Blackwattle Bay again….

blackwattle_2014Thursday was a very hot day. We found a shady place under a tree, with a breeze to cool us off. We were at Black wattle Bay recently,  but this time we went around the corner, looking across to the fish market. (That’s the blue building.) Back in 2008, I did this sketch from almost the same spot, in my very first handmade sketchbook.

When it was time for lunch we only had to climb a flight of steps to Blackwattle Cafe, which was immediately above us.  I had a toasted ham sandwich with brie, tomato rocket and tartare sauce (and some mystery ingredient that made it absolutely delicious.)  The last couple of times I have had the pumpkin salad which is possibly my favourite thing on the menu, but it is big, and I wasn’t that hungry (It was too hot).  It is a shame they discontinued the salmon rissoles though!

This sketch was done with a Pigma Micron pen and watercolour with a few touches of my white Sigma pen.


Filed under Blackwattle Bay, boats, Pigma Micron, sketchbook, sketching, Sydney Harbour, watercolour

Sketching in the city

hyde_park_2 On Saturday the Sydney Sketch Club held an event in the city. We started out near Hyde Park, and many of us went in to the park away from the traffic to sketch.

It is jacaranda time here, so I wanted to sketch a jacaranda tree again. Here is one I did in 2011. There were black clouds, so we sat out in the middle of the grass, but I still managed to get sunburnt on the back of the neck. Lamy Safari pen with brown ink, watercolour, and a little Sigma white pen on the fountain, just to get the droplets. Hyde Park always reminds me of Alex who used to be my hairdresser. The salon was opposite this park and his ashes were scattered there.

palms_william_stThe group moved on to the next place which was further down William Street.  I had the mood to draw something organic that I could scribble a lot, so I decided to draw these palms opposite the Australian Museum. I love these palms. They are so sculptural. I did them with my black Copic Multiliner.

The foliage was a very blue-green but there were touches of yellow and some of the tips were yellow ochre. The wind came up very strongly. Blew  away someone’s paints and someone else’s full water container. Watercolour finished at home.We moved to the pub over the road for an extremely delicious lunch. (Thai Beef Salad).




Filed under Brown ink, Copic Multiliner, Lamy Safari, sketchbook, sketching, Sydney, watercolour

Revisiting Siracusa and the Sicilian baroque.

siracusa_windowFrom a photo from my travels. This window was in Ortigia, quite near to where we were living in Siracusa, Sicily.

Our apartment was a fast five minute walk from the Piazza del Duomo, one of my favourite squares in the world, but in an ‘ordinary’ street, rather than a tourist area. Everywhere there are little architectural gems.  This window has lost its balcony, but still is beautiful. I have so many photos of architectural details like this.

I went to Sicily because I saw the baroque buildings in the backgrounds of the Inspector Montalbano series. It certainly exceeded expectations.Wonderful things to look at everywhere.

The ‘grand’ architecture of Sicily is even more amazing – the public buildings, palazzi and churches. Now I am home I have bought this enormous but wonderful book The Baroque Architecture of Sicily and am slowly reading all about it. This is much more my preferred way of understanding what I see than trailing around with a guide.

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Filed under Brown ink, Italy, Lamy Safari, Sicily, Siracusa, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour

We made some sketchbooks

imageMy nephew and a friend were staying with me a couple of weeks ago. They had bought their sketching materials and stools and we hoped to get out sketching. The weather was against us. A little bit rainy, very windy and very cold.

My nephew had made a coptic book before one other rainy day when he was here, but his friend had not made a book before.
imageThe first damp windy day we made two coptic sketchbooks.  The turquoise one is covered in my paste paper, and the tan one has Nepalese paper image(more masculine). They each have a little laser-cut cog clued on the front, but we painted the one for the turquoise book silver, because there is also silver in the paste paper.

imageThis is the inside of my nephew’s book. He used pages from an old atlas for the endpapers of his previous book, so I asked him if he wanted the atlas again. He did. But instead of a map, he cut one of the index pages diagonally. Very inventive!

imageimageFor the turquoise book we used two different kinds of credit card papers for the endpapers. I did that recently in a book for myself. You never look at both the back and front inside covers at once, so what does it matter if you like them.

Another cold wet afternoon we were looking at Alisa Golden’s bookmaking books, and we decided to make a circle concertina. In fact, they made it, without much input from me at all.  Apart from the coptic binding structure, many of the other book structures I make are from Alisa Golden’s books. That is how I learnt. I have made a few of this one for myself, and used to glue book reviews into them. There are random stencils throughout the book also, and the inside pages are orange. It has a soft cover and all the paper is Mi-Teintes Canson paper.



Filed under book art, sketchbook

Bauhinia tree

bauhinia_treeCamperdown Memorial Park is just at the end of my street. I took my sketching chair up there yesterday and sat in the shade to sketch this tree. I sketched it before…three years ago.

It was nearly removed by the council a couple of years ago…the story is here. It is not blossom. They are orchid-like  flowers and some of the leaves tumble down from the bottom. A really beautiful tree and I always look forward to it flowering this time every year. It is a symbol of Hong Kong , which is very pertinent at the moment with the Umbrella Revolution happening there now.

Someone came and sat below it, just as I started to sketch. She was reading a book and moving around a lot. Behind her is the graffiti-covered wall of St Stephen’s Church.

Drawn in my brown ink with Lamy Safari and then watercolour. Wine and Green Copic Multiliner added to the tree.


Filed under Brown ink, Copic Multiliner, Lamy Safari, Newtown, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour

Native flowers from my guests

native_flowers_2014Blogging has been a bit slow due to the fact that I have had house guests staying in my spare room. WordPress is much better on the desktop computer than on the Ipad, and the desktop is….in the spare room.

We were hoping to go out sketching, but the weather didn’t cooperate.  Cloudy, a little rain, and a whole lot of cold wind. My guests bought me these flowers, and we were going to sketch them, but instead they made new coptic bound sketch books. No photos! I’ll have to ask them to photograph them. We also made a small circle concertina book.

But I snatched a little bit of time to put some watercolour on the page and did the ink later in various colours of Copic Multiliner.


Filed under Copic Multiliner, flowers, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour


cahersiveenThe Virtual Paintout for October is County Kerry, Ireland. I went to Ireland in 1975 and travelled around by public transport. We went around the ‘Ring of Kerry’ and stopped off for a night at Cahersiveen. A strange old-fashioned place in those days, unlike anywhere else we went in Ireland. Totally changed now, I’m sure. It looks more modern, walking around the Google maps street view with the little yellow man.

But I remember going to a bar that was the front ‘parlour’ of someone’s house. Did we eat there too? I don’t remember. It is too long ago. We stayed in a B&B that was also someone’s house. There were holy pictures everywhere and containers of holy water too.

Ten years later, when I was living in Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald Saturday edition had a huge article about a scandal centred on Cahersiveen after the stabbed body of a baby found on a beach. It  resulted in what seems to have been a witch hunt centred on an unmarried mother completely unrelated to the baby whose body was found. You can read about it here. It didn’t really surprise me that such a thing would happen there. Ireland has changed a lot since 1985.


Filed under Uncategorized, Virtual Paintout, watercolour