Sketching the collection


Something I have often felt I should do is draw every day – there are many days I do, other times life gets in the way. With a big camping trip coming up, where I do intend to sketch every day, I decided to get into practice. A while ago I bought a small (15 x 10 cm) sketchbook in landscape format – this was the obvious choice to use, not too large but with plenty of pages. One small drawing a day has to be achievable.

For subject matter, this too was obvious – my collections of objects found on my travels, a ready resource on my desk. So, on 10 July 2015 I began, and now have 12 quick drawings. None took long – a quick drawing in pen, then colour added in watercolour. The collection will expand after the trip, so there will be an endless supply of material!


The last book – water


The final book in the collaboration series came to me a week or so ago. The theme is water in all its variations. A little daunting for me, it is not a subject I have ever tackled, so required a fair bit of thought before I started to make marks in Gale’s book. I am the last contributor, and the work done by the other three artists, Gale, Cathe and Karen, is wonderful, exploring the theme in their own unique ways. Above is the front cover, created by Gale but added to by all of us – decoration on the strap by Karen, a title tag from Gale, H2O watery tag from Cathe, and a little jellyfish from me.


Coloured pencil was my medium of choice, and maybe not a good choice as the paper is heavy, cold-pressed watercolour paper with a distinct texture, but once I had begun there was no going back! On the combined first page I added drips running down to Karen’s splash and Gale’s droplets on a leaf (Cathe will add her bit later).


For my main page I decided to plunge under the water and explore the world of jellyfish – such wonderful, odd and beautiful creatures, delicate yet potential killers at the same time.


The next combined page offered me a clear subject – clouds. Mine are top left, Gale’s top right with Cathe’s delicate watercolour bottom left and Karen’s rain falling on the bottom right.


Gale’s glorious ocean started us all off. I think she has captured the flow and motion of the sea’s constant movement so beautifully.


Cathe moved from the Pacific North West of Gale’s inspiration to France, giving us her elegant, beautifully drawn swan on translucent water.


Continuing the travel theme, Karen’s painting took us to a serene lagoon in Bali, with a wonderful fleshy lotus flower.


The final page, inside the back cover, gave us all an opportunity to say a little about our own inspirations and journey through this book.

The experiment is almost done – the four books will be soon making their ways back to the original maker of each. I have gained so much from this – I have been challenged, daunted, inspired and stretched in so many ways, and gained from the insights of each of the three others. So, thank you and kudos to Gale, Cathe and Karen for coming with me on the journey – there will be more!

Miniatures with a Japanese flavour


The next miniature exhibition is approaching, so I have been gathering the works I intend to submit. I can put in two framed works and two three-dimensional works – one of the 3D works is in the miniature awards exhibition at the moment, but can be exhibited again as the two galleries are not close together.

The exhibition is called ‘A Brush with Japan’ so all the works will be inspired by Japan or Japanese gardens and will be held at the Gosford Regional Gallery. The gallery has a long cultural connection to Japan, and is surrounded by the Edogawa Garden which is laid out in the Japanese horticultural style.

My works are not Japanese in any literal sense, more representing my feelings and impressions of Japan. These ideas have suffused most of the work I have done this year. Above is my favourite piece, more of the piano keys. I have now painted eight or nine of these, and I have selected the three above┬áto work together in one frame. The title for these is ‘Three Obi’, and I am very grateful to my blogging friend Julie Podstolski for suggesting it. Julie has a long and deep interest in all things Japanese – see her amazing drawings here.


The second framed work I made when I was experimenting with encaustic earlier this year. The support is Ampersand Gessobord, and there are layers of oil paint, Neocolors 2 – which are water-soluble oil pastels – and wax. The layers are built up and scraped back to reveal colours hidden below, a process of discovery and surprise. To me it suggested windswept snowfields, so that became the title.

This three dimensional work has been shown on this blog before, but a little more work has been done to it, just general tidying up and refining. I have another wonderful blogging friend, Poppytump, to thank for the title of this one, ‘The Hidden Secrets of the Geisha’. She came up with it when I last showed this, and to me it sums it up perfectly. There are little objects hidden within each part, and these are all stored away in the shelves. For some of Poppytump’s wonderful photos, sketches and poetic words, see here.


The last piece is ‘Architecture in Japan’ which I wrote about in my last blog, made from interlocking pieces of prints.

The works will be submitted at the end of this month, then I will be off on a long camping trip. I will be taking my sketchbook and my camera, so will do blog posts as and when I can. So please come along for the ride!