Margaret’s Green and Golden Bell Frog

Margaret has captured a profile of this majestic Australian native frog, the green and golden bell frog. Its taxonomic or scientific name is  Litoria  aurea. Litoria is a genus of frog in the region of Australia and the south pacific. Its latin meaning is green. Many green frogs are in this genus, but this frog, aurea simply means gold.

Green & Golden Bell Frog

Green & Golden Bell Frog

It is a frog that is normally averaging a length of 6 to 8 centimetre, making it a relatively large frog in the Australians southern environments where it is found. As a result it has a non discriminating diet, hunting down crickets, insects, slugs and even smaller frogs.

It is on the vulnerable list of species Australia wide, but in New South Wales, one of the States of Australia where it is mostly found, it is on the endangered list.

The reason seems to be simply urbanisation. Since just like people in our larger population centres, the frog enjoys the cooler but temperate climates of the coast. But there seems to be more to the reduction of the species habitat which once extended up to 50 or 100 kilometres west from the coastal regions of southeastern Australia. Now hugging the coast, it is unclear why it has lost this habitat since intense urbanisation is not a feature of the areas the frog has left behind.


Introducing Yuri O’Donnell, Artist

Yuri is an incredible artist. She is originally from Japan, but after marrying an Irish University Lecturer she became interested in painting.

Her Husband saw her interest and sponsored her to study painting. Over the years she has sold many of her works.

After her husband died she stopped painting, to all our loss.

I bought these fantastic works when she was cleaning out her house before she was moving from the family home.

She traveled extensively with her husband and these travels can be seen in her paintings. Although she was based in Australia and her husband lectured for a time at the Australian National University in Canberra some of her works show many scenes of the United States of America and Japan. I have none of these but only one of her paintings from Ireland. Since she lived in Canberra for a time, some of the scenes are from the southern highlands around Tumut while others are from northern New South Wales a state of Australia.

Below is a slide show of some of the scenes she has painted:

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Written by David Holland


Margaret O’Toole’s Watercolour Animal Collection

This is the slide show we have been waiting for. Margaret has put together her animal collection of water-color paintings for the Habitat Center for the Arts.

This is a vivid and exquisite interpretation of both native Australian animals and birds and some exotic animals from around the world.

Margaret’s depiction of the Bengal Tiger is one example of this. This is a vivid and intense painting of this beautiful animal.

The bird of Paradise shown in strong greens and blues is another non-indigenous creature to Australia, but is native to New Guinea just to the north of Australia.

Although the lama is not native to Australia, many can be found in the farming setting around Australia as it is a good producer of wool and other commodities. Many enjoy this animal as a domestic pet on their small country land holdings or small hobby farms.

Pelicans are very common on the Central Coast of New South Wales where Margaret lives. Other birds such as the magpie are also common.

A bird found on the Central Coast, the Sooty Owl, is one of our rare and endangered species. A smaller sooty owl is also found in North Queensland. It is unclear which owl Margaret has painted although one might guess that it is in fact the northern Queensland species.

Another bird found on the Central Coast is the secretive Tawny Frogmonth. A member of the owl family it hunts at night. If you are observant you may be lucky enough to see one in its day roost, however due to its grey mottled plumage it tends to blend into the foliage in its roost trees. It is called frogmouth because its beak and face plumage makes the bird look like it has the mouth of a frog.

Margaret has depicted cranes in one of her water-colors. This caricature is not of the Australian cranes which include the Sarus crane, one of the subspecies found in India and Asia, that can be found in far northern Queensland, nor is it of the Brolga found more widely only in Australia’s north and east. Margaret has specifically painted these cranes to depict the ancient Chinese and Japanese symbols of happiness and long life.

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The Tasmanian Devil, Echidna and Platypus are three iconic Australian species depicted in this collection. Much more known around the world as iconic Australian species are the Koala and the Red Kangaroo, both painted by Margaret in animated poses.

Other less iconic Australian animals and birds included are the brush tail possum and the lyre bird. Possums are relatively common in bushland settings at night on the Central Coast and the lyre bird Margaret took inspiration from lives in the bushland around one of the community meeting places where Habitat Association members often meet.

It is clear that Margaret also likes dogs. Included in the collection is a king Charles cavalier, German shepherd and bearded collie.

Lastly, Margaret has painted for the collection several birds commonly seen around the Central Coast of New South Wales during the spring and summer months. The galah, the sulphur crested cockatoo and the rainbow lorikeet.

Introducing Jossette Guimbeau : Artist

Habitat centre for the arts would like to introduce Josette Guimbeau.

Another talented artist on the Central Coast of New South Wales Australia.

Below are some of her paintings.

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Josette also has an interest in porcine painting and the following website showcases her interest.

Porcelain in Totoland

Watercolour Flower by Margaret Ellem (O’Toole)

The watercolour flower is study in sutle colours and colour harmony.  The painting is strangely warming and although seemingly simple, a complexity is evident on closer appreciation.


Watercolour Flower


For more of Margaret O’Toole’s work look up Margaret Ellem or Margaret O’Toole on the search engine.



The Dragon – Margaret Ellem (O’Toole)

Another colourful and imaginative watercolour from Margaret Ellem.

The Dragon was an exercise in experimenting with colour textures. This was done by a range of paint interactions with other chemicals.

For some details, write to Margaret on this blog through the comments section.


The Dragon by Margaret O'Toole

The Dragon




Margaret intends to go under her maiden name in the future. More and more her paintings will be signed Margaret O’Toole as seen above.