Leonie Norton’s week of Botanical Art and Holiday Sketching earlier this year was another week of combining the glorious flora of Fiji with the pleasures of leaning to capture the local sights in sketches. Leonie describes the week:
Another amazing week at Daku comes to a close. A week of near perfect weather with sunny days, gentle breezes and a great group of students. It doesn’t get much better than this.
A bucket full of exotic flowers were awaiting my group on Day 1, for the Botanical Art drawing and painting with individual tuition throughout the week. My ten enthusiastic students eagerly chose their subjects and we proceeded with the steps and processes of making a botanical art painting.
It is extremely meditative and takes you into another world. The morning just flew, with only a short break for delicious freshly baked cake or pancakes from the kitchen and always the beautiful sweet local fruit.
Some of the group had never drawn or painted before, and were absolutely thrilled by the stunning paintings they produced, as was I. The participants came from many states of Australia and New Zealand.
After lunch we would head to various locations to experience some local culture and do some sightseeing and sketching. The Holiday Sketching component of the week was one where the group could leave the detail of botanical art behind, and embrace the looseness and spontaneity of recording their memories through sketching.
Much more than a simple drawing, the sketches are personal recollections of beaches, bays and Savusavu town and markets with their abundance of colourful local produce. The waters of the beaches glistened in the sun, while the rock formations threw colourful reflections in the waters.
A new outing this week was to the local Flora Tropica Gardens which has more than 300 species of rare and endangered palm species. Five acres of stunningly landscaped hillsides and creek flats provide fantastic views over the gardens and Savusavu Bay.
Each day brought new experiences, from village visits and pearl farm excursions to snorkelling, swimming and kayaking for the more adventurous in the group.
But above all, the finalisation of the week with an exhibition of the work produced was definitely the highlight.
The glowing colours of the helicona, hibiscus and croton paintings will forever hold very special memories of a very special place. And who could forget the stunning sunsets each evening, or the sounds of the waves softly lapping on the beach as you lie in your bure….