Monthly Archives: April 2013

EveryDay in May

Everyday in May starts today

What is Everyday in May ?

Start on 1st May and draw one item on the list (see below) every day in May until you finish on 31st May with number 31.Don’t stress if you miss a day – just go on to the next one and catch up if you can. It is ok to combine a few, or to jump around if it suits…but the ideal is to do the right one on the day like everyone else….but most importantly have fun!

May 1 challenge is to Draw something bubbly. Many thoughts went through my head –  champagne, soap, detergent, bubble wrap …. I chose a glass of Sparkling Shiraz !! I drew this at breakfast – I had an empty glass and made up the colour and fizz !

As I put this up online is not even the 1 May in some places in the world, but I wanted to get this image online early and start everyone’s creative juices flowing. Join us ! there is always something to draw !

The list of what to sketch is up on the EDM Every Day in May facebook page
and on the Flickr Group page also.
and …yes…..the 2011 name is the correct one. Technical reasons

As everyone in the group adds their own interpretations of each object daily to the flickr and/or facebook page a conversation begins to build as people comment regularly on each other’s drawings or paintings. A lovely community of Everyday Matters artists grows.

When I first began EDiM in 2009 I was not doing a lot of other drawing and spent a lot of time on each one. This year I will do less rather than more. Maybe I might even give myself  a time limit of 15 minutes only. Then I have no excuse to keep going. By the end of May it is sometimes hard to keep the momentum going, but worth it !

I usually look at the list in advance and plan what I am going to do for each one but I know of other people who don’t look at the days challenge until that day !

I participated in 2009 and 2010 and 2012. You can go to my flickr page and see my them.

Every Day In May 2009 my holiday souvenirs

01May09 Everyday in May

Every Day In May 2010 – from the list

01May10 EDM in EDiM 01 Draw a Shoe06May10  EDM in EDiM Draw a childhood toy07May10 EDM in EDiM Draw a jar from the kitchen05May10 EDM inEDiM Draw your bed

Every Day in May 2012 – from the list

1May12 EDiM draw a landscape21May12 DRaw an ear#121May12 Draw an ear #223May12 Draw a souvenir

24 May12 draw something cold

Everyday in May originated in 2009 by Elena (frenchtoast girl) on flickr. With aa commitment to create something Every day in May. Recent years the list of daily inspirational themes has been based on the Danny Gregory Everyday Matters yahoo group list of challenges.

Illustration Friday – FAREWELL

Illustration Friday (IF) is a weekly illustration challenge. A topic is posted every Friday and then participants have all week to come up with their own interpretation. If you go to the IF website, you can see how people interpret the theme and all the different styles and mediums they use.

This week’s theme is Farewell. It is the beginning of Autumn in Sydney and we are saying our final FAREWELL to Summer. I was going to draw an autumn leaf. However, I decided to take the opportunity to draw one of the objects from my nature collection that I was given for Christmas. So here is a lovely butterfly I have… a little sad to see it dead next to me, but don’t fret, Summer will return  with lots of lovely butterflies in the air

watercolour pencils in Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. The colours on the butterfly wings are so intense and velvet-ty, and I decided not to even try and make the black really black, but try for a softer look.

Have a look at a sample of my previous Illustration Friday in the tab above. ALL of my previous responses to challenges are on flickr

drawing on envelopes – ten weeks to go (and other travel things)

My page from last week on Drawing on Envelopes described a upcoming holiday to London (and Barcelona). I also showed some of my previous drawings on envelopes.
Today’s page is update. It is 10 weeks to go ’til we go on holidays. Each week I am posting my travelling companion (who lives interstate) a letter and drawing on the envelope with London theme. They will know to expect some mail, but always be surprised by what is on the front.
I will put each week here and on my flickr site. This week I wanted something bright and strong. I thought of this straight away!
What will next week be ????
After my last page on drawing on envelopes, I have had wonderful comments from people about the concept of drawing on envelopes and the art of writing letters. Maybe the postal system has received an increase in  mail art this week ! A friend also commented on the joy it may bring to a mail workers day .
By co-incidence I found my Australia to UK travel adaptor in the cupboard last night .So I drew it . That counts as trip prep too !

Watercolour pencil in Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. This took about half and hour, while the television was on in the background.

Fabercastell Cool Grey VI
Fabercastell Cool Grey III
FaberCastell Light Yellow Ochre
Faber Castell Light Cadmium Yellow
Derwet – Ivory Black

Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island is in Sydney Harbour and a wonderful place to spend a day.
It was a convict settlement from 1839. It was also the site of one of Australia’s biggest shipyards, operating between 1857 and 1991. The first of its two dry docks was built by convicts. Many of the original sandstone convict buildings and the dockyard and shipbuilding complex are still in place and you can explore them. There are also many, many cranes from its shipbuilding years. Sketching heaven !!

Now you can also camp overnight in tents as well as catch a ferry there for the day. It is a favourite place of my sketching friends to visit and we have been there often.

I caught a quick 10 minute ferry ride , but had time to fill in first at the terminal – by drawing !


some tanks
pipes on the side of a large beautiful old sandstone building

a very large crane and some tents for camping
the same crane that I drew on my coffee cup

There are so many buildings equipment and views to sketch on Cockatoo island. I had my watercolour pencils and Lamy ink Safari Pen with me and my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. Last time I was here I especially brought large sheets of paper with me and some inks to experiment with . I had felt the need to sketch these cranes LARGE one day. I did a few, but it was raining, which does not work well with watercolours and ink . I can try again next weekend as it is the place for the Urban Sketchers Sydney next event !

I also found a sketch from my first visit to Cockatoo Island in Jul 2008. It was for an International Sketchcrawl and the first time I met an sketched with Liz Steel !
It was my first Sketchcrawl and I had only just begun drawing watercolour pencil. I am not sure if my drawing style has changed – but my confidence in use of colour certainly has !

drawing in books

Drawing in books !

I am a librarian, and although today my work is dealing with information and database, I spent many years handling books everyday– shelving them, checking books in and out. I still have a referential place in my heart (and head) for paper and books. I have not yet joined the Kindle or “i” device  movement- I am still  a  Luddite when it comes to books . I enjoy holding the book, its weight in my hand, the turn of the page, the sight of books on shelves. 

However, in the last few years I have been intrigued by the concept of drawing in a book . However it has taken me a while to do it.

I had decided that on my next holiday (in July !!) I would take a published book and draw in it. I decided that :
  • It would be a book on the place I was going to (London)
  • It would have to be an older book – so that it would have glossy pages. The paper would need be able to take the watercolour  and ink .  
  • It would be better to have a light layer of gesso on the pages I want to draw on to allow the drawing to show on the page
Here is my book – Boswell’s London Journey, published 1958 . It’ is an old paperback , I am not sure where I got it. I had bought some other books previously, but didn’t want to draw in them as I liked the book so much that I wanted to keep them as they were. 

book with tub of gesso , ready to paint onto some pages

Why didn’t I want to draw in books ??

Writing in books was a BAD thing ! a big No No ! For many years I worked in Public and University libraries and saw writing in books: underlining, scribbles, notes, in the margins and throughout the book. These were books that belong to the public/community ie everyone.  Still riles me to see it!

BUT – does that make a difference if it is your own book? Surely I can write in my own book…  And yet I could not get over that boundary. Even if I bought it for only a few dollars, or it was free.  It is purely  a mental step and attitude on my behalf. I still have not made that step  

I have been building up to it by…
drawing on notepaper, catalogues, on music, on a map – these were breakthroughs

part of my family history project , the watch has meaning, but the music does not have significance

another family history drawing. The music has no special meaning



drawing in the catalogue  at an Exhibition
drawing in the catalogue at an Exhibition


sketching on the run sheet at the choir Christmas concert warm up
On a map. I am very pleased with this one as this is the map that was actually used on the day in Hawaii, when my boots fell apart. I drew them from a photograph. I think that this piece of paper really tells the story


drawing on envelopes

There are many sorts of “mail art” projects out there in the artworld.
Mine are my drawings that I do on the front of envelopes.  Most of them are for posting letters to my mother who lives interstate.
We are going to London and Barcelona in  11 weeks time. Here is the first of the “countdown envelopes” , posted this week. I am lucky to have few more weeks to go to will do this to keep up the excitement (as if that is needed!) .Maybe I will draw a red telephone box next week (do they still have them in London??)

I draw directly onto the envelope , using watercolour pencil or ink or both, the same as I use everyday in my sketchbook. The “heavier paper ” of the more expensive envelopes takes the watercolour better. When I use the everyday cheaper envelopes, I just make sure that I don’t add too much water so the envelope paper doesn’t buckle. And amazingly enough , they have all  survived the journey though the Australia Post system without the colour running .
They are a joy for me to draw, mostly because of the surprise that the person who receives them will get when they take it from their mailbox!
Of course, drawing on an envelope means that I will have also had the joy of writing a letter. I have a lovely fountain pen that I use. Unfortunately, my handwriting does not live up to the beauty of the pen.  However, it is the intention behind the letter that is important.
Before I post them in the mail, I scan them and put then on flickr (with the address blanked out) but have to wait until after the person has received it, otherwise the surprise is ruined.
Sometimes my drawings have a theme  . For example
In the lead up to a fun run that we were going on
To friends visiting Sydney
And sometimes the drawing has no reason at all..

beans from the markets

a magpie
to my nephew  – he had only just discovered how the postal system worked and was fascinated to get a letter just for him. He then posted me a letter (with Nana’s help)

And finally my special project  – SNAIL MAIL– to be printed and sold one day.

see all of my drawings on flickr

Urban Sketchers Australia – Newtown


On a damp day in Sydney, nineteen sketchers met in the inner city suburb of Newtown for an Urban Sketchers Australia, Sydney event. We immediately headed a block away from busy King Street and scattered in the backstreets, sketching together and in small groups from 10 to 12.30.

Newtown is an inner Sydney suburb that went through (and still is going through) a transformation from a working class to a trendy cosmopolitan one. It is eclectic, individual, and unusual. It has a wide variety of 19th century commercial street architecture and includes a vast array of styles from high Victorian gothic, Queen Anne revival and Italianate. There are restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, retail stores, book shops, fashion designers and food shops.

In the area we were sketching in there we got to see the back of buildings with their pipes, chimneys, garages back stairs and doors. The buildings are higgledy piggeldy, and the rooftops are so interesting to see. It was difficult to know where to begin.

On the day, the weather chose my scenes for me.


The first ink drawing was a quick one, just to set the scene for the place and day. This is how I like to approach a day sketching outside. I would like to show where I am first before throwing myself into the detail. I am trying to give context on my page by doing this. It is something that I discovered when doing my Sketchbook Project last year “Travelogue: Paris 2007”. I made a sketchbook of my 2007 holiday to Paris, as if I was actually there, but from photographs and diaries.  In 2007 I was not drawing as much as I do now, so I wanted to think about what I would have done, and prepare for future travelling.  I noted down my thoughts in the sketchbook along the way.

I will get to try this in July when I go to London and Barcelona !

I was able to sketch the above scene sitting down on a paper bag (wet ground), with a umbrella propped up over me, held under one arm. It rained lightly for about half of this first drawing. Not enough rain to wet the paper, but enough to make it damp. I could still draw in ink on in. Then I added watercolour pencil from the brush (as if the paper needed more water on it!). Then the rain stopped, I put my umbrella away and finished it.

I walked a few meters to sketch the pink building in the photo below , but was so overwhelmed by it, that I turned around and saw drew this park bench. It is obviously someone’s home, with its collection of flattened cardboard boxes. I think that we were all very aware of it all morning. I had been drawing the backs of houses previously and this was someone’s entire house. Very sobering.

It was then suddenly 12.30 . We all met up to show and discuss our sketches and to go to lunch. See the other people’s results from the day as they go online over the next week at Urban Sketchers Australia.

Our sketchbooks – all shapes, sizes and styles

Urban Sketchers in Sydney in front of a building that many people sketched on the day

I sketched my lunch and also did some more sketches on the train on the way there and back


Urban Sketching Symposium in July

The 4th Urban Sketchers Symposium  is  being held 11 to 13 July  in the city of Barcelona this year.
And I am going !!

The Urban Sketching Symposium (USK) is a three-day workshop at which artists from around the world meet to draw and learn together in the host city. It includes field sketching sessions, lectures, panels, exhibits and artists demo

The event is organized by Urban Sketchers, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the artistic, educational and storytelling value of on-location drawing, promoting its practice and helping sketchers around the world connect with each other.
Three  months to go …
For me, (I work as a Researcher in my day job) the preparation for a holiday is an exciting and important part of the adventure. Yesterday, I borrowed some travel books from the local library. I am only in Barcelona for a short time and I imagine that I will be swept away by the workshops and meeting so many people .However I wanted to look at books and maps of where we will be out and about sketching and  staying and read up the city.

The planning begins
I don’t actually look the drawing I have made of my new look. No one would recognise me from this, but the haircuts look like that – you get the idea

However, the majority of my holiday is in London, so I also borrowed lovely books on London to read. I have been there a few times and love it,  but it is so exciting to borrow the books and to start reading them. It feels like the holiday has already begun. I already have a bit of idea of what I want to do in London and I hope to even meet up with some UK sketchers. Of course,  I will be sketching my entire holiday continuously in  my sketchbook journal.

I am reading Danny Gregory’s “Illustrated  Journal” for further inspiration (as if that was needed!!)  and looking back at my recent Sketchbook Project “Paris 2007” as well.   
Last Monday three sketching friends & I stayed up til midnight Australian time to register in the USK workshops in Barcelona. We then spent half n hour on the phone to each other on a high of excitement
The workshops were full in two hours and registration closed. I am sorry that people missed out. It is obviously becoming a more well-known and sought after event each year.  For those that will be there – I am really looking forward to meetng you.
Attending this Urban Sketchers Symposium has special meaning for me as I had booked and planned to go the 2nd Urban Sketching Symposium in Lisbon in 2011. 
 I then got very sick and had to cancel (see my hospital stay drawings in the tab above or the full set on flickr) .However, I was honoured and overwhelmed when on her return from Lisbon, Liz Steel presented me with a mini Moleskine she had organised . It was filled with sketches made on location by many of the participants and instructors – these  people I want to meet and thank. You  can look through the whole sketchbook  and the lovely flickr comments I received. I get teary when I look at it.
But looking forward to this year, already we have had a few discussions , with hints and tips from Liz (as a seasoned Symposium attendee and instructor)  to Chris & I  about how approach the days and make the most of our time there.  And we have been asking her plenty of questions. The most difficult part of the Urban Sketching Symposium will be now to meet so many people in just the short space of time!


Illustration Friday – EGG

 Illustration Friday(IF) is a weekly illustration challenge. A topic is posted every Friday and then participants have all week to come up with their own interpretation. If you go to the IF website, you can see how people interpret the theme and all the different styles and mediums they use.

This week’s theme is EGG ! A great one for Easter, but I could think of lots of there ways to illustrate it. I did not have ay Easter eggs at home, but as soon as I was given this egg by Trish & John I knew that I had to draw it. And then I thought of other eggs. If I had more time I would have drawn a whole nest full of them 
Have a look at a sample of my previous Illustration Friday in the tab above. ALL of my previous responses to challenges are on flickr

I tend to use IF challenges to draw from photographs. Usually I draw objects from life or use my sketchbook journal to capture people and places and events in my day.

watercolour pencils in Moleskine watercolour sketchbook
Walnut Brown
Burnt Umber
Cool Grey VI