 years of age. I started drawing and painting, turned to clay and other mediums then finally I could afford a camera when I was 20 and never looked back! What or who has inspired you throughout your artistic path? Many artists, but I love Steve Parish and Ken Duncan's work. Who doesn't right! What is your favourite media and why have you chosen to work with these media and techniques? Photography, probably because I figured I couldn't draw or paint that well! But I love the creativity you can explore, the moments you can catch, and the ease of the digital world. Why have you chosen wildlife as a subject matter in your work? I've always loved animals, watching National Geographic and World Around Us every week, seeing the documentaries on Africa and everywhere else in the world. Just so many animals to see, so little time!

© Steve Bullock
35 | Nature’s Paint Box eZine
‘Water dragon and youngster’ by Steve Bullock

Featured Artist

Lemon M

e-mail Job Title Nature Artist Preferred Medium watercolour, watercolour pencils, acrylic Country of Birth USA Country of Residence USA Available for Commissions Yes

An interview with...

Pam Johnson Brickell
When did you realise that art had to be part of your life?

I started taking art lessons, from a professional artist, at the age of 12. When it came time for college I knew my education had to center around art. I was so focused on being able to study art that I chose one school to attend, the School of the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts. What a rush it was to be accepted into their program. At the time, SWAM was one of the top 10 art schools in the country. My freshman class had 33 students. Three years later, 16 of us graduated.

© Pam Johnson Brickell


| Nature’s Paint Box eZine

Some Joy among the Heartache of the Victorian Fires in Australia
Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 by Lesley Smitheringale


I would like to offer my sincere condolences and prayers to the families in Victoria, Australia who have been affected by the fires, lost loved ones, their homes and everything they treasured. Australians and the rest of the world cannot begin to come to terms with the enormity of this disaster and I personally find it impossible to imagine what it would be like to be left with nothing apart from the clothes you are wearing. Everyone is shocked and grieving but like true “Aussies”, the nation has acted by fund raising like crazy, in any shape or form to help these poor, now homeless people who must be completely shattered. My College has stepped in by fund raising as well and if we can all chip in and financially help these fire victims in any shape or form then it is a good thing. Unfortunately, we cannot even begin to mend the emotional trauma some families are experiencing. Perhaps putting the “alleged” serial arsonists behind bars will be a start… I certainly do not intend, for a second, to place the welfare of wildlife as being more important in this article than the life and rehabilitation of a person but it is only intended as a bit of light relief and a tiny glimmer of hope in the whole scheme of this horrendous devastation to both human and wildlife welfare. I sincerely hope that this article will be viewed in this light.

Bellerine the possum in good hands ption=com_wrapper&view=wrapper&Itemid=43

The koala (above) wandered in to a family’s home in desperate need of water and he ended up actually sitting in the bucket – just gorgeous! This image on the left has engaged the nation of wildlife lovers because a totally, wild and traumatised young koala, nick named Sam, entrusts a volunteer fireman to give her water and she is resting her paw on the fireman’s hand which is quite extraordinary for a wild animal. This image epitomises the Australian icon of the koala as being vulnerable in the fires and totally loved by all Australians to the point where we would do anything to help and save this dearly loved marsupial. In other circumstances, this same koala, would be lashing out in fear at the fireman with her very sharp claws. That’s why this scene is so very special and heart wrenching.

Sam the fortunate koala 48 | Nature’s Paint Box eZine

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful