Wednesday 27 December 2017

A portrait commission delivered

The last days before I left for my holiday to visit family were rather frantic. This time it was a little more crazy. A dear school friend asked me to paint a portrait of her grandson - and please could I bring it with me to South Africa! 

Fortunately the portrait fairies were on my side and the portrait was completed without too many hassles. Since the painting, in oils, was still wet I needed to construct a box that would allow it to be transported safely in my suitcase. 

The portrait has now been delivered and I’m pleased to say my friend is delighted with the painting. 

James - oil on linen panel 12” x 10” 

I hope that you have enjoyed the holiday festivities. 

I’m off to the mountains for a few days...

Thursday 21 December 2017

Seasons Greetings

A short but sweet post to wish you and yours the very best over the coming holiday season. I am so fortunate to be visiting family at this time and my hope is that you will also share special time with your loved ones. 

I have been able to spend some time sketching the places I am visiting. Somehow, for me, drawing enhances the memories and makes each experience more meaningful and special. I’ve been using a Travelers Notebook with sketchbook inserts and lovely MD (Midori) paper which is perfect for writing in ink. The lovely people at Bookbinders have everything for the TN and stationery enthusiast. 

Black Travelers Notebook and Noodlers Konrad Flex fountain pen. 

We have been travelling to the Northern part of KwaZulu-Natal to Cape Vidal, part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park a World Heritage site. It’s wild and unspoilt and I am privileged to be able to enjoy the animals and dune forests up close. 

Causaurina Pine forest

A shady refuge from the heat of the day. 
Bookbinders have everything for the TN and stationery enthusiast. 

Tuesday 5 December 2017

A Favourite Cafe gets a makeover

One of my favourite cafes is French & Mor, Dawn Cresent, Albany Creek. It’s a few minutes drive from my home and close enough to collect coffee for the artists who come to the Studio. (We do like our creature comforts) 

Recently, the Cafe has undergone a makeover - new flooring, smart tiles and a fresh coat of paint. Today I stopped for a quick coffee. The transformation was complete - lovely hanging baskets with ferns and trailing creepers and new displays with Christmas decoration completed the new look.

The new look called for a sketch. I used my new Pelikan Smoky Quartz ink (I was the lucky recipient at a lucky draw at Bookbinders on Sunday) Smoky Quartz is Pelikan’s Ink of the Year. It’s a soft brown and very smooth to use. The lines are soluble when just drawn but after resting for a while seem to be quite stable.

I’m not yet geared for “on the go” colour so the watercolour was added when I returned home. 

The sketch in my Travelers Notebook.

a little colour.

and French & Mor with fresh va va voom...

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Bricks and mortar versus Online shopping - I know which I would choose...

We become accustomed to buying almost everything online. There are self-service checkouts at the supermarket. We become used to the lack of the personal touch, the direct contact; the face to face conversations. Personally, if there is a choice, I opt for the person at the checkout any day rather than the self-serve option - I like to think I’m helping a real person keep their job and besides, I love to chat to people. 

Recently, it was with delight that I discovered a local Brisbane store stocking pens, ink, notebooks and lots more. Bookbinders 1355 Gympie Road, stock a wide range of goods for the stationery aficionados. 

Travelers Notebooks, in particular, have an almost cult following world wide. Originally called the Midori Travelers Notebook, now more simply, the Travelers Notebook, the TN comprises a leather cover, with Midori paper inserts held together with an elastic closure. I have always loved fountain pens, consequently I delight in the return to popularity of pens, good paper and the recording of ideas in a  real book. 

This coming Sunday, 3rd December the store is holding a Travelers Notebook meetup.  There's more information if you click the link to the Event page on Facebook.

I’m pleased to be part of the meetup - the lovely people at Bookbinders have asked me to come and play. I’ll be sharing tips for sketching using ink and watercolour - and of course, I’ll be using fountain pens and a Travelers Notebook. 

Monday 27 November 2017

Two paintings going to a new home

Last week a local business, Tradesmen on Time, a member of the Hills  and District Chamber of Commerce hosted a Business Showcase. These events are an opportunity for Chamber members to promote their business, to tell something about their history, and their plans for expansion. 

I had been in conversation with the owner for a few months with a view to supplying paintings for the offices. With the Showcase being imminent, I delivered a few paintings that I thought would be appropriate. 

Pond Reflections - oil on canvas 610mm x 610mm 

 As I had an art class the evening of the Showcase I was unable to attend, however, I was pleased that my work would be on view and would add some colour. 
I returned this week and took a few photographs of the offices with paintings installed. 

Botanic Reflections - oil on canvas 610 mm x 915 mm

Left: Walking  the Dog - The Spit - oil on canvas 450 mm x 450 mm 
Right: Rocks, Sea and Sand 24th December - oil on canvas 605 mm x 605 mm

When an artist’s work is purchased it is a special validation, knowing that the paintings are appreciated enough to be owned and enjoyed in the future. I very pleased to say that two paintings, Pond Reflections and Botanic Reflections, will be purchased by Tradesmen on Time. 

Thursday 2 November 2017

Inktober II - the second half

So here we are at the end of October and I’ve run the race and completed the challenge - under my own terms. My aim was to complete a portrait every day. Some days I did more than one so I could afford to skip a day. I’m pleased that I didn’t try to keep up with the prompts because then I think I would have fallen by the wayside long ago. 

I enjoyed the routine of daily drawing even though some of these portraits have been very quick scribbles. The important thing for me is the 'doing' rather than the assessment or critique at the end. I think the trick with these challenges is to make them doable. Don’t set the bar so high that you will never stick to the plan. 

I love ink, make no mistake. I think it’s the best medium to stop fussing while drawing. You make a mark, live with it, make another mark - the good, the bad, the ugly. You have to own what you have done and move on. 

Now that I have spent the 31 day’s drawing with ink I crave some loose, messy, drippy watercolours. These might not be as easy to do while I’m out and about but I’d like to try. 

All reference photographs are from Sktchy.

Ink wash, pen for detail and then brush pen.

Black Crystal Bic ballpoint

Noodlers Black in Lamy Safari EF nib

Brush pen

Black ink and wash

Black ink and wash

Pilot Metropolitan F nib with waterbrush and brush pen

Brush pen and large watercolour brush

Pilot Metropolitan with Noodlers #41 Brown - don't you just love this colour?

Black Crystal Bic ballpoint

Konrad Flex pen and waterbrush

Konrad Flex pen and dry brush 

Noodlers Black with Diamine Hope Pink

Noodlers Black in a Lamy Safari EF nib

Black ink with waterbrush

Black ink with waterbrush

Black ink with waterbrush and brush pen for the dark background.

Please note: all photographs were taken with my phone with minimal editing - I figure - done is better than perfect. 
Maybe I’ll get round to scanning all of these but somehow I don’t think so. I’d rather do another drawing instead. 

Monday 30 October 2017

A change of venue - visiting GOMA with the Saturday group

Yesterday the Saturday class had a change of venue. Instead of working in the Studio we went into the city. We met at The Library Cafe for coffee and sketching (that was the plan - the reality was that we chatted until it was time for GOMA to open.)

Our aim was to see Gerhard Richter - The Life of Images. This large exhibition exhibits a comprehensive collection of his work over the last 50 plus years and shows his extreme versatility as an artist. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this show and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. 

The paintings range from the very tiny overpainted photographs to the massive abstracts and tapestries. I never really understood the overpainted photos before but seeing them IRL is the best way to appreciate the detail. 

The exhibition opened with the portrait of his daughter Ella. This painting has been used as the principle image on Gallery marketing, is surprising small and intimate - and breathtakingly beautiful. On an adjoining wall is a huge digital striped abstract - so colourful - absolutely mesmerising.

2007 oil on canvas 
40 cm x 31 cm

The photographic paintings are drawn from a vast store of photographs collected power the years. The collection of images form Atlas seen in together in a separate gallery. It's worth allowing a good length of time to view the exhibition as there is a lot to see and absorb.
These are images are transformed and made so much more. Richter looks into the image, amplifies the content, blurring the focus creating a lush painterly finish. Even subjects that could be sentimental like the dog and the glamorous film star are painted so sensitively they escape that categorisation. 

1967 oil on canvas 
50 cm x 50 cm

Portrait Liz Kertelge
1966 105 cm x 70 cm 
Oil on canvas

Whenever I return from an exhibition and start to capture my impressions I realise that I should have taken notes or at the least photographed as few more exhibition captions.

This painting of Richter in the arms of his aunt is especially poignant. When he painted this Richter had no idea of his aunt’s tragic story. Briefly, during WWII she had been captured by the Nazis and tortured to death. The melancholy is evident.

There are two painting of Moritz, Richter’s son. One was more highly finished and this one with rough brushstrokes and some areas unpainted - no more needed to be said...

2000 62 cm x 52 cm 

Oil on canvas

I enjoyed this large abstract viewed from another gallery - it required more than a little patience to catch the image without any people!

Another gallery has a sombre collection of four abstracts relating to Birkenau
these large abstracts,260 x 200 cm, started as paintings using images smuggled from the death camp. Richter, unable to leave the images visible, obliterated them under layers and layers of paint. 

And finally another large abstract and a few detail photos showing the way the paint is layered smeared and scraped.

Friday 13 October 2017

Inktober 2018

October means Inktober, the annual drawing challenge that has been going for a number of years. Jake Parker started this in 2009 to improve his inking and drawing skills. The challenge comes with daily prompts to help keep you on track. 

Perhaps it’s because I have trouble following rules, but I’ve usually lost interest when the given prompts didn’t strike a chord with me. 

This year Sktchy has joined the challenge, using the ‘official’ prompts. Theses are emailed daily to all taking part. Today is always earlier in Australia than everywhere else - except for New Zealand - so the prompts come at the end of the day. I like to get my drawing completed early, or even start a new one the day before, so getting a late prompt has given me a good excuse to do my own thing!
(Yes, I know, I could download the list...)

My challenge is simply to do a portrait in ink every day in October and to date it’s been working well. 

Ink in Hero Bent nib calligraphy pen 

De Artramentis Fog Grey - Pilot Metropolitan Medium nib and water Brush

Digital ink using Procreate - this was drawn on the way from a weekend away. The ride was quite bumpy which added to the scribble effect!

Noodlers Black ink in Pilot Metropolitan fine nib in a Midori notebook. The paper, while quite light, is beautiful to use with a fountain pen - silky and smooth with no feathering or bleed-through. This notebook is available at a wonderful stationery shop, Bookbinders in Brisbane. They stock all kinds of notebooks, pens, ink and writing accessories. 

Ink and water brush in Midori notebook

Black and brown ink with water brush in Midori notebook.

Bic Crystal ballpoint in Alpha softcover sketchbook - using a ballpoint with a light touch mimics the appearance of graphite.

Sam the Sphynx with his special "look" - Fine nib Pilot Metroploitan in Midori notebook - the ears are pink Tombow brush pen, the eyes Inktense green.

Noodlers #41 Brown on Viking drawing paper A6 size

De Artramentis Fog Grey - Pilot Metropolitan Medium nib and water Brush
on Viking drawing paper A6 size

De Artramentis Fog Grey - Pilot Metropolitan Medium nib and water Brush
on Viking drawing paper A6 size.