Category Archives: Australian Natives

Fairy Wax Flower

Fairy Wax Flower Coloured Pencil and Ink

Fairy Wax Flower Coloured Pencil and Ink

Still running around taking photos of the wildflowers in the bush, it has not let up and with still more varieties coming into bloom.  We have not had such a bumper year (or a wetter one) and I am still finding new flowers to add to my collection of photos.  I will have so many photos to inspire my drawings, I hope they will last all year.

This one is the Fairy Wax flower.  It is so very photogenic, just about every photo I have taken of these flowers have worked and the white flowers against the dark green leaves really stand out.  I never realised that flowers could be photogenic, but for me it is the case.  Some photograph well enough but just don’t look as good as others.  Of course this would have nothing to do with my ineptitude at photography or lack of real equipment  (Ha ha).  I am still taking all my photos on the Iphone with the Camera+ app.  I love the ease and I know that I would not have the patience to faff around with setting up a lot of equipment and give up taking photos.  Here are some of what I have taken lately.

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Pink Fingers Orchid

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Pink Bells

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Large Sundew

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Castlemaine Spider Orchid

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Castlemaine Spider Orchid

We have planned a beautiful poteger vegetable patch with raised beds, formal layout and walls of wire mesh to climb things up.  It will be a staged event, with the beds going in this year and the walls next.  But we have had the wettest September on record, instead of 60mm of rain we have had 160mm.  this is really slowing down progress.

I will leave you with t Rosie watching the rain.  She is growing so fast, but seems to do it in stages, one moment her legs have grown and she is all gangling, then her ears will grow and she looks like a fox.  Never had a dog do that, but it is very funny to watch.

Rosie watching the rain

Rosie watching the rain

Karen

Greenhood Orchid

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Greenhood Orchid Coloured Pencil and Ink

 

Spring is finally ‘officially’ here and I have been torn between walks in the bush to find flowers, drawing and gardening.  I feel like the puppy, excitedly running from one to the other, not settling at anything.

It is such a busy time and as the weather tries to warm up, you just want to be out there.  We have just finished planting the roses and lavender in the front garden bed and made a huge seed order for the summer vege patch.  Not sure where they are all going to go, but it was impossible to be restrained with all these amazing heirloom varieties that sound so wonderful.  Vegetables such as Flageolet Flagrano Bean, Paris market carrots, Costoluto Genovese tomatoe, one of the oldest Italian varieties and Rosa Bianca eggplant.

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Little Greenhoods in the bush

The little Greenhood orchids are still flowering and I finally found time to complete a drawing of one.  Such gorgeous little things only a 1-2cm long flower and the stand no more than 7-8cm high.  I am not usually fond of green flowers but these are so crisp and fresh and who can resist such a bizarre shape.

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Lynette and the dogs, searching for orchids on a spring morning

I have found a couple of new orchids this year, which is always exciting.  There is the Leopard Orchid all yellow and brown, Lynette thinks it looks more like a dragon and the Yellow Moth orchid with its stunning, clear, yellow petals.  The good thing about being a beginner at this, is there are so many new plants to discover.  Every walk is an adventure.  I now have my sister hooked and it is better with two people searching, as all these flowers are very small.  (Tap/click the image for the orchid name.)

Karen

Early Nancy – First of the Spring flowers

Early Nancy  Coloured pencil and ink

Early Nancy Coloured pencil and ink

The weather has been beautiful for the last few days and I have been out enjoying it as much as possible.  Loads of wild flowers blooming and I have been working in the garden getting more garden beds ready for the spring growth.

Here is my latest flower portrait, I have decided to call them portraits as it is how I tend to draw and think of my flowers.  I like to show these little flowers with all their beauty and charm.  They are not botanically correct, though I do try for a reasonable amount of accuracy.  They are portraits with an emphasis on what makes them amazing to me.  With this Early Nancy it is the shape and ‘twiningness’ of their leaves and the vibrancy of the little circlet of purple on every petal that I like.

I have made a few in progress shots of the steps I take to share with you.

Pencil and initial ink outline Early Nancy

Pencil and initial ink outline Early Nancy

First I do an initial pencil sketch and then I will trace it and transfer it to the good paper, which in this case is Somerset rough press in a beige/sand colour about 300gsm. I like the toned paper as it makes the white petals pop.

Early Nancy - Ink layer

Early Nancy – Ink layer

Next I use my sennelier inks to block in the colours.  Having the ink underneath really makes the pencils glow.  I used to use acrylic, but the transparency of the inks make a difference and the paper still manages to glow through both the ink and the pencil.  The ink also makes it quicker with the pencils, as I don’t like any of the white showing through of the paper and it covers much quicker.

Early Nancy - Coloured Pencil and Ink

Early Nancy – Coloured Pencil and Ink

Finally the coloured pencil layer and once all that is finished I will go over with black ink to redo the outline.  After much trial and error and more dead fine-liner pens then I care to mention, I use a dip pen for this outline.  The wax in the pencils will clog a pen very quickly and that is the end of it.  I use a wider nib in my dip pen so I can get a range of widths in my lines which create more movement or interest in the drawing.

Rosie is growing so fast, almost daily I can notice changes.  She is three months now so no longer a little puppy.  She is learning fast and has settled into our family so well.  She is so gentle with Mum, who is getting very frail now, they just love each other as you can see.

Rosie curled up in her bed

Rosie curled up in her bed

Rosie and Hannah

Rosie and Hannah

Grandma and Rosie, best of friends

Grandma and Rosie, best of friends

I will leave you with some more photos of the wildflowers that I have taken in the last few days.  Karen

Early Nancy 'Wurmbea dioica'

Early Nancy ‘Wurmbea dioica’

Happy Wanderer 'Hardenbergia violacea'

Happy Wanderer ‘Hardenbergia violacea’

Greenhood Orchid

Greenhood Orchid

Buttercup 'Rununculus lappaceus'

Buttercup ‘Rununculus lappaceus’

The Start of Spring Flowers

Chocolate Lily Coloured Pencils and Ink

Winter is still with us and it has been a very wet and cold one this year, I can’t wait for it to warm up and to have some sun again.  You know that spring is just around the corner though as the first spring wild flowers are starting to appear.  I love this time of year and my walks in the bush are so exciting as I scan the ground trying to find the first of the orchids to bloom.

It should be a good year for the wild flowers as there has been plenty of rain. For the first time I have spotted a Greenhood orchid, so hard to spot in fact, that when I went back to take another photo, I couldn’t find it again even though it was right beside the path.  There are lots of Scented Sundew flowers this year, they are such a big flower for a tiny, little plant.

Green Greenhood Orchid

Scented Sundew flower

 

It has been a long time since I have done a big, coloured pencil, flower drawing and it was lots of fun to do one again.  In celebration and in anticipation of this years wild flower season, I have drawn one of last years Chocolate Lilies.    I am going to do a series of the local wild flowers, so there will be more to come.

The new puppy is settling in very well and Hannah has decided she really is alright and they play together most of the day.  Hannah is going to be a lot fitter than she was, as well as happier to have a little mate. Though it will only be a couple more weeks until she is bigger than Hannah.

Rosie and Hannah watching me to see if I am going to come out and play with them.

Rosie and Hannah watching me to see if I am going to come out and play with them.

 

We have  some more household members and are proud owners of four chickens.  We decided on some good old fashioned names for our girls, Madge, Mabel, Violet and Dot. Can’t tell them apart yet but I am sure we will get to know them better soon.  I haven’t got a good photo of them yet, but I will be drawing them as well.

Karen

Merry Christmas

12 Days of Christmas Turtle dove. Water colour and inks. Journal

12 Days of Christmas Turtle dove. Water colour and inks. Journal

It’s the night before Christmas already here in Australia and we have just about finished preparing for the big day.  Only a couple more presents to wrap and the ice-cream to set.  It has been a really tough end to the year, but we have rallied and are now ready for our two day Christmas festival.  With the children now gown up and with commitments of their own, we have had to spread Christmas over two days.  Its tough, but we are willing to go there.

This gives us the opportunity to have both the traditional and Australian Christmas fare.  My mum and brother love the full english tradition of turkey, ham and plum pudding.  I have to admit I have always struggled with this and with Christmas being 35C it isn’t the most fitting for our summer season.  The Australian Christmas is usually seafood, mangoes, avocados, ice-cream and loads of fresh berries or it is in our house.

12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas

I have been up early and to the market to get all the seafood and fabulous deli treats. My sister and I love to cook, so we are baking for a couple of weeks and have loads of fun planning our festivities.

12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas

Now these are something I prepared earlier, in fact I started them last year, but didn’t get them finished on time, so I have finished them for you now, I hope you like my version.

I hope your Christmas preparations are going well and everyone just has a lovely day with friends, families and loved ones.  I would like to thank everyone for their support and kind words this year, you really keep me going and I appreciate it so much.  So have fun everyone I will be.

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The back room is decorated and ready for Christmas

 

Spring Wildflowers

Fairy Wax Flower, Water colour and ink

Fairy Wax Flower, Water colour and ink

Spring has finally arrived and surprisingly enough it is blessing us with the most glorious weather for our long weekend here in Victoria.  It is 26 C today, 28 tomorrow and 31 on Sunday.  I have been out drawing in the bush this morning and mean to continue to soak up this sun all weekend.  The first time I have had the french doors open all day this year.

Gold dust Wattle water colour and ink

Gold dust Wattle water-colour and ink

Pink Bells watercolour and ink

Pink Bells water-colour and ink

This is my second season of painting the wild flowers and I am enjoying it  as much as last year.  I now know more of the names and I have looked back in my sketch book and can see when the different flowers bloomed.  I am not much into latin plant names but I do like to know the names of the plants I am drawing, though sometimes it takes me longer to research the plant then to draw it.  Still haven’t found the name of the one below.

Unknown flower as yet, watercolour and ink

Unknown flower as yet, watercolour and ink

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I have done a bit of research in taking photos with my iPhone and have found an app, Camera+, that takes the best macro photos, I was amazed at how close I can get and how well they turned out.  This will make taking photos for reference so much easier.  I keep thinking that I will buy a good camera, but for my needs the iPhone is doing all I want at the moment and it is so convenient.

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Button everlasting daisy

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Grevillea

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Paper Everlasting Daisy

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Waxlip Orchid

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Hannah helping me draw

I hope you get to go out and enjoy some sun this weekend too.

The start of Spring

Golden wattle Ink and water colour

Golden wattle Ink and water colour

Winter is finally losing its grip and the first hint of spring is in the air.  I have been walking on the Goldfield track where I found the best wildflowers last year and was rewarded with the first flowers of this year.

The wattle has been out for the last couple of weeks, it is the first to bloom and it heralds the end of winter in blazing golden glory.  That bright yellow just makes you glad.

Golden Wattle Goldfield track Castlemaine.

Golden Wattle Goldfield track Castlemaine.

I also found a new wattle that I hadn’t seen before.  I had seen the bush, as it has very long, sharp, spiny leaves that scratch if you brush past it, but I hadn’t noticed its flowers before.  They were little cream balls of fluff with just a hint of yellow.

Juniper Wattle or Prickly Moses Ink and water colour

Juniper Wattle or Prickly Moses Ink and water-colour

I also found a sundew, a little carnivorous plant that sends up the most beautiful and large white flower.  It was supposed to be scented but I couldn’t detect any, it was probably over powered by the wattle above it.  I have never known that we had these locally or that it had such a lovely flower, it has been a very wet winter so maybe the conditions have not been damp enough before.  You can just see the sticky little hairs on the margins of the leaves that catch insects.

Scented Sundew Goldfields track Castlemaine.

Scented Sundew Goldfields track Castlemaine.

Scented Sundew Ink and watercolour

Scented Sundew Ink and water-colour

There were also these lovely, little, bright, native buttercups, these are the most vibrant yellow flowers with a waxy coating so that they just shine in the sun.

Native buttercups

Native buttercups

Native buttercups Ink and watercolour

Native buttercups Ink and water-colour

I have tried a new technique with my water-colour pencils.  I have rubbed the water brush over the pencil and painted this onto the paper, instead of using the pencils to colour on the drawing and mix them with water.  This gives a much more of a water-colour look and a delicacy to the painting which suits these gorgeous little flowers.

Hannah and the Echidna

Hannah and the Echidna

Just to add a little interest to our walk we spied a rather big, fat Echidna just off the trail.  He heard us coming and hunkered down in the earth, not to pleased about being disturbed.  Hannah was not sure what this strange being was, but manage to give it a right good barking at before hiding behind me.  The Echinda wasn’t much bothered and ambled off once we backed off to an appropriate distance.

I must apologies for my lack of posts for the last couple of months, but my niece has been very ill over that time and other dramas have sapped my energy, there has been very little drawing and no blogging.  But my niece is much better and I now have the energy to draw and post again.  Yippee.  The sunshine helps as well.

To further my recovery and my sister’s, we are going to treat ourselves to a quick trip to Bali for more sun and warmth, in 10 more sleeps (I am so counting the days).   So I am busy making a new journal to take with me and of course I will share my travels with you.

Karen