Painting holidays with ADELE EARNSHAW and JOE GARCIA in Adele’s home country of New Zealand!

Unlike traditionally structured painting workshops where students spend the day in the studio with only one or two excursions to paint on location, this will be a laid-back adventure and your studio will be the beaches, islands and rain forests of the the Bay of Islands, where Adele now resides!

Please click on the colored links throughout the blog for all the information about the Painting Holidays in New Zealand. As in all blogs, the last post is the most recent, so be sure to scroll down to see all the posts.


February 22 – February 28, 2015

Watercolor Magic with Deb Groesser

March 3 - 9, 2015

Capture Impressions Swiftly with V...Vaughan

Interested in an Artists' Retreat? Please contact us for information!

Below, you will read posts from SCAV crew members, giving you lots of first hand information about what to expect when you join the Painting Holiday. Be sure to read the older posts too! Visit the INFORMATION ABOUT THE HOLIDAY pages listed on the right side of the blog.

There are lots of links sprinkled throughout the blog posts and pages. Be sure to click on those for an abundance of information about New Zealand. Come back often to view the latest posts and schedule!

All images copyrighted by Adele Earnshaw and Joe Garcia.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A few photos from the first Painting New Zealand Holiday, 2012!

The Crew of Southern Cross ArtVentures gives a hearty thanks to all who participated in the premier New Zealand Painting Holiday! We appreciate everyone who spent the week with us and hope that your week on the Kowhai Coast (near Auckland) of New Zealand was memorable!
Joanne pours Bev the first glass of wine at the welcome dinner!

Wendy, Tera, Jan, Mel & Bev enjoy the evening at the Riverside Matakana boat dock on the Mahurangi River below the resort.
The crew of SCAV served up a hearty welcome dinner and wine!

Tera painting on Kawau Island.
Rob & Dee on the launch to Kawau Island
The entire group enjoying an evening at the Tawharanui Peninsula home of Lindsay & Brian.

SCAV crew, Joe Garcia, Adele Earnshaw, Jim Hanson, Anne Garcia and Joanne Hanson

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kia Ora!

Southern Cross ArtVenture crew escorted our flock of artists and their friends to the airport in Auckland last Sunday. Several folks had later flights, so we treated them to lunch in the artsy district of Parnell and a trip to the Auckland War Memorial Museum. There, we enjoyed a performance of traditional Maori dance, music, and folklore, complete with the intimidating Haka-- Maori preparing for battle.

Monday we moved our gear to “our” bach (vacation house) in Matheson Bay, a quiet residential community in Leigh about 2 hours north of Auckland. The neighborhood overlooks a beautiful small bay and beach.

Bush walk near the house

Reserve walk through the neighborhood

Joe Painting at nearby Scotts Landing. Cloudy, but warm.
Today we met the owners, Justine and Kevin. They told us of the eccentricities of bach living, and it was really great to meet this retired couple from Auckland. The bach journal testifies to their hospitality and generosity with friends and family. They instructed us to finish off the summer garden veggies of tomatoes, string beans, parsley, basil. And to please see that the beetroot seedlings get enough water—not usually a problem here!

After lunch each of us went our own way. The artists—Adele, Joanne and Joe—went to the little bay below the house to paint. Jim had an errand to run into Warkworth, and I had a walkabout the neighborhood on the footpath reserves that follow the coastline.

A reserve is a wonderful concept in this country. In most residential areas or off any highway, you will see designated reserves for the public to enjoy. Many times a path may cut along the edge of someone’s yard or paddock. The attitude is that the beauty of the land is to be shared. So, unlike in the USA, where usually one must see the sights only from the road or in a park, New Zealand allows it’s citizens and visitors the right to have an “up close and personal” experience with the land and coast. Many times the paths are simply dirt or grass that is kept shorn by the resident sheep or goats. Other reserves are more elaborate with boardwalks built above the mangroves and through ponga forests (silver tree fern). Along with this willingness of owners to share their property, comes the responsibility of the public to respect their privacy and to help keep the reserves safe and clean. It seems to work. It’s one of the things I look forward to most when I visit here. Clearly, property rights and liability suits are not an issue here. How refreshing!

A few words to describe my New Zealand experience so far:

Hurt-the-eyes green, sunny, rainy, windy, calm
Kauri, totara, rimu, ponga, pohutakawa, tea tree
Tui, fantail, bellbird, pukeko, oyster catcher
Tawharanui Regional Park
Amazingly blue ocean, marine reserves
Friendly people, crazy drivers
No screens on the windows
Open doors and windows
Walking, tramping, hiking
Jandals—flip-flops, togs—swimsuit
Veggie gardens, orchards, vineyards, fish
Bountiful land and sea.

Cloudy, but warm
Sunny days that scorch the skin in seconds
Sunscreen, hats
No Worries, Mate!

Posted by Anne

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Yesterday we spent a few hours on Kawau Island - a short trip by launch from Sandspit.  Some chose to paint, others hiked some of the trails on the Island, looking for wallabies (one of the Australian species introduced by NZ's first governor, Sir George Grey) and wekas, which were everywhere.  A weka is a chicken-size bird native to New Zealand.  It is flightless but also swims well!

New Zealand's summer has been unusually cool and wet but we've been lucky with good weather so far, though today we have a 50/50 chance of rain.  Today we're spending the morning painting at the retreat - then in the afternoon will do the bush walk at the Parry Kauri Park in Warkworth.  Late in the afternoon, we're visiting home and studio of artists Robyn and Valerie Pendred, who happen to live in the house my sister and I grew up in.  Must be something in the water!

View from the launch - Kawau Island

Friday, February 24, 2012

The view from the bach; mangroves on a tributary of the Mahurangi River

Back in the Motherland!

I'm back in the part of New Zealand where my sister, Joanne, and I grew up, the Kowhai Coast about an hour north of NZ's largest city, Auckland.  This afternoon the temp has been about 70 F, a little blustery at times as if it might rain, but then the sun comes out again.  Starting tomorrow, it is supposed to be clear and sunny - just in time for our Painting Holiday which starts in the morning after we pick up our seventeen American guests at the Auckland Airport.  
We hope to blog daily during this week's painting holiday, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Using our Blog

Hi to all of you who will be joining us in New Zealand.

We're hoping that you might start using our blog to ask questions, communicate with each other and share information. You'll see "COMMENT" at the bottom of each post. If you click on it, you can make a comment that the rest of us can see. In a month or two, I'll make a post about airfares. If you have found a great deal that you'd like to share with us, post the information in the 'comment' section.

If you have trouble using the comment section, email Joanne, Anne or me and we'll help you work it out.

And don't forget to scroll down to previous posts. We've been posting lots of helpful information for you!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Making a Watercolor Journal

You'll be receiving your supply list (by email) for the New Zealand painting holiday in just a few days. Most of you are working in watercolor, but no worries if you've chosen another medium. Here, I'll give you instructions on how to make a watercolor journal to use on your trip.

Watercolor is the perfect travel medium - lightweight and easy to pack. There are different brands of watercolor paper, which come in different weights from 90lb to thicker-than-cardboard. The heavier the paper, the less likely is it to buckle when wet. Joe has worked on 140lb Arches cold-pressed watercolor paper for years while I prefer Arches cold-pressed 300lb. He also prefers ready-made watercolor sketchbooks, specifically the Pro Art brand, however I've had no luck finding these online. Someone sent him a stack of the sketchbooks years ago so this is what he continues to use. Not sure if they're made anymore. There is what appears to be a reasonably good Arches watercolor sketchbook available through ASW that is made of 140lb Arches cold-pressed paper. You'll find an ASW link for it in your emailed supply list.

I tried different watercolor sketchbooks over the years and couldn't find one with decent paper so resorted to making my own. I've learned there are some major advantages to this - mainly that if I wait until I get back from my trip before having the paper bound into a book, I can leave out the paintings I didn't finish or I didn't like! I can also arrange the pages in the order I like.
ASW sells a 3-pack of 22" x 30" 300lb Arches cold-press watercolor paper. If you click on the link for this on your supply list, it will take you to the right page in the online ASW catalog. The paper comes in 'natural white' or 'bright white'. I use 'natural white'. Either will work.

If you make your sketchbook according to my instructions, the three-sheet pack of paper will give you 24 pages for your sketchbook. If you use all of these in the week-long painting holiday, you'll be sure to win the highly coveted Perseverance Award at the end of the week!

Cut a 22" x 30" sheet of watercolor paper lengthwise, giving you two 11" x 30" pieces of paper. Then cut each 30" length into 7 1/2" pieces. This will give you 8 pieces of 7 1/2" x 11" paper, each with a deckled edge. You can make your sketchbook larger or smaller - but I find this size works well for traveling with no wasted paper.

You can arrange the sheets of paper so the deckled edges are all on the same side, which makes for a smart-looking sketchbook once it is bound. I stack the paper and pack them in a big envelope (Fed-ex has a perfect paper envelope which will last through the trip without tearing. You can borrow one from the shipping supplies at a Fed-ex office or Kinkos, but don't tell them I put you up to this!)

Using a carpenter's square to make sure my corners are square, I draw a rectangle on each sheet of paper. You can see here that my rectangle is 1 1/2" in from the edge of the paper on three sides, but there's a wider margin on the fourth side of 2". This will be the side that will be bound - so I'm giving a little more room. This allows for a 4 1/2" x 7 1/2" painting. You can make yours any size you wish. I use a 2H pencil (it doesn't smear) and draw a very light line which can be erased after your painting is finished. (I've used a dark line here so you can see how I do it)

Once I return home, I sort the paintings in the order I like and take the pages to Kinkos. There are several different types of bindings available - I prefer the spiral. You also have a choice of covers. I like the black plastic. With some of my sketch books, I've inserted a piece of vellum in between each painting before it is bound. If you have any questions, email me!

If you prefer, you can take your watercolors home and have them framed....but there's something impressive about a finished watercolor journal of your travels.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Things to Do in Wellington

Default 101 things to do in Wellington

Wellington is the Capitol of New Zealand, though Auckland is the largest city. It is home to New Zealand's parliament, Te Papa Museum and is at the very most southern tip of the North Island.

There are too many places for me to post a link for all of them, but just google the name plus Wellington, NZ and you should be able to find information or email me and I'll track down a link for you.

1. Visit the Te Papa Museum.
2. Ride on the Cable Car from Lambton Quay to the Botanic Gardens
3. Visit the Marine Education Center at Island Bay
4. Listen for penguins coming back to their nests at dusk
5. Rent a kayak and paddle round the harbour.
6. Fish & chips at Wellington Trawling Market (Cuba Street/Lambton Quay)
7. Wash them down with a beer at Mighty Mighty on Cuba Street
8. Enjoy at bottle of Waiheke Island wine at the Matterhorn on Cuba Street
9. Walk up Mount Victoria for a great view of Wellington (take the 20 bus or walk up through the greenbelt)
10. Regional Wines off the Basin reserve offers free wine tasting
11. Buy fresh fish right off the boat (market behind Te Papa Museum)
12. Have coffee at Cafe 32 on the Terrace, keeping an eye open for the Prime Minister, John Key, who is known to sneak a cigarette there.
13. Go surfing at Lyall Bay
14. Go horse riding in the Ohariu Valley
15. Take the Dominion Post Ferry for the Harbor Explorer Trip
16. Go to the Dockside Restaurant for Bluff oysters
17. Go to the market on Saturday afternoon (behind Te Papa Museum)
18. Go to the Weta Cave in Miramar
19. Go wine tasting in Martinborough
20. Buy a $6 day tripper bus ticket and see Wellington by bus
21. Take a tour of Parliament (called 'The Beehive')
22. Visit the City & Sea Museum
23. Have High Tea at the James Cook Hotel
24. Visit the Carter Observatory at the top of the Botanic Gardens and learn about the Southern Hemisphere sky.
25. Try locally-brewed beer at Malthouse on Courtney Place
26. Walk the skyline from Mt. Kaukau (above Khandallah) to Crofton Downs for a spectacular view
27. Have authentic ethnic food in the Mediterranean Food Warehouse (hole in the wall places but supposed to be good)
28. Take the ferry to Sommes Island - great views, flora fauna and history.
29. Have a drink at the BackBencher near Parliament. This bar/cafe is on the property that my great great grandparents owned in the 1800's.
30. Buy 'The Entertainment Book' for discounts at many of these local places.
31. Take the ferry to Eastbourne and go to the Chocolate Dayz Cafe.
32. Have a beer on the grass at the Heineken Hotel
33. Take the nigh tour at the Karori Sanctuary Experience
34. Visit the New Zealand Portrait Gallery
35. Go to a free Wednesday lunchtime classical concert at St. Andrew's on the Terrace
36. Go to a ukulele jamming session with the Wellington Ukulele Collective
37. Pick up a free booklet, 'Feeling Great! Wellington's Guide to Recreation and Events. The booklet can be found at the railway station, libraries, shopping malls, etc.
38. Go swimming int he Hutt or Akatarawa River in the Hutt Valley. Best spots to swim are at the junction of Hutt River and Akatarawa River, Hutt River by accessway next to 91 Gemstone Drive, Hutt River at Totara Park or the Akatarawa River at the Blueberry farm, where you can pick your own blueberries.
39. Check on the free concerts at the Botanical Gardens
40. Go to Makara Beach, which overlooks the Tasman Sea and were you can sometimes see the South Island from the lookout point.
41. Go to the roller derby!
42. Visit the historic Bolton Street Cemetery and look for the graves of my rellies, some of the oldest gravestones there!
43. The best contemporary art exhibitions are at City Gallery.
44. Follow a visit to City Gallery with smoked salmon kedgeree lunch while reading British Newspapers at the adjoining Nikau Cafe.
45. Visit old St. Pauls on Mulgrave Street to see stunning gothic architecture using native New Zealand woods. This is near the pub/cafe Back Bencher, that I mentioned earlier in the list.
46. Into literature? Visit the Katherine Mansfield House on Tinakori Rd. It contains a lot of photos of early Welly.
47. Take the Marine drive from Owhiro Bay right around the coastline to Eastbourne. It takes about two hours (easy drive) at the water's edge for most of the way.
48. Visit Petone - historical and quirky. Petone was the first European settlement in the region and retains many historical buildings and landmarks.

Thanks to cousin Margaret for the last 7 suggestions!