Monthly Archives: November 2013

Cre-art-tive weekend


The Cre-Art-tive weekend of Kaz, Meegan ,Lisa & Alissa  .

 This weekend was weeks in the planning, coming out of a suggestion a few months ago – to take a whole lot of art gear, go away to the mountains or beach, hire a house and experiment with the equipment ! The vast majority of the gear was bought by Kaz and Meegan who both own an amazing amount of art equipment. There were paints, pencils, gels, liquids, papers, and tools. So we had the opportunity to do lots of layering, blending, and a bit of collage. Lisa & I bought along paints and art materials that we had at home, but never used. It was good to find out what it did and whether we would ever use it again.
We had a carful !
We decided it was best not to go to someone’s house, so that no one had the responsibility of being the host . We all agreed to  finding a house that would suit us, with  lots of light and tables. This house in the Blue Mountains, two hours from Sydney (in Friday night traffic) was perfect.
The only strict rules (which were happily agreed to) were for Lisa & I. We were not allowed to use sketchbooks and watercolours. And we had to draw big. You may be aware I usually use watercolour pencils and Lamy safari joy ink pen in a Moleskine watercolor sketchbook. 
We used the benchtop, dining table and a table bought in from outside  (all carefully covered with plastic sheet – no spills all weekend). Even though it is Spring in Sydney, the weather was cold and foggy, but it was cosy and warm inside. We did not have a reason to go  out,  as we had good music and food.


We arrived Friday night. After dinner, we spread out our Art gear over two tables to see what we had to play with. We couldn’t help ourselves, and had to try something out straight away and make some marks on paper. We made a decision that the next day we would start the day by each trying three materials we had never used before. We made ourselves go to bed by midnight, but only so that we could be up early and have a whole day of art, not waste time sleeping in.



trying soluble pens. I also tried a
parallel pen
– a new discovery and used again

liquid ink – with a dropper from a bottle
, then a watercolour wash

 I was determined to try a watercolour
wash and contrast colour of ink


On Saturday morning I went outside to explore the backyard an found a shell, shed by a cicada beetle. This is my normal subject  – a small object drawn realistically – a study on a page. But by using something within my comfort zone (the subject matter)it allowed me feel at ease using other things outside my comfort zone. This was the key for me ! and I had a wonderful time and am really pleased with these results

Once I had my subject I began experimenting with materials and colours.  Most are on A3 paper and a few on old book pages

experiments for background

experiment with Tim Holz Distress Stain
 to see the colours for my cicada


A3 paper. Golden Liquid Acrylic background. I think the sketch is in crayon . I should have made more notes as I went
Derwent soluble graphite XL block and Pilot parallel pen on A3 paper
A3 paper. Derwent soluble graphite XL block background. I first painted an old newspaper with Distress Stain in a few brown colours, dried in , ripped roughly into strips that could fit into the pencil outline. Matte Medium to stick down & seal. The next morning it looked like it needed some intensity to pull it together – I  added scribbled lines with a thin marker

gold pen on A3 black board – unfinished. I am not sure where this was heading

smaller than A4 – old book , Rough texture liquid,mixed with acrylic colour. painted and scraped over the page It dries with a texture of course sand. I thought it was too rough to draw on for what I had in mind. I asked for suggestions. I drew and coloured cicada on transparent paper and stuck it down with that wonderful Matte Medium  . I really like this one
smaller than A4 – old book , face-on cicada


Cicada on Gestetner or Roneo


Meegan tried drawing on Gestetner (or it is Roneo paper ?) – remember it from school in the 1970’s, before photocopiers were around. It had lovely smelling purple ink. I really liked the effect it had on paper and tried my own experiment. I wrote on the paper, pressing though to make a copy. I then used the copy, adding water with a brush (it turns bright purple) and then stuck the Gestetner tracing paper over top.

twig covered in lichen

twig covered in lichen

 There was heater, so we could lay painted sheets of paper out on the floor in front of it to dry while we started another page.  We were all working on a few projects at once, I tried some collage. My new favourite best friend is Matte Medium. I bought some on return to Sydney and will use this in the future

I created this one over the weekend .gluing scraps of paper down. finding images. The only real realistic drawing I did was the keys and then I stuck them down on the page and added the shadow.  This took a while to come together. It looked nothing at first and Kaz kept encouraging me to add more. By the end of the weekend I was so pleased with it.

newspaper . I sealed the page with matte medium and then painted with ink




I was inspired and motivated by letting the creative juices flow. I think that I need this sort of time (even a day would be good, but a weekend is more like a holiday) every 6 months or so . It is great to try a different sort of creativity for fun, with no pressure. It is also good for me to discover that I can do other sorts of art.

me !
Kaz’s art

Meegan’s art
Meegan has a wonderful indepth blog of the weekend too  


Melbourne sketching

 A weekend in Melbourne provided me with an opportunity to sketch.

I went to Melbourne to visit my four sketchbooks I had entered in the Sketchbook Project. Read all about it here. They were on tour in Australia from 1- 9 November. I visited with friends on the final day in the final hours. They had to kick us out.

But my Melbourne adventure started from the moment I left work on Friday, and arrived at the airport to find my plane delayed an hour. Sketching time !!!

baggage on the tarmac

and then on the plane

passengers on the plane

On arrival in Melbourne there was time for iconic sights as well as the iconic Melbourne weather (four seasons in one day !) Sydney does not have trams, so I was determined to draw one while I was here. I looked for the classic yellow and green trams, only to discover that they did not go down the street I was on – just very old grey trams and ones with flashy advertising

Skybus from the airport and a Melbourne tram

How could I not sketch the Flinders Street Station ?- a stunningly beautiful building

I met Evelyn and Kym , Melbourne sketchers at 11am and we sketched the historic Melbourne City Baths from across the road. We just sat down and started sketching, then it started to rain. We could (an perhaps should have) moved under shelter , but just put up our umbrellas for an hour and a half. We had our photos taken by many groups of Asian tourists walking down from the Queen Victoria Markets.

The rain has an interesting effect on  watercolour paper and watercolour pencils.
I spent a very long time on the pencil set up. We each  considered whether to add colour tour pages. I sort off wish I had not. It would have been difficult in warm, dry weather on a dry day as I could but find the right combination of colour. But added challenge of damp changed the way colours and lines reacted. In the end it actually stopped me from being fussy about the result, as it was so uncontrollable.

Were those Melbourne sketchers testing me with the weather elements or was I testing them??? Either way, we all passed!

Sketching in the rain just sketching in the rain, a Glorious feeling I’m happy again. Kym & Evelyn

me & Evelyn. Thanks Kym for the photo.


Then the rain got heavier, we decided we were cold and went to find lunch !


and then to The Sketchbook Project exhibition at the Victorian College of Arts.

Fabulous concept, amazing books ,wonderful atmosphere and the creative juices are flowing !!! We shared the books we borrowed and got to see a lot of books made by other Australian Sketchbook Project entrants of all ages.


  1. get a library card, choose a book, get a random book as well and enjoy!

with Evelyn & Kym
Halina, Louise & I browsing through my Paris travelogue sketchbook. The sketchbook is based on the holiday I took with them in 2007, so we were reliving our holiday


sketching the Sketchbook Project

the next day it was cold , but not raining! the famous coffee shops of Melbourne laneways beckoned. I was talking to much to draw more than my coffee, and even then it was cold.

and after a days adventure I was back to the airport again