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.      


From dark to light

I started this drawing with a background of graphite. And then I alternated between erasing and adding more graphite. I would have liked to have added a stronger tint of colour but either the graphite or the paper would not take any more. And so, here it is, a bit of an observation of a small desert rose I bought recently. It looks very similiar to the azaleas which are all flowering at the moment.

Finishing the unfinished

Dawdling to draw this morning, I flipped through a sketchbook.

Mmm…a few unfinished drawings there. Can’t remember this one (top left) but I do remember buying a waratah to draw. This as subject matter, is very Margaret Preston. I see her hand coloured linocuts. Strongly drawn. Thick black outlines. Very Australian in what she chose to draw. I don’t know what mine is, but I felt like scribbling with coloured pencils, erasing, then scribbling back over the top. Oh well, at least it is finished now – for want of a better purpose!

A little disruption – Ubud (1)

A wonderful three weeks in Lodtunduh, Ubud has disrupted my little blogging routine. 

The first five days was spent in a workshop ‘Balinese botanica exotica with Suzanne Archer’. The drawing, learning and and seeing was wrapped with fantastic company and in a beautiful environment – home of a dear friend.

And yes, above is not my usual A5 sized morning-on-the-balcony-sketch. Lots of charcoal layering, drawing in, removing, drawing over. And yes, after 3 days on it, it is unfinished. But, no matter. The experience of working large (2+ metres) and working with traces left behind by drawings removed was new and interesting to me.

 If I could, I’d have included in the sketch above, the staccato-like sound of the geckos, the sound of carp splashing about in the pond below and the 6am prayers sounding from a distance. Enclosed by glass panels, I loved this little space with its high pitched thatched roof and immersive views of the rice paddy fields.


And here, I am back to my A5…well, at least 2 A5!

Here’s a bit about the workshop:

Persimmon beauty

Every time I see persimmons or fuji fruits, I have to buy some. Not to eat, but to stare at. Oh dear, a little indulgence. But we all have a little one or two, don’t we?

For me, its their squarish roundish shape, the petal like leaves and and the colour – its orange. Not yellow orange, not red orange, not burnt orange but orange, orange.

Ok. Do tell. What’s your little creative indulgence?

Ways to hold a pencil (3)

 Still using pencil sticks. Still scribbling till forms take shape. Still admiring the structure of this plant and its shadow.

A good thing about using materials designed for kids are the small number of primary and secondary colours they often come in. I can see more easily which of the two greens and two blues are the warm versions.

I get into a state of indecision when choosing from my other box of pencils accumulated over time – light ultramarine, phthlo blue, ultramarine, helloblue, grey blue let alone the blues that are greenish blue. And then there’s olive green, sap green, turquoise green, jade, viridian,  pthalo green, light green, earth green and so on. 

And don’t get me started on house paint swatches. My goodness. How many whites?!

And so, its a relief to just have two greens, two blues, two reds to choose from.

Ways to hold a pencil (2)

Not sure where I found them but I have a pack of kids coloured graphite sticks. Rather than having pencil points, they have hexagonal ends. This means you can get thick and thin lines. You can also do large shapes holding the sticks side on. 

But I got a bit carried away with scribbling, I felt I needed to bring back ‘a bit of order’ or definition and went over the two layers with a 4B pencil.

It kind of gives you a couple of goes at drawing the same thing. That’s ok, some of us (me!) need a few attempts. Imagine having the visual intelligence and accuracy of Leonardo Da Vinci or closer to our times, Lloyd Rees. Sigh.