What a difference two and a half years makes! The top sketch was done this morning in about 45 minutes flat. Mostly because I misread my watch and thought that I had been sitting there for an hour longer than I had been. This was not a big leap for my poor brain to make since it was 9 degrees C with an apparent temperature of about 2 degrees with the wind taken into account. The next sketch was done in the opposite conditions – a midsummer scorcher. I remember sitting there for almost the full two hours labouring over the proportions and perspective. It was, I think, my second ever Urban Sketchers meet up.

20180707 - old parliament house

20160113 - king george monument

The two sketches are wildly different. I tried something different with today’s one, in that I focussed on a single part of the facade rather than trying to capture all of the rather long, low building. It is far looser and was completed quicker but the lines feel steadier even if the sketch is pretty wonky. I also left a lot of the page untouched with pigment.

The older sketch has far more tentative line work and I appear to have worked hard to cover the entire page with paint. It feels scratchy and wonky even though I was trying to be careful. The shadows are clumsy and I think I may have turned King George V into a little person. It is fascinating to be able to compare my growth as an urban sketcher using samples of my own work rather than looking at the giants in the field and winding up feeling defeated. I can see improvement in what I am producing, and that is encouraging.

At the end of the day I like both sketches, not just for the fact that I exited my hermitage to interact with other urban sketchers for a couple of hours, but for the life memories attached to them. Oddly I can remember what was happening in my life when I was trying to figure out how to render a bronze statue on a flat piece of paper. There’s something about drawing that sucks everything in and locks it into the image. I love it!

We’re in the midst of the coldest start to winter in 10 years here in Canberra, so I figured sketching inside at this week’s Canberra Urban Sketchers meet up was the thing to do. We met at the National Museum of Australia, and whilst there are LOTS fabulous things to draw, I have always wanted to draw a dinosaur skeleton, so I settled in the atrium and drew the muttaburrasaurus cast that was towering over everyone. The background ended up a bit of a smudgy mess because whilst I was aware that the ink was not waterproof, I failed to take into account that any moisture from my hands would also make it slide all over the place…or perhaps I was too impatient and didn’t let it dry long enough before resting my hand on the page. I will admit to rushing the background… it wasn’t nearly as interesting as the big pile of bones in front of me.

20180623 - NMA dinosaur

 

Friday Feedbag

May 18, 2018 — Leave a comment

The creative life is all about feeding one’s imagination with a wide variety of inputs – gathering inspiration, provoking thought, tickling one’s fancy – and then making connections between all these disparate little bites. Here’s a selection of what grabbed my attention lately, perhaps some of them will inspire you too.

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra are SO GOOD! (if you are reading this via email, see the video HERE)

If you have time they also do the Star Wars Suite (an hour long) ..i f you dont have an hour, watch from the 53-minute mark for the best rendition of the Cantina song I’ve seen... everyone is having so much fun it is guaranteed to make you smile!

Looking for something to do with your old books?

These organic mandalas are just mesmerising.

How to be happier.

Robots will not be taking jobs from artists any time soon.

This is my favourite Instagram account at the moment… I really want to pat her dog! He looks like such a character.

Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.
– Edward de Bono

To finish off with a little more music… here’s a mashup for the ages. (if you are reading this via email, click HERE to see the video) If you have time … here they are in concert in Italy a couple of years ago. Astonishing talent!

If you would like to receive information about new projects and early notification of product releases, please take a moment to subscribe to my email newsletter so that you will be the first to know. This is a brand new list and I don’t intend to write to you terribly often and won’t spam you — I have painting to do — but this is the best way to ensure you get the most up to date information.

Why is it that I never see that my sketches are are on an angle and look like they are going to slide right off the page until I get home and scan them?  I thought I was being so careful to get by guidelines parallel to the bottom of the paper.  How frustrating!  Ugh! Perhaps I need to resort to using a ruler to set up the basics next time. Or just embrace the wonkiness of it all.

20180513 - National Dinosaur museumAfter a slow start in Canberra this year, the cold weather has hit with force in the past week, and for the first time this year I cracked out a beanie and my fingerless gloves to go drawing. I also had the presence of mind to bring plenty of bulldog clips to stop my bits and pieces from being blown away.

No matter the weather though, I always love getting out to sketch with like minded people, and it’s not every day you get to draw dinosaurs!

Funny comment of the day came from a young dad with a junior burger on his shoulders… “Look! This lady is painting! Watch how she looks up at the dinosaurs and then looks down and paints and remembers what she was looking at! Sometimes she even changes paint colours. Oooh … now she is washing her brush in the water jar. She is very good… daddy cannot draw stick figures” “Ok daddy. Can I go in the dinosaur mouth?”  Hehehe. Made me smile.

I finally got around to filming a flip through of my most recently finished sketchbook! I really enjoy seeing the things I’ve played with over the course of a couple of months. I hope you do to!

I also filmed a timelapse video of the latest church drawing for my upcoming Churches of Canberra calendar (available early November). This is the first process video I’ve made, and I am really pleased with how it came out. I love watching other peoples’ work in progress videos because they inspire me and give me tips and tricks for my own work. I plan to show more of this type of video in my Instagram stories.

 

Here’s how my calendar paintings are looking so far. I am so excited to see the project coming together! If you want to keep up with release dates for the calendar and special deals on originals and prints please sign up HERE.

The Auto Italia car (and motorbike) show was on in town this weekend and despite the crazy cold and drizzly weather, an intrepid few Canberra Urban Sketchers braved the weather and the crowds to see both the quirky and the flash cars on show. I love drawing cars! Had the weather been more pleasant I would probably have stayed on for a lot longer.

I fell in love with this little Fiat 600 Multipla from the moment I saw it. It almost looked like it was built backwards … funny shape it was! Definitely would not want to have a crash in one, there is absolutely nothing between driver and whatever one might hit. I had one gentleman tell me the story of his mother having one and driving from Belgium to Italy in it. It was apparently the perfect car for her and her twin babies since it was the only one that could fit a twin pram in the back at the time. There were lots of people interested in what I was doing and had several photos taken in action. I was also highly amused at the number of people that suggested that I should just take a photo, it would be far quicker. Ah yes, it would, but then I would not get to enjoy the details of the bug-eye headlights or the bumper that looks like warthog tusks as I drew them! One lady liked the sketch enough to want to buy it from me, so it won’t be staying in my sketchbook for long – it will be heading off to it’s new owner this week!

20180415 - fiat 600 mulitpla - autoitalia

I had 20 minutes left after I finished the Fiat and started on a modern Alpha Romeo Gtv, but didn’t quite get it finished before the rain sent me running for cover. I’ll splash some colour on it during the week when I get a moment.

I finished off another sketchbook yesterday – it’s the little back one in this picture. Flip through video coming soon! I have been getting a little frustrated with the size of it of late, and annoyed with painting spreads and fighting with the gutter, so I am going to try the next size up and see how I get on. Despite being larger it is lighter than the black one because it has a soft cover. (They are both made by Stillman and Birn.) I am interested to see if the extra size is a help or a hindrance for everyday sketching.

I have followed Austin Kleon’s lead and added a picture of one of my heroines in the front to watch over me and keep me on track.

Next step is to draw my palette on the page that faces and get over the “new sketchbook” boogie man.

 

Friday Feedbag

April 6, 2018 — Leave a comment

Short week’s always make me feel a little odd and out of sorts. Things feel like they are happening on the wrong days and I get myself all tangled up and confused.  Little pockets of creativity and feeding my addled brain kept me going to the end of this week!

 Here’s a selection of what grabbed my attention, perhaps some of them will inspire you too.

I love how music creates space and let’s me relax and breathe deeply. I have had Yo-Yo Ma on repeat this week. (see the video HERE if you are receiving this via email subscription)

This bumble bee story made me teary! Look at that fuzzy butt!

Feathery forests and twinkling skies. Sad but serene.

Bet you couldn’t do this!!! But it would be fun to try.

Today I escaped from he crush of circumstances, or better put, I threw them out, for the crush wasn’t from outside me but in my own assumptions.”

– Marcus Aurelius

Wanna check that ego mate? An easy guide for one and all.

Would you like to see progress shots of my church paintings for my upcoming calendar? You can see them on Instagram.

This flower looks like and ice cream and absolutley delicious.

Speaking of ice cream … who knew it had it’s own museum. So cool… Boom tsh !

Working back up to being able to play this properly again…so rusty! (see the video HERE if you are receiving this via email subscription)

 

If you would like to receive information about new projects and early notification of product releases, please take a moment to subscribe to my email newsletter so that you will be the first to know. This is a brand new list and I don’t intend to write to you terribly often and won’t spam you — I have painting to do — but this is the best way to ensure you get the most up to date information.

Happy Easter everyone! I hope yours is healthier than mine! I have been confined to quarters these past five days. Being a holiday weekend I, of course, got sick. It has been my pattern since I was a child; Mum has photos of me at various holiday destinations, even as a baby, very much unwell.

Easter already. I cannot believe we’re three months into the new year already! I figure its time to have a look at how the kindness thing is going. (you can read the first post about this year’s word here)

20180401 - kindness

So far this year I have discovered that it is much easier to be kind to other people than to be kind to myself. It is easier to advise friends to stop and rest and let the housework slide when they are unwell than it is for me to do the same. It is easier to take food to a friend or to help with someone’s chores, than to ask for or to accept help myself. Why is it that I do not treat myself with the same kindness that I treat others?

I am having to be kind to myself this weekend, this lurgy has really knocked me down. So, I am resting. I have a lovely smelling candle burning, and soft music playing. I have made a cosy nest to give myself the best chance to recover before its time to go back to work on Tuesday. I hope this kindness to myself flows on to when I am well. Acts of preventative kindness!

On other fronts, I have found it consistently difficult to be kind to people on the road. Sure, it’s easy to let people in, to be aware of others on the road etc, but the moment someone cuts me off, or doesn’t see me and tries to run over me when I’m on the motorbike, or sitting right on my bumper in a huge aggressive four-wheel drive … my inner troll is unleashed. 0-100 in 3 seconds. I get very agitated and sweary. If I check myself and react with kindness to people that make me cranky, they are none the wiser and don’t get any benefit from that, I do. But then, I am not doing it so that they can pat me on the back for being lovely. Strange isn’t it that I benefit and they don’t? My blood pressure remains at a healthy level, and some unsuspecting sucker down the road won’t be subjected to another angry driver (me this time). This can only be a good thing. Who knows, the idiot weaving in and out of traffic and gesticulating for no good reason may be on the way to the hospital to be with his dying parent. He could, of course, just be an idiot, but kindness says to err on the side of cutting him some slack, if only for my benefit. Something to continue practising.

20180311 - australian national botanic gardens

Urban sketching at the National Botanic Gardens a few weeks ago – it was very easy to be kind to the lizards that were playing on the rocks beside me as I sketched!

I continue to plod along with my churches of Canberra calendar project – four down eight to go. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date with the anticipated release information. Here are the most recent two.

St Paul’s in Manuka

St Volodymyr’s in Lyneham

Friday Feedbag

March 23, 2018 — Leave a comment

The creative life is all about feeding one’s imagination with a wide variety of inputs – gathering inspiration, provoking thought, tickling one’s fancy – and then making connections between all these disparate little bites. Here’s a selection of what grabbed my attention this fortnight, perhaps some of them will inspire you too.

A Lego arm – how clever!  (if reading via email, you can see the video HERE)

 

Have you ever wondered what an open mind might look like?

Rule of art: “Can’t” kills Creativity!
 – Camille Paglia

I want a kitchen windowsill lined with these one day!

I’m thinking these bathroom tiles might give me performance anxiety.

How to get yourself out of a funk. This is a handy list to have around.

These scenes make me smile … so amusing on so many levels.

It would be really trippy to sit in the middle of this installation

I love watching other people draw and paint, I learn so much! This is a favourite at the moment (if reading via email you can see the video HERE)

If you would like to receive information about new projects and early notification of product releases, please take a moment to subscribe to my email newsletter so that you will be the first to know. This is a brand new list and I don’t intend to write to you terribly often and won’t spam you — I have painting to do — but this is the best way to ensure you get the most up to date information.

I live in the capital city of Australia — Canberra. It is really not much more than an overgrown country town with a population approaching 400,000. It has changed much in the last ten years and is starting to find its feet as a city, but it’s not really somewhere I’d expect to find a great number of interesting old buildings.

I am learning to love drawing buildings and tend to keep an eye out for subjects when I am moving around the place. In the 35 years or so that I have lived here I had noticed maybe three or four old churches around the place on the usual routes that I drive. I thought perhaps that they might be fun to draw them and set about looking for addresses and details so that I could go and get some photos to work from.

What I discovered surprised and delighted me! Within a few minutes of searching I had discovered somewhere in the vicinity of 18 interesting churches to investigate, and that was not an exhaustive search by any means. I no doubt will have missed some gems. Here is a collage of just a few of the buildings I gathered and photographed a few weeks ago. Stunning, yes?

Canberra is a young city — just over one hundred years old — so I was very surprised to find such a grand number and variety of church buildings. There are of course multitudes of modern church buildings, not to mention the temples of the East and West Asian religions that I didn’t look at. Perhaps they will find a home in future projects. Granted, not all of the buildings I have selected are old, some of the Orthodox religious buildings are relatively new; they are just very appealing to my eye.

It struck me in the process of narrowing down the ones that appealed to me that there was enough variety to create a bigger series of paintings and indeed a calendar. So here we are with he Churches of Canberra calendar project! Between now and the end of October I will be working away at producing at least 13 paintings. Perhaps more, so I have a choice for the final calendar selection. My plan — which may of course be derailed — is to have the calendars available for purchase through my RedBubble store at the beginning of November. Just in time for Christmas!

With the photos in hand I set about creating a master palette to use across all of the paintings so that I have a degree of unity across them all. I practiced colour mixes and narrowed down my choices.

Testing out pens and colour mixes, some will be used a lot, some will be  just the odd touch here and there — the Greek Orthodox churches have brilliantly coloured windows!

My dinner plate may never be the same 🙂 

I have made a start. The Macedonian Orthodox church in Narrabundah has always been a curiosity for me. I see it from a distance, poking out above the trees, when I drive out towards the industrial part of town to run errands. Up close it looks like a dress with its skirt billowing up. Delightful!

This weekend I am working on the All Saints church in Ainslie, which started life as a mortuary station in Sydney before being transported down here to become a church. Odd history for a church, but the building is beautiful and the large arched window at the front, iconic.

If you are interested in my calendar project, please take a moment to subscribe to my email newsletter so that you can keep up with the updates and release information. This is a brand new list and I don’t intend to write to you terribly often and won’t spam you — I have painting to do — but this is the best way to ensure you get the most up to date information.