Deranged but beautiful (1)

Don’t you love this slightly deranged looking plant? No? I do. 

My brother lugged it over in the car from our Mum’s garden, then up the stairs into my place and onto the dining table. A nice little surprise and now dominating the dining area.

For such a strange looking plant, it does produce a beautiful flower and with a gorgeous fragrance. Unfortunately, it opens fully only for a day or so and then, it hangs its head in a kind of ‘I’m exhausted’ look. At least the scalloped edged every-which-way leaves endure.


No jacaranda tree here

It is jacaranda season here in Sydney. Gorgeous avenues of purple. Soon they will be gorgeous ‘carpets’ of purple.

So, I started this drawing, with ‘great, I’ll do a jacaranda’. I looked and looked, bur could not quite work out how to start. Problem? My trees tend to look either like lolly pops or cauliflower. Neither of which is jacaranda-like. How does one paint a jacaranda with green trees behind and bits of sky showing?

As I kept staring at a jacaranda in the distance and pondering the question of how, this drawing emerged – a palm plant, monsteria and succulents – no jacaranda. The feeling is a bit like arriving somewhere and not knowing how you got there because your head is somewhere else! 

A gift from the age of the dinosaurs

When you touch the leaves of the plant that looks like a palm but isn’t, it feels like cardboard – hence, its nickname of cardbaord palm. And then, I find out that its ancestral roots go way back. How cool is that?!

Zamia Cardboard Palm: We already ascertained that the plant is not a palm. Cycads, which have been around since the dinosaurs, form cones at the center of the plant. The cardboard palm plant is native to Mexico and has tropical tendencies in its preferred temperature and light levels. Source: Gardening know how

I realise that spreading seeds across international borders is an activity requiring careful control and consideration. And so, I am pleased that I am able to have a piece of the ancient past – at least in my romantic imagination – without needing to go all the way to Mexico and in a time machine. Mmmm…but then again, maybe that doesn’t sound all that bad an idea if it were possible.

Imagine contending with a dinosaur for a cutting to go on my balcony? Maybe it’s safer not to interrupt the dinosaurs with whatever they are doing.  

A bit of play time on a gorgeous Sunday morning is not a bad thing. Have a gorgeous day / evening yourselves.

Monsteria, a fern, two daisies, and an aloe

All are common houseplants or in my case, balcony plants. 

Common they may be, but as tools for practising the skills of seeing and drawing, they provide endless lessons in light, shape, line and a bit of making things up. On paper, it is also the easiest way of ‘moving’ plants around to form different arrangements. 

Oh…and I am still enjoying using kids textas.

For a short while (4)

I am a bit embarrassed to say that there could have been two cactii in this drawing. The other one lasted for a few months and got ‘thinner and thinner’ until it reduced to a piece of tiny prickly rubble. Methinks over watering was what ‘done it in’. Plants do it tough on my balcony.

The surviving cactus, as you can see, is flowering. Well, one flower. I find it amazing that a prickly round thing like this cactus can produce such a delicate, paper-thin looking flower. Just lovely.

For a short while (3)

Abstract art: A trend in painting and sculpture in the twentieth century. Abstract art seeks to break away from traditional representation of physical objects. It explores the relationships of forms and colors, whereas more traditional art represents the world in recognizable images. Source:

I am interested in abstraction in art but do not really have a process for doing it. While what I have done here is hardly abstract, it feels like a start.

I have started with an observational drawing – a third attempt at the same subject – trying to simplify tones and shape. The second is not really a cohesive drawing but more about breaking the subject into its smallest part and simplifying each part. It is still representational but moving along the continuum towards abstraction. I shall try to move it along.

A tiny ramble here. Sometimes art process is better left unsaid.

This Iceland Poppy, by the way, has dropped all its petals. Gorgeous while it lasted.

For a short while (2)


Making the most of it. 

I only have one poppy but here there are eight. How? Turn it around eight times and you get more. If I were more interesting in my vantage points – imaginary and realistic – there would be far many more poppies. 

Still, more appreciation time, more goes at drawing, just more. I’m enjoying doing colour blocks or colour shapes using these markers. I grew up calling them textas. Not sure if that’s a proper word but kids textas are what I am using.

That slight dark shadow in the top left corner? It’s the tiniest bit of thread from the cover of the iPad fraying across the camera lens. Just noticed it. Will cut it. Now.

The colour of Spring (3)


Not sure about you but I find backgrounds a bit difficult to do. Possibly it is because I don’t have a clear purpose or technique for them. If negative spacing ‘works’, I leave it. Backgrounds are not always necessary.
This succulent (epiphyllum) is just starting to flower.