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How a NZ Botanical Artist Fell in Love with Australian Flora

By Jenny Coker, Tauranga, New Zealand, March 2021.

I have been painting botanical watercolours for decades, my paintings usually inspired by whatever was growing in my garden.

As a New Zealand patriot, Australian flora was not even on the edge of my artistic cognisance.

But a new friend, a partnership with a Melbourne gallery and an encounter with a Silver Princess Eucalyptus pointed my paintbrush in a whole new direction.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Late in November 2018, a friend introduced me to the fabulous Melanie Strathdee of Leo&Lotus who has become a very dear friend. She in turn brought my artwork to the attention of Sharyn Wemyss-Smith, director of the Manyung Gallery Group with five galleries in Melbourne.

Dreams do come true it seems. I am proud to now be represented by Manyung Gallery in Victoria. I enjoy having the sales front of a hard-working, professional gallery. It leaves me to focus on painting, which I do well and them to sell, which they do well.

My first two sales brought great excitement! However, I sold only a few of the watercolour Irises from my Eros Collection. I was surprised by this.

So, the next time I delivered my irises, I also popped a watercolour of grey eucalyptus gumnuts onto the painting pile. This work sold! These little gumnuts heralded the beginning of the Australian flora line for me, still going and building a following. Now, what would I paint next?

Inspiration struck as it always does, this time in the garden of a friend's home in Mt Eliza. A Eucalyptus "Silver Princess" captured my imagination with it's pendulous weeping silver white, merlot and manganese/green beauty. 'Snap' went my camera!

Arriving home in Tauranga New Zealand, these photos provided food, no, a FEAST of reference for a number of Eucalyptus watercolour paintings which the Victoria populace also seem to enjoy.

Demand was triggered for more. How soon? How many? Quickly Jenny! More Australian flora please! And so a cross-Tasman creative production and dialogue has evolved - one that I am grateful for and enjoy so much.

A small range of top quality prints have also been created from my Australian flora watercolours by L'Imprimerie, a high resolution printer in Tauranga. Manyung Gallery offer these beauties as large-scale art for commercial decor.


What has captured my imagination of late? Stay tuned for next month's update from 'Stories from My Studio'. Join my monthly e-newsletter update on the home page of my website and get a free digital botanical screen saver.

'Til next time,



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