Chinese New Year in the park (2)


Getting ready to go on stage…


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.

Observed but not quite

This is one of those drawings where I’m not quite sure where it’s headed as I’m going along. And here it is – layers of oil pastel and pencil, part observation, part made up. 

It is a small trinket box I found in an op shop one day. The intricacy, the red and carved-like rendering of the shapes made me wonder about its original design or at least the inspiration for it. A quick google tells me it is based on carved red laquerware that was predominant in 12th century China. 

The box I have is mass produced but it is kind of nice that the design has been inspired by the past.

Oil pastel and pencil, 19 x 21cm

A cutting from my neighbour

This cutting has lasted a while. It has come from a rambly type orchid that spills up and over a large pot. When in good conditions it brings strings of mini white orchids, apparently with a lovely perfume. Don’t think that will happen with this cutting.

Still, as a random thing to draw, I kind of like the way it breaks up a visual space. As I’ve used pencil and oil crayon, there are traces of where I’ve ‘moved’ the leaves. A thing I like about a drawing is being able to see the decisions – small or large – that have been made.

Maybe that’s the imperfectionist coming out in me.

Oil pastel and pencil, 19 x 21cm

Gingko leaves

I found these gingko leaves pressed flat between two art books – a belated gift from last Autumn. Their fan shapes are distinctive. And when put together, the spaces they make among them are just as interesting.

This piece has been inspired by the work of printmaker Jorg Schmeister. If you don’t know his work, do a pinterest or google search. It is worth your while. His images take you beyond the physical appearances.

Oil pastel and pencil, 19cm x 21cm

Patina of Ubud (2)

oil pastel and coloured pencil, 19cmx21cm
Patina has several meanings but the one I’m thinking about is ‘a surface appearance of something grown beautiful especially with age or use’ ( The background of this picture has been inspired by a front entrance door put together by artist Stacey and carpenter Ulin from old pieces of carved teak wood he has sourced from Java. The three bowls? Traces of old beauty is everywhere in Ubud – temples and compound houses with their ornate shrines and pavillions.

Two sisters

Not quite sure that these two drawings quite work. But…they have served as little ‘drawing lessons’ especially with using colour to draw those qualities which you cannot physically see in a person. 

For this I am trying non realistic colours and quite inspired by the palettes used by Odilon Redon. Some of his art is a bit on the nightmarish side for me but alot of it I find very expressive , poetic and capture the quieter or ethereal qualities of a person or object.
I’ve using layers of oil pastels and working pencils into those layers – all with a lot of scribbling until forms…or something, takes place. A nice little journey.

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?

From in here, to out there (2)

Still enjoying the simplicity of using pencil. This time I started blocking in the whole page with different tones using the side of a 6B graphite stick. Then I focussed on shapes but mainly working from the negative space. They kind of emerge when I do that. I find myself looking for shapes on the page rather than necessarily drawing what is in front of me. I quite enjoy it as there’s more scope for me to ‘move pots’ around, make up some foliage and even make my balcony look a bit bigger!

Semi-observational, semi-made up. 

Next, there will be giraffes, elephants and a flock of birds coming into my view…along a running water stream, of course.

From in here, to out there (1)

On grey and cold days, I prefer to be inside, looking out to draw. And yesterday, Brett Whitely’s drawing style came to my thoughts. In a youtube interview of his wife Wendy Whitely, she mentioned the notion of ‘from in here, to out there’ in his drawings. He has done for example, a huge harbour landscape and a matisse-like squiggle suggesting a balcony at the lower edge of the canvas. Maybe the concept is not new but his way of capturing it is refreshing to me.

When I look at his paintings or drawings, I can almost ‘see’ him using his whole body to draw – moving from one side of a huge canvas (or triptych) to the other side, reaching high up, bending right down and using large whole of arm, shoulder calligraphic moves. Very gestural, very expressive and so free.

I’m not sure how comfortable it would have been for me to have had a conversation with him, but I would loved to have just sat in a corner to watch him in action. I don’t think words would be needed anyway.

In comparison to him, I feel like a mini robot. I’m usually seated, with small wrist and hand movements which are almost always within the confines of an A5 space. 

How wonderful it is then, to be able to learn from such talent. 

Mmm…maybe I start by moving up from A5.