Sunday 25 May 2014

A baby bird and a sunset

I took these photos back in December of last year 
but didn't get around to posting them until now.
We'd noticed a baby bird clinging onto the brickwork under our front entrance. 
At first, I wondered if perhaps the baby bird had its eye on the stick insect high above it. 

But I quickly realised it was way too little for that. 
The wee baby's feathers, including the tail feathers, had not fully grown in yet.  
I assumed that he/she may have been on his/her maiden flight and,
 tiring quickly, ended up clinging to the brickwork, afraid to move or even stuck. 

We noticed a pair of fairy wrens flitting about frantically in our front garden 
so I was pretty sure this baby belonged to them. 
I had to do something so I slowly walked up to the baby holding a tray.
I gently placed the tray just under him/her so as to give some support. 
That's all the wee thing needed to take flight back to the shrubs in our garden. 
I was so happy to see this precious baby safe with his/her parents again.
 Fairy wrens are one of my top three favourite birds.

I snapped this beautiful sunset earlier this month.

Aren't the colours gorgeous?!

We had Mum and Dad over for the day today.
After lunch, we watched 'The Book Thief'.
Mum and I had read the book and,
 while the book went into more depth,
we both agreed the movie was good too. 
I think the amount of tissues Mum and I went through
stood testament to that.

I hope you're all having a beautiful weekend!

Monday 19 May 2014

Sketchbook Skool

Over the past six weeks, I've been attending skool...
Sketchbook Skool to be exact.

Sketchbook Skool is an online course for sketchbook artists of all skills,
 from Beginners right through to Advanced.

Sketchbook Skool - the film from DannyGregory on Vimeo.

Their first semester is called 'Beginnings'
and you can read more about it or sign up for it HERE.

This course encouraged us to
step outside of our comfort zone and try new things.
It encouraged us to make sketching a part of our daily lives.
It gave us access to a fabulous online community of like-minded artists.

The course teachers were absolutely AMAZING!!  
Week 1 - Danny Gregory 
Week 2 - Koosje Koene 
Week 4 - Jane LeFazio
Week 5 - Roz Stendahl 
Week 6 - Tommy Kane


I had seen Danny's 'Art of Breakfast' video once before but, this time around,
I felt inspired to sketch one of my own favourite breakfasts. 
My first time using a dip pen in my journal, not to mention contour drawing too.

Medium - Pen and watercolour 
Paper - Moleskine 5" x 8" journal

Below, is Danny's 'The Art of Breakfast' video,
just one of the wonderful things we were treated to in his klass.

The Art of Breakfast: a film about Danny Gregory from DannyGregory on Vimeo.


 Koosje's klass was wonderful too.
She took us out on location to do some sketching.
I feel it tied in well to my own recent outings with the Urban Sketcher's Brisbane group.
This was a sketch I did during one of those sketch-outs.
Sorry, not the best lighting on the day I took the photo of my sketch.

Medium - ZIG Millennium 005 pen and PITT 'Shades of Grey' pens.
Paper - Moleskine watercolour notebook approx. 5" x 8"

Koosje also offered some tips on using coloured pencils and gave a great demo too.
I confess that I still haven't managed to do all of my homework for her klass yet
but I'll post my efforts here when I do.

In the meantime,
here is a coloured pencil demonstration by Koosje
shared from her YouTube channel.


Prash's klass was a sheer delight!
I fell in love with his happy-go-lucky attitude from the start.
He spoke about his love of journalling
and how it has become an integral part of his life.
I want to achieve that too.
You all know I've whined often enough about finding time
to develop a habit of daily sketching in my journals.
Prash reignited that desire within me so now I'm more determined than ever.
I loved his watercolour demo and all that he shared with us.

Here is one of Prash's videos that I came across on his blog.
In this video, Prash takes us on his sketching tour of incredible India.

Madhya Pradesh - The heart of incredible India from luv kalla on Vimeo.

A bit of homework.

Below, a tree in the distance which I sketched from my backyard;
I was practising gradation of the sky.

Medium - Pen and watercolours 
Paper - Moleskine watercolour notebook approx. 5" x 8"

Stay tuned!
Weeks 4, 5, and 6 to follow....

Friday 16 May 2014

Flowers in black and white

I was so inspired by Alisa Burke's recent post about her statement wall 
that I decided to go with a black and white accent in my lounge room.

It ties in perfectly with the black photo frames I bought a few weeks ago.
The piece above was painted, freehand, with black acrylic paint, a liner brush,
and a large round brush for blocking in areas.
It took me 2½ hours to complete.

I had some fabric which I'd bought to make a privacy curtain 
for the slim, tall window beside our front door so I laid it over a chair
to inspire me while I painted.  Of course, daffodils had to be included
being that they've been my favourite flower since childhood.
My sketchbooks came in handy for that because I used a couple of  daffodil sketches
as a guide too. 

And the end result looks quite lovely on the lounge room wall

I sewed the privacy curtain for the long, fixed window beside the front door.
Aaron (#4 son) kept rubbing in that, when we first moved into this house,  
I'd said I would make a curtain for said window. 
It's only taken me SEVEN years! lol 
Well, I have a busy life, ya know.....
For the curtain rod, I simply painted a piece of dowelling rod black
then attached a couple of black, plastic finials at each end.
I LOVE the privacy curtain!
No more do I have to worry about being in my PJs while watching TV
and have someone knocking at the door and peering through the window
into our lounge room.

I felt quite accomplished after all that. 

Monday 12 May 2014

Mother's Day flowers and some muscle

I hope all you lovely Mums out there had a beautiful Mother's Day!

I had my Mum and Dad over here for lunch and 
my four sons, Bradley, Beau, Reece, and Aaron were here too. 
Alex took Michelle (daughter) and the girls up to Toowoomba for her special day 
and then they visited here for a little while when they came back. 
I had a great day!

I was spoiled by my kids and here are
some photos of my flowers from Michelle and Alex.

Of course, with Reece (#3 son) being a personal trainer,
he never misses an opportunity to flex those muscles
and managed to coax me in on the act.
I only pretended to flex though as I didn't want to show him up. hehehe

Wednesday 7 May 2014

How to sketch a pineapple

I start by using a Faber Castell PITT pen (XS)
to loosely mark in shape and leaves. 
I like working directly in pen as I find I don't second guess myself 
like I do with pencil.

Note how a pineapple has diagonal lines curving around it's shape 
and crossing over in two directions to form a loose diamond design.

Using a fine (005 or 1) ink pen, I lightly sketch in those diagonal lines.
In doing so, I am able to keep track of the individual segments as I loosely sketch them in. 
 I use 'hit and miss' lines when working on the segments and
I also make them darker and more pronounced in some areas according to what I see.
This helps to make the pineapple appear more natural. 
You can see that the pineapple in the example below is already taking shape.

After laying the foundation,  I add more detail and shading with a PITT pen (M)

Then some watercolour to finish it off.
Medium - Pen and Watercolour
Paper - Moleskine sketchbook (approx. 5"x8")

Monday 5 May 2014

Sketching around Brisbane and a bit of history

On Saturday, April 19th, I participated in a Worldwide Sketchcrawl.
A day where sketchers around the world gather together, in their local groups,
and sketch for the sheer love of it and a sense of community.

This was my first time participating in a Sketchcrawl
so it was quite exciting for me.
We met at Queensland University of Technology.
The problem was that, being Easter weekend,
 the QUT and it's facilities were closed.
So, not to be defeated, we sketched buildings from the outside.
I also chose to sketch in the gardens at Gardens Point
within the campus grounds.

Aaron (son) came along and, after a morning of sketching,
we all went to The Pancake Manor for lunch.
The food was delicious!
I actually wouldn't mind going back there to sketch
as The Pancake Manor was refurbished from an old church
so it has a great sense of atmosphere and character.
St. Lukes Anglican Cathedral was constructed in 1904
but was no longer used as a church
once the newly built St. John's Cathedral was opened in 1910.
However, St. Lukes did remain active for Anglican purposes until 1977.
 It was leased out and became The Pancake Manor in 1979. 

I neglected to take a photo of the Pancake Manor so,
while searching on Google,
I came across a wonderful blog
about Brisbane and its history.
 I know I'm going to be visiting this blog a lot
as I continue to learn more about the beautiful city I grew up in.
Trevor Newman, aka. the foto fanatic, is blog owner
of Your Brisbane: Past and Present,
and very kindly gave me permission to use his photo for this post.
Please view the original photo HERE.

The Pancake Manor
Photo Credit - © 2011 the foto fanatic - All Rights Reserved
via Your Brisbane: Past and Present


This is Old Government House, sketched freehand, directly with pen.
Watercolours were added at home. I was trying to be fast, messy, and loose
hence the rickety appearance. 
Medium - Pen and watercolours
Paper - Moleskine watercolour notebook 5"x8"

A palm tree sketched at Gardens Point beside Old Government House.
Of all things, I went and forgot my water-brushes on the day
 so couldn't use my watercolours. 
Luckily, I'd packed some watercolour pencils so
 I used those and applied water when I got home.

Medium - Pen, watercolour pencils
Paper - Moleskine watercolour notebook 5"x8"


When we first arrived in the city, we noticed bands everywhere!
As it turned out, the Australian National Band Championships
were also taking place in Brisbane city that day. What a treat!
Their Facebook page HERE.

They gathered at Queens Park.

The atmosphere and sound was amazing!

We spotted these gargoyles on our walk to The Pancake Manor.
A sketch opportunity for a later date perhaps?

I am SO glad to have joined an Urban Sketch group because, not only do I love to sketch,
but it gives me the opportunity to see and learn more about this great city of Brisbane.