Jo Reitze – Garden Delights

“GARDEN DELIGHTS” -“A celebration of the design and evolution of Cloudehill Garden”


In 2009, as Artist in Residence, I commenced a series of gouache impressions of Cloudehill, justly regarded as one of Australia’s finest gardens and Internationally famous. Working on location, in all seasons, I strove to capture the essence of this magnificent hill-side garden with its numerous garden rooms.

Cloudehill realizes the vision of Jeremy Francis, the owner and artistic inspiration behind this glorious Olinda garden. His careful selection of plant colours and textures create beautiful compositions that required no artistic licence from me. Man-made structures such as paths, walls, sculptures, and pots complement the organic shapes and patterns of foliage and flowers. I learned to paint bricks at Cloudehill.

This joyous series is freely executed with lyrical mark making and vibrant colours. Colours are often enhanced by strong tonal contrast. As in nature green hues unify my compositions. Close viewpoints with clearly recognizable plants and structures capture aspects of this garden and makes the viewers feel enclosed in a beautiful environment. Glimpses of vistas beyond create the illusion of space and suggest the vastness of these gardens. Seasonal differences are apparent. All except the recent gouache and oil were completed ‘en plein air’. For the last two I worked from my iPad photographs taken on a visit early in March. However, these too are more than a visual record but emotionally respond to the scene.

In 2015, I was filmed painting at Cloudehill for ‘Put Colour in Your Life’. This episode with Graeme Stevenson can be viewed on my website In 2016, this painting, ‘Cloudehill, January’ was awarded MSWPS Annie Davison Oliver Award, judged by Cathy Leahy, Senior Curator of Prints and Drawing NGV and presented by The Hon. Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria.

Cloudehill is a garden artist’s paradise! My paintings are a celebration of nature and the restorative power of gardens and gardening. They immortalize aspects that are in continual transition.

I hope you enjoy this exhibition at The Hive, perhaps as a memento of past visits to Cloudehill. I am delighted to collaborate with Willie Wildlife Sculptures & Botanica Tours who bring a touch of Chelsea Flower Show to Ocean Grove, the place where I have holidayed throughout my life and painted since my school days.

Jo Reitze (Mrs de Carteret) is a Fellow of The Victorian Artists Society, Past President of Melbourne Society of Women Painters & Sculptors, and formerly Art Coordinator at Canterbury Girls’ Secondary College (1985 – 2005). She has received numerous art awards and commendations over the years, including The Lord Mayor’s Prize and The Mountbatten Award and twice Best in Show, Ocean Grove Rotary Art Show. In 2005 she established Jo Reitze paints your Garden, painting many beautiful gardens on commission. In 2008 she was the artist of Surrey Hills Neighbourhood Centre’s ‘Beyond the garden wall’ project, painting twenty gardens of Boroondara’s older gardeners. Now based in Surrey Hills, Reitze grew up in Ballarat. Her love of beautiful gardens stems from her childhood fascination with her Aunt’s garden. For over thirty years garden impressions and flower studies have been reoccurring themes of her oeuvre. Many give glimpses of her Surrey Hills’ garden. In 2013, she was the invited artists of Whitehorse Artspace presenting The Artist’s Garden. This exhibition was opened by Sophie Matthiesson, Curator of Monet’s Garden NGV. Her Ocean Grove paintings were shown at Geelong Gallery in ‘Sea Air’ 2009 (Shell Region Artists Program)

Reitze is represented in Civic Collections in Australia and private Collections in Australia and overseas.

We are proud to announce Jo Reitze has also just been announced as a finalist in the 2021 Geelong Contemporary Art Prize.