Archives For art

20170406 - hand
I finished my first sketchbook of the year last weekend. Three months it took! Outside of travel journals, that’s the fastest I have ever filled a sketchbook. I’m pretty pleased with that effort, even if I do say so myself! (I’ll record a flip through at some stage. It is fun looking at the whole thing as a complete entity and not just disjointed snaps!)

Three months….the first quarter of the year has disappeared already and I find myself getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of work and life and not taking the time to draw as much as I feel I need to (ironic, I know, given I was just rabbiting on about how quickly I filled the book). It has been bothering me. I knew my energies were being expended elsewhere, but I didn’t make the connection, and then I found this quote in Austin Kleon’s fabulous book, Steal like an Artist:

Establishing and keeping a routine can be even more important than having a lot of time. Inertia is the death of creativity. You have to stay in the groove. When you get out of the groove, you start to dread the work, because you know it’s going to suck for a while – it’s going to suck until you get back into the flow….The trick is to find a day job that pays decently, doesn’t make you want to vomit, and leaves you with enough energy to make things in your spare time.

I let myself get out of the groove a bit in the last couple of weeks as my day job has become busier, and I can feel it in my diminished general satisfaction-with-life levels. So tired when I get home from work at the end of the day, thinking about what to draw takes too much effort! Funny how not creating things can lead to me feeling a bit rubbish. Suffice it to say I am working at putting pen to paper each day again…even if the output is not stellar.

The purple hand above is my favourite out of this week’s pages. Hands are such hard workers – from intricate little nuanced movements to grand gestures and manual labour. They are fun to draw … lots of wrinkles and folds – an ever changing landscape of hills and valleys as you wiggle them about.

If you want to take a look at what else I’ve drawn this week you can take a look HERE or HERE.

How do you manage your energy across your day/week? I know it’s swings and roundabouts, but I wonder if I can get more control over it all? If I figure it out I will let you know.

This week has been a very playful one in my sketchbook. Perhaps because I have had a busy week at work, I’m not sure, but the sketchbook has been filled with fun things 🙂 I am not complaining! Anything that brightens my day is a good thing!

20170201 - hilarious

It was a big week for drawing critters … click on the collage to see the the full scans of these guys in my sketchbook album.

At the start of the year I bought myself a bottle of black de Atramentis ink after reading a review on Liz Steele’s blog (this post). I had been jumping between the Noodler’s Black ink in my Lamy Safari fountain pen (the pink one below) and the disposable Uniball Eye for the under drawings with watercolour in my sketchbooks. Both are waterproof once dry, but they both take an awfully long time to dry and more often than not I would smudge a line when I rested my hand in a little puddle of ink, or smear something when I added watercolour before it was completely dry. Also, the Noodler’s black wasn’t as dense as I would like, but the Uniball was nice and dark. The de Atramentis ink has been a wonderful change. It dries very quickly and gives a wonderfully lush, dense black line. It flows well and feels great in the pen. I think I am pretty well sold! I cannot wait to add some of the other colours to my inky stable! I’ll still need to use the Uniball for cold press paper, since the fountain pen nib doesn’t cope as well with the texture, but the de Atramentis inks will be my go-to for daily drawing fun!

February is looking like a continuation of the fun. I plan to keep going with the Sketchbook Skool daily drawing challenge, but I have also signed up for another class to keep developing my skills and perhaps learn some new techniques. So keen!

messy desk

December 12, 2016 — Leave a comment

My art desk is currently piled with the detritus of my day to day life. It is a flat surface and thus collects the bits and pieces that need somewhere to reside for a short time before moving on, like the box filled with goodies for a friend that I really need to finish filling and tape it up to put in the post. It also has the drawing bag I took to the concert I went to last weekend that I haven’t yet unpacked. There are other bits and pieces there….scissors and tape left over from the christmas gift wrapping event….brushes lying around drying before I can put them back in their containers…balls of wool that I wound off the skein over the weekend for a project to keep my hands busy (like I need anything else!)


My sacred creative space is piled with junk. I am prevented from creating at my desk because there is crap all over it. Well…perhaps that’s a bit harsh; it’s not exactly crap. It’s just stuff that shouldn’t be there. But it is there nonetheless, and it is blocking my creativity. It needs to go.

Art is one of the things that makes me happy and feel satisfied with life and helps me process the not so wonderful things in life too … so why is it the one thing that gets covered – literally and figuratively – with other stuff? It consistently gets pushed to the bottom of the list in favour of sometimes legitimate tasks, but many times, mindless procrastination and time-wasting on things like Facebook and inane websites about things that don’t matter? I replace something that makes me feel good with meaningless time-wasting that more often than not leaves me feeling dissatisfied and cranky. It doesn’t make a great deal of sense does it? Something to consider for the new year. I have long since given up making new years resolutions, but I think it’s about time I found a word to guide my year ahead and figure out which direction I want to steer this life of mine (yes, it’s the time of year for the existential crisis to occur). To remove the junk that’s blocking my creativity and to start paddling a bit … the boat has been drifting long enough.

I haven’t posted much here of late, Instagram and the RS Facebook page is where I post more regularly, and I had considered closing the blog down altogether, but I am feeling the need to write again…so perhaps this will remain! Stay tuned. Meantime, while I get my head together….

  • Follow me on Instagram to see regular art updates and the things that inspire me (this is where you will be notified of sales in my store.)
  • Follow my Facebook page for a more interactive experience as well as giveaways and competitions in the new year
  • Take a look at my Flickr account if you would like to take a look through my sketchbooks and art back through the years

Finally before I toddle off and clean my desk…I went to see Keith Urban on Saturday night! There was plenty of waiting around to get in, so I sketched while I waited. Here’s the fruit of my scribbling. I had hoped to sketch during the gig, but there was a problem … you cannot dance and draw at the same time :O I had a blast! Such a great night out. (ok… enough procrastinating.. going now!)

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.

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 🙂

For my weekly artist date yesterday I went to the exhibition of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s art at the National Gallery of Australia. It was fascinating. The loose lines and bold colours, the huge lithographic posters. Beautiful.

Toulouse-Lautrec  - La Troupe de Madamoiselle Eglantine

The thing that fascinated me most though was the subject of the vast majority of the artworks … they were prostitutes and cabaret personalities. Toulouse-Lautrec lived for weeks at a time in brothels in order to do series of drawings – to capture these women in their most vulnerable, humane moments. He hung out back stage at baudy cabaret shows and painted the portraits of young men who had drunk one too many absinthe cocktails. His portraits … although sensitive and beautiful portrayals … are of a very dark and seedy underworld.

As I looked around me in the gallery halls it was easy to see that there were a lot of families and several very wealthy, high society patrons visiting and viewing the artworks. The kind of people that pride themselves on being the pillars of the community…and yet here we were all standing together admiring this deeply sensual, gritty art. Were they understanding what they were seeing? Perhaps they had abstracted themselves out to the point where they were merely looking at marks on paper. No-one seemed to bat an eyelid.

I found it more than a little ironic. Was that lifestyle no longer shocking or disturbing because it was being portrayed as oil on cardboard? Would photographs have been more confronting? Was it the passage of years perhaps? Looking at the dark side of life through the lens of history….did that make it less desperate? These were real people caught in a lifestyle that left their mouths twisted in wry little pasted-on half-smiles that hid the conflict within and with eyes that seemed to lead to a haunting emptiness.


All of those artworks collected in a beautiful, pretty, clean gallery, presented as an exhibition….it almost felt as though prostitution had been normalised and made acceptable fodder for upper-class entertainment, just as it had been in the halls of the Moulin Rouge in La Belle Epoch Paris. It felt romanticised.

It’s not acceptable of course. Would you want your child working like that? No, me neither.

I don’t know what Toulouse-Lautrec’s intent was when he was capturing these tableaux, I doubt his motives were altruistic, but they certainly made an impression on me. Good art makes us think. It makes us uncomfortable. It makes us react.


July 8, 2012 — Leave a comment

I finished this little realistic graphite piece last weekend. It felt good to be working with pencils again and taking time to do a  painstakingly detailed drawing. This one is on my favourite paper – Fabriano Artistico hot press….so smooth! It has just enough tooth to allow for some delicious dark tones.

This piece is now for sale in my Etsy store. Click the Picture to be taken there!

This past weekend we had the unexpected pleasure of camping with a family that have been friends of ours since before we were married. We have been through a lot together, but of late, life’s stages have meant that we haven’t seen a lot of each other. So…we jumped at the chance to spend some time together roughing it by the ocean.

On Saturday morning one of our friend’s little girls came screaming down to the beach in tears after making a trip to the primitive bathroom facilities. She said that she had seen a dragon. We didn’t think much of it…and chalked it up to the furtile imagination of a seven-year-old girl…until we went back up to the tents and came face to face with a family of lace monitors.



8-2012 // lace monitor


They are BIG lizards … as long as a medium sized dog, but with short stubby legs. She HAD seen a dragon! The family of dragons, so far as we could tell, consisted of two adults and a juvenile, and they wandered lazily past our campsite a couple of times a day in search of the sunny spots on the cliffs.

As a child my mum used to read me may Gibbs’ Snugglepot and Cuddlepie stories and for a long time I have wanted to have a go at drawing a banksia pod. Here’s what I came up with:
7-2012 // banksia pod


I had hoped for some time early this morning to draw a family of blue wrens that I observed as I wrote my morning pages, but instead I was visited by the sweet Miss Emily who scared the birds away, but who was so interested in my paints and pens that I simply couldn’t resist her charms. Here’s the drawing that we created together.


9-2012 // my little friend Emily


I love the excitement of little minds playing with pretty colours and seeing how paints mix and swirl together. Perhaps she was a reminder to nurture my own inner child artist.


The Parisian woman

A Parisian woman watches on

I’ve been back from France now for almost three months and finally I can say that I am making progress on my book! Yay! I have finished the actual travelogue part of my journals, and I’m working on approximately 30 supplementary sketches to fill out the second Moleskine. Today I start on the tedious task of high res scanning my journals so that I have print-ready images to share 🙂

I cannot tell you how excited I am that I am working on this project! 🙂

Figuring out how my paints behave on the Moleskine watercolour paper is fun!!
53-2011 // choosing my palette

learning how to do maps and freehand lettering…
53-2011 // practicing maps and lettering

Crap photo…but practising buildings…
54-2011 // chateau practice

Sketches during worship this morning…
56-2011 // church today

57-2011 // foreign territory

Loving that I am making time to draw so much. 🙂