Tag Archives: pen and ink


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.


Sketching on Mt Alexander

Last weekend I went for a walk along the spine of Mt Alexander near Castlemaine.  It is a favourite place of mine to walk.  The mountain (of very modest proportions, it the flat plains of central Victoria a mountain does not have to be very high to get the name, only 774 m) it  is set in amongst  iron bark bush land and is studded with lovely grey granite boulders.  You get lovely views on either side looking east and west as the mountain is very long and skinny.


It was a perfect autumn day clear, sunny and still, just perfect for a sketchy walk.  My first drawing was of some lichen and moss on the exposed granite surface.  I am having a bit of fascination with lichens at the moment and here was an opportunity to draw them in situ.


Moss on boulder, Mt Alexander water colour and ink in sketch book



Walking a little way along I stopped at dog rocks, and chatted with some lovely people learning to abseil, then did another sketch of one of the many upstanding rocks in this group.  I never did find the rock that was supposed to look like a dog, but I brought my own along anyway.


Dog Rocks Mt Alexander Water colour and ink Sketchbook page

You may notice a few changes to my blog in the coming weeks as I am starting to change this site into a website and make changes to allow the purchase of my art through the site.  I hope it all goes smoothly and I don’t mess up my blog.  Fingers crossed and I hope for the best.


More Art Supplies

Art Supplies

Art Supplies

I have finally received my package of art supplies,  I used a Christmas voucher to buy it but took ages to decide what to buy.  So I thought I would share my little treasure trove of art goodies with you.

Not pictured here but one of my favourite supplies is my Lamy Safari Fountain pen.  I have used it in my latest sketches and I am totally hooked.  Finally a fine inky line and a pen that does not die on my harsher watercolour/printmaking paper that I made my journals out of.  It will also go over coloured pencil, yippee!  I can’t tell you how many fine liner pens I have massacred, they don’t last more than a couple of drawings in my journals and they are killed by all the wax in the coloured pencils.  Plus there are different nibs and a whole world of inks.  The people at Goulet Pens have the best site and great YouTube videos to truly entice you into the world of fountain pens, plus they give you lolly pops in each order!  I am so easily bribed with food.

Colour swatches of Derwenk Gaphitint pencils

Colour swatches of Derwenk Gaphitint pencils

I also bought the new Derwent Graphitint pencils.  They are coloured graphite and although the colour range is a little limited, they have lovely subtle colours and they are water soluble, so work in well with the Derwnet Inktense that I already have.

There is also some more Sennelier water colours to complete my set which I purchased before Christmas.  They have honey in them so a very creamy.  I don’t have much experience with water colours and this is the first set of professional paints I have bought, so not sure how they compare, but I am happy with them. I just need loads more practice to get proficient with them.

I also had to have some  water soluble graphite that Anna Warren has been using (see here), so I bought a couple of sticks and a tin.  I have not played with them yet but am looking forward to trying them out.



Late Summer Sketching

Green Bower, water colour pencil and ink journal page

Green Bower, water colour pencil and ink journal page

I have been kicking back and doing some late summer sketching, how decadent is that.  No exhibitions on the horizon, nothing to do but please myself, so I am sketching in my journal and just about to set myself up to do some book binding, a few little sketch/note books I have wanted to make for ages.

I have a long weekend up in Castlemaine and it is coming into my favourite time of the year up here, Autumn, crisp, sunny, warm days and cool nights.  I am just going to let go of the fact that we never really got a summer this year, stop pouting and just enjoy autumn now it is here.

Hannah in the sun Watercolour and ink journal page

Hannah in the sun Watercolour and ink journal page

This picture is of Hannah in the sun, this is her favourite morning spot, it is in the sun, she can survey the yard to make sure no marauding cats dare to enter her territory and most importantly she can keep an eye on me in bed to see if I am getting up to make her breakfast yet.  She is a very shaggy westie in this picture as it was just before she was clipped.  What a burr seeking magnet she was, I don’t know where she found them, but every time she went out she would come back covered in burrs and would sit impatiently while I picked them all out.

Hannah collecting burrs, not looking to happy now its time to get them out

Hannah’s burr collection, not looking too happy now its time to get them out

The other drawing is of my bedroom festooned with the summer mossie net.  I am not usually a girlie girl, but I have to say I secretly love my romantic bedroom, draped netting, floral doona cover and french doors to the greenery outside.  I feel like a princess when I crawl into bed.  Wasn’t sure how I was going to draw the mossie net, but ended up painting the picture then went over it with a white gel pen, fairly happy with how the worked out, bed a bit wonky though, but I am embracing the wonkiness and having fun.

Hope you enjoyed the glimpse of my late summer decadence.


PS Having just read my last post I apologise for a few typos that crept in, I promise I do proof read but when I am tired I just don’t see.  So if they do creep please be patient and realise I am just having a bad fatigue day.

New sketches from my Sketchbook


In the last post I did a look back at what I had been doing in my sketch books, so I thought it would be a good idea to show you a couple of my drawings that I have just finished.

The first one is of a florist shop called Pollen which has the most stunning displays, always a joy to go past and its setting is lovely.  It is in Flinder’s Lane which is one of the trendiest lanes in Melbourne.  A lot of the best restaurants are tucked away in this lane and walking down it is always a treat.

Melbourne Laneways

Melbourne Laneways

Melbourne has become world renowned for its colourful laneways full of one off, cutting edge bars and restaurants, bespoke little shops and the really high quality graffiti.  Melbourne council made a decision years ago to grant licenses to little hole in the wall venues in the CBD and all of a sudden the laneways which where dirty, smelly and a place you wouldn’t go down, turned into vibrant bar and restaurant precincts full of small and quirky venues.  Instead of harassing the graffiti artists they were embraced and encouraged to work in certain locations.  Melbourne is now consulting with other international cities on how to conduct urban renewal.

Example of some of the graffiti in Melbourne

Example of some of the graffiti in Melbourne

Ok, so back to the picture, Pollen the florist is tucked into the old chapter house of the large sandstone Anglican Cathedral, hence the beautiful of arches above it.  It looks like in could be in the back streets of Paris.  I am getting fond of the dusk lighting when there is still enough daylight to see, but the lamps begin to glow.  it has brought out the pop of the white and other coloured flowers and given depth and a bit of mystery to the picture.


My other picture is of a lovely cottage garden in the country at Castlemaine.  It is also in an historic setting as the cottage in the back is one of the best preserved miner’s cottages in the district.  It is called Tute’s cottage and is was built in the gold rush in 1860s and since 1922 was lived in by the same family until 1997.  The last woman to live there must have been very tough to live in such primitive conditions as very little had changed and very short.  The doorways are tiny, they must only be 5’7′” high.

The garden has been replanted to replicate a gold mining garden and is being maintained as a community garden by a group of residents who live across the road from it.  It is a fantastic and productive garden full of heritage varieties.  This is my idea of a perfect vege garden, structured but still loose, no formal rows and lots of inter-planting.  Good height variety with the home-made trellises made from the fruit tree prunings.  I think Peter Rabbit would have been very happy here.

Royal  Arcade July 14 urban sketching

Royal Arcade July 2014

I thought I would show one of the first sketches I did in my book, it is nice to look back and think that I have improved.  They were both down in the same time frames, about 90 minutes on site and the same amount at home to finish the drawing and add the water colour.  I can sure fit in a lot more detail now and am so much more confident.  Sketchbook Skool courses have really helped me to develop my skills.