12 August 2017

I can’t believe it is almost exactly one year since my last blog post. This year has turned my aspirations as an artist upside-down. I first began my career path as a special education teacher and through circumstance found myself facing a completely different direction, but through art I have now turned full circle and returned to teaching.

At the beginning of the year my goal was to strive towards the contemporary art side, to strive towards gallery representation and one day hold a solo exhibition of my work. I understood I would have to increase my body of work immensely and incorporate my work into a similar theme. I love gum trees and bark, so maybe I had a theme to focus on already! Although as I primarily use colour pencil which is a very slow medium, producing a huge body of work was a very daunting process. To be represented by a gallery would be wonderful, but currently it is now not my priority. I’ll explain why.

I’ve started facilitating classes and workshops this year and as I’ve adjusted the process of delivering the material and process along the way, I’ve found I’ve enjoyed it more and more. Especially as participants have provided positive, encouraging and valuable feedback and testimonials. My class size has started to grow which is a great feeling, and as I’m enjoying myself and know that participants are as well, it gives me the confidence to continue.

It appears that the reward for fostering creativity and a positive attitude for creating a fine artwork is highly addictive, and the reason I’ve somehow turned full circle and returned to teaching, the career to which I was trained. Although the type of teaching is quite different of course.

To date, I’ve facilitated numerous classes and workshops for children, teens and adults, including primary school incursions. I’ve also facilitated a workshop at the Stockland Point Cook shopping centre.

My own art has suffered quite a bit unfortunately. My time and energy has shifted into facilitation instead, to provide the best my skill and expertise provides. Once I complete a couple of commissions I currently have on the go, I will start on my own drawing projects with a theme I have in mind. I have considered creating another domain and website which will be exclusively for my artwork and cv, which is more presentable to the contemporary audience, and separates myself as an artist from the art instructor side. But perhaps this is not necessary. Not sure?

To move myself into the next stage and officially start ‘Michelle Ripari Art’ as a business, rather than continually being classed as a hobby by others, I’m currently attending a business course. Enteprising Wyndham Vale is a business start-up program to empower local entrepreneurs and is sponsored by the Centre of Multicultural Youth, the Scanlon Foundation and the Wyndham City Council. It’s a fantastic program where I’m not only learning invaluable tools for starting and running a business, but I’ve also met some inspirational new friends starting or growing their own business venture.

So, what is my business plan you ask.

Since I’ve been running the classes and workshops and seen the confidence of participants grow and knowing that creating art is proven to reduce stress, I’ve thought more and more about the community, with anxiety and pressure being the norm in our daily lives. I understand how creating art is a proven therapy for stress, and would it also be possible to provide and facilitate fine art workshops for businesses, corporations and organisations.

I understand at the beginning of my ongoing research, that art workshops are already readily available for the corporate sector. But the difference my service can offer is step by step fine art workshops facilitated by an award winning and internationally published fine artist, with expertise in my medium.

Participants would have the opportunity to create an artwork separately and then collaborate to produce a larger artwork for the workplace, or created individually to keep. There would also be the opportunity for participants to attend follow-up classes or workshops to develop their skills further.

To share my business plans and pitch with the world is a bit scary, and self-doubt certainly creeps in. Will the service I want to provide be a viable business? How will I share it and get the right audience to notice and want it?

I’ve started networking with other businesses in the Wyndham area, have attended various meetings to introduce myself to others and literally thrown myself out of the ‘art’ circle I’m part of. This way I have been able to meet other business owners who run a wide variety of successful businesses. There is so much I have learnt and can learn from networking. I recently joined BizBuddyHub which provides business owners with a smart set of tools to showcase their business, connect and collaborate with the local business community.

I’m now at the stage when I am ready to facilitate the workshops I know I can provide to businesses, but struggling a little with knowing how to get my target audience to see and need my business. Perhaps those who read this will have some tips in how I can do this. I’ve done so much research and in many ways in can be overwhelming and sometimes contradictory. Do I email everyone I know with an ‘business introductory letter’ and ask them to share? Do I create flyers and drop them personally to as many businesses possible? I don’t know, so yes, any suggestions would be welcome. Maybe you know someone whose business would like the fine art workshop I offer. Or even better, it could well be your business! Please don’t hesitate to contact me!

I will keep working at it, putting myself out there and keep introducing myself to the business world. It’s lots of fun and the information I have learned is invaluable. I’ve found most people to be incredibly supportive. I’ve even made some amazing and inspirational friends along the way.

Do me a small favour and please help me spread the word if the opportunity arises. I know that word of mouth has been the most successful way for my classes and workshops to grow, and that myself as an artist and art instructor has developed a reputation. Hopefully a good one!

Inspiring others to love and enjoy art has been my greatest reward, to personally see the ignited confidence from participants and positive “I can do this!” attitude. And now to take another step and give businesses the opportunity to escape the reality of stress and expectation, to enjoy art, have fun and relax, to develop confidence by experimenting with no fear of failure, cultivate individuality and most of all to reward a team and increase the team connection.

For more information follow the link – Corporate Art Workshops

Looking forward to the challenge! Thank you for being part of my journey. Xx

14 August 2016

The past couple of months have been very busy, too busy to take the time to write a blog but I’ll make sure I update you with all my news to date.

Wyndham Art Prize

It was very exciting to have ‘Halls Gap Sentry’ shortlisted for the Wyndham Art Prize, which is a very new exhibition, only in its second year. All finalists were on display at the Werribee Art Gallery for six weeks from mid March to early May.

'Halls Gap Sentry'

Ann Kullberg’s Hidden Treasures III

In June, Ann Kullberg’s Hidden Treasures Volume III was released, and I was thrilled to have ‘Halls Gap Sentry’ published amongst 260 of the best colour pencil artists from all over the world. This is the second time my work has been selected for Hidden Treasures. You can get your own copy at www.annkullberg.com

CP Hidden Treasures Volume III
June 2016

AUSCPA Colourbrations Exhibition

On the 30th June, the winners were announced for the Australian Society of Coloured Pencil Artists International Online AUSCPA Colourbrations Exhibition. I was excited to be one of almost 200 entries which is quite amazing as this was the debut exhibition with AUSCPA. It was also an extremely busy couple of months with curating the entries, together with all of the committee members, along with my usual secretarial duties. You can visit www.auscpa.org to see all the entries as well as the well deserving winners!


Artist’s Drawing & Inspiration Magazine

In July I was thrilled to have my THIRTEENTH publication in Artist’s Drawing & Inspiration Magazine Issue, with my name on the front cover! Inside is a five page insight article and five page demonstration step by step of ‘Halls Gap Sentry’. I was over the moon when I was first published on the front cover of Julie Toner’s Just A Little Unwell in 2013, and to have now obtained my thirteenth publication, I’m incredibly humbled and thankful. You can purchase Artist’s Drawing & Inspiration magazine at www.woodlandspublishing.com.au

Artist's Drawing & Inspiration Magazine, Issue 21
July 2016

Camberwell Art Show

In July, I was overwhelmed to discover that ‘Halls Gap Sentry’ received a Highly Commended award at one of the most prestigious art shows in Australia, the Camberwell Art Show. This is a very exciting time for colour pencil art as it’s beginning to stand up against the popular fine art mediums such as oil, acrylic, pastel and watercolour, and win!

Coloured Pencil Drawing Workshop at Monastery Hill

July was an exciting month as together with another colour pencil artist Karina Griffiths, ran a workshop focusing on colour pencil and how to create a fine art piece from start to finish. There was an incredible amount of planning and preparation involved long before the day even started, and the day itself was very long with a huge amount of information to get through. Our aim was to give students all the information they needed for every aspect of their art journey.

The day was an overall success with all our students taking away plenty of knowledge and experience, while giving us the valuable feedback we need to improve subsequent workshops. We also all made new friends who share the passion for coloured pencil!

I was very excited to undertake this challenge of developing and presenting a workshop with one of my favourite artists, who is also a dear friend. You can see Karina’s stunning works at www.karinasfineart.com

Keep your eyes open for upcoming workshops, the next booked for late October including both a follow-up and beginners workshop.

At the beginning of my journey in using coloured pencils, I completed my first coloured pencil portrait. I was happy with the drawing at the time but as I developed my skills and knowledge, I saw my evident lack of creating the correct tones for skin. I was not confident enough to try a portrait again until I had the right understanding of creating realistic skin tones. Recently I completed another portrait of my beautiful dad and as you can see, I think I have improved quite dramatically! If I was to offer any advice to anyone who wanted to learn how to draw or improve their skills, it would be to “Draw, draw, draw! And then draw some more”. With every drawing completed you learn and improve with your skills and technique. Trust me!


31 March 2016

Just over a month ago, I conducted my very first workshop at a Melbourne primary school. The full day workshop, a coloured pencil ‘incursion’ was with three separate groups of grades. Grades one and two, three and four and lastly, grades five and six. Over 260 children in total! The overall outcomes of the workshop were to introduce the children to the fine art of coloured pencil, the materials and equipment used to create such works, and model step by step the process of creating a work in coloured pencil. The subject was an ‘eye’ and the children studied the eyes of each other; the various colours, shapes and patterns which they could include in their own drawing. For me, it was extremely important that the children would be actively using the skills and techniques presented, to be hands-on and take home either a completed work of their own or a nearly finished one.

At the end of each session, the children had the opportunity to ask questions and many were even wanting autographs. That was a new experience! The feedback that I received from the children and teachers was very positive. A very enjoyable introduction to colour pencils, a motivating and accessible medium for children.

I’m looking forward to running more workshops in the future and hope that I will have similar opportunities with school aged children.


I am also thrilled to have my step by step tutorial ‘Drawing the Old Gum Tree’ published in the March issue of COLORED PENCIL Magazine. Breaking down the actual steps of a drawing can be difficult, writing them specifically as an editorial step by step demonstration for a certain audience is tough. Carefully thinking about every little action you take and what materials, techniques and colours being used.

I have used my drawing ‘Halls Gap Sentry’ for two different and separate audiences now. One being an audience who may be newer to colour pencils as a fine art medium (Artist’s Palette Magazine) and with the most recent for COLORED PENCIL Magazine for an audience who already use coloured pencils as their chosen medium. But for whichever audience, writing any editorial or tutorial step by step, for an Australian or international publication, it is a very enjoyable and humbling part of being an artist.

This is my biggest publication achievement to date, and I’m very proud and thankful to COLORED PENCIL Magazine for giving me the opportunity.

If you wish to purchase the issue with my tutorial you can at www.coloredpencilmagazine.com 


I was also very excited to participate in the Cardinia Grand Art Exhibition on the ‘desk’ for the Australian Society of Coloured Pencil Artists – AUSCPA. The president of the society Karina Griffiths, was invited to run a demonstration at the exhibition on colour pencils and the society was also given the opportunity to have a desk which we were thrilled about! This gave the society our first real public outing where we could meet fellow artists and lovers of art participating and visiting the exhibition. As I am secretary of AUSCPA, I am very excited to see interest in the society itself, because as the society grows so does knowledge in colour pencils as a fine art medium throughout Australia and worldwide.

For more information on the Australian Society of Coloured Pencil Artists visit www.auscpa.org

To see more of Karina’s work visit www.karinasfineart.com

I was very excited to discover that I have been published in Issue 20 of Artist’s Drawing and Inspiration Magazine in a full page feature in the Gallery section! For your own copy of this issue visit Artist’s Drawing and Inspiration


During the Easter weekend, the Bendigo Rotary Club run the Bendigo Rotary Art Show which is one of the biggest annual art exhibitions in Victoria. Being originally from Bendigo you would think that I have participated in this show before but this year was my first show. I had three works on sale in the show which attracts thousands of visitors throughout the Bendigo Easter Festival weekend, and I was very excited to discover that I sold one work! This is a particular thrilling moment as this is my first show sale. The first of many I hope!

I hope whoever purchased ‘Discarded Treasure’ loves it as much as I loved creating it and I am very thankful to that person!

If you are disappointed that you missed purchasing it for yourself, don’t be dismayed as you are able to get prints via my RedBubble Shop.


Discarded Treasure
‘Discarded Treasure’ 2016 – Coloured Pencil on Paper 29.7 x 42.0cm SOLD

My most recent work completed is a landscape or gum tree study titled, ‘Enduring Stillness’. It represents the endurance of the unique and beautiful Australian gum tree throughout the harsh summer, when the bark comes away from the trunk and branches in large, thick and rough strips or small and smooth, flaky pieces. I want the viewer of this work to remember walks in the bush, breathing in the heavy scent of eucalyptus, with the heat of the summer or otherwise to be introduced to the Australian gum tree, and the broad variety of palette and types.

I also remember the absolute peace and stillness of the bush, the only thing heard being the buzz of insects and the crack and snapping sounds, maybe the bark that is continuously dropping to the ground from the heat.

The particular reference photograph I used to draw ‘Enduring Stillness’ was taken at Halls Gap, Victoria and I have quite a few references of gum trees which I am looking forward to using!

Enduring Stillness
‘Enduring Stillness’ 2016 – Coloured Pencil on Paper 42.0 x 29.7cm $950

31 January 2016

This year begins a new era in my household. My youngest joins his older three siblings and starts his school life. It is a time of mixed sadness and excitement. I’m sad that my littlest boy and the baby of the family is starting the next chapter and excited that the time has come for me to spend more time doing what I love, creating art.

I plan to complete many more works than I have been able to previously and I have quite a few of my own reference photographs in mind to use. I have similar subjects in mind that you will have already seen as well as others that you have not. My goal is also to create a few works with a similar theme in mind, almost like a series of works. I’m very enthusiastic and motivated and look forward to seeing where it will lead.

In 2o15 I entered a few art shows and with a much larger amount of works being completed I plan to enter more. They are always enjoyable and offer an insight into different artists, styles, themes and popular subjects. I think shows are an important part of developing experience for myself as an emerging artist and help to promote my work.

Mid December 2015 saw an insight and tutorial article published with Artist’s Palette Magazine and for the first month of 2016 I have been honoured to have another publication in ‘Ann Kullberg’s Color 2015 – Color Magazine Collection Book’, which is twelve issues of Color Magazine from 2015 in book form. Included is my Spotlight article from the September 2015 issue. Any work or article I have published is incredibly encouraging to work harder. I consider it a privilege and look forward to sharing more with you!

AK's COLOR Magazine Book




21 December 2015

This month began began with organising my very first calendar consisting of twelve of my most popular works. I wanted to have a variety of subjects in both graphite and colour pencil. I created it using RedBubble and the quality is superb. If you would like to purchase a calendar just follow to link to my RedBubble shop.

Calendar 2016

Mid December came another publication with the Australian magazine ‘Artist Palette’ and consisting of a five page Insight article with fourteen images and also another five page step by step Demonstration article. It was especially fun writing the Demonstration as I had to really think what I was doing as I was drawing ‘Halls Gap Sentry’. It is always an honour to have my work published and this was an especially exciting publication as this was my first Australian magazine article and my first step by step Demonstration.

If you would  like a copy of the magazine, follow the link to Woodlands Publishing and order via the contact form (the article images attached are teasers only and two pages of a five page article).

Artist Palette Magazine Yearbook 2015
December 2015

Screenshot 2015-12-18 20.03.26