Monthly Archives: February 2016

My cards at State Library of Victoria

The last few weeks have involved some very exciting events for me and my art.
My greeting cards are now for sale at The State Library of Victoria at Readings Bookshop and the Law Institute of Victoria Bookshop.

photo 1a

my cards are all along the top row and the first three on the left on the second row

photo 1

The greeting cards at State Library of Victoria include my drawings of library books, library ladders, feathers and nests. I visited on Friday to see them  prominently displayed on the shelf and fitting in very nicely in their surroundings. I am slightly overwhelmed and in awe that my cards are being stocked at such a prestigious and historic institution. It is visited by thousands of tourists and locals as it is a  Melbourne landmark and cultural icon.  This is a Very Big Deal for me as this Is my first stockist (apart from  my local corner store).

6Feb2016 SLV

I drew this on the morning that I dropped my cards off at the Library. It is a magnificent 19th-century building .

There is particularly interesting and strong connection between the State Library of Victoria and the Supreme Court of Victoria Library (where I work and whose books and library ladders feature on my cards).

25Feb16 statue

Statue of Sir Redmond Barry ,outside of the State Library of Victoria

Sir Redmond Barry, KCMG, QC (1813 – 1880), was a colonial judge in Victoria, Australia. He is a leading figure in Melbourne’s history. Amongst many other things he established the Library of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1851, The current building, with its magnificent dome was completed in 1884 . In 1854 he established the Melbourne Public Library, now the State Library Victoria. It is Australia’s oldest public library and one of the first free public libraries in the world (and also has a dome).

In a second event my Library and book greeting cards are also going to be available for purchase at the Law Institute of Victoria bookshop. This is another area of great potential . There are 20 000 solicitors in Victoria and this is their member organisation and bookshop. I had a wonderful discussion with the manager and have many ideas for new drawing projects.

Of course, you can buy my greeting cards  from my online Etsy shop .

Lunar New Year – fast & slow sketching

On Saturday at my local East Melbourne Library there were Chinese New Year celebrations, including Lion Dancing. There were two Lions (each had two people in it)  and a mischievous buddah,  accompanied musicians on the drum, gong and cymbal. A fantastic overload of sights and sounds to delight the small crowd . It finished in firecrackers (outside the library) .

20Feb2016 chinese lion4 lr


20Feb2016 chinese lion2jpg 20Feb2016 chinese lion3 20Feb2016 chinese lion6

It was very challenging to try and capture the constant movement of the characters. They darted up and down, back and forward, in a seemingly impromptu fashion. They jumped up onto the loans desk and bookshelves, in amazingly acrobatic moves. I learnt afterwards that they had not been to the library before this date and it was all made up on the spot.

I am not sure if I could have prepared for sketching this. It required very loose hand,  and arm movement. I was trying to juggle multiple coloured pencils and this slowed me down.

20Feb2016 chinese lion5lr

It was a lot easier to draw the musicians – this was within my comfort zone !

After the finale of firecrackers outside the library and the ending of the ceremony, I moved back inside to try the deep fried dumplings and Chinese black tea. The makers of these explained the process as I watched and chatted to the library staff.

20Feb2016 black tea lr

Chinese black tea with Sarah Cowell from Teasense

20Feb2016 dumplings lr
Deep fried prawn and pork dumplings with Corona So from Living Cuisine

Totally in my comfort zone here !

one sketch – three endings

Friday night. I was meeting friends at The Westin Hotel foyer for drinks. I arrived 1/2 hour early and had time to order a glass of bubbly and sketch my surroundings.


My initial sketch was of the ornate champagne chiller, bottles of wine and glasses.


14Feb2016 westin

I then decided to place the drinks in context, so I added the people in the background and walls. This now moves it into an urban sketch as I am documenting a time and place. I then added the staff member as a focal point. My friends had arrived so I stopped this sketch (although I did two others while we chatted) .

I wanted to add colour to the page and realised that I had number of options. At home, I took photocopies of my finished sketch and experimented adding colour. I highlighted different areas of the sketch with watercolour pencil, making them points of interest.

Option ONE – adding colour to the people in the background

14Feb2016 people

OPTION TWO – adding colour to the champagne, wine and glasses

14Feb2016 wine

OPTION THREE – adding colour to the wait staff

14Feb2016 girl

Which do you think is most effective?

This weeks sketches

This weeks blog explores the sketches in my Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook over the last week. They show the variety of styles I have and also when I make and take the opportunities to sketch.


1Feb2016 Treasury Gardens, Melbourne

I sometimes sketch on my walk to work, usually in the Treasury Gardens, Melbourne, which are about halfway to work. I usually stop around the same area, for about 10 minutes, sketching the ducks or trees or pond. I say hello to the ducks and start the day grounded and relaxed.


1Feb2016 Federation Square, Melbourne

I was meeting someone after work at Federation Square, in Melbourne city. They texted to say they would be half an hour late. So I sketched to fill in time. I sketched lots of other people waiting and chatting. I was meeting with someone who has a similar medical condition to what I had in 2011 and is going for surgery soon and wanted to speak to someone. I sketched through illness and surgery in 2011 and these sketchbooks can be seen here as well as my discussion on Artists’ Journal Workshop blog  . The meeting reminded me of the importance of drawing and sketch journals in my life as a form of healing and also recording an event.


2Feb2016 nature

I am practicing drawing objects in similar groups. In this case – nature. This butterfly and eggs have a similar colour, the feathers are similar and the twig is from nature. Adding the label, makes them seem like a collection. All have a similar tone and softness.


3Feb2016 Legal Laneways Breakfast

Melbourne. a wet morning today in Hardware Lane for the Legal Laneway Breakfast for the Opening of the Legal Year. Umbrellas everywhere.speeches were kept short. wet paper,wet ink.wet me. Sketched after the official event from across the Lane , under shelter.
The annual Legal Laneway Breakfast brings together Victoria’s diverse legal sector to celebrate the start of the legal year. It was celebrated in church services on Monday and this morning was an event jam packed full of legal professionals enjoying a casual breakfast and a cup of coffee all in the name of raising money for a good cause – all under umbrellas


4Feb2016 commuters
On the tram. Really quick sketches.


6Feb2016 Everfresh wall

I was walking down Johnstone Street in Fitzroy and saw this graffiti wall (legal) and service station and old buildings behind. I thought I will quickly sketch this, but I was probably there about 1/2 hour. I could have stayed longer, but the page was beginning to get muddy with colour. I think that I tried to focus on so many interesting focus points here, but I am pleased that I stopped by.

7Feb2016 cars
My final sketches were done in front of the television (while teaching myself Photoshop) . The Bathurst 12 Hour race was on and these are a few quick sketches off the screen

As you can see, many of my sketches are unplanned and I also spend time in the evening on my drawings. Each one is good practice and enjoyable. I will  be continuing to practice my  collections of objects and then using Photoshop to move images around.

I wonder what my unplanned sketches will  be this week……