Tag Archives: painting

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.



Mum and Hannah  Neocolor and ink

Mum and Hannah Neocolor and ink Lambley Nursery 

It has been 100 days since I last posted and so much has happened in that time.  It is amazing, life goes on pretty much the same for years, then in a few months everything all changes.  I have to admit that the need for change has been building in my life for a few years now, so in some ways these last months have been a good thing as they are sorting out a lot of issues, but did it all have to happen at once!!!  I know these things are sent to test us and make us stronger, but really how strong do we need to be!

Over five years ago I left my house in Castlemaine, came to Melbourne with my mother and moved in with my sister and her two children.  My father had just passed away and Mum was in her eighties and blind so we needed to care for her.  My niece and nephew were at high school and as my sister is a single mother it also gave her some support with raising the kids.

Well five years later my niece has finished her Masters and has a new job, she has moved out of home with her partner and my nephew still at Uni, is moving out as well.  Child raising responsibilities over, we no longer need the big house in the suburbs.  Mum is slowly declining and will need more care than we can provide soon as her memory and sight continues to fail.

Then the companies I (and my sister) work for are in serious trouble, government funding changes and we are no longer viable and two out of the three companies go into liquidation.  So for many months we have not been sure if the next pay day will be the last as we scramble to find a way forward.

As you can imagine everything was up in the air and changes needed to be made.  I will not bore you with the details but after three months of struggle we have a solution.  We are moving back to Castlemaine, thankfully the property never sold and was rented out, I will be working part time and Mum is slowly being transitioned into care up here.

So in the end it will be a great outcome.  Children happy and independent, mother having her care requirements met and my sister and I have ongoing employment and will be sharing the property, which has two houses on a large block.  Loads of time for art and to get serious in selling and a garden to play in.  There is even room for some chooks and a vege patch.  We will move at the end of the month and I am so excited by the possibilities before me.

So I apologies for my lack of communication but am looking forward to sharing my new life with you as I can devote so much more time to my art and sharing it with my friends.


Collaboration 2 Collections

Collections Karen's Page

Collections Karen’s Page

I have finally finished the last book in the collaboration.  Thank you Cathe for being so patient as I dealt with other things in my life.  This is a lovely book based on a great idea, collections.  Don’t we all have a pile of those great little treasures that you find on a walk and bring home.  Well I used to, but for some reason I don’t any more.  I think it is because I don’t have a studio at the moment and I am always carrying my art work between Melbourne and Castlemaine, but I think it could also be because I take photos now rather than collect.

So I was a little bit stumped on what to do, then I thought of other collections I have and one of my favourites is my herb collection.  I love growing, smelling, eating, cooking and drawing my herbs and no matter where I live I always have a patch of herbs.  So a few of my favourites went into my page.

Collections joint  page

Collections joint page

For the joint page I went for a walk and made a collection of some  of the things that caught my eye.  I was lucky enough to find the yellow crest feather of the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo and then the breast feather of a pink Galah, another native parrot and some lovely delicate gumnuts.

The book is finished now and here are the other pages. The page below is the first page, Cathe did the lovely drawing of the paintbrushes in the jar and we all added little bits to it.  Gale the marbles, Anna the feathers (I just realised they are Galah feathers too by the look of them) and I did the gumnuts.

Collections Joint front page

Collections Joint front page

Next is Cathe’s page, she has such a great design sense when she puts these pages together and I like the way she makes the lettering part of the drawing.  I am inspired by her lettering and hope I can get my own to work as well in my journals.  Her feathers are also gorgeous.

Collections Cathe's page

Collections Cathe’s page

Next to work in the book was Gale, she was really inspired by this and put such a great diversity of objects in her collection page. the old tool is fantastic and sits along the rest of the collection so happily.

Collections Gale's page

Collections Gale’s page

Anna followed next and she was so inspired by this book that she has started her own journal of her collections.

Collections Anna's page

Collections Anna’s page

So our collaboration has finished, but we have all been so inspired, challenged and rewarded by it in so many ways, I do think that we will do another one next year.  I must say that I am looking forward to it.  We have all become such good friends through it and learned a great deal from one another.


More from Bali

Balinese Door  Water colour and Ink Bali 2015 Journal

Balinese Door Water colour and Ink Bali 2015 Journal

Although I am now back from Bali, I still have some more drawings that I want to do in my journal.  I had a great time there, relaxing and so beautiful.  I really like the Balinese they are very welcoming and have a great sense of humour.

Breakfast over looking the rice fields  Ubud Bali

Breakfast over looking the rice fields Ubud Bali

One of the things that I enjoyed in our stay in Ubud was having breakfast in the outdoor restaurant overlooking the rice fields and watching flocks of little birds feasting on the just ripening grain.  It took us ages to find out what they were as there were two different colourings of the same bird.  So here is a drawing of a cinnamon munia, but there were also ones that were dark chestnut and cream.

Cinnamon Munias  Water colour and ink  Bali 2015 journal

Cinnamon Munias Water colour and ink Bali 2015 journal

The gardens at the resort were beautiful and these following two drawings were at the resort.  There were loads of heleconias, one of my favourite group of flowers as they are so architectural.  I have seen some of them in florists, but this is the first time I had seen them growing, truly bizarre shapes.

Heliconias  watercolour pencil and ink Bali 2015 Journal

Heliconias watercolour pencil and ink Bali 2015 Journal

The first drawing in the post is of a doorway leading up to on of the villas at the resort, they had different doorways for some of the villas.  The carving and colours were just so beautiful I had to draw one.