Art in the Southern Highlands is something that is very dear to my heart.

I always encourage everyone of any age – from the very young to those in their twilight years, to tap into their creative spirit.

I know from first-hand experience just how rewarding and satisfying it is.

For this reason, nothing pleases me more than to share Art at the Cowshed with you.

The beautiful Cowshed, where all manner of creative talent is sparked, encouraged and helped to blossom.

The brainchild of Southern Highlands locals, artist Kirsten Deakin and Cowshed Shop owner and founder, Maree Reid, Art at the Cowshed is a series of workshops held on a monthly, six-weekly or bi-monthly basis (check the Facebook page for dates). They also hold teen school holiday workshops and for those who are really keen, weekly term classes, which are held for a couple of hours each week.

Uber cook Maree Reid (left) and extremely talented artist Kirsten Deakin (right), the brains and beauty behind Art at the Cowshed.

At at the Cowshed History

Located on the stunning property of Nettlebed in Burradoo, The Cowshed is a bona fide old dairy shed, which was originally used to milk 60 dairy cattle daily.

When Maree bought the property 12 years ago from renowned Aussie artist Glen Preece, she set it up as a beautiful store and also held writing workshops there.  Over the years, it has evolved to become the home of Art at the Cowshed, as well as a gorgeous homewares and knick-knack store – The Cowshed Shop.

Maree and Kirsten became friends quite a few years ago, after always bumping into each other whilst walking their dogs along the Bong Bong track (don’t you love how our dogs bring us together?).

As the friendship evolved, they realised they both had quite unique talents that if combined could be put to amazing mutual benefit, as well as provide a wonderful creative outlet for the community.

Students ‘hard at work’ during a Sunday workshop! These ladies are regulars and drive all the way from Woollongong to attend.

You see, Kirsten is a self-taught, hugely talented artist who embraced her creative side after a career in science. When on maternity leave after having her kids, she delved deeper into art and realised she could actually make a living from her exceptional talents.

As for Maree, she has always been an avid cook and is forever cooking up feasts for friends and family. When the Cowshed was used as a writers’ retreat, Maree would cater the workshops, creating all manner of salads, soups or stews for the attendees.

One day, on one of their regular dog walks, Maree mentioned the old writing workshops to Kirsten, who around the same time was getting back into her art.

The very next morning, Kirsten had a ‘lightbulb’ moment and excitedly called Maree with the idea of holding art classes in the Cowshed. Of course, Maree jumped at the chance and so, Art in the Cowshed was born.

They’ve been holding regular workshops for a few years now and each one is always full – so book well ahead if you want to join.

This painting by local writer Shonagh Walker was the third painting she has ever attempted. She said, “Not only does Kirsten make it seem easy, she calms you when you’re nervous and makes the day so much fun!”

All levels are welcome – it doesn’t matter if you’ve never picked up a paint brush in your life, or if you’ve hung in a gallery – you will absolutely get something beautiful from this day, spent creating in the most gorgeous cottage-like shed in its delightful country garden setting.

Here’s what is on offer:

PAINT A PAINTING IN A DAY – SUNDAY WORKSHOPS – $200

These typically are held once a month, or once every six weeks, and start at 9.30am and conclude around 4pm – 4.30 pm (depending on when you finish your masterpiece). The price includes all materials – canvas, easel, sketching pencils, paint brushes and paints and so on, as well as guidance and help from Kirsten on what paints and colours to use, how to use light and shade and how to create a beautiful finished piece of art. It also includes both morning and afternoon tea of delicious cakes and biscuits prepared by Maree, hot or cold drinks and the most gorgeous lunch (also prepared by Maree), plus a glass of wine or two.

Kirsten encourages students to bring along a picture of what they wish to paint.

The ladies from Woollongong painted exquisite birds at their recent Sunday workshop.

SCHOOL HOLIDAY TEEN WORKSHOPS – $150

These are similar to the paint a Painting in a Day Workshop but aimed at teens and obviously don’t include wine. As with the Sunday workshops, all materials are provided, and you leave with a finished masterpiece that Kirsten has guided you to create.’

A local student at the Teen Workshops.

ADULT TERM CLASSES – $400

These go for eight weeks and they are two-hour classes held on Wednesday or Friday morning (you only go once a week, depending on what suits your schedule). The price includes all materials, morning tea of scrumptious cakes or biscuits prepared by Maree, plus hot or cold drinks, and fresh seasonal fruit.

This beautiful snow-scape was painted by Cowshed regular Esther Scott during her Term Class. She has quite a talent!

I can’t recommend Art at the Cowshed highly enough. Many of my lovely friends have attended and have tapped into a talent that they never knew existed. They make me smile with their beautiful stories of wonderful days creating, forging new friendships and enjoying an inner sense of self-worth and confidence that these classes and completing their painting under Kirsten’s guidance has brought to them.

At the end of each class, there is a ‘prize’ for the Prettiest Palette!

Mouthwatering cupcakes made by Maree, using the Magnolia Bakery cookbook.

To book classes or for more information call Kirsten on 0401 326 700, or visit the Facebook page.

I hope you enjoy Art at the Cowshed!

Love, Di xx

An example of the feasts that Maree prepares for each class. She is a wonderful cook and can cater to all dietary requirements, from meat eaters to vegans, to those with food intolerances and/or allergies.

Main picture – Painting by Kirsten Deakin 

If you wish to learn more about life and property in the Southern Highlands, please contact me at my office, Belle Property Bowral, on Bong Bong Street, Bowral