Tag Archives: water color

Vegetables and Experiments

Bok Choy Farmers Market ink and watercolour pencils

Bok Choy Farmers Market ink and watercolour pencils

Still having fun drawing the produce of the local farmers markets.  This last couple of weeks has seen the addition of Bok Choy and I just finished the Cumquats yesterday.  I have been snuggling down on the coach with my heater and little Hannah as company as the rain comes bucketing down outside.  You can tell she is working hard and clearly having a bad hair day.


Hannah supervising the writing of the post

Experiment 1

I have been experimenting with different waterproof inks for my Lamy safari pen.  I had been using Noodlers black ink, but it isn’t as waterproof as I would like.  These two drawings were done with Platinum Carbon Black.  I did notice an improvement with this ink, it is smoother in the pen and is much more waterproof.  The down side is that it does have carbon particles in the ink and they might block up my pen, (though it hasn’t done so in the  three weeks it has been in there and I haven’t used it every day, I don’t want to mess up my new pen).  I have just ordered some De Atrementis black archive ink which is also supposed to be good so I will see how that goes.


Cumquats Ink and water-colour pencils


Experiment 2

I have also been playing around with gessoed boards to try to find some different ways to present this work.  I love working on paper, but I am not as happy with framing and putting the work behind glass. I would like to find a way to present the work similar to how oil paintings are with thick sides that can be hung on the wall.

When I did the  pieced patterns, I covered them with a varnish that had UV filters.  I am conscious of the fact that some colour pencil colours are not as light-fast as needed and that water-colour pencils are worse.  These UV filter coatings are getting very sophisticated so I am confident that the combination of varnishes from Golden will give me the dust and UV protection I will need.  I used Golden Gel Topcoat w/UVLS which I brushed on and Golden Archival varnish with UVLS which is a spray.  I used a combination of Gloss and Matt as the gloss gives a stronger finish and the matt top coat stops it being too shiny.

There is no doubt that these varnishes change the way the work looks and gives it a slight plastic finish and I haven’t decided if I can live with that yet.  I will take some photos of the process as I go along with these different experiments and of course share the outcomes with you.




Farmer’s Markets and Vegetable gardens

Fresh Peas Farmers Market Ink and Watercolour

Fresh Peas Farmers Market Ink and Watercolour

I am still working on images from the Farmer’s Markets I visited a couple of weeks ago.  I was not only captivated by the wonderful fresh produce, I liked the various ways that stall holder’s displayed their wares.  This lovely old bucket was just gorgeous and very aptly labelled.  The colour went so well with the vibrant snow peas.

Tute's Cottage Vegetable Garden Ink

Tute’s Cottage Vegetable Garden Ink

I have an unfinished drawing of Tute’s vegetable garden in Castlemaine that I visited earlier, (see here) which I thought I would share with you.  It is still only a line drawing as I haven’t decided how to colour it, I have not had the results I wanted from water-colour (more my lack of skill rather then the medium), so not sure if I will return to colour pencils or water-colour pencils.  I really enjoy water-colour pencils and use them I lot in my sketch book, but I am always mindful of the fact that they are not very colour fast.  It is disappointing that so many of our art supplies are still not colourfast in this day and age.  I wish manufacturers would be mindful of this point when they develop new products.

I have had a lousy week with flu and now Autumn seems to have run away already and we have moved into our cold, grey winter.  I have been trying to do some drawing for a friend of mine and they are just not working out.  Well that is my moan, I will go back to working on the collaboration books, they always make me smile and snuggle down onto the coach with the heater on.


Farmers Market and a new name for the blog

Fruit Harvest Ink and water colour Sketchbook

Fruit Harvest Ink and water colour Sketchbook

It has been perfect autumn weather the last couple of weekends and the farmer’s markets are just bursting with produce.  I have been to two, one in Castlemaine and the other in Melbourne.  I adore these markets and always come away with too much, but the produce is soo tempting.

This sketch is of an organic fruit stall in the Castlemaine market, don’t you just love the colours of the apples and pears.  I have tried to capture the crispy freshness of it all, displayed so beautifully in the old fruit boxes.  The styling of the market stalls has come a long way.

Market Stall Castlemaine Growers Market

Market Stall Castlemaine Growers Market

Here is a work in progress of the sketch, I took the photo in the evening so I apologies for the quality of the colour, but it gives you the idea.  I have used my new Ahab fountain pen from Noodlers with this.  It has a flexible nib which allows you to vary the width of the line depending on how hard you press.  I am starting to get used to it and it worked well with this drawing and I got some nice line variation in the outline of the fruit.

Work in progress.

Fruit Harvest Work in progress.

I am tempted to do some larger colour pencil drawings of all this produce, see how much time/energy I have.

This weekend I am in Melbourne and as I was still excited by markets, went to the Collingwood Children’s Farm Market.  This is right next to the Abbotsford Convent where I did a sketch of the market there see here.  It is a working farm only a couple of kilometers from the city centre beside the river and it is a place where you can children to see where their food comes from.  There are all the usual farm animals and great fruit and vege gardens.  A magical place.


Collingwood Children’s Farm Market

The farmers market is big and busy, but when you walk around you would not believe you are in the city.  I took lots of photos so there will be some more drawings coming up.

Well my blog has a new name, Karen Bailey Studio which is also my domain name.  I like occasionalartist, but as I draw nearly every day now, I thought it was time to move on.  I am gradually learning what to do to set up this new web site, but it will be a slow progress.  Any link to occasional artist will be kept and redirected to this new domain.  I tried so many names but I thought Karen Bailey Studio gave me plenty of breadth to do different things, while still linking firmly to me.

Enjoy your weekend


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.


My week in sketches

Pope Joan Garden

Pope Joan Garden  Ink and Watercolour Sketch from my sketchbook

Here are a couple more sketches from my life last week.  I am still having fun just documenting the things around me in my daily life.  Nothing out of the ordinary and of no startling significance, but it is a part of finding the beauty in the everyday.  The thought that we do not have to spend money or travel to find beauty and joy, it is all around us if we take the time and trouble to look and really see.  It is part of the slow movement, slow food is the most popular.  Just taking the time to treasure the moment and enjoy the process.

The first picture is of a lovely little restaurant where I had dinner with a friend.  She is a real foodie and always has a new restaurant idea for us to try out.  I do a lot of drawings before I go out to dinner with her, as I fill in the time between finishing work and meeting up for dinner.  She is very supportive of my art and would your believe she is now suggesting restaurants which she thinks I would like to draw.  This is one of them, Pope Joan in Brunswick, they have this fantastic long courtyard filled with planters of herbs that leads down to their vegetable garden.  A fabulous garden and the service and food were as good.

Mont Albert Station

Mont Albert Station Watercolour pencil and ink in my sketchbook

Here is a more prosaic subject, my local train station where I wait every morning to catch my train.  It is a sweet, little old station, surrounded by the leafy suburbs.  I just love these old buildings and just thought a picture of it belonged in my sketchbook.

Hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed drawing them.