Category Archives: 2014 Artwork

A Year of Sketching

Secret Belgium Binding Journal 27cm x 24.5cm 200gsm paper

My Seasons of Color Journal, all new and pristine

New Sketch Book 29.5 x 20cm 180gsm water colour paper

My sketch book

It has been a year since I made and started using my journal and sketch books.  I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed the experience and how it has enriched my life.  It is on par with starting this blog, which is also now three years old.  Funny I am not into new years resolutions, but I do reflect on each year as it starts and think what I would like to do in that year to enrich my life.  February does seem to be the month that I start on the new plans, something I just realised as I write this.

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One of my favourite spreads in my journal combining pattern, sketches and thoughts on the time of year.

This blog has given me a vehicle to share my art with the world and the friends I have made in doing so has been marvelous. Their kind and supportive comments have given me the courage to exhibit my art and to think that it has merit in the artistic community.  I have also learnt a great deal from the artists that I follow and the generous sharing of their skills and practice.

Beach Walk  watercolour pencils and ink.  Journal page

Still one of my favourite pages in my journal.   Walking my dog on the beach

My journal and sketch books have also given me a great deal, I have tended to  draw and experiment more and to keep these sketches in one place to look back on.  Before most of the drawing I did was of finished pieces of art and I was not practicing my skills as much as I thought was needed.  This playing around in the sketch book has broadened what I do now and I have been able to expand my practice.  I was able to play with patterns and these turned into the art work that went into my exhibition.

Dusk in Fitzroy

Dusk in Fitzroy from my Sketch book.  Another drawing I did while waiting to meet a friend for dinner.

I started with the Seasons of Colour journal where I do random drawings with a rough nod to the season.  I started the sketch book in July and it is where I do drawings of my surroundings and I take with me when I am out and about.  My drawing skills have improved a great deal and my confidence in being able to draw what I see has improved greatly.  The online courses in Sketchbook Skool and joining Urban Sketchers group have influenced what I do in this sketch book and have been a great place to learn and be inspired to sketch.  I have found that I enjoy taking the time to do sketches on site and am partial to setting my self up to draw in a cafe with a glass of wine waiting to meet up with friends for dinner or just as a great way to spend quality time with myself and my art.

Bali Offering, Water soluble crayons, ink etc

Bali Offering, Water soluble crayons, ink etc

One of the other great joys is going back over the year in the sketch books and seeing such great reminders of what happened over the year and what resonated with me enough to be put into the sketch books.  The memories of holidays are so much richer from the sketches that I did while I was away.

Temple Ubud Water colour, coloured pencils and ink journal

Temple Ubud Water colour, coloured pencils and ink journal

I hope you have enjoyed the year of sketching that I have shared with you, for indeed the sharing and feedback of the sketches with my blogging friends and followers has been such an important part of the journey.  I have updated ‘From My Journal” page if you would like to see the drawings from the journal and sketch book.  (There are new drawings in there that I haven’t posted before.)

So here is cheers to the joys of sketching and blogging, they have become an important part of my life, thank you.

45 Spring Gully Oct 14

A page from my sketchy walks, a favourite pastime now. It has changed the way I walk in the bush.

 

High Spring in my Garden

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Love-in-the-must, intense pencils and ink journal page

I know that I have been posting away on my walks in the bush and all the lovely wildflowers in bloom, during this time my garden has been blooming its little heart out, and is demanding some of the attention!

 

After much attention (not all of it mine)and a nice wet winter, the flowers are doing really well this year. (Warning, skip down to the next paragraph if you are not into gardens). The roses are blooming with abandon, I have roses galore, souvenir de la malmaision, which has finally made it above the grapevine and is romping over the garage roof, Pierre de Ronsard on the side of my house which hasn’t balled for once and the beautiful Peace rose for my mother, it was in her wedding bouquet. The yellow gold bunny rose is climbing up my verandah posts with some lovely clematis. My bearded irises grew beautiful leaves but totally failed to bloom, but I have cornflowers, pinks, love in the mist, aquilegia and the lavender is about to start. Oh yes the Dutch irises are making up for the other irisis.

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Pierre de Ronsard Climbing Rose

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Souvenir de la Malmaision gone feral through the grape vine. Not sure that is appropriate behaviour for such a french aristocratic rose, but things go wild in the colonies!

I have planted a lot of gardens but usually move before the become established or the one time I didn’t we had a 10 year drought of the century, hardley conducive to great gardening. But this time I have it right.

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Clematis, this makes me wish I would keep the plant tags, as I have forgotten it’s name.

So here is the art work to go with the flowers. I am trying to use more design in how I lay out my journal pages and still grappling with the writing.

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spring flower journal page. Ink tense pencils and ink

Here are some birds of paradise that I did last week, also from my garden. I tried a couple of different versions of them, to mix it up.

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Bird of paradise. Gouache and ink journal page

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Bird of paradise. Watercolour pencils and ink journal page

Hope this brings a bit of spring into your northern hemisphere falls.  This was done on my iPad, which I don’t usually use, but I forgot to bring my power cord for the laptop, and so needs must, hope it is ok.

Karen

Sketchy Walks on the Goldfield Track

The Monk Journal Page Ink

The Monk Journal Page Ink

I have had a couple of weeks off after a very stressful time at work, so haven’t been posting much this month.  I have been up at Castlemaine and re-energising myself with lovely walks in the bush, sketchy walks of course.

I have been catching the last of the main spring flowering and getting the confidence to do some larger drawings of the surroundings.  There is a stark beauty to the dry scrubby bush around here, but one that is difficult to translate into an interesting drawing.  The picture of ‘The Monk’ above is my best effort to date and it gives me encouragement that I might be able to translate this beauty to the paper so others can see it.

41 Bluebells and Shimmy Grass Oct 14

Tall Bluebells and Quaking Grass Journal Page ink and watercolour

I am gradually going through and identifying the names of the flowers I am drawing, not as easy as it sounds, I think it takes me as long to identify them as to draw them, but found some really helpful blogs and websites in the process.  The grasses are starting to flower and set seed now, not great for my hay-fever but pretty to see.  My favourite grass is what I have always called shimmy grass but is actually quaking grass.  I think shimmy is a much better name as it conjures up dancing while quacking links to fear.  This grass is definitely dancing in the slightest breeze.

45 Spring Gully Oct 14

Spring Gully Journal Page Watercolour and ink

A few different types of everlasting are out, the one with the many branching florets is the grey everlasting while the other is a little button plant called Scaly Buttons.  There is also a seed head of the Spiny Rush, which lives up to its name as the points of the leaves are really sharp.

Twinning Glycine  Journal Page Watercolour and ink

Twinning Glycine Journal Page Watercolour and ink

My best find was these tiny, little pea like flowers which were hiding in the grass called Twining Glycine.

I haven’t been just drawing flowers in my sketchbook, I have started on some new works for an exhibition that I have been asked to join at the end of January.  More news about this in the next blog.

Karen

Spring Wildflowers

Wild Flowers Sketchy Walk Oct 14 Journal Page

Wild Flowers Sketchy Walk Oct 2014 Journal Page

I was worried while I was away in Bali that I would miss the best of brief wildflower season at home.  But I shouldn’t have worried as there were still plenty to be found and best of all the little bush orchids and lilies were out.

Blue Pimpernal, Waxlip Orchid and hairy caterpiller

Blue Pimpernal, Waxlip Orchid and hairy caterpillar

These sketches were done over the last couple of weekends on some lovely sketchy walks in the sun.  I was first caught by the most amazingly vivid blue flowers  in the grass, lucky they were so bright as they were tiny, little things. Most of these wild flowers are tiny, but just so beautiful when you get up close and personnel with them.  You have to go walking so you are slow enough to be able to see them, shyly hiding in the grasses.  There were plenty of the little waxliped orchids out, they come up singly on a long thin stem, and just nod in the breeze.  For the first time ever,  I saw a whole group of them together, it took my breath away and I was sure there would be fairies about.

Waxlip Orchids

Waxlip Orchids

There were loads of paper everlasting daises and I found some other funny little flowers with long grass like stems, I was told they were weeds, just haven’t found out what type yet.  Never mind they are pretty to me.  Because the sun was shining so brightly I also made little drawings of the shadows the flowers cast on my page.

Golden Paper Everlastings and cute little pink flower

Golden Paper Everlastings and cute little pink flower

The following weekend I saw even more orchids and had the luck to run into a knowledgeable wildflower enthusiast beside the dirt track and he was kind enough to help me with my identification.  I was really pleased that my sketches were good enough to identify the flowers from!  Here is the Twinning Fringe Lily, only about 7-10mm big and it twines up on other things and also the Chocolate Lily, with its nodding flowers on tall thin spikes.

Twinning Orchid

Twinning Orchid

Chocolate Lilly Journal Page

Chocolate Lilly Journal Page

I also saw this little yellow flower which my new friend kindly identifies as a Bent Goodenia, what a great name and a cute little flower.

Bent Goodenia

Bent Goodenia

The yellow buttons that I drew in an earlier walk were going to seed, just like a dandelion so I just had to stop and draw these as well.

Yellow Buttons going to seed

Yellow Buttons going to seed

 

Here finally is a very quick sketch of one of the mines that still dot the landscape and remind us that this was once one of the busiest and richest minefields in the world.

Old Gold Mine Journal Page

Old Gold Mine Journal Page

I will leave you with this last photo of all the yellow everlasting that were carpeting the bush, spring is so magical.

Karen

Paper Everlastings

Paper Everlastings

Where I have been this past week.

Abbottsford Convent Farmers Market Sep 14

Abbottsford Convent Farmers Market Sep 14

While I was busy working on my Bali sketch book I still managed to get some other work done.  It is hard to balance all these projects, but a great deal of fun, definitely not bored at the moment.

The weather has been lovely on the weekends and I finally got around to visiting a farmers market in the beautiful grounds of an old convent.  It is one of my favourite places in Melbourne.  It is near the river in these amazingly peaceful, old convent buildings and grounds.  It is now a thriving arts and food area that just abounds with live.

Farmers Market Spread Sept 14 Ink and Watercolour

Farmers Market Spread Sept 14 Ink and Watercolour

I always enjoy farmers market, it is lovely to be around people who are passionate about their produce and I adore looking and tasting all that great food.  We shopped, ate and explored in the most beautiful sunny spring weather.  I managed to get a quick sketch in of the scene, even was brave enough to add people.  Just couldn’t resist this cute little girl in her pink and yellow outfit.  My sketching is getting better and I am managing to get much more down in a shorter time.  Practice is really working!

Office View Watercolour and ink

Office View Watercolour and ink

Also that week, we moved our office into the CBD and I finally have an office with a window and natural light.  Yippee!  To celebrate I did this sketch out my window, looking at one of Melbourne’s famous plane trees which was just starting to unfurl its leaves.

 

Karen

Bali Journal

 

Barking Gecko

Barking Gecko Bali Journal, Gouache and inks

I have been working hard this weekend to finish up a lot of the pictures that I started in my Bali Journal.  I know that once I move onto other things I will never go back and complete them.  So here you are, be ready for lots in this post.

Just to get you back into the mood here are a few pictures of where I was working.

My villa at Hurry Slowly Bingin

My villa at Hurry Slowly Bingin

My studio at Bingin

My studio at Bingin

View from my villa Bingin

View from my villa Bingin

Working with the girls

Working with the girls

The Barking Gecko and the Frog, where both visitors to my little villa, the gecko I only heard and he was extremely loud.  I thought geckos were small but these were a medium sized lizards and did in fact bark a bit like a dog.  The frog was a visitor to my open bathroom, but he didn’t like sharing and would quickly move on, which suited both of us.

Frog

Frog Bali Journal Gouache and Ink

The Manatee picture is a favourite, it combined a number of memorable images.  Manatees would swim out with the surfers and Angus, the husband of Jane who ran the course, would go out surfing and tell us of the manatees he would meet.  Also every evening the local fishing boats would stream out of the port and go past our cliff top perch, then at dusk they would light their lights and fish just off shore.  It was like another city of twinkling lights out in the ocean.

Manatee sleeping, Gouache, water soluble crayons and inks,

Manatee sleeping, Gouache, water soluble crayons and inks,

The dragon flys would zoom past as we were working in the garden, or would come and visit me in the villa.  This one is resting just by the hut by the pool looking over the cliff to the sea.

Dragon fly Bali Journal Acrylic and ink

Dragon fly Bali Journal Acrylic and ink

The next two are a double page spread and they are the offerings that would appear each day in my villa.  The Dupa is the Balinese offerings to the gods which are seen everywhere in Bali and help to bring good luck to the occupant and ward against evil.  The other was the little flower arrangements that the staff would do each day for me.  Such a lovely tradition.

Bali Offering, Water soluble crayons, ink etc

Bali Offering, Water soluble crayons, ink etc

Offering 2 Bali Journal

Offering 2 Bali Journal

I still have a few more pages to finish and I will be adding some of the photos to the spare pages and I hope to have another lovely keepsake of my trip.

Karen

 

Hanging out with the mixed media girls

It has been a busy couple of days as I started the course with Jane Davenport who is a mixed media, journal artist.  There are fourteen of us here all drawing away in this little piece of paradise.

Umbrella Bali Journal Page

Umbrella Bali Journal Page

The mixed media journalling is a whole different world for me and their process is completely different to mine.  They do not plan their work, just go where the page tells them, they work from their imaginations not from real life and they just lay done colour, papers, stencils on a page to start the journal without worrying what the picture will be.  Also this group do faces, as anyone who follows this blog will know, I rarely do faces.  I am used to planning a drawing, doing sketches and working from real life or photo references.  Wasn’t I out of my comfort zone on the first day as we merrily slapped down colours and papers. I would be alright for a moment until I started to think about what I wanted to draw and then I would worry that I didn’t have a background that would work.  Let go Karen, let go!

Bali Journal Page Background

Bali Journal Page Background

Bali Journal Page Background

Bali Journal Page Background

Anyway I got there and have managed to get most of my pages filled with a background.  The great thing about these girls is they will use every different media under the sun in one picture, background using a scrape booking paper, on it will go a printmaking technique, then acrylic, then some water colour, ink paint pens and pencils.  They know so much about all the different mediums it is inspiring to watch them work.

Morning Offering Bali Journal Page

Unfinished Morning Offering Bali Journal Page  Every morning a offering (canang) is placed at my door with a stick on incense (dupa).

I have only finished on page (Umbrella at the top), but I will show you where I am up to in a couple of other pages.  I am also learning to work on a number of different pages at a time and not to worry if one doesn’t get finished.

Manatee Page Bali Journal

Unfinished Manatee Page Bali Journal   At the top I have drawn the fishing boats that go past every morning and evening and use their lights to attract their catch.  The manatee swim with the surfers.

Working on these different backgrounds has been so much fun, and it is what I most wanted to get out of this courses, apart from the pleasure of working with so many other lovely like minded people.

Bali Girl Bali Journal Page

Bali Girl Bali Journal Page