Sunday 10 December 2023

Thirteenth Anniversary

Today, thirteen years ago, I arrived in Brisbane to start a new life here. Leaving family (Warren and Angela in particular)behind in South Africa has been hard and the return visits far fewer than I would’ve liked. Settling in to a new country took time but thanks to the unfailing support of my daughter and son in law Tanya and Craig I have a good life here.

I’ve been able to establish myself as an artist and teacher thanks to many loyal students who continue to value time in my studio.This anniversary post would not be complete without acknowledging all those who have supported my work. 

One day back in 2012, I was sketching at my local cafe Deja Bru Cafe and got talking to the owner. This conversation resulted in a commission to print this mural. You can read about that here: The Deja Bru project  and also here…

Then later I was sketching, again, while having coffee at Milk Cafe Ashgrove and posted this sketch on Instagram 

Some years later the then owner contacted me to ask if she could purchase the rights to create a mural using the sketch

Then the project was expanded to include new artwork for the outside windows. You can see more here.

Another restaurant and a new commission, this time for Oh Boy Bok Choy 
I loved doing this watercolour which now has pride of place in the restaurant. 

I would also like to thank the many Collectors who have purchased my paintings over the years. 

To all who have enriched my life here, thank you so much. 

Wednesday 17 May 2023

A few pet portraits

I continue learning how to work with coloured pencils and after starting with portraits of people, I decided to try my hand at a few pets. 

The first one is Diesel, my daughter’s Boxer. He’s very lively and has the most engaging personality. He loves taking over the sofa.

Diesel - pencil crayons in an Epsilon sketchbook. 

I’m using Caran d’ache Luminance pencils. They’re soft and buttery and have wonderfully intense colours. I also have a few Faber Castell Polychromos pencils. These are a little harder which makes them good for fine details. 

When I visited my son, Warren last year, I did a graphite portrait of his French Bulldog, Harley. This portrait is from a photo taken when she made herself at home on my bed early one morning. 

Harley -  pencil crayons in an Epsilon sketchbook. 

A series of pet portraits would not be complete without a portrait of the boss of my daughter’s family - Diva. I took this photo - at very close range of her as she sat on my lap fixing me with her unblinking stare.

She has perfected ‘The Look’. This often indicates that you are about to get a nip…

Divapencil crayons in an Epsilon sketchbook. 

Tuesday 25 April 2023

#OneWeek100People 2023

Oh my! How the weeks speed by and all my earlier good intentions come to nothing.
I began this post shortly after completing the #OneWeek100people challenge in March and then forgot to add text and post it.

This challenge was started about seven years ago by Marc Taro Holmes and Liz Steel as an incentive to draw more people while sketching. Now many artists join in annually and post their drawings on Facebook page dedicated to the challenge. 
I’ve watched from afar each year, deciding this year to give it a go.
Here are my 100 people. 

A new rabbit hole - coloured pencils

Since 2020 and the resulting changes that were brought about by COVID, I have moved from painting large canvases to working smaller, and in mediums other than oils.
Painting and drawing in a sketchbook becomes a creative practice that is extremely portable - it’s quick to pick up at any time, anywhere. 

I’ve seen a number of artists working with coloured pencils, both water soluble and conventional oil or wax pencils, adding them to watercolour sketches. Over the years I’ve done a couple of coloured pencil drawings but have never felt pleased with the results. Looking at these now, I realise that the clumsy results are mostly because I have been impatient and worked too quickly and with too much pressure. I had also been working with pencils that were quite hard - one tin must date back to my school days! The manufacture of coloured pencils has seen many changes as new formulations are developed. Current pencils are buttery soft which makes blending a joy. In support of my new venture I decided that I needed to treat myself with a new set of Caran D’Ache coloured pencils.

It’s been a steep learning curve trying out my new pencils. I have had to test how various papers change the appearance of the drawing. I decided to make use of the many references for portraits available through the Museum app. Staying with a portrait theme eliminates the dither of trying to find suitable subject matter. The Caran D’Ache pencil set  I chose was the set of 20 for portraits. I am working in an Epsilon sketchbook which has a smooth white surface.

Here are a few of my first attempts..

Muse: Avonlea Sunshine from the Museum app

Muse: Teri Babayeva from the Museum app

Muse: Tammantha M from the Museum app

Muse: David Epstein from Museum app 

Muse: Stuart Goss from the Museum app

Muse: Gina Hawes from the Museum app

Muse: Gina Hawes from the Museum app

Tuesday 21 March 2023


It's been 5 months since my last post...I guess I could be forgiven since much has happened since then. I was fortunate to be able to visit my family in South Africa in the latter part of October and November. It was SO good after so long to spend quality time with family and friends - so special.

Now to catch up, I’m going  back to the beginning of the year. The NEW Year is a time to make resolutions, start a new diary or journal and generally try to set the tone for the new year. 

I decided that since I would be on holiday for most of January, with my art classes only re-starting at the very end of the month, I would undertake this challenge run by Sktchy#30Faces30Days - Pen & Pencil. I’ve previously taken part in #30 Faces30 Days using Procreate but this was my first using analog tools.

Sktchy is a global arts community providing artists with inspiration and many inspiring classes covering all aspects of art, concentrating on portraiture. The classes are hosted by Mighty Network making these available to both IOS and Android users. 
Museum by Sktchy is for IOS only.

The month long challenge provides a daily tutorial, usually 60 minutes - often longer - by one of three tutors. The video gives intensive demonstration of the technique in the artist’s particular style. 

My usual process is to watch the introduction first and about 30 minutes of the lesson. I then do a rough sketch of the portrait. Watching the video on my iPad allows me to make use of a split screen so I can see the reference at the same time.

I used the Epsilon sketchbook by Stillman & Birn 8’ x 10”. It’s a very good surface for both ink and graphite. 

Here are a couple of my favourite portraits.

Muse: Sydney Bocknek from Museum by Sktchy
Tutor: Laura Cronin 

Muse: Beatriz Futtigami 
Tutor: Graceina Samosir
Pink ballpoint pen 

Muse: Tori Cherry
Tutor: Justin Maas
Graphite and white pastel on Strathmore toned paper

And now a compilation of all 30 portraits. This was such a good way to start the year - I watched every tutorial and completed all the portraits - success!