Ucluelet, BC Christmas vacation 2016

We had a wonderful 12 days on the west coast staying at the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet, BC. We ate a few meals at Howler's Family Restaurant and Amusements where I photographed the sign "Life is Short - Break the Rules". The next two images with trees are view from our balcony, a sunset image and rainy day image, which has flames from our fire place reflected in the window. Interesting seaweed clusters on the beach again this year like last year. Collected some interesting seaweeds and debris. The ocean-worn beverage can echoes the look of the mussel shell. I got a nice little collection of shells and was lucky to find half of an abalone shell - fully intact.  The last picture shows the snow at the top of Sutton Pass on our drive home, this pass is half way between Ucluelet and Port Alberni. It was a great holiday, laid back - I miss it already. I always feel so connected and immersed in Nature when I am at Long Beach.

Natural History Illustration

From October to Decemebr 2016 - I participated in this six-week online course through edX and the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. Here is a video describing the course.

The course covered: 
- Core scientific observational skills
- Field drawing and sketching techniques
- Concept sketch development
- Composition for natural history illustration
- Form, proportion and structure essentials
- Drawing and rendering techniques

This was an excellent course, I really learned a lot. I would recommend this course to anyone. I am not sure when they will run it again. The website was easy to navigate and to figure out. We learned about self-assessment and peer-assessment which was really valuable. We uploaded our homework for peer review from 5 other students. We could also upload our work to a general area for all to see and comment on. There was some fantastic work being done from students all over the world. There were many short videos to view, lots to read along with images and each module had a list of resources. I came away with new skills and an excitement to get out into field to collect specimens, so some field sketching and finished drawings back in the studio. The course was free - I am not sure why...the University of Newcastle is one of five universities to offer a Masters in Natural History Illustration - perhaps this is there way of gaining interest in the program. I decided to pay for a verifiable certificate that shows I completed and got a passing grade in a course of study offered by NewcastleX.

Below are images of the pencil work that I did for the course. The photographs are field studies showing location and the ecology of the area. The ruler gives scale to the seaweed and surrounding area. The field notes show detail, colour notation, form, structure and descriptive records. Click on an image to view larger images and a slide show.

September Holiday in Washington

This was our fourth trip to the "Palouse area" of South Eastern Washington. We always stay in the small farming community of of Colfax, Washington. The population in 2013 was 2,845.

Sitting in this wonderful wheat field just after harvest time. A wonderful feeling of being alone in nature, hearing just the breeze and no one around for miles.

This is a small selection of photos that I took on this holiday. To see some fantastic photos of this trip check out my husbands portfolio here: Paul Peters



Wind Turbine near Thornton, Washington



Sketchbook Development Workshop July 17, 2016

I will be teaching this popular one-day workshop at the Vancouver Island School of Art

This daylong workshop consists of a series of fast-paced exercises to get you comfortable with working in your sketchbook. A wide range of ideas, materials and techniques will be explored. Backgrounds, mark-making explorations, sketching, drawing and writing will also be covered. You will leave this workshop inspired to make your sketchbook a part of your daily practice. No experience necessary. All materials are provided, including a sketchbook and pens for you to take home with you. No experience necessary. 

Jul 17 Sunday, 10am - 5pm
Tuition: $150.00 (6 hrs) (materials included) 

Vancouver Island School of Art
2549 Quadra St, Victoria, BC
250-380-3500 or info@vancouverislandschoolart.com

Sources of Inspiration




Intertidal Zone and tidal pools. Ucluelet, BC Canada

Sketch Book work - click on a thumbnail to see a slideshow

The work in my sketch book was done in my room looking down onto the beach below. I was focusing on the black rocks. The last six, I was having fun with mark making -the last two were inspired from the amazing colours and magical world of all the species I saw at the Ucluelet Aquarium.

Great painting location

Using "Old Mans Beard" -a type of lichen that grows on trees had blown onto the beach. I used this to paint with for extra texture. I wet the watercolour paper with sea water and then dragged the paper over the rocks to create line work. A background for future work.

Burned beach log as a mark-making tool

This burnt log was on the beach, I used it to apply charcoal marks on my paper by dragging my paper across it. The green marks are from leaves I dragged the paper over and used a rock o pound some of the colour out.. These pieces will make a good backgrounds for future work.


These will make great mark making tools in my drawings. Dipping the tool into India ink, walnut ink, etc.

Upcoming show I am participating in: April 25 to May 31, 2016

Update: The show has been extended to May 31, 2016

The Robert Bateman Centre

470 Belleville Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 1W9, Canada

Hours:  Daily: 10am - 5pm    Details: http://batemancentre.org/visit/

Website for this special exhibition:  http://endangeredartexhibits.weebly.com/

Participating Artists:

Diana Durrand -  www.dianadurrand.com/

Natasha van Netten  - www.natashavannetten.com/

Jill Ehlert  -  www.jillehlert.com/

Connie Michele Morey  -  www.conniemorey.com/

David Hunwick  -  www.thesculpturestudio.net

Luis-Mario Guerra   -    www.luismarioguerra.weebly.com/

Carol Thompson  -  www.carolethompson.ca/

Trish Shwart  -   www.trishshwart.com/

Caren Willms  -  www.carenwillms.weebly.com/

 "Devils Hole pupfish" (Cyprinodon diabolis) © 2016 Jill Ehlert  13" X 19"

Watercolour, pencil crayon, walnut and acrylic inks on Arches Watercolour paper.

Large signature is only a watermark for internet and does not appear on original artwork.

Artist statement - Jill Ehlert

The endangered Devils Hole pupfish is significant to me given my interest in aquatic environments and water related species. There were only 131 Cyprinodon diabolis recorded in the biannual count conducted in September 2015. My watercolour painting focuses on a limestone shelf that measures 3.0 X 6.3 metres, which the pupfish depend on for spawning and for much of their diet. The pupfish eat primarily microscopic diatoms, a type of algae that clings to large bright green filamentous algae. Other species found on this shelf are tiny invertebrates: amphipods, spring snails, two types of beetles, and flatworms. The Devils Hole pupfish are considered the rarest fish in the world; they measure one-inch long and are so named, as they seem as playful as puppies. In this artwork, I enlarged the pupfish and took artistic license varying the scale of the microscopic world that surrounds them.  

I am teaching 4 workshops in July and August 2016



The Vancouver Island School of Art is a learning community dedicated to the advancement of art education through comprehensive programs and presentations for adults of all ages. The focus of the courses and workshops offered by the school is on technique, personal expression and contemporary context.

All workshops can be taken for credit towards one of  VISA'S PROGRAMS  (Certificate or Diploma). 

Unless noted, all workshops have materials included and are suitable for beginners.

Mixed Media: Surface Textures (MMED w136)

This workshop will introduce you to ways of creating texture in drawings and paintings using acrylic pastes and grounds. Light molding paste, fibre paste, absorbent ground, gesso, fine pumice and acrylic ground for pastels will be explored. You will learn a variety of techniques including resists, rubbing, lifting, scraping, incising, veiling and burnishing. You will work on watercolour paper, cradled panel and stretched canvas. The workshop includes demonstrations and hands-on practice and will provide you with endless ideas and approaches for drawing and painting projects. The workshop is suitable for all levels of experience. Material fee covers specialty materials and surfaces. 
Jul 1 - 3 Friday - Sunday, 10am - 5pm
Jill Ehlert 
Tuition: $295.00 (18 hrs) Material Fee: $25 (materials included)

Sketchbook Development (DRWG w132-6)

This daylong workshop consists of a series of fast-paced exercises to get you comfortable with working in your sketchbook. A wide range of ideas, materials and techniques will be explored. Backgrounds, mark-making explorations, sketching, drawing and writing will also be covered. You will leave this workshop inspired to make your sketchbook a part of your daily practice. No experience necessary. All materials are provided, including a sketchbook and pens for you to take home with you. No experience necessary. 
Jul 17 Sunday, 10am - 5pm
Jill Ehlert 
Tuition: $150.00 (6 hrs) (materials included) 
Image Page

Drawing: Pen & Ink and Found Tools (DRWG w167)

In this workshop, you will create a personal visual language of marks and textures, beginning with making marks with a traditional dip pen with a variety of nibs using India and walnut ink. You will learn ways to hold the pen as well as how to control movement, speed, pressure and spacing. You will build on your vocabulary by making your own unconventional tools, beginning with a "Cola" pen, a handmade dip pen/nib, and then you will transform found objects into drawing tools that you will use with ink. "Found" tools will include sticks, twigs, cotton swabs, fingers, toothpicks, dried plant material, bamboo skewers, string, seedpods, feathers and wire. Surfaces to work on will include: Mylar, Stonehenge, tracing and rice paper. The workshop includes demonstrations and hands-on practice. 
Jul 29 - 31 Friday - Sunday, 10am - 5pm
Jill Ehlert 
Tuition: $295.00 (18 hrs) (materials included)


Mixed Media: Creating Backgrounds (MMED w152)

The focus of this workshop is on making a variety of surfaces that can be used for drawings or paintings, or as works of art on their own. You will learn how to create backgrounds using a variety of mixed-media techniques with resists, washes, gesso veils, ink runs, rust printing, stamping, folding, crumpling, rubbing, burning and waxing. You will use new and found surfaces to work on, such as Mylar, Yupo, watercolour, printmaking, rice, and tracing papers. The workshop includes demonstrations and hands-on practice. This workshop will give you a compilation of ideas and approaches to use in drawing, painting or collage work. All materials are included but you are encouraged to bring an assortment of surfaces to work on, such as cardboard, book pages, commercial papers, plastic and newspaper. 
Aug 12 - 14 Friday - Sunday, 10am - 5pm
Jill Ehlert 
Tuition: $295.00 (18 hrs) (materials included)

I will be teaching a 2-day workshop March 5th & 6th - 10am - 5pm

Drawing: Creating Marks Through Actions 

I will be teaching Creating Marks Through Actions at the Vancouver Island School of Art in Victoria, BC. This workshop focuses on unconventional ways of creating marks on paper using traditional tools such as pen, ink and graphite, as well as more unconventional ones such as an awl, smoke, needle, thread, hammer and nail. A range of movements and actions such as puncturing, smoking, burning, rubbing, cutting and sewing will be explored as drawing gestures for mark making.    

Jill Ehlert © 2016  Smoke Drawing

Jill Ehlert © 2016  Smoke Drawing

All samples below are by Jill Ehlert © Click on thumbnails below to see large images in slideshow.