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.
my cards are all along the top row and the first three on the left on the second row
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).
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).
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.
My first solo art exhibition. It is small but it is all mine.
My local East Melbourne Library provides display cabinets for residents to book for a month at a time for exhibitions. With the encouragement of friends, I booked a space for August. Then, with the incredible guidance and assistance of my good friend Louise, (curator and exhibition designer) we planned and then set up my display.
This took many hours and the time that we spent planning paid off. I learnt that there is a lot involved in finding a theme, keeping focus and using the space of the glass cubes that make up the cabinets. I cut 12 squares of 30 x 30 cm paper (the number and size of each shelf) and spread them out over the floor at home . I then decided what should be placed in each shelf. We took it all down to the library last Saturday, making slight alterations on the day .
All along, I had visualised how I wanted my feather and nests sketches to be exhibited, and the final display exceeded all of my expectations.
The theme of the exhibition was based around the drawings I have had printed as Greeting Cards and envelopes (which are available for sale on my Etsy site). They include feathers, nests, library books and ladders and snails.
There is one display cabinet featuring library books and ladders.
I tried to add as many relevant sketchbooks as possible to the display as well as the finished drawings on loose sheets of A4 paper as I am really a sketchbook artist.
FEATHERS, NESTS AND SNAILS
I also wanted to include some of the original objects that the drawings were inspired by.
I have already received some lovely feedback from the library staff.
I hope that you have enjoyed strolling through my first solo exhibition with me today. It is very big event for me and I very proud of my exhibition.
I am very excited to announce a new set of eight Greeting Cards on my Etsy shop featuring my feather and nest drawings. I have had a busy and productive day today putting the images online.
These follow on from my first venture of Library books and shelves Greeting Cards that were printed in March.
Those who know me will be well aware of how much I enjoy drawing feathers and nests. I am continually amazed by the delicacy, fragility and strength of nature. I love to try and capture the patterns and colours of feathers and the complexity and intricacy of nests. I have chosen eight drawings that I hope convey this. They are printed on cream 300 gsm card and come with a cream envelope and are beautiful to send with (or as) gift or to keep and frame for yourself!
Printing these cards provides me with an opportunity to share my love of drawing and nature.
This adventure into the world of greeting cards has been exciting and challenging. I am on a learning curve about printing, websites, Etsy and marketing.
Please visit my Etsy Shop to view my drawings on my Greeting cards and spread the word.
Today I had a day free with no plans. I have not sat down to spend a large amount of time drawing for ages, so decided to indulge. I cleared the table, sharpened my watercolour pencils and cut some paper to A4 size.
Everyday I draw in a Moleskine watercolour Sketchbook 13 x 19 cm. But today was different.
I have been drawing feathers (and also recently books) on larger sheets of equivalent textured paper which I discovered through trial and error. See my blog from last year. I found the perfect paper. It is called University paper. I believe it is produced by St Cuthberts Mill in the UK . It is available in sheets of 210 gsm for me at Deans Art in Melbourne.
photo of a Rainbow Lorikeet
I have decided to draw my feathers, nests and books on larger sheets because I eventually may have an exhibition. I would also like to use them for print on cards. The larger size paper allows me to draw a few feathers on the page and think about composition. Today I wanted to break away from the black, greys, browns, creams of the magpie, ibis and duck feathers that I have been drawing. The feathers of the rainbow lorikeet seemed a good choice. All feathers were picked up in a local park in Melbourne or a Waterbird habitat in Queensland. I found these simple colourful feathers difficult to draw. They are not soft and fluffy (which I enjoy). I draw a lot of feathers – see more on my flickr site or my blogpost on drawing a feather step by step.
I am pleased with the result and have put the drawing aside for a while. I need to add a bit more colour intensity in some areas. I am also thinking of adding a fifth feather on the far end (the same size as the first one). What do you think ? It has also been suggested to arrange them horizontally on the page not vertically. Your thoughts?
I finished the day by started another feather….
(one is real and the other start of a drawing !)
This post is about drawing the feather of a tawny frogmouth. I have quite a few of these feathers in my collection. I am not sure why I have so many, as you don’t see that very many tawny frogmouth birds about. This is probably because they blend in so well with the tree branches they are on and they are nocturnal. However I still think that there appears to be a disproportionate amount of feathers compared to birds you see everyday, such as magpies. Tawny frogmouths are one of my favourite birds (I seem to have a few)
Tawny frogmouths. Photo: Keith Smith Photography
The Tawny Frogmouth is found throughout Australia. They are about 35–50 cm and can be seen in almost any habitat type except the denser rainforests and treeless deserts. Frogmouths are often confused with owls, but are actually more closely related to the nightjars. This feather was collected off the ground in Toowoomba, Queensland.
I often draw feathers, but they are usually simple and one or two colours. And I complete them over an evening or two. See them here . In this post I wanted to share my love of watercolour pencils and what can be achieved using this medium
The tawny frogmouth feather was more of a challenge as their feathers are highly patterned. This is the second time I have attempted to draw one and I am still figuring out how to do it. I was halfway through this one when I discovered that Derwent Inktense Bark watercolour pencil is the perfect colour for the tawny frogmouth feather. The pencils I was using were too brown or too grey and I was trying to blend them.
This time I remembered to take these photographs along the way to try to show my work in progress. It shows the real feather at the top and my drawing next to it. I started it in February this year and then put the drawing aside for about two weeks between the last two images.
STTEP 4 – FINISHED !
Drawn on Arches 300gsm Smooth Watercolour paper.
Bark – Derwent Inktense
Walnut Brown – Faber Castell Albrecht Durer
Burnt Umber- Faber Castell Albrecht Durer
Ivory – Faber Castell Albrecht Durer
Raw Umber – Derwent
I have found that the Derwent pencils are too soft for the finer “feathery” details of the feather (the “afterfeather”) as you can see the texture of the pencil on the paper. Faber Castells are harder and give a finer line, which can also be dissolved beautifully to give the fluffy look. This is the area I love to draw. This particular feather was a bit of an experiment. I am very pleased with the final result, and have learnt a lot along the way. NEXT TIME I need to figure out a way to achieve the dark colour patterns and the fine lines of the feather (I think these are called the barbs). I feel that it is a little heavy handed and muddy in this one. However, I am not looking for a photorealistic drawing of feathers. My drawings are more about the impression of detail, rather then actual detail.