Tag Archives: flower

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

Late Autumn Sun

Winter sun, Ink and water colour journal page

Late Autumn sun, Ink and water colour journal page

The sun streams into my cottage at this time of year and it is just wonderful to sit on the coach in the sun and look out onto my new garden.  I tried to catch the look of the sunshine through the french doors as it filtered through the dark, red, grape-vine leaves.  As I sit and look at this picture again I am torn, it is close to the feeling I wanted, but not yet there.  I have fiddled with it a bit, but will have to walk away now as more will ruin what I have gained so far.

Late autumn sunshine photo reference

Late autumn sunshine photo reference

Here is the photo I used as the reference, although I did crop the image for the drawing.  Even posting this I can see the issues, will I ever get my darks and lights bold enough?  I have spent ages working on colour and I am happy with that, but struggle now with the contrast.

Work in progress

Work in progress

Here is a WIP photo of when I had just started adding colour, part of me thinks I should have stopped there.

Work in progress

Work in progress

Here is another as I struggle with the balance of the drawing, I was not happy with the doors and went back and darkened the background to make the rest pop.

Well it is always great to challenge ourselves and I will give this another try with different sketch later. Always another day, another page in the journal and more winter sun.

Rosella in the rose hedge

Rosella in the rose hedge

Here is a picture of a Rosella just outside the window to cheer us all up, as it is a cold, wet, windy day here today, even the bird is all fluffed up.

Karen

Settling In

Bounty in a mid- century kitchen  Water colour and ink

Bounty in a mid- century kitchen Water colour and ink

It is Sunday night and for the first time (in more time then I care to remember), I am tired after spending time in the garden doing physical activity.  Nothing beats the feeling of putting your feet up at the end of the day after you have really achieved something.

I have been working on three gardens this weekend.  One garden has the straw bales seasoned and it has just been sown with beautiful flower seeds.  I did start planting them out in a careful pattern, but sowing seed is harder then it looks as some where so tiny, so as usual the great plan was thrown over to a more adhoc system.  Another garden has had the straw bales laid out and it will be planted with peas and beans, its seasoning process has begun.  The other garden has been planned and the plants ordered, it will be a 17 metre long rose garden, under-planted with lavender and catmint.   We have chosen mostly old fashioned scented roses going from a deep red, through the pinks to white.  You have no idea how much fun it is to order 19 roses at once.

The double page spread

The double page spread

During the week I stayed at a friend’s house, she is an amazing cook and adores all things mid-century.  I bought her some local produce and she displayed them in her new Lucie Kaas bowls.  This is her picture, but I loved the composition so much I had to draw it.  It shows three things close to her heart, great produce, great design and her kitchen.  What’s not to love.

Karen

A New Start

View From my door May 2016 Pen and water colour pencil

View From my door May 2016 Pen and water colour pencil

The move has occurred and I have begun to settle in and even found enough time from the unpacking to do a quick sketch.  It is so good to be back in Castlemaine full-time, (will almost I still go to Melbourne two days a week for work) and I can finally get to play in my garden.  Lots to do and lots to plan.  Next to my art, creating gardens is my favourite thing and at the rate I move around, creating gardens is what I end up doing, rather than watching them age and mature.

This is the view out of my front door, of the old pepper-corn tree with the bird feeder and elk-horn plant.  The crimson rosellas are frequenting the feeder again as I am able to keep it topped up for them.  It is so lovely to have their flashes of colour in the garden.  There are also blue wrens hopping around and I will be drawing them in upcoming works.

Rosehips May 2016 Pen and water colour Pencil

I like to think of gardening as drawing and designing in 3D, with the added bonus of scent.  The garden will be a major inspiration for my art, so dear readers you will be seeing the creation of the garden along with the creation of the art.

I have done lots of researching on sustainable gardening techniques including permaculture and have found that you can make straw bale gardens.  You use strawbales and start them decomposing and then plant into them.  They will last about 12 months before they break down too much and you use them as mulch.  I am going to use some for the vege patch and others for an annual flower garden.  I will share the results with you.  Lots of pretty flowers with an abundance of gorgeous scent.

Start of the strawbale garden

Start of the strawbale garden

So hopefully I will be making pretty things and getting enough sleep.  The recipe for a happy life.

Karen

Quick visit to Fremantle

Hampton's B&B Water colour pencil and ink Journal

Hampton’s B&B Water colour pencil and ink Journal

Last weekend I made a quick visit to Fremantle just out of Perth, Western Australia.  I had to go to WA for work, so I sneaked in a weekend in Fremantle.  It was a coincidence, as I had mentioned to a blogging friend Julie Podstolski that I wanted to visit and see her art in person, (she does the most beautiful coloured pencil drawings of Geisha).  I did not realise that in a couple of weeks time I would have to travel there for work.

Fremantle is a lovely historic port town with the most marvelous buildings, it is about 20 minutes west of Perth.  I was glad to leave the cold, grey skies of Melbourne to the warmer weather and sunshine.  Julie and her lovely friend Robyn met me for lunch and we had a great time chatting and I showed them a couple of the collaboration books I was working on as Julie had been following them.

 Mural Fremantle

Mural Fremantle

We then went to see the fantastic mural that Julie has featured on her blog and then to her house to see some of her drawings.  It is so nice to meet someone you only know through social media and to see in real life the drawings that you have watched being created through photos.  I can only say both are better in real life and that is not an easy feat.  I also was able to see Robyn’s beautiful ceramic sculptures

Duyfken 1600 sailing ship Fremantle Water colour pencils and ink

Duyfken 1600 sailing ship Fremantle Water colour pencils and ink

On the Sunday I went for a walk along the docks and tried my hand at drawing an old sailing ship, fun to draw in the sun, but they are very tricky, I edited a lot of ropes out, (sorry to any nautical readers).  I felt I couldn’t come to Fremantle without some sort of boat drawing as it did host the America’s Cup while it was in Australia’s hands.

Fremantle Page Journal Water colour and ink

Fremantle Page Journal Water colour and ink

I think that weekend of warmth and sunshine will have to tied me over through the next few weeks as this winter looks to be a very cold and wet one and the flu season has us in its grips.  Always nice to look back on these memories and sketches in my book.  Thank you Julie for your hospitality.

Karen

Sketchy Breakfast

Banksia Flower Journal Page Water colour pencil and ink

Banksia Flower Journal Page Water colour pencil and ink

I am minding a friend’s house while she and her partner go touring around the Kimberly (Outback Northern Australia) in their 4WD.  An amazing trip through the wilds down the Gibb River Track from Kununurra to Derby.  So while being envious of their trip, I am enjoying some inner city living.  The house is in Northcote with plenty of great food and coffee, if you can get past the hipsters.  Lots to smile about here.

So to get into the lifestyle I have been going out for breakfast on the weekend and taking my sketch book with me.  Today as I was walking to the café, I passed this lovely Banksia tree and the lemon yellow flowers had caught the autumn sun.  So I stopped to snap a couple of pictures to draw.

Banksia in the autumn sun

Banksia in the autumn sun

I wanted to try a looser and quicker style, as I had slowed down again with all the cross hatching I had been doing.   I decided to start with the colour and map out the main areas then go over them with ink for some loose details, but first where is the coffee?

The banksia flower

The banksia flower

Adding in the leaves

Adding in the leaves, water colour pencils before the addition of the water.

It is fun to just lay the colour down and not get to fussed over the precise layout of the leaves and great to work quickly.

First ink outline

First ink outline

Once the paper had dried I added the first inky outline.  I was a bit nervous opening up my pencil case, as I had just flown to Sydney and back for a quick work trip and realised that my fountain pens were in the case.  I had only cabin luggage so they were pressurised, but I was bit nervous on how they had made the trip.  The Lamy safari with the EF nib had no leakage at all and worked just fine.  The Noodles Ahab did leak into the cap, but cleaned up ok and no spillage.  Felt lucky at that moment.

IMG_1716

Slight break for breakfast. Yum, avocado, feta, bacon and poached eggs on sourdough

After contemplating the drawing through breakfast and discussing it with the wait staff, (also artists as well, most of Northcote is creative), I went back in with some more coloured pencil and then thickened up the outline in places to give more variety to the line.

Finishing off the drawing with my last coffee.

Finishing off the drawing with my last coffee.

Not my greatest drawing ever, but a fun and quick exercise that played with a few techniques.  Took me about an hour, food included and such a fun thing to do, hope you enjoyed coming to breakfast with me.

Karen