They say the best way to take up a new hobby is to jump in the deep end, and a group of divers in north Queensland has done just that.
They’ve taken part in a unique art workshop on the Great Barrier Reef, delving beneath the waves to experiment with underwater drawing.
Participants travelled about 70 kilometres off the Townsville coast to John Brewer Reef, the home of the award-winning Museum of Underwater Art.
Armed with graphite pencils and synthetic waterproof paper, divers sketched the sculptures and marine life 16 metres below sea level.
Artist and dive instructor Kerrie Everett Horrocks said it was a first for the museum.
“Having a site as beautiful and varied [as this] and being able to give divers the materials they need to go down and capture sketches on site is really unique,” she said.
Ms Everett Horrocks has been a professional diver and exhibiting artist for two decades.
She said she hoped her workshop would become a repeat attraction for divers and creatives eager to see the Museum of Underwater Art from a new perspective.
“As a site to dive on and learn from, I think it’s one of a kind,” she said.
Participant Skye Elizabeth Carroll said the opportunity to combine two passions had been unforgettable.
“I’m already an artist, so to put art together with scuba diving is amazing,” she said.
“You need to get your buoyancy just right, and sometimes that there’ll be a tiny bit of current and it’ll move you.
“Once you’re down there and you get into that zen … the challenging part is forgetting that you need to check your air.”
Ms Carroll dived at the Museum of Underwater Art when it was first installed in 2019.
“Coming down now three years later is incredible — there’s so much wildlife on here, so much coral growth, the amount of fish that are starting to come in is incredible,” she said.
Once back on dry land, the group spent the second day of the workshop at Townsville’s Umbrella Studio, where they developed artworks from their field sketches.
They were guided through the process by Ms Everett Horrocks and fellow artist Tony Fitzsimmons.
“Everyone has a different interpretation of the of the images that they got yesterday, which is just wonderful,” Mr Fitzsimmons said.
“We have people working in watercolour, pastels, charcoal on a variety of different surfaces, and I think everyone’s getting to tell their own story.”
Sandra Moore said the workshop had given her a taste of the art world, while ticking off a bucket list experience at the Museum of Underwater Art.
“I don’t call myself an artist … but I am a scuba diver,” she said.
“So combining the both and having this experience as a world-first was very appealing to me, and it was an awesome experience all around.
“Putting the pencil to the paper was actually easier than I thought it would be under water.”