Botanical Watercolour (5 Day Tyalgum Art Retreat) with Heidi Willis

Join one of Australia's best Botanical artists for 5 days at our Tyalgum Art Retreat. If you like your art to look 'realistic' and have a tendency towards wanting to 'get things right' and perfectionism, then you will thrive in this workshop. Botanical illustration is all about ensuring that you are capturing the detail of your subject as accurately as possible. Surrounded by the lush Northern NSW countryside, you will love spending 5 days with this incredible artist.

This wonderful 5-day painting workshops’ focus will be on the essential watercolour painting techniques necessary to create a series of beautiful botanical illustrations.

A note from Heidi:

Working with standard watercolour techniques of washes, the more complex process of glazing, (or layers of wash), as well as the intricate art of dry brushing, these wonderful subjects offer an ideal opportunity to look intimately at colour, form, texture, light, tone, structure, and techniques so specific to botanical illustration. My classes always have a strong focus on the watercolour medium in general, because when we understand the medium, we can apply these skills to any subject you choose. We will explore washes, glazes and dry brushing to help your work progress and to find the best way forward for you as an individual artist.

Botanical painting is such a beautiful genre to work in, and it’s an especially ideal choice for anyone who feels they have a natural tendency for detailed work. I know that many of you will identify with this sense, and I am always one to say ‘go with it!’ For anyone familiar with my workshops, you’ll know that I have very practical, no nonsense approach to my work and teaching, and I don’t tend to get bogged down in theory in my classes.

I prefer a very hands-on approach and one where we can get straight into it with our wet brushes and learn on the go. I have found it’s a comfortable and successful approach that many people love and appreciate. Through extensive demonstrations, step-by-step tuition, and guided learning we will work to demystify and simplify the process and create valuable strategies to achieve successful outcomes.

Together we will find a new level of confidence and establish sound footholds for independent painting beyond my workshops. I’d like to welcome you to join this fantastic opportunity and group, I look forward to seeing you in the wash!

This workshop is part of our Tyalgum Group Art Retreat. This is our budget retreat with dorm-style rooms of up to 4 people and very basic amenities. If this is not for you and you need more comfort, then join our Tasmanian Luxury retreat with Heidi in November 2020 (click here for details on Tassie). If you prefer to work with a new artist each day AND have your own room, then join our Byron Creative Retreat (click here for details on Byron).

We anticipate that these workshops will sell out very quickly and encourage you to book early to avoid disappointment. *FULL WORKSHOP PRICE IS $1395 - YOU NEED TO BUY YOUR WORKSHOP PLACE USING THIS LISTING TO PAY YOUR DEPOSIT AND FINAL PAYMENT IS DUE 31 MARCH 2020.

Art Supplies

Supplies list ~ HEIDI WILLIS ~ Tasmania

  • Pencils, 2H, HB and 2B
  • Mechanical pencil 0.5 mm HB
  • White plastic eraser
  • Scotch tape
  • Taklon or good quality detail brushes (sizes 3/0, 1, 3, 4, 5 with GOOD points and a cover sleeve on them)
  • Palette (a KLIK Palette)
  • Masking Fluid (colourless W&N please)
  • Sketchbook
  • Tracing paper (perhaps 5 sheets A4 or equivalent)
  • Blade to cut paper and sharpen pencils etc
  • Paint colours

    Watercolour paints artist quality Windsor and Newton

  • Sepia
  • Windsor Violet
  • Perylene Maroon
  • Permanent Rose
  • Permanent Magenta
  • Windsor Red
  • Indigo
  • French Ultramarine Blue
  • Raw Sienna
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Olive Green
  • Permanent Sap Green
  • Payne’s Gray
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Cerulean Blue (Red Shade)
  • Green Gold
  • Windsor Lemon
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Paper/board
  • Langton Watercolour Board 10x14in – Allow 1 per day - Heidi will bring these
  • NOTE:

    I will bring worksheets, Langton boards and brush supplies with me for the group. You can reimburse me for these costs at the workshop.

    We anticipate that these workshops will sell out very quickly and encourage you to book early to avoid disappointment.

    This workshop is being held as part of our 5 Day 'Best of the Best' Art Retreat at the Tyalgum Ridge Retreat. We anticipate that these workshops will sell out very quickly and encourage you to book early to avoid disappointment. *FULL WORKSHOP PRICE IS $1395 - YOU NEED TO BUY YOUR WORKSHOP PLACE USING THIS LISTING TO PAY YOUR DEPOSIT AND FINAL PAYMENT IS DUE 31 MARCH 2020.


    Please note that the Tyalgum Ridge retreat is located at 783 Tyalgum Creek Rd, Tyalgum Creek NSW. You will need to head to the end of Tyalgum Creek Road and continue onto a dirt road for about 100m before you reach the retreat. Please note that there is no internet reception so make note of your directions before you leave Tyalgum.

    There is parking to your right as you arrive. The building is located over 2 floors so there are some steps involved.

    Tyalgum can be reached from the coast via Murwillimbah or from the north through Chillingham and the Numinbah Valley - both are beautiful scenic drives.

    From Tyalgum take Tyalgum Creek Road (runs between the Tyalgum Hotel and the service station) for 9kms. The last kilometre is a good quality gravel road. The retreat is the last property (no. 783) at the end of the road.

    We are 30 kms or 25 minutes from Murwillumbah.

    The drive from the Gold Coast Airport takes about an hour.


    Students must be 16 and over for all adult classes unless arranged otherwise with Artable. The enrolment form for under 18s who are attending an adult class must be signed by a parent or guardian. Participants under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult if they are staying in the accommodation.



    Bookings for workshops will be in the order of bookings received on our website and paid in full at the time of booking. Artable bookings via the website give you an automatic confirmation via email. You need to write in the notes section of the booking form if you wish to share a room with a specific person or persons.


    Telephone bookings must be accompanied by full payment via credit card or direct debit and all booking conditions apply as per website descriptions.


    Artable reserves the right to cancel a class if minimum enrolments are not reached by 1 June 2020 or for circumstances beyond our control. Students will be offered placements in an alternative workshop or a refund of all fees.

    Artable relies heavily on group numbers for this retreat and we are contracted to our accommodation provider. Therefore Artable charges the following cancellation fees if you choose to cancel or do not attend:

    On or before 15 March 2020: FULL REFUND

    From 16 March – 16 May 2020: 25% of workshop fee

    From 17 May – 1 June: 50% of workshop fee

    From 2 June: NO REFUNDS

    Please do not ask us to waive these conditions under any circumstances as we cannot provide refunds from 2 June. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you take out travel insurance with appropriate cancellation cover in the event of an emergency.


    Registration is from 8-9.30am on the first day. We will gather together for orientation at 10am on the first day in the main hall. Classes commence at 9am and conclude at 4pm each day. Lunch is for 1 hour and held from 12.30-1.30pm. Dinner is held from 6.30-7.30pm in the Dining Hall.

    Morning and afternoon teas will be permanently set up in the dining hall and tutors can work around their own times for these breaks.


    Evenings will combine tutor discussions, art demonstrations, product demonstrations and more. You will be presented with a weekly timetable of events when you arrive and register.


    Shared Dorm Room: Dorm accommodation is in basic shared room accommodations (male and females are kept separate) with basic shower facilities. All linen is provided, however you are encouraged to bring your own doona/blankets for extra warmth. If you are traveling interstate, we will arrange bedding on your behalf (advise at time of booking). Rooms are shared between 2 and 4 people.

    Please note that we are unable to offer single rooms at the retreat due to the limited number of beds available. If you require a single room, we recommend

    Camping On Site (Campervan or Tent): You can choose to camp onsite. There are shower facilities available for your use.

    External Accommodation $150 Discount Applies: Feel free to make use of local Bed & Breakfast Options if you would like either your own room, or more comfortable accommodations. Please understand that there is very little discount as fees are set by the Tyalgum Retreat and include 3 meals a day, morning/afternoon tea, linen hire and venue hire fees.

    Please advise us in the notes section at the time of booking if you do not want to be allocated to a dorm room. You will be asked to fill in a registration from after booking and will be able to stipulate who you would like to share a room with.


    All students must register at the front desk upon arrival and before heading to their room or workshop. Registration is between 8 and 9.30am on Wednesday 8 July.

    All course, accommodation and events information will be provided at registration.

    By purchasing this workshop, you agree that:

    You have read and agree to the above conditions.

    A class without meeting minimum numbers may be cancelled and you will be given a full refund.

    If you choose to seek external accommodation, you will have $150 deducted from your workshop fee.

    Cancellation fees apply from 16 March as outlined above.

    Artable may take photographs & video throughout the 5 days to be used for marketing purposes.


    Tyalgum Ridge Retreat

    Book online

    $300 per person

    Meet the Teach

    Heidi Willis

    Australian born, Heidi Willis is an entirely self-taught Natural History watercolour artist. Her work intricately illustrates our native and exotic plants, flowers, fruits and seed capsules, whilst her powerful & distinctive portraits of our spectacular bird life offers viewers an insight into the world as she experiences it. Painting full-time since 2003, Heidi quickly established herself as one of Australia’s emerging artistic talents. Her reputation as a leading natural history, wildlife and botanical artist is well established and her meticulous and intricate studies of botany and birds can be found in significant public and private collections around the world.

    Heidi’s work has featured in prominent national and international exhibitions over her career. Highlights include The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize six times to date, winning a Highly Commended award in the Works on Paper section in 2014 resulting in her work going on tour with the prize winning entries. Her major work St Vincent’s Amazons and Cannonball Tree has just been selected as a finalist again for the 2016 exhibition. The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize is one of Australia’s most prestigious and richest art competitions held by the South Australian Natural History Museum. Several of her works have been showcased as a finalist at the Focus On Nature exhibitions, a leading international Natural History Art Prize held in the New York State Museum. Her work has also featured and won awards in both Botanica and The Margaret Flockton Award, hosted by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.

    Her work is held in the permanent collection at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation PA, USA and her work has also been included in the highly regarded Shirley Sherwood Collection. Her work has also been featured in several publications, most significantly Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, Craft Arts Magazine, Colophon, SA Life, International Artist Magazine and Artist’s Palette Magazine multiple times over, with her work featured on the front cover of Artist’s Palette issue 123. In 2015 she was taken on by Australian Geographic as a freelance botanical illustrator where her work features in the Nature Watch section of the magazine.


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