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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pretty In Pink

Sketch from a sketch and walk this afternoon. I spent the day with friends and didn't sketch at all - although a very cool craft project was happening in the background. I managed to score a piece that was unused- made with bubble wrap. I then just so happen to find a apricot-pink house on my walk that caught my eye...a little splashing of opera pink and I now have this crazy explosion of colour in my sketchbook. I have to remember to wait for the paint on the page to dry if I want defined splashes.

And last night...
Instead of Friday night Baroque... It was Friday night Scottish Baronial (or is it Scottish Baronial Revival)...anyway I was thinking about Scotland and when I saw this photo of Eilean Donan just had to splash around some paint...yes, yes, it is from a photo...but I don't happen to have a Scottish castle nearby....

I really feel the need to do some home exercises from photos at the moment as my on location sketches are not quite turning out the way I want to them to... I have mentioned before that I am so compulsive when it comes to sketching on location, rarely think, just respond, that for me, I feel that I have to re-train my reflex response.

This is a really quick splashing on of paint late in the evening when I should have been stopping for the evening...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday 2013

I wish everyone a wonderful Easter- and safe travels for anyone that is going away (something I used to do at Easter all the time!) BTW - I do not observe Easter - to read why check out a previous years description.
Morning sketch and walk on a stunning morning!!!

this sketch is an example of what to do when your initial line is SOOO wrong - do you live with the mistake or reinstate and live with the wrong line- see the high awning...

This morning was also the first  trial of a strap I added to my pen holder - I pulled it put of the front pocket of my bag and tied it around my waist. Worked great!!!!. (This pen holder is just a prototype but I am getting ready to make a real one soon)

THought I should then describe in my detail what my pen holder and idea is.....
So - here are two photos of my sketch kit idea.... this is only my hack version to test its functioning - although I have had this pen holder for nearly a year! you can see that the sewing is rough (too lazy to change the overlocker thread colour and I have threads hanging out everywhere from my experimental sewing the other day trying to work out my idea - I had to unpick a number of times)

The pen holder is two layered to allow for smaller items and used pencils. In between the first layer and the second layer is a slot that I use to hold my 'credit' card (for scraping) and a small bit of sandpaper. There is also a pencil sharpening tucked in the front left pocket. The compartments are varied size widths- so can suit one or two or more pens/pencils. I put pencils face down so I can see the colour (hate the way derwent not labels their pencils) My actual collection of pens/ brushes/ pencils is varying all the time ...this is not a refined selection today. A few size adjustments to be made for my real one (the front row is not quite tall enough)

And my new idea is the strap to tie around my waist. I was very taken by the wonderful saddle bags of Isabell Seidel which are a great idea for big sketching days. But I want a smaller kit that I carry in the front pocket of my bag. SO... I have just sewn straps onto my pen holder and then put a false back to tuck in the straps... this is the weak part of the concept at the moment- how to do it nicely!??? I want the straps to be out of the way in normal operation but easily able to go around my waits.... thinking about a clip and an elastic strap...

Bits and pieces (yes, typical Easter food) after a big family day. I haven't eaten any of them yet although my wee niece attacked the left ear of the Easter bunny! Only one bilby this year (this is the closest thing we have in Australia to a native rabbit!) The strip of paper is because I made a bit of a mess of my first bilby attempt... I don;t rip pages out of my book, but sometimes redo a sketch so that I learn from my experience (the first bibly was rather cross eyed and it bugged me!!!)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

On my studio table morning and evening

After last nights crisis and some great suggestions from my online friends I thought I would  start my day with either
1. a walk and sketch
2. or setup a simple still life to experiment with
but well, I caught up on my sleep from the BCN rego the other night so 1. was out.
I then started to collect some objects for 2. but it seemed like too much hard work and a little contrived... so instead I just drew the random scattering of objects before was just a warmup exercise to get my creative juices pumping

I am trying to work more in my studio corner- I have an enormous B0 drafting table which is so big that it just collects objects. It was interesting how the things in this sketch are a record of a number of things that I have done lately.... AND I will tell you more about that palette on the left soon- I promise!

On the right is a plastic tray from a packet of caramel slice that I use for my dirty water - each compartment is a different coloured dirty water so I don't need to change it as often.

This little sketch helped me attack my action list with a lot of focus. for the rest of the morning.

And then tonight I collected all the teapots I own and put them together...  and did this fun page! I have never composed a still life before but have a general  idea how to go about it. 7 teapots without a huge variety in texture and colour isn't really an ideal collection for a good setup... but I thought that sketching them in a more of less random shuffle was a good way to get my brain thinking about still lifes as an evening sketching exercise. I could also get back to my ABC of home AND I also could sketch people/figures (in fact I did that earlier but probably won't bother posting them!)

BTW I really appreciate all the comments about wet paint and palettes...  I thought I would have a look at the Martin universal design mijello palette. Dick Blick has it for $12US - put an order in to see how crazy the postage is...$22US! So total of $34US=$32AU. Ok... that is crazy. Can I get it locally?... yes for $30 plus $12 postage - so total $42AU.
Ah! we are so far away from the rest of the world...everything is so expensive and it always seems cheaper to buy overseas even with spending twice the value of the object on postage...
maybe I don't need it after all... I was just looking!
I will do a follow up post summarising all the great comments and what I have decided to do (hmm, don't know totally...but it looks like regularly 'watering' of my palette to keep moist is something to consider seriously)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday night crisis?

Lacking inspiration to draw things at home (apart from teacups and even I hit overload at times!)... read my words if you care... thinking about not thinking when I draw architecture (further to a discussion with Inma last night)
...maybe I am just tired!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


USK BCN Registration last night was a huge evening of excitement…. but before I go into it I have to say how sorry I am for those that missed out- I already know a number of people who I was looking forward to seeing there who are in this case… and especially for those who were caught up in meetings/other events. Time zone differences means that registration times to suit Europe and the Americas will always  be a very unsocial able hour for us - previous years it has been 4am, but this year it was midnight… a lot better! The crazy times prove to be a blessing as it  gives us the freedom to be there when the 'gates open.'

Last night I registered in connection with 3 of my best sketching buddies - one was right next to me, using my computer(I was on my laptop), one on the other side of Sydney and one on the other side of the world. It was fun to be sending emails and stressing out together. We had had numerous lengthy discussions (meetings!) about the workshops beforehand, going through the options and coordinating a divide and conquer approach vs doing workshops together …you can imagine how much fun that has been!

Anyway, here are my pages I did this morning to record the event (too tense last night to sketch!)…and a record of all the dramas associated with it. C & I were particularly stressed about getting in as we had booked our flights months ago!!! Airfares are outrageously expensive in Australia (we live so far from ANYWHERE else - except NZ of course!) and the best time to buy then is in Nov the year before. I was had the additional responsibility of having someone else registering with my internet…what if it went down? What if I had problems with the cookies in my browser!?!

Anyway, I am so thankful that my friends and I all made it in and with first choices too. Once again so sorry for those that didn't get in - since I had already booked my flights I was planning to go to BCN anyway…with so many sketchers around and only 5 x 3 hours workshops there will still be plenty of time to hang out with Urban Sketchers from around the world. Are you thinking of going to BCN anyway????

Hmm, time for an afternoon nap?
And yes, I have a 27inch iMac with a secondary screen of 21"!! Lots of screen real estate!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Urban Sketchers Event in Sydney - April 6

If anyone in Sydney wants to come and sketch with us...we would love to have you join us

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Wet Paint

those of you that advocate using tube paint rather than pans.... I would like advice on
1. what type of palette do you use much paint do you squeeze out
3. does it run/go all over the place when you put the palette in your bag
4. how long does the paint last- how often do you refill

I would really like to use juicy paint straight out of the tube but do wonder how much maintenance it needs and how handy for daily on-location painting- throwing a paint tin in your handbag (purse)
This is a palette I bought in NYC last year. I can see that having small dabs of paint that I can re-fill l=regularly could work…. but I would be afraid to close this up right now and take out with me- paint would go everywhere.

Like many other people I read this great post by Brenda on how she sets her palette up
it is similar to what I do now but in a palette rather than in pans- maybe that makes a difference. The wells are easier to clean out and refresh. I find that my tube paint in the pans dries out and sticks in the corners.
I want to use WET paint and not let it dry...
I am getting some interesting comments on facebook, but for those that comment on my stuff here, would be very interested in your thoughts...and I will do a follow up with my findings.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Collecting books

34 books on Venice and 10 (so far) on BCN/Spain. I am not going to Venice but my friend that is wanted to borrow 'a book'.
To explain, before I started sketching I read a LOT - I spent 3 months of solid reading before I went to Venice the first time and was a walking encyclopaedia of architectural history (very very rusty now) I do need a clean out and sort of my extensive library so thought it would be fun to collect them all . I have a 'few' on Gaudi- but there are a number of other architects that I own 5 or more books of. One of my gaudi books is very special... but I will leave that for another time.
BTW, this sketch was done in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook (for pen & ink line drawings)...but hey, lets splash some watercolour on and see what happens....

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Morning in Crows Nest

I know some of you are so bored by my teacup sketches... but I am sorry, I just cant help it....this time I have numerous layers of watercolour, coloured pencil, water coloured pencil and sprinkles... bit of everything... just having fun!

And well, I had a little more time this morning so I did start to sketch the view from the cafe table. I have been more or less having a break from doing street scene sketches in recent months and I don't feel like I have quite found what I want to be doing...but today's quick effort was a good start! I need to find a good block of time and just have some fun experimenting more out on the streets.

And BTW tonight I finished my Stillman & Birn beta book in just over 2 weeks! That is going through it too fast - only just starting to get a hang of the paper. Next I am going to try an Epsilon book (I AM hanging out for a zeta book big time....)

My upcoming sketching class in Manly

I am very excited to announce that details of my sketching class in Manly in May/June 2013 are now up on my workshop page
If you are in Sydney and free Wednesday mornings during May/ June I would love to have you join us. Manly is such an amazing suburb for us to explore together with our sketchbooks!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Somewhat crazy - the beta paper demands a patience I was not prepared to give it this afternoon on way back from the gym. Wet in wet in the extreme.

I wrote a little more about this over at my sketching architecture blog

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday morning

Happy Monday Morning!

This is how I started my week.
Reading from Jeremiah (as part of an online bible study course I am doing...along with a thousand or so other people!!! ... plan to share more later about this!) These words are the BEST way for me to start any day, any week!
and then cooking myself a nice breakfast. This was essential for me to do this morning as preparation for a commission I am working on today! I think that a visit to T2 (in the next day or so...definitely not this morning after than breakfast!) will also be an important part of this as well - ah! sounds my kind of project- hey?
BTW, compositionally I really needed some bacon!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bits and Pieces

A quiet day at home... and I ended up sketching a few of BB's friends that he made last year.
Two of the friends were very kindly organised by others as I neglected to purchase them at the time.
 July 2011 trip:
Rooster from Lisbon  thanks to Jennifer from sketchclub - I can't even remember what name I decided- Pica?
Haggis from my 36 hours in Edinburgh July 2011- McTavish is his name and he has handmade uneven legs thanks to AM.
Last July 2012:
- a lizard for Santo Domingo (is it supposed to be a geeko?) I need a name- any suggestions welcome
- left it to the airport to get something from NYC- wanted to buy a yellow cab...but this was all I could find - A Chrysler and Empire State building fridge magnet... rather pathetic (BB was NOT impressed)
Dec2012/Jan 2013
A Lion from Singapore. Once again I left it to the airport. I was NOT got to buy a Merlion.  Anyway, he doesn't have a name suggestions are welcome.

And well... yes... I am starting to plan my clothes for July trip. I only do it this early because I want to do some sewing. Can I wear and be sketched in the same dress 4 symposiums in a row???... or is it time for something different. I have only purchased about 3 items of clothing in the last few years... but have made a FEW dresses...
And yes, for those that read all my notes- I have a church conference as well as the USK symposium in excuse for packing another dress????

It is rather tragic that just when summer is ending, I start to think about sewing a cool summer dress (or 2 or 3) The fabric selection is so appalling in Australia that I buy fabric that is the best I can find ... I don't necessarily love it, but I choose it because it is on special (to use to make a  'wearable muslin') or because the weight and drape of the fabric is suitable... I then have to live with the pattern/ is ok...but.... once again I have a lot of blue to choose from!

So who has one of these?

Yes, I will admit that I am a fountain pen junkie - and yes I DO love long tail pens but this cute pen which is very nice and light and compact could not be resisted. It is a Kaweco Sport and tiny with the lid on. About the same length of the Noodlers Flex pen with the lid on the back... if that means anything to anyone. And it was cheap - half the price of a lamy!

ok, off to draw with it.  I will get you a full review next week after I have tested it fully... hmm, I thought I was supposed to be in a inkless mood????

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bungalow In Water Soluble ink

A little time to fill in before going to the gym- so nice to get out on the streets to do a sketch. Half way through this sketch I realised that the ink in the pen I was using was water soluble. It was interesting how I then had to stop and think - how will this change my lines? It did! This was actually very helpful because I realised that you do 'have to' do different linework from when it is permanent ink. Actually, I take my 'have to' back... you never have to do anything on your page.. so let me re-phrase.
It made me think where I wanted to utilise the black ink - where I thought I could cope with black murking up my colours and where I should use it sparingly to help preserve lightness. Of course I also have the decision of whether there are any areas to keep dry. Fun exercise.

BTW for those that read my notes I meant "without physio approval" - not 'with '

BTW2 - I was talking to friends this week about adding notes next to your sketches....I find that it works best for me when I am drawing and have the pen in my hand. Normally after lines are finished and before I start to paint. For some reason I 'talk to myself' a lot more when I am drawing rather than painting. This particular occasion I write my notes mid- sketch and that was when I realised what ink I was using.
Pregym gutter sketch

Thursday, March 14, 2013

BCN trip prep has begun

Well… I know it is still a long way off…but my BCN trip prep book has begun. (4th international USK symposium in Barcelona if you don't know what I am referring to!)

And this year the trip prep will be a HUGE focus for me. I AM (i really AM!) going to start training for sketching people more…
So here is the title page and a few pages that I did this week -using reference books initially to get the right marks and proportions happening and then will start sketching in public. I promised my friend Chris that I would have done 20 faces and 20 figures before I saw her next… so the night before… I did them all!

I can intersperse my people sketches with planning notes (such as how to decide on which workshop to do - this page was writing down my shortlist of way way too many!)

And then last night while waiting for our dinner, I sketched the view! Actually this was just a glorified thumbnail that now is a 'sketch'. I have thought of a while that the best way to do cafe sketches is to draw the people first and then hint at the interior space later - of course Jim Richard's new book and his approach- start with people has been a good reminder. THis time I actually drew the middle group of people first and I found that that really helped me get the people closest to me the right size and the further group then behind them. I have discovered a Pilot V pen while sorting my studio and really love it to draw and then dissolve the line! FUN FUN FUN.

I have been agonising how to draw more people for years I know- I do have a mild dread 'ruining' a page in my normal sketchbook which I know is totally hypocritical and yet a separate sketchbook just for people seems like a cop out for me. SO having in my trip prep book feels right to me!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A small world.....

I hope you have been all following Danny Gregory's interviews withthe artists in his new book An Illustrated Journey. I am loving them all.  Imagine my surprise when I was watching the latest one with Earnest Ward and my name popped up.

I had forgotten all about this amazing 'almost - sketch meet'

This is the photo that Earnest took of me(wearing all brown!)  and my sketching buddy Eza in Paris 2009 - "oh look there are two girls sketching" .... and then to stumble across me and my Paris sketchbooks a year later! Amazing!!!
But such a pity he didn't interrupt us (we do look very focused - actually we were probably cold and racing against the fading hope we will meet up one day!

 Here are my sketches from that sketching session

Tuilerie Gardens and Rue De Rivoli
Here is Eza's sketch

In Manly Casing the Joint - WHY?

Well I am very excited to announce that I will be running my own sketching course in Manly during May /June. Every Wednesday morning for 8 weeks -Wed 8th May till Wed 26th June.

Manly is a wonderful suburb - beach, harbour, lively town centre, lots of great cafes, wonderful street scenes, parks, bush and lots of interesting architectural styles. We will be basing ourselves in Erin Hill's studio where each week we will introduce a different sketching technique before hitting the streets to test it out - finishing up with a great lunch at a different cafe each time.

I more be posting more details in the coming week.

btw you can see the cafe 'check out' map in my photo from yesterday. Huge thanks to Erin for providing me with lots of good suggestions. If it turns out anything like her great classes - the lunch at the end of the session will be a very important ending to each session!

Monday, March 11, 2013

More versions of the same interior

I did three more versions of that little scene from Saturday... a more careful watercolour, watercolour without ink lines and watercolour pencils (this is what I used at work before I got into markers - I am just working on bond paper and using water buckles a little)
If you haven't noticed, I like doing the same subject multiple times...

Some people were having problems seeing the images on my Sketching Architecture blog... let me know if you can't see all three on this post.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Just add water and sparkle

Lots of fun today - lovely not to have anything planned, to do chores around the house, a wee visit to an art store and an afternoon cafe outing (no cake!) and lots of fun using new tools!

Just add water and sparkle….
I often takes me a few days to get the hang of something new - and I have a couple of interesting sketches with my watercolour on the beta paper(I haven't scanned these) Today I thought I would wash the paper before I used it and that seems to make my washes feel more like 'normal' - really loving this beta book. (A5 hand bound version) - please ignore my lack of imagination when it came to a subject to test….
As for the prismacolor wax pencils- oh ah! what a shock! I was watching the videos that accompany the new book by James Richards and just wanted to add some Jim sparkle to my pages. Surely my art budget can afford three new pencils? That Lavender prismacolour is actually a really vibrant and alive colour (much more that the mauve derwent I have) and my recent trip to Singapore did get me hooked on anything remotely close to turquoise. Lavender and peach are certainly NOT colours I normal use. Very cool adding some light lavender and aquamarine strokes over my blue watercolour shadow.

An afternoon in Beecroft - close to closing time, so I resorted to ink and wash at this very nice cafe drinking Creme brûlée tea! I really wished I have had a scrap piece of paper to do some thumbnails and work out some values before I started this but the beta paper is too nice for me I could scribble in the back of the book somewhere!

Trying something quite different - a water soluble pen… a little too dark and dramatic but I want to try this again real soon!!!!
The pen is was using is  Pilot V pen - a disposable fountain pen with water soluble ink

Featured on a great drawing blog!

I feel extremely honoured to be featured on a wonderful blog by Koojse. She is an illustrator based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Koojse runs a wonderful online drawing course - I know from one of my friends that it is brilliant!
Thanks Koojse for this lovely feature (and summary of what I have done so far this year in my sketchbook).

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sketching interiors

what I did today... go over to my Sketching architecture blog for more

Beta vs Alpha and a cute teapot

It is my intention to branch out and draw a wider scope of subjects in the coming weeks... but this is what I did today!!?! My somewhat pathetic  justification (I sounds like I am being defensive about it?)
- I was told to go and have a coffee (= tea for me) as my doctor was running 'exceptionally late'. 2 patients ahead of me meaning I had 15-30 minutes before I would get the call to return. So I couldn't sketch the cafe interior in that time
- How can I possibly be given a teapot/cup arrangement like that and not sketch it (actually I did earlier in the week but was having a coffee with my IT consultant)
- I have been finding the Beta paper in my new sketchbook very different to paint on (I love the feel of the paper and the surface to draw on) I thought a standard subject would be a good test. I just don't feel in total control of the paper - is the paper less absorbent than I am used to so the paint is sitting on the surface more? The only quirk about this idea is that I am working differently lately and feel like my work is anything but consistent...using more water but how much water did I use.

Anyway, tonight I did a sketch from this sketch on the alpha paper (the sketchbook I just finished) to compare it with my new beta book. The result is not wildly different but the feeling of control while I was doing it was. I am really enjoying using the Beta book and the challenge of getting this beautiful paper to work for me (my fast spontaneous slapping on of the paint)

The wait is over

 thrilled to get my copy of Danny Gregory's illustrated journey today (just returned from a 6am gym visit and it was sitting on my doorstep)... such an honour to be included with many other amazing artists and friends. This spread shows the tea page - Kansas City, Lisbon, Rome, the Isle of Harris (Outer Hebrides Scotland) and Paris what did I have to do today??????