Jan 262020

The Drawing & Painting Group

The Painting and Drawing Group meets each week on Thursday afternoons at Eltham High School. We number in the high 20s and range in age from 60s to 90s (92), we’re both men and women, and our skills are diverse. We draw, paint, print and occasionally dabble in collage. We work collaboratively and singly and we share a delight in all things artistic. We have leaders – Leanne Ipsen and Brenda Smith – and we are their free-thinking followers – teamwork all round.

Watch either this video (15 minutes) or this video (3 minutes) to see the group in action.

Jan 262020

Yes, ‘2020 Vision’ may be a little clichéd, but I can’t resist the title … it seems so appropriate. Why? Because it describes our aims, which are to reflect, to learn and to record then to share what we think, see and feel. Clearly visionary?

But to get to that sharing stage we need confidence in our skills. If you’ve ever watched a child draw his first lines, you’ll see his fascination – no rules, no wrongs or rights, just pure pleasure. For us it’s not so easy – our challenge is to learn to blend our knowledge with our artistic desire. So even though our creative journeys may have started in childhood, it’s now, in our third age, that we are finally negotiating our bumpy road towards greater technical skills and artistic freedom.

Propelled on our journey

Our tutors, Leanne Ipsen and Brenda Smith, understand the needs of mature age students who are either returning to art or first-timers so they provide basic tuition in drawing, colour mixing and painting to provide all of us with opportunities to extend ourselves. The use of different mediums plus exploration of techniques broadens our artistic knowledge.

We are a group. Leanne and Brenda ensure that our choices are collective – exhibitions to attend (Archibald and Camberwell Art Shows 2019), excursions (plein air sessions, artist supplies specialists) and who to invite to our studios (artists, cartoonists). What projects and collaborative works we undertake are also discussed jointly. The value of our methods is that all students are involved and all have opportunities to display their work (and occasionally to sell it).

We’ve achieved quite a lot in the past five years but what’s planned for 2020?

We’re about to leap into another year of creativity and already Leanne and her team have built a framework of activities to whet our excitement and to propel us down our road of discovery.

What we’re in for:

  • Exploration –
    • of mediums: watercolour and acrylic then developing these in second term
    • of methods: painting, drawing, printing and collage
    • of colours: familiarity with the colour wheel, colour mixing, colour effects
    • of skills: tone, perspective, upside down approaches, life drawing… seeing our subjects.

As well, we’re planning more:

  • Collaboratives – producing priceless projects for public places.
  • Excursions – to exhibitions, arts suppliers, studios, outdoor exercises.
  • Exhibitions – we’re always on the lookout for new venues to exhibit our work.
  • Guest speakers – sessions with local and well-known artists.

And we’re continuing our two studio structure, so plenty of choices all round.

2020 Vision will encompass challenges, learning and fun for the U3A Nillumbik Painting and Drawing Group… lots to look forward to.

We’re excited!

Judy V

Jan 012020

From 5th December to 6th January, Yarra Plenty Heritage Group and the Nillumbik U3A Drawing and Painting Group collaborated in a joint exhibition at Eltham Library. The exhibition was called Looking Back, Looking Forward: Summer Fun in Yarra Plenty and featured historical photographs and original artworks in a celebration of all things summer – picnics, swimming, boating, horsing around and enjoying nature with family and friends during long sunny days.

The whole Drawing and Painting Group were involved in supporting the exhibition, with particular contributions from Leanne Ipsen and Judy Vizzari.

Oct 012019

This exhibition lasted most of October. Our paintings, drawings and even a piece of woodwork, complemented an amazing knitting display presented by Wattle Glen’s Estia Health residents. Around 1,000 sightseers were greeted by our artists who were rostered to welcome visitors daily.


Oct 012019

This exhibition lasted most of October. Pictured is a photo of some of our exhibitors plus their friends.

May 012019

This was an exciting joint project – 17 one-metre high letters spelling ‘Research Preschool’ were cut from timber veneer by group member Dennis Smedley. Each letter was painted in a rainbow colour by Dennis and Leanne and then individually over-painted in varying designs by 15 members of the group. The resulting sign captures the fun and wonder of youth.

The letters were installed on the preschool’s fence by the expert handymen of Eltham Men’s Shed.

View some pictures of the installation.

Watch this video about the project.

Apr 012019

This exhibition lasted much of 2019. Pictured is one of the paintings exhibited: Objects by Brenda Smith.

Nov 012018

This exhibition lasted most of October and its focus was on the landscapes and eating places of Nillumbik. The subjects painted included Colin’s Cafe, Ferguson Plarre Bakehouse, Gennaros, Main Road, Montsalvat, Taffy’s on Looker Road, the bridge Eltham, the library cafe Eltham, and Wingrove Park.

Oct 012017

This exhibition lasted much of late 2017 and early 2018. There were around 30 pictures on display, with 17 artists from the Drawing & Painting Group represented.

Three of the paintings were collective works where three well known paintings were selected (by Renoir, Withers and Heysen), divided into 6 panels, and each panel was painted by one of the group. Once our individual panels were completed and re-assembled, their varied approaches offered interesting interpretations of the artists’ familiar works. The project led to much discussion and collaboration, and became a vehicle for learning about composition, colour and the artists’ unique methods, as well as about our own diverse skills.


From top left to bottom right: paintings on the wall; Bright Winter’s Morning after Walter Withers; Red Gums of the Far North after Walter Withers; and Bal du Moulin de la Galette after Pierre-Auguste Renoir.