Birds of a Feather

These are four recent paintings by Margaret O’Tool.

These paintings were painted during 2016 and depict some of the bird she sees regularly as she walks on some of the beautiful walking paths close to her home on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia.

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South American Toucan

There are about 40 species of Toucan. They can be as big as 24 inches or as small as only 7 inches. They have short thick necks and their becks are large and have serrated edges to tear of pieces of large fruits. They also like berries. Small bird and lizards also are part of their diet.

Ecologist say that they are important to the rain forests because they help spread seeds throughout the forest.

South American Toucan

South American Toucan

This is a water-color painting by Margaret O’Toole.

The artist says she saw many of these beautifully colored birds during her visit to Honduras as their habitat extends to Central America.

Written by David Holland

Baby Bilby

Also called the rabbit eared bandicoot.

Bilby Watercolour by Margaret O'Toole

Bilby Watercolour by Margaret O’Toole

It has silky blue-grey fur, a long white-tipped tail and is about the same size as a rabbit. It moves with a graceful gait holding its tail high like a banner.

Bilbies are found in the deserts of central and western Australia. They escape the heat of the day in deep cool burrows which they dig with their powerful front feet. They come out at night to feed on insects, seeds and small fruit.

Watercolour – 2015 and text

by Margaret O’Toole

White Bellied Sea Eagle – The Wadalba Warrior

What a Magnificent Bird!


This is the Wadalba Warrior.

A bird that has gained the admiration of a town. A town called Wadalba.

Wadalba it located in the Central Coast of New South Wales Australia and is the home of this magnificent bird.

White Bellied Sea Eagle

White Bellied Sea Eagle

The artist painted this sea eagle (copied from a photo on the white bellied sea eagle site on the internet) the reason for this water-colour painting is because there has been a battle over a housing development project on southern Wadalba Hill on the Central Coast of NSW.
There is a white bellied sea eagles nest on a tree at the edge of a clear felled forest. The chicks were inside and the site was clear felled nearly up to the tree.
The parents have been back every day to feed the chicks despite the clearing and destruction going on nearby. There is an international protection agreement between China/Korea and Australia for this beautiful eagle. For years these eagles have been nesting at Wadalba Hill.
A community environmental group calling themselves “Camp Eagles Nest” have been camping at the bottom of the hill nearby at the side of John’s Road for several months to gather signatures to save the eagle’s nesting tree.
So far they have been successful.
Painting By Margaret O’Toole

The Long remembered Pet collection by Margaret OToole

When I saw these pets Margaret had lovingly painted I was unperturbed. But on closer study of the paintings I realised that she had captured to essence of the pet she had painted.

Many of these pets she has painted are family pets of a son or friend and Margaret has known these animals for some time in some cases. Some of these pets have died since she painted them. Some are very old and you can see this in their eyes and posture.


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Hope you see these paintings throughout the eye of the artists.

Written by David Holland

Introducing Nardja

When visiting the Yarramalong spring festival in 2013 I was pleased to see these displays of wood sculptures at the Old Wyong Creek Hall.

Wyong Creek is one of those rural areas where settlers found good soil in the secluded Yaramalong Valley east of Wyong in the Central Coast of New South Wales Australia.

In spring it is a beautiful lush valley, now days with a lot of horse studs and hobby farms. The lifesyle is rural but with the comforts of urban life. Wyong Creek is only a few kilometres from Wyong and from one of the regions large shopping centers.

Nardja expressed the desire for me to put some of her work on the Habitat Centre for the Arts web site so here it is.

I particularly like the feel of shaped and moulded wood and Nardja does such a good job of producing these forms depicting fish and birds.

Wood scuptures by Nardja

Wood sculptures by Nardja

One must remember that the sculpture is some what constrained in the shape of the finished sculpture in that the sculpture is largely dependant on the size and shape of the natural wood chosen to do the work.

Wood Sculptures by Narja

Wood Sculptures by Narja

Nardja seems to have chosen well her materials because the interesting grain and flowing lined of some of her work is quite pleasant.

Narjda can be contacted for commissioned work on

The Habitat Association for Arts and Environment is about helping to promote art in our environments and encourage landscape designers to incorporate aesthetic design and art in our public and private spaces.

by David Holland
Nardja seems to have chosen well the

Often artists use photographic material for inspiration

Painting by Margaret O’Toole

Article by David Holland

One of my passions is taking photographs of animals and birds.Taking photographs and finding a great composition is often a fluke when taking birds.

I have the fortune of having a very versatile camera, one that can zoom into a target and snap away giving close up shots of the birds, but the bird has to be posing in the right way.
An artist on the other hand can be choosy about the composition of the painting and choosy about the photograph they might use. The photograph has to hold some attraction to them for them to spend time working for several hours on their work.

Although artists can have the skills to copy exactly the photograph, I believe that good artistry is the ability to interpret the photograph. By using the photograph as an inspiration often a much more emotionally effective work results.

This is what I believe Margaret has done with this photograph of mine.

I was fortunate enough to find this Australian Darter in a pose drying his wings. Have you ever heard the expression, ‘like a shage on a rock’, well now you have seen one. This expression usually is said when someone is dripping wet.

Australian Darter and Caspian Tern

Australian Darter and Caspian Tern

The Australian Darter dives into the water, wings swept back to hunt for fish similar to a cormorant. I have seem them while kayaking on a nearby river to my home doing just that or sitting on a branch over the water or on a rock drying out.

The other bird is a Caspian Tern. This one is non breeding, but during breeding season the bird has a black cap of feathers on its head. It would be the biggest tern in Australia at 53 cm long for an adult and like all terns swoops and drives for fish.

Margaret’s interpretation of the birds has softened the look of the two birds in such a way as to make them feel as though they would be excellent cute and cuddly pets.

Darter and Caspian Tern

Darter and Caspian Tern

They are sitting on the rocks on a large salt water lake enjoying each others company.
She said the paining was a bit of a challenge in that she found that the paper she was using soaked up the paint more than she expected, perhaps giving this softer look.

Megan Hitchens at the Choose yourself exhibition

This exclusive exhibition of fine art is for only 8 artists, giving them the opportunity to show their unique works. Megan has used a drawing style for these two drawing called the  Zentangle drawing method. For more information about this style see the link

Choose-Yourself-Flyer   T6


cipher 2

The Exhibition flyer for the time and place is available on the following link. Click to view or reproduce for your friends: Choose-Yourself-Flyer

Margaret O’Toole’s Cute and dangerous Australian Wildlife Collection

These are just a taste of the wonderful watercolours Margaret has been producing lately.

What a wonder of expressions.

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Margaret would like to acknowledge a Photograph by Vivien Jones that was in the Australian Geographic Magazine Issue 95 July- Sept 2009 which was the inspiration for the style of the grey faced flying fox water-colour.

These are some of just a few of the watercolours planed to be published in a book still in its planning and design stages where Margaret is co-author with Ray Rauscher.

The book will be called “Life lines” containing Margaret’s paintings accompanied by poetry from Ray Rauscher’s collection.

Some of Ray’s Poetry can be viewed at Habitat Association’s Poet’s Corner



Introducing Kenneth Smith

Kenneth Smith is a metal worker artist. I first saw his art at the Wyong Creek community Hall during the Yarramalong Spring festival in 2013, but held every year starting in late August and running for two weeks culminating in the first Saturday in September with the judging of the scare crow competition.

Yarramalong is a small town some 10 kilometres west of the bigger town Wyong situated in the northern parts of the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia.

In the hall there were a number of displays, art, wood sceptres and Ken’s unusual metal sceptres fashioned with horse shoes.

Below are a few of his work that was on display

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On meeting Kenneth I was able to find out the reason why a saw a mill saw blade set as a sculpture at a property further west up the beautiful Yarramalong valley. This sculpture perched at the intersection of Ravenswood Road and Cedar Brush Road further west past  the township of Yarramalong turns out to be his home. He tells me that at one stage he used to run a saw mill on the property.

The Yarramalong valley is certainly worth a visit. If you visit during the Spring festival time you will see a large number of scare crow sculptures, all original and different every year.

If you are up that way and interested in purchasing any of the sculptures, Kenneth would be happy to talk to you about his work.

By David Holland

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