Monday, 31 August 2015

meet challenge member: Dee White

Dee White

1. Your name, location
Dee White, Macedon Ranges, Rural Victoria

2. Describe your family
Chaotic but fun. I've been married to my best friend for 30 years next year and we are very proud of our two teenage boys who are kind, caring people with the passion and motivation to follow their dreams. Our not very large house is also inhabited by two elderly cats and two free range rabbits who are toilet trained but need to be supervised around television remote controls because they like to bite the buttons off.

3. Describe your work
I'm the author of 16 books for children and young adults. I also do corporate writing and work for a school running their blog and developing their website content.

Week 26 2014: CLOUDS by Dee White

4. What is your career goal?
I'd love one day to be able to make a living completely from my books. All I've ever wanted to do since I was seven years old was to write books. I want my writing to resonate with readers and have the power to change the way they think.

Books by Dee White

5. Describe your art background
Umm, I don't really have one. I enjoyed art in high school, but was steered away from it and literature towards a 'proper job'.

I've always had a fascination with Leonardo da Vinci and in 2009 my book Letters to Leonardo was published by Walker Books. It's about a boy who believed that his mother was dead until he received a letter from her on his 15th Birthday. He feels betrayed by the mother who abandoned him, and by the father who lied to him for all these years. Matt tries to make sense of the turmoil in his life by writing letters to his dead idol, Leonardo da Vinci.

During the writing of this book I was immersed in the works of Leonardo da Vinci and the themes behind them. My editor asked me if I was an artist, and that's when I realised how much art meant to me and how much I had turned my back on it, and that even though I hadn't drawn or painted for so many years, perhaps I was an artist at heart.

About three or four years ago, I took up art classes locally and was so inspired by them. I have so much to learn, but I'm enjoying the journey.

Week 49 2015: SUNSHINE by Dee White

6. What do you love about the Challenge? What have you learned?
There's so much I love about the Challenge. I love the wonderful supportive community. I love scrolling through the wall, and looking at the amazing artwork. I love seeing how much my own artwork has developed since I started in week one last year. I love that it motivates me to produce at least one picture a week. I love seeing so many interpretations of a single theme and having my mind opened to other possibilities and meanings. I love how generous people are in sharing their processes and experiences so that I can learn from them.

I have learnt the importance of drawing regularly if you want to improve your skills, I've learned about various mediums, techniques and materials to use. I've learned about myself, and what I like to paint and draw.

Writing Letters to Leonardo took ten years from first word to publication. I love that with the Challenge I can sit down and do a painting and be reasonably happy with it after a week of working on it or even sometimes, a day. With a picture, you get instant results so that can bring instant satisfaction if you're happy with what you've created.

Week 20 2015: MELANCHOLY by Dee White

7. What is your favourite illustration you have done for the challenge so far? 
WEEK 9 - 2015 - TEXTURE - I think this was my favourite because I loved the colours and the picture seemed to come effortlessly without a lot of worrying about whether it was good or there were things wrong with it. It just flowed and it was fun.

Week 9 2015: TEXTURE by Dee White

8. Tell us something that we don’t know about you
I travelled around Australia for nearly two years in tents with my husband, the family dog, our eight month old baby and our 2 1/2 year old toddler. It was the most amazing experience of our lives.

I've been up in a hot air balloon and I've jumped out of a plane (with a parachute fortunately). I've ridden a camel and I've floated in the Dead Sea.
Week 43 2014: BIRD by Dee White

Follow Dee online:

Writing tips and reviews -
Free writing competitions and writing activities for kids -

Facebook page:
Twitter: DeeWhiteAuthor

Dee's Books:
Letters to Leonardo:
ebook HERE
Print book - local bookshop

My 10 Top Writing Tips books for kids and adults:

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

lisa-marie's picks - week 33: MYTHOLOGY

It isn't actually my turn for picks this week, however due to Penny Fisher starting a new and exciting job in the creative industry, I thought I would help out. I wont tell you what Pen is up to, I will leave that to her, but let me say it is super exciting stuff. Rightly so, Penny is truly one gifted artist.

But I digress. Back to Mythology.

WOW what a week! I don't know what I expected, but I can tell you I was blown away by all of the incredible works that graced my FB news feed. So much talent. So many different interpretations. I fell in love with so many pieces.

Here are a few pieces that truly made my heart sing this week.

Thank you everyone for sharing your talents with us all

Anne L-y So

Caleb Salisbury

Cherie Altea Bitanga

Clara Cook

Evon Lim

Heidi Cooper

Ian McLean

Irene O'Brien

Janet Murphy

Jess Rackyleft

Joanne Stead

Judy O'Brien

Karen Allen

Litta Jackson

Marie Laure Fontan

Nanette Evans

Nicky Johnston

Patricia Ward

Peter Papamanolis

Raffaela Picotti

Sally Fawcett

Sarah Hart

Add caption

Monday, 24 August 2015

meet challenge admin - Leonie Cheetham

Leonie Cheetham

1. Your name, location
Leonie Cheetham, Northern Beaches, Sydney, NSW
Week 8 2015: Coffee

2. Describe your family
I’m married with a semi-retired husband and a son who no longer lives at home. My son has more creative genes than my husband, but having said that my husband is handier at fixing things than I am. We love living close to the ocean. We’re avid travellers and can often be found exploring some unique part of our planet.
Week 26 2015: LAND by Leonie Cheetham

3. Describe your work
I currently work as a personal trainer and run my own outdoor fitness company, PinkFit. This means I’m up very early a few mornings a week to run around some very scenic beach and harbour locations keeping myself and others fit and healthy. I also get to see some stunning sunrises as well. This allows me time during the day to do art as much as I want – bliss!

In regards to my art, I’m working my way through a list of commissions, preparing work for gallery consignment and have just completed a fun project where I created the artwork for a travel brochure on Japan for an Australian based small group tour company.

My art is bright, fun, whimsical, loose in style and all self-taught apart from a travel sketching course. I prefer watercolour (pencil and paints), fine liners, and small A5 works, but am gradually experimenting with larger works.  I’m focusing on exploring using bright colours in unusual ways, exploring some mixed media and improving my digital skills.

Week 21 2015: STRIPES by Leonie Cheetham

4. What is your career goal?
Ironically, I don’t have a specific career goal at the moment, apart from having fun with my art. I’m loving the combination of arty projects I’m involved and it would be magic if a picture book illustration contact came my way, but at the end of the day I just wish to continue enjoying creating  art for myself and others.

Last year I was a virtual assistant to children’s author and illustrator, Tania McCartney. This was an invaluable experience for learning about the other side of the publishing industry and how multi-skilled, hardworking, patient and proactive you need to be as successful.

 I wouldn’t mind exhibiting some of my artwork somewhere in the future, perhaps in a small, local beachside cafĂ© or alternatively a little online gallery. Oh I do have a small goal – to get my blog up and running by December this year … it has been way too long in the making.

I’m also exploring some picture book and novel writing when I’m able to drag myself away from arty projects. Ideally, I aspire to combining travel, writing and art in some way – now wouldn’t that be fun! Did I mention I really like photography as well, but that’s another story.

Week 17 2015: FLUFFY

5. Describe you art background
Like so many other Challenge members, I too had lost my way with art. I did art in high school until my mother decided that French would be better for my education. I don’t remember a lot of my French, but I certainly haven’t forgotten my art!

My creative outlets over the years have involved sewing, knitting, silk painting, photography and it wasn’t until I joined a local travel sketching group three years ago that I rediscovered my love of art. This progressed to some urban sketching, which I still enjoy and then I discovered the Challenge group on Facebook through another friend at the beginning of 2015. It was love at first brush/fineliner/pencil!

Week 7 2015: FARM by Leonie Cheetham

6. What do you love about the Challenge?
I love the imaginative interpretations of our weekly themes and enjoy seeing how new Challenge members grow in their arty contributions. Best of all I love the global camaraderie of the group. I know for sure I’ve made lifelong friends who are only too happy to assist with arty advice and support, a shoulder to cry on or just a laugh or two along the way. I learn so much from you all each and every day!

I’ve discovered that I do have a style through being experimental with my contributions to the Challenge and I know if you had asked me a year ago what my style was, I wouldn’t have even been able to tell you that. I started at Wk7 in 2015, caught up and have not missed a week since … I truly couldn’t be that dedicated to something I didn’t love with my heart and soul. It’s a wonderful example of what an online arty community can be and I’m so grateful that Tania McCartney decided she needed a little help with her illustration skills by starting the Challenge. It’s truly immeasurable in the multitude of ways it has changed my life.

Week 2 2015: ITALY by Leonie Cheetham

7. Tell us something that we don’t know about you
I was a librarian for 30 years before becoming a personal trainer.
I hate spiders and have been known to leap out of cars at traffic lights if there is one spotted inside my car.
I’ve trekked to Everest Base Camp

Follow Leonie online:

Facebook page:



Items for sale
Commissions welcome and sale of artwork direct

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

nicky's picks - week 32: FABRIC

I am always so thrilled to see the wall flooded with artworks for each new theme. I didn't quite know what to expect for the week 'FABRIC'.....but as always I was very impressed with the beautiful and original ideas that have been created.

These are the illustrations that I fell in love with this week....

x Nicky

Allison Smallwood

Amy Haynes
Clare Johnson

Deborah Parker

Gary Dadd

Janet Murphy

Joanne Stead

Jolanda Jarman

Judy O'Brien

Leonie Cheetham

Lex McKay

Linda Graham D'Agostino

Liz Duthie

Lynn Tait - Teddy (4) and Elizabeth (2)

Margaret Dewar

Marie Charrois

Ramona Van Bakkum

Sarah Hart

Sonya Oyston

Sophia Tsorbaris

Susan Ruming

Tony Dalla Venezia

Trish Ward

Vanessa Pritchard