There are few things more satisfying than getting to the end of a sketchbook… and whilst it took me almost a year to get through this one I am ashamed to say…. the last half of the book went quicker than the first half, so I think my mojo has returned. I have loved working in the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks… the paper is wonderfully heavy and creamy and takes the watercolours wonderfully. So I have decided to stay with them, though I have opted for the ivory paper over the bright white for a bit of a change.
20150301 - out with the old and in with the new

A habit I shamelessly copied from Liz Steel is to start each new sketchbook with a colour chart .. in past books I’ve done a straight colour swatch to remind me what I was carrying in my travel palette. This time I opted for a colour mixing chart so that I would have a handy reference of what colours I could mix with the pans I carry… particularly important since I changed the palette up a little this time round. I felt like I needed to reacquaint myself with the colours.

20150302 - start of the colour mixing chart

I ruled it all up and made sure it was tiny and precise since I managed to cram 22 pans into the tin this time… took me ages. And then I started to mix…

Tiny blobs of paint dotted on my mixing plate… meticulously counting and ensuring I was mixing the right colours… or so I thought…

20150302 - chart - pretty sure I've killed it

The problem was that when I started mixing the paint for the colour chart, it was after work… and I was tired. Actually I lie… the problems started before that. I’m still too tired to figure it out properly, but I think I numbered the axes of the chart incorrectly… I was getting little of no swatches that involved mixing the dark end of the spectrum…and to make matters worse, by the time I was mixing colours  6 and 7, I realised that I had doubled up and done the same set of mixes twice. So I gave up. My sketchbook has a completely useless colour mixing chart to start it off. I am really hoping that this is not a sign of things to come for the rest of the sketchbook!!! ARGH!

I think the thing that annoys me most is that I’ve done four or five of these over the years and have not had a problem. Lesson learned… don’t do anything you have to use your brain for after a long day at work and a weights session.

Anyway, to end on a high note (sort of) … here’s the colour chart I did of the current travel palette that i will cut out and tuck into the kit. I had some spare reds and purples hanging around, so I decided to slot them in to see what I can do with them. I’m still not a huge fan of the Prussian Blue, and I think I need another green too … something to investigate and experiment with I think.

20150301 - swatches for new setyp

And just for good measure here’s the scanned front page. The botanical letter is something I wanted to have a go at after seeing the tutorial over on The Postman’s Knock. Though this was a lot of fun to do, I think perhaps I’d like to experiment with some Aussie bush wildflowers next time.
20150302 - front page new book


The chart still looks kind of cool.. but is utterly useless. :) Not that I am particularly perturbed… it is annoying, but at the end of the day I was engrossed in doing something wonderful for a couple of hours. Well worth it.

les escargots

February 17, 2015 — Leave a comment

I’m on a creative roll this week it seems! Not that I am complaining. I did this one quickly in two parts… I sketched the edible portion during my lunch hour yesterday and then the slimy portion and watercolour etc while I noodled around on the ‘Net searching for a house to live in last night. I’m not actually a huge fan of slugs and snails, but their eyes-on-stalks amuse me no end.

As always, click on the image to see it bigger :)


201502016 les escargots

stop and go

February 16, 2015 — Leave a comment

These two traffic lights are on the same intersection just beside my office. Something a little mundane to add to the sketchbook :)

20150205 Stop!


201502014 go



A couple of weeks before Christmas I had a weekend to myself so I packed up the car and drove out to a small town nearby that I knew to have a lot of old buildings that would make good sketch subjects. My intention was to do a series of saleable artworks, so I had prepared a bunch of boards with watercolour paper taped securely, gathered up my pencils and pens and brushes…but what I hadn’t prepared for was a change in the weather.

When I left home the sun was shining and the day was shaping up to be fabulous… not too hot for sitting outdoors and drawing pictures, which is a not unimportant consideration in Summer here. I was excited about my first purpose-planned painting en plein air expedition. Nature had other ideas though. By the time I got to Braidwood, clouds had gathered and the odd spot of rain started to fall. Undeterred, I grabbed my camera and wandered the streets taking reference shots just in case the rain decided to stay, smiling at strangers and dodging small children running to get to the local lolly shop.

The rain decided to stay, but instead of going home I drove around until I found a building I could park near and draw without being parked in by the tourists that were coming and going and parking in odd spots with large caravans. I did the base pencil and then ink sketch for this one sitting in the car as the rain began in earnest.

The Albion Coach House - Braidwood

The Albion Coach House – SOLD


A little later the rain stopped and I seized the opportunity to get out and draw another fantastic old building.. I got all of the pencil under-drawing done and most of the ink drawing complete before the rain came back with a rush…if you look closely there’s a couple go inky rain splotches in this one :) Just as well I took photos before the rain set in, because I used them to finish the drawings at home.

Braidwood Literary Institute

The Literary Institute – original for sale in my Etsy shop (link on the right)


I loved my day out sketching even if the weather did not want to cooperate, I’ve discovered that getting out and drawing in situ is a lot of fun and refills my creative energy stores… I’ll definitely be doing that again!

beyond the clouds

February 1, 2015 — Leave a comment

20150201 - beyond the clouds

I am alive and have been drawing a bit during the break, but I have also engaged in a little binge-watching of Star Trek – The Next Generation…and whilst this is not the ship from that series, I did draw and fiddle around with this sketch while I watched. Nothing like a little escapism to let the mind relax and wander. :) Wouldn’t it be fabulous to be able to travel to far off planets and explore other cultures and landscapes? Image the sketches!

Later this week I will post the ‘proper’ paintings I’ve been working on during the break and get back into the swing of regular posting…at least that’s what I’m telling myself…

st patricks, michelago

November 29, 2014 — Leave a comment

20141129 - st patricks

It’s time to decorate in readiness for the Christmas season, and because I was in need of a tree-topper, I took an afternoon trip out to the Bredbo Christmas Barn  which is about an hour or so down the highway. I was lucky enough to get the last white star for the top of my tree… and a couple of other little things that made me smile.

On the way back I passed this little church and stopped briefly  to capture it in my sketchbook. This is a very quick sketch and much looser than I normally do, I really enjoyed splashing paint around with abandon! Who said you have to colour in the lines?? :)


Remember there’s 50% off in my Etsy shop until 16/12/2014 (use the coupon: CLEARANCE50 when you check out). Click here to see what’s available…. art makes fabulous Christmas gifts!

photo 1


Are you looking for beautiful Christmas gifts? I’m running a clearance sale in my Etsy shop right up until 16 December (that’s my cake day!). EVERYTHING is 50% off until then. Original artworks and greeting cards all half price for the next couple of weeks. Take advantage and save.

Use coupon code : CLEARANCE50 when you check out

VVV click this link VVV

Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest.
- Henry Van Dyke 

Buvelot St


A dear friend of mine is about to lose her family home due to a government mess up.

There is something deeply sad about losing your home. So many memories. So much love. So much time spent with loved ones and friends. And yet while the building will be soon gone, the memories of beautiful experiences and relationships will remain. The connection to loved ones will always live on.

We created this portrait to help her remember her home and to provide a visual reminder of the beautiful things that were shared within its walls.

Hugs my friend, I trust you will find a new place for your heart to rest soon.

20141118 - people watching
I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and books lately about urban sketching and slowly easing myself into drawing in public. I had fun with food and architecture last week…but I’ve been putting off drawing people I see on the street… they MOVE!!! And more often than not they’re long gone before I get the picture anywhere near done! Achieving any resemblance of correct proportion is nigh on impossible for me at the moment too… so it’s practise, practise, practise…and I hope to see improvement over time. I also hope to get far less self conscious about examining people too :) Looks a bit suspicious really.

macro-nature-jumping-spider (images via: light stalking)


These are the eyes of a jumping spider. Irridescent. Mesmerising. Stunning aren’t they? Also…who knew they were furry little critters?

More often than not I rush to get through my days and I don’t see much more than a blur of the world around me as it passes by. It seems to be par for the course at this stage of my life, but the problem is that it can make life seem tiresome and monotonous at times.

It’s only when I slow down and take the time to take in the details that I am overwhelmed by the beauty of the world around me. It is then that my energy returns. None of the things that I need to do each day disappears, but I seem to have more patience to deal with them.

Little details that turn a scary spider into something that looks like a plush toy.

Little details that make me smile.

Little details that make me want to pick up my pencils and draw in an attempt to capture that magic on the page.

Little details that inspire me to action.

How do you let beauty fuel your days? Do you experience more creative moments when you stop long enough to feel the velvet petals on a rose in your garden or gaze into the eyes of a little spider?

I do… just need to do it a little more intentionally :)