About Us

NatureArt Lab offers participants the opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and immerse themselves in art inspired by nature. Select a series of courses to suit your interests, and consider developing your foundation skills through a better understanding of colour theory, drawing skills or use of water-based mediums such as watercolour or gouache. Our team of experienced tutors will support your creative learning journey with expert instruction and guidance in a fully equipped art-science space.


Julia Landford is the Founding Director of NatureArt Lab established in 2017. NatureArt Lab is a social enterprise providing Canberra and the region with its first dedicated natural history art school. Julia is an award-winning wildlife and botanical artist with a passion for nature. She has a strong interest in interdisciplinary approaches for art and science and the role of art in conservation advocacy. Julia is a member of the Australian Association of Environmental Educators (AAEE), and is an Executive Committee member of the ACT Chapter.
Julia established Wildlife and Botanical Artists Inc (WABA, 1989-2018) in Canberra, initiating new art, science and conservation networks, annual member art exhibitions, national wildlife art exhibitions, a national symposium on art and science in partnership with CSIRO, and regular field trips and workshops.  Julia has an extensive background in federal public sector management including a twenty-year career with Australia's Aid Program and Department of Foreign Affairs. Her career has included international development roles in South East Asia, PNG and the Pacific region as well as in New York, Geneva and Rome with the United Nations. Julia is a qualified secondary education and adult education teacher and has a Masters Degree in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development. 
Cheryl Hodges is an award-winning local artist who has been painting botanical watercolours since 2000. Her painting technique involves building up the colour in many layers of soft washes, creating an almost translucent effect, then intensifying the final painting with very detailed dry brush work. She enjoys painting Australian native plants and insects. Cheryl is an invited member of the Florilegium of the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney with her painting Eucalyptus tereticornis in the permanent collection.
Lesley Wallington is a professional artist and tutor with more than 20 years’ experience. During this time she has collected a series of awards for her unique and innovative paintings and has followed her journey in water based media through studies at the ANU. As a teacher Lesley combines theory and technical advice with straightforward practical instruction on working with watercolour, gouache, pencil, ink and collage. With an in depth knowledge of her medium and extensive experience teaching all age groups and levels, Lesley has the ability to inspire and direct a class while encouraging the unique style of individual students.

Gillian Carden has a background in graphic design and is a practicing artist with over 20 years experience. Gillian combines theory and technical advice for our evening introductory watercolour and drawing classes. She has received excellent appraisals from students for her thorough approach to teaching.


Dr. Damien Esquerré is a biologist and researcher who specializes in snake and lizard evolution. He is also an extraordinary nature photographer with over 10 years of experience, having travelled to some of the wildest places in South and Central America, Australia and Asia (including our 2019 Borneo field trip) exclusively to photograph wildlife and nature. His photos have appeared on several books, expos, magazines, scientific journal covers, newspapers and websites. Damien teaches nature photography courses and workshops at NatureArt Lab.


Ellouise Theron grew up in South Africa and her art developed from a young age as an expression of her passion for the African bush and its animals. She spent a few years in the Middle East and the colours of this harsh region have influenced her art direction. Her art does not merely copy nature but brings the subjects to life by capturing the essence of every creature. She believes in painting what is in your heart and that people need to get out into nature to meet and experience the animals you intend to paint. Living and painting in the Canberra 'the bush capital' for the past eight years, Ellouise has recently turned her focus to Australian wildlife. Ellouise graduated in Graphic Design from the University of Pretoria and she is also a qualified teacher. She has taught art across the spectrum from junior school to adult classes. Drawing is fundamental to Ellouise's approach, along with colour and design. Her preferred medium is soft pastels with pastel pencils. Recognition for her work includes the Australian Artist Magazine and the Royal Canberra Show.

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