Category Archives: 2017 Artwork



Max, Coloured Pencil and Neocolor crayons A2 size

I made the foolish suggestion to my niece that I would draw a picture of her beloved dog Max for Christmas. I did add the caveat that it could be a complete failure and she would be getting a gift voucher if it didn’t work.  I have not done many dog portraits and he is difficult colour to be drawing.  I did spend some time on fellow blogger Rebecca Anderson’s site , she does amazing drawings of her black dog,

After a shaky start I am pleased with the result.  The eyes, in fact, have turned out too well and they  follow you around the room.  There were a couple of times when I was drawing it that I could feel him watching me.  Because he is so black, there are times when it is only the flash of the whites of his eyes, that let you know that he is curled up into a dark corner.

He is a rescue pup, we got him at around three months, but he must have had a rough time as he is still a very nervous boy and easily spooked.  My niece has done an amazing job with him and he is well trained, though prone to getting into trouble.  He is visiting us at the moment, while Katie is at the beach with friends.  Our girls love having him to visit, Rosie loves her elder brother, but he is more interested in basking in the sun.


Rosie, Max and Hannah. Max had to voice is objection in being disturbed from his afternoon nap.






Commissions and new web site

Wellanbah (Commission) Ink and water soluble crayons 40 x 40cm

It has been an incredibly busy and exciting lead up to Christmas this year. I now have a website, where you can buy my original art works or prints of your favourites. It is something I have been wanting to do for ages, but not had the time (or energy) to undertake. So have a look around it is at To compliment it I have a Facebook page Karen Bailey Studio and I have renamed my Instagram account the same. I have most of my social media organised (or as much of it as I plan to drive at the moment), of course I now have to keep up with it all.

My other exciting development is that I am taking commissions. These will be in three different formats

  1. Mixed media paintings of your home and garden.
  2. Coloured pencil drawings of your favourite bloom
  3. Mixed media painting of your favourite travel or holiday photo.

I advertised before Christmas in my local community Facebook page hoping someone might be interested, but not expecting much. The support I received was amazing, over 100 likes and three commissions. I was soooo excited, then of course I panicked, all the horror stories I had heard regarding commissions flooded into my head and what if the drawings didn’t work out!!!! But the people who wanted the commissions were really lovely and I had such fun. It was challenging, but I enjoyed drawing different things.

The commission I have included here was very different from what I usually do. Painting a autumnal landscape was fun and I channelled some Vincent as I did those poplars. It worked out well after a few problems with the shadows. I wasn’t dark enough, then I went overboard and went too dark and had to lighten again. Thank goodness the water soluble crayons were forgiving. (Thanks Julie for putting me onto Neocolours by Caren dAche).  The colours are actually a lot closer than these two photos indicate below, just shows you the difference scanning and monitors can make to the images.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, I certainly did, spreading the celebrations over two days.  I spent Christmas day at home with my sister and had the most tranquil of days, walking the dogs, cooking a feast and pottering in the garden.  Boxing day was our family dinner and another lovely day spent with everyone, lots of people, dogs and of course food and drinks.

Christmas breakfast under the grapevines on a lovely sunny day. 

So please pop over to my website and have a look, it is still a work in progress as I am making it myself, but I hope you like it.


Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas ‘Fire and Ice’

I have been working on this drawing for awhile now.  Adding different backgrounds to my flower portraits has been an idea in my head for some time, but I have had trouble trying to figure out how to do it.  I have tried before with smudgy type backgrounds (technical term there), but I have never liked it.

The idea for this background came to me when I was photographing some sweet peas last year and was looking at the great pattern of the stems and tendrils and thought they would make a good background, especially if I did them in grey scale.  This also gave me the chance to use my water soluble graphite sticks.  I always love the chance to play with new art supplies and it may even justify their purchase!

Although I am fairly happy with the result, I am not completely sure that this is the answer.  The sweet peas are cut out and are just sitting on top of the background, so nothing is set yet.  When I am not sure of a picture I have a few techniques I try to get another perspective on the work.

  1. Put the whole thing away and look at it again in a few weeks.  Not having seen it for awhile gives me fresh eyes to look at the work again to see if I really do like it or not.
  2. The opposite of this is to stick it on the wall where I can look at it for awhile to figure out what is not working.
  3. Taking a photo of the work is my third way of figuring out what is the problem, making it black and white can help, especially if you do not have enough contrast, as this is hard to tell sometime with coloured work.

If you have a different technique please share it with me as I always need help.

Last weekend I went back to one of my favourite nurseries, Lambley Nursery just out of Ballarat, as they had a garden tour and you could visit their sweet peas that they grow for their flower seeds, over 100 varieties.  The sweet pea I drew is from their garden last year and is called Fire and Ice.  I took a few photos, (over 70, but who is counting) and have included a few of my favourites for your viewing pleasure.

Might be a second Sweet Pea picture….


Rose – Pierre De Ronsard (WIP)

Pierre de Ronsard WIP (2)This is my latest work in progress and my favourite rose in the garden at the moment.  It is a big call to name my favourite rose, but Pierre wins.  Old fashioned roses are my favourite, the abundance of petals and the heavenly scent are major points in their favour.  I love the way the colours move from cream with a hint of green on the outside, to cream with a flush of pink on the edges in the middle, to a beautiful subtle pink in the centre.  The combination of cream and pink with the hint of apple green is stunning in this rose.

This particular climber has been in my garden for over eight years and is well established and producing magnificent blooms.  I find that my roses produce better blooms the older they get.  This is especially true for the old fashioned roses who tend to ball (go brown at the bud stage and never open) when young.

I have drawn this rose in my usual style with a under wash of sennelier ink then coloured pencil over the top.  It has been a great deal of fun to get back into this work again after a bit of a break and I have really enjoyed working with the beautiful colours of this rose and the challenge of making shadows in the cream rose work.  There is nothing like drawing a flower to make you really understand and appreciate it.


It has been ages since I last posted and the past 12 months have been very difficult.  My Mum passed away this time last year and after caring for her for so long and other major life crisis following on, I haven’t had the energy to keep the blog going.  My final blow was being made redundant a couple of months ago, just when you think it couldn’t get worse it does.  But it was a blessing in disguise and it has given me time to re-evaluate and make some new choices on what I would like my life to be like.  One of the clearest decisions was to take the opportunity to follow my art more seriously.  So for the last month I have been preparing my website and deciding on some business strategies and am looking forward to telling you all about them in the next post.