Keeping up the habit (1)


I guess we all go through phases of unmotivation or uninspiration. Well. Ok, I’ll speak for myself. Sometimes everything looks a bit grey or ‘done that before’. A tiresome phase. 

But that’s when a bit of colouring-in helps keep the habit up. At least the hand is moving, the eyes are looking, searching.

Not sure when I did this ink drawing, but it now has colour. This very hardy plant is still out there on my balcony – taller, more shoots, very healthy. Just keeps growing. Don’t think it questions anything. It just is.


Book of little treasures

Came across a little concertina book tucked away in my bookshelf. From memory, I enjoyed doing these and especially where I get to the part of the drawing when the structure has been worked out and the tones just start to ‘pop out’ through darkening and also erasing.

It has been a while since I have done this kind of drawing – slow, intense looking and direct copying from nature.      

Pushing through

A thing I have learnt from swimming every morning for the last ten years or so, is pushing through that feeling of ‘I don’t feel like it.’ This happens especially on cold and windy days. The reverse is now the case. If I don’t go for a swim, my body ‘complains’ and says ‘see I told you so, you should have gone. You’d be feeling much more refreshed.’ 

Nothing more annoying than a wingeing inner voice. To avoid that, I swim.

Drawing can be like that some mornings. Some days when I feel rather uninspired with drawing, I do something like this. Grab a pen, book and draw something in front of me. More often than not, a focus takes over and very soon a drawing of sorts appears. I think it helps to just keep the excuses at bay by using whatever is on hand.

The wonky vessel on the right, by the way, is a light fitting I found in an op shop for $4. I suspected there was a missing ceiling attachment thing but thought in a worse case scenario, it will work as a ‘vase’. And it does. Well…it doesn’t leak.

Fiddling about

Can’t get enough of this fiddle leaf plant! It’s all the positive and negative spaces and shapes that I love. Turn is slightly and you get another configuration to draw.

It is a lovely feel in the air at present – warm breezes, quieter roads and relaxed routines – holiday season has begun. Love it. 

Nasturtiums aspiring

In a sunny corner, some regular watering (!) and a few dracena plants to grow tall with, these nasturtiums look happy. Nasturtiums seem to either aspire vertically or horizontally. If I were a nasturtium, I think I would be contented to grow across gardens, fields evens – new things to see, explore and learn from.

Yeah, right. Whatever.

Truth is, I just like the look of them. And they remind me of my three months in McLeod Ganj. Loved it. So, in one of my pots, is a piece of north India.

The way of water

These Koh-i-noor watercolours are so boldly pigmented I find I want to knock the colour back a bit with white or black. I do like how quickly the brush loads up with colour and then off I go. No wishy washy colours. 

But the best part? Watching what watercolour does so beautifully – merging from one colour to the next, flowing with the direction of the water – here and there and oh, ooops there too.

A bit like staring at a lava lamp. Sort of.

Deranged but beautiful (2)

In the mood for a water-based ink and watercolour wash, this is one more attempt at this plant before the flowers well and truly droop, close up then fall. 

With a forgettably complicated name like epiphyllum crenatum or orchid crenatum cactus, I have to google for it each time. And, what’s more it has ‘orchid’ in its’ name but it is not an orchid. It is called an orchid because it looks one. And this is about as scientifically and botanically accurate as I get.

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.