Small concertina collaboration

The two-part collaboration project with my friend Sue continues – more portraits (see here for previous post) are being done, and the four small concertinas continue to grow. Each has a theme of its own – the garden, household objects, landscape and toys. The one I have found most challenging was the landscape one, but a challenge is good for the brain, and I am happy with my contributions so far!

The first two books (garden and household objects) are bought ones, made by Sennelier – I found them in an art shop sale, couldn’t resist them and when Sue and I agreed to do the concertina collaboration they were perfect for the job. The other two I made, they are the same size, 15 x 9.5 cm, with board ends and folded 250gsm watercolour paper for the pages.

The way it works, we each do a drawing or painting on a double spread, leaving a little bit of the image hanging over to the next spread to anchor the following image. We have taken it in turns to be the starter, Sue started the garden and toys, I started the landscape and household objects ones. The subject matter has been very broad and ranging from very real to completely imaginary. We are working on both sides of the books.

Each one has been a joy to work on, and receiving them back from Sue I’m always excited and curious to see what she has done. Our styles work well together, and the ideas from each push the next forward.

I must apologise for the quality of the photos, I took them quickly before I packaged the books up to send to Sue for her next contribution and didn’t realise till too late that the focus wasn’t great on some of them, but hopefully you get the idea!

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The Kimberley in July, Part 2

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Twelve drawings are now complete, so the next stage will be working out how to put them together in a book. I think it will be a concertina, as this gives the opportunity to see the sequence of the images.

See the previous post (here) for more background to where the imagery for these postcard-sized drawings comes from. Below are the final six.

Freycinet – from the sketchbook

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During my recent visit to Tasmania, we were given the opportunity to stay in a beachside ‘shack’ for a few days. Nestled in the Freycinet National Park, a short distance from the beginning of the Wineglass Bay walk, close to Fisheries Beach, it was a delight to settle in there to enjoy the peace and scenery. It was an opportunity to read, walk, relax and for me, to draw. (See my previous post for more of the sketches.)

As a small thank you to the owner of the shack (actually a very comfortable house!) I have made up a drawing using my sketches from the local area, adding little annotations of names and places. Hopefully it will remind her of the peace and quiet of Freycinet when she is far away.

It is drawn using pen and ink and watercolour, on Arches Aquarelle 300 gsm paper, hot-pressed, 26 x 36 cm.

Sketching in Tasmania

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In the middle of December I flew down to Hobart to join my partner who had taken the car over on the ferry a couple of weeks before, as he had work to do at the University of Tasmania in Hobart. After a few days there, of course visiting the wonderful MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), we spent a week in a friend’s beach ‘shack’ in Freycinet National Park, one of the most beautiful places in Tasmania. We walked – one walk that we HAD to do was a climb up to look down at Wineglass Bay, then down the other side, a long loop across a marsh, another beach and through the bush back. About 11 km it took us 5 hours and was a good workout, but worth it!

On other days we drove to walk on the Friendly Beaches – the sea intense turquoise blue and sand white, with rock pools at the water’s edge, The Gardens with the same coloured ocean and sand, but massive boulders covered with orange lichen … and numerous others. In between we relaxed, read and I drew. From Freycinet we moved up the coast to St Helens, a small fishing town in the Bay of Fires, then camped at Policeman’s Point a bit further up the coast, still in the Bay of Fires. A beautiful spot for bush camping and walking on the beach until it rained … but we weren’t daunted and took ourselves to Bridport on the north coast. An unexpected delight, the coastline composed of numerous small beaches bordered by rocks. And the sun shone again!

Our last stop was Launceston, another pretty small city, hilly like Hobart, with elaborate Victorian architecture. We watched the New Year fireworks from a park by the Tamar River – a delight to be so close and walk back to our hotel in a matter of minutes, very different from Sydney! On the ferry back to Melbourne we had a very comfortable cabin, the Bass Strait was a millpond, so a simple and uneventful (thank goodness, I am a very bad sailor!) trip. Then towards home, catching up with friends along the way.

I only had time to sketch between Freycinet and Bridport, but took every opportunity I could, walking around with my eyes on the ground looking for any attractive little object!

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Water soluble pencils


Since I can’t resist art supplies shops, I tend to collect materials that look interesting – the most recent acquisition was a set of 6 water soluble graphite pencils. These are interesting to work with and require different thinking from normal graphite pencils. Something I like about them is the fact it is possible to get a painterly quality to a drawing, the water marks can add a new dimension. Another interesting quality is that adding water takes away the shine of graphite which can be unappealing at times. 

The top two drawings are small (postcard size) which is convenient while I am travelling. These are on rough watercolour paper, so have a natural looseness to them. The other two are larger, about 25cm square, on smoother paper, so they have a cleaner finish. 

These have all been inspired by plants of various kinds. 

Adding a wash of watercolour adds something else as well. I’m enjoying this, so the experiments will continue!

Daily sketching (or not …)

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Back in July I decided it would be a good idea to do a sketch every day in preparation for the long camping trip I would be going on at the end of the month. I knew I would be doing a lot of drawing on the trip, so this seemed like a good way to get into practice. The obvious thing to document was my collection of objects gathered on previous camping trips. This went well, and most of the July sketches were documented here. I did spend a lot of time drawing during the three and a half months I was away. (See posts from August through to October 2015).

However, once I returned the daily drawing slipped a bit and it is only now I am starting to get back into it, just slowly. So, below is a gallery of small sketches showing some of the odds and ends from my collection (and a hibiscus flower I found outside my house).

All the drawings are done with a waterproof pigment liner, mostly between .1 and .3, coloured with Winsor and Newton watercolour, in a 10 x 15 cm sketchbook.

100 days under canvas – part 4, sketches

  

  
We are now in wildflower country proper, having left the wild and windy coast behind. The next post will be the flowers, but this one is catching up with some of the sketches that have been gradually filling my sketchbooks. The drawings above are of collected objects from Cape Leveque and Middle Lagoon – broken and whole shells (some inexplicably shaped), a fishbone, some petrified coral and the little plugs from shell openings. 

    
Cockroach bush (senna notabilis). Very common, and I think the explanation of the name is obvious!

  

  
Shells and a small pea-like flower from Osprey Bay in the Cape Range National Park, which lies along the coast off Ningaloo Reef. Beautiful coastline and a magical place for snorkelling – we saw a great range of corals, mostly sand coloured but a few brilliant reds, purples and greens not to mention the fish. Incredible colours and quite unafraid of large interlopers. 

    
It must have been high season for these butterflies. There were masses of them at Coral Bay, many on the grilles of cars, but also scattered in corners of buildings and just on the ground. A few were still complete, but many were damaged. Nevertheless they still have a dignity and beauty in death. I loved the abstract shapes they make, and will explore them further when I get home. 

    
More broken shells – they have an endless fascination for me. These were from a station stay on a wild but very beautiful stretch of coast at the end of Ningaloo Reef. When the tide was out we could walk on the reef and watch hermit crabs hurry around, look in deep clear pools that were created by gaps in the reef and see urchins, bright corals, fish and anemones that were all invisible under crashing surf when the tide was in. 

    
There are so many unusual plants here, but the green birdflower has to be one of the oddest. Each flower is distinctly a bird in flight, head out, wings up. Humour in nature!

    
This is a native hibiscus – some are pink, some blue, this one was a delicate mauve. I have also seen yellow, but with a flower head that hangs down, and a different leaf. 

    
Just to finish, a pic of me at one of our bush camps putting the finishing touches to my Sturt Desert Pea drawing!