Artist process – Vows to the earth #12

I’m starting a new series on my blog where I’m going to share the process and story behind an artwork. I’m really excited to share these reflections – to further my understanding of my own process and to deepen connection to my art.

Vow 12 – Vows to the earth


Together with my husband Steve we have been thinking about how we can use our skills and our talents to share our love for our beautiful earth. Steve’s poetry is something that has always inspired me so this year we set to create the collection of work for the 2023 calendar together. 

The vow for the above artwork goes like this:

“Just as our earth loves us with tomatoes, waterfalls and bird song, let us return the love with gratitude, compost and delight.” 
– Steve Gero

We spent time together musing over these words, sipping tea and sketching as ideas surfaced while our babies slept. When we thought of ‘delighting’ in the earth we both pictured a waterfall, people connecting with nature, immersing themselves.

Our nudist jumping into the waterhole was always in my vision of this piece, delighting in the earth feels like freedom, uninhibited and unashamed. 

beginning sketch
work in progress


This piece is a mixed media artwork. I loosely mapped out my plan with a 2B pencil on 600gsm watercolour paper. 

Quick tip!

∗ press very lightly as pencil marks become sealed when painted over ∗

After I have a bit of a plan down I use watercolour paints to create a base painting. I build up layers with deeper colour and water to create the wonderful blooms that I love so much in watercolour.  

In the final layers I add textures using smaller brushes for detail, collage using my hand painted textures and hand carved stamps. 

I love to work with collage because it means I can move things around and change elements if I don’t think they’re working. It also means I can work in layers, not worry about needing to start from scratch because I’ve made a mistake. 

adding detail with fine liner pen
adding detail with small round brush

I wanted this piece to feel immersive and draw the viewer in to the experience. It’s based on an incredible waterfall in Katoomba NSW, Mini Haha. 

I’ve had so many moments at the waterfall and surrounding National Park where I have felt the connectedness we have with the earth and with each other. 

I’m grateful for the experience to swim in the fresh (cold!) water and to witness and be a part of the interconnectedness of all the plants and animals that live on this sacred and alive earth. I hope this piece creates a longing to be in nature, to protect it and to fall in love again and again with our earth. 

Where is your special place in nature? When was a time that felt connected to our earth? I’d love for you to leave a comment below. 

I’ll finish with the vow for this artwork and hope you join me in our gratitude, compost and delight to the earth.

“Just as our earth loves us with tomatoes, waterfalls and bird song, let us return the love with gratitude, compost and delight.” 
– Steve Gero