Tag Archives: Botanic Gardens

Palms – Solar plate etchings

This solar plate etching was taken from one end of this sketch. I drew these
palms one wet wet day in the Tropical Centre at the Royal Botanic Gardens and we had such a fantastic day that I am totally inspired by palms.We’re going to the Gardens again on Saturday and it’s raining again!

This first solar plate etching was inked up in an aubergine colour mixed by Seraphina Martin who organises the Printfest for us.The next one was inked up in a colour called Sanguine by Charbonnel inks. Probably my favourite colour.
The image with all the palms comes from this drawing . The first was inked in Prussian Blue (also Charbonnel) and the second in Sanguine.

Each time the plate was first inked up with the colour I’ve mentioned, so that the ink went into the grooves in the plate. Then the surface of the plate was rubbed back, and it was rolled over with a big roller with a gradient which shows in the background of the palms. More info about solar plate etching on my glossary page.

I can’t finish this post without a word about Sonia who was the Australian killed in the helicopter crash in New York yesterday. I didn’t know her personally but I saw her around. She had this cafe I drew recently, under its previous name Baciagalupo, and I’d see her when I went there. More recently she has had Madam Fling Flong’s  where we had cocktails a while ago. It’s true what they say, she had quite a personality. She will be remembered for a long time around Newtown.

Leave a comment

Filed under Botanic Gardens, Newtown, solar plates


Last week we had some beautiful days and we went to the Royal Botanic Gardens. There was a stiff breeze down by the water so we went to the beautiful ‘Spring Walk’ and drew this interesting Japanese plant on the left.

After lunch I wanted to draw trees. During the Autumn of the Arts in the Botanic Gardens, Julia and Catherine drew some big trees up at Government House. They went straight in with the pen, and used colour for impact rather than to reflect nature. They were amazing. I have been wanting to do this ever since.

The top one is a Port Jackson Fig and the lower one is a Moreton Bay Fig. Roll on summer so I can get out there again. It’s blowing a very chilly gale today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Botanic Gardens, Copic Multiliner, drawing, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour

Spring Walk

It’s already a week ago and I’m not keeping up with my blogging. It was a Spring Sketchabout in the Royal Botanic Gardens. The previous day had been foul, but much to our surprise on the day it was sunny, though cold and windy. We were drawing along the ‘Spring Walk’ which was stunningly beautiful, and even sheltered so we weren’t cold at all.The panorama, as you can see from the photos, was daunting to say the least. I didn’t want to do a flower study, because that was getting a bit too botanical. So I found this stand of iris that looked pretty wonderful, drew them, then moved along and drew a polyanthus border.

During lunch, some hopeful ibis came hanging around. I managed to quickly sketch them before they were chased away by sketchers guarding their lunches. There have been ibis in the Gardens as long as I can remember. Over recent years they have become scavengers, and are often seen in numbers on the wheelie bins of restaurants around Sydney or anywhere with food scraps.

After lunch I wanted to draw a tree. However I wanted to sit with my friends more than that. I liked the yellow tulips, so I drew them pretty much ‘blind contour’.  I don’t look at the page a lot when I’m drawing anyway. The colour is not true to nature and that wasn’t blind contour – I looked! In the background are the lyrics of ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips. I’m still singing it.

1 Comment

Filed under birds, Botanic Gardens, Copic Multiliner, drawing, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour

Solar prints – the Lion & Autumn

Oh yes more solar plate etchings. I went craaaazy at Seraphina’s Printfest. I wait all year for these three winter Sundays, so I’ve got to make the most of them.

These two plates are also from my drawings last summer at the Botanic Gardens, however they’ve been altered a little. The autumn statue was transferred to the drafting film with pen, but instead of transferring the background from my sketchbook (gum blossoms) I transferred banksia from a different drawing & I did it with a big soft pencil that gives a softer line for the background.

The lion got much the same treatment. In my sketchbook he has a    Sydney Harbour/Botanic Gardens panorama, but in the solar plate I’ve drawn the actual background where he sits in the Oriental Garden.  A bit mix and match. Again I’ve used pen for the lion and pencil for the background.

I used green ink (new!) to ink up the autumn statue, and for the first lion I used yellow deep (also new) – suitable Gardens colours. You can see the yellow in the lions’ mane and on the curlicues on his legs. I love printing in all these bright colours.


Filed under Botanic Gardens, Print-making, solar plates

A smaller lotus solar plate etching

This is another solar plate etching from an older drawing of lotus leaves from the Botanic Gardens. I love the way the light falls on the leaves and I never tire of drawing them. Yes, the flowers are beautiful but the leaves are amazing in their own right.

The top one was inked in blue with the beautiful gradient of yellows and the lower one was inked in sepia (love sepia!) with a beautiful coral pink on the roller.

1 Comment

Filed under Botanic Gardens, Print-making, solar plates

Lotus Solar plate etchings

Last Sunday was Seraphina Martin’s Printfest. I go every year. It’s my big chance to do viscosity printing. I make solar plates and collographs at home in preparation, then one three winter/spring Sundays, I print, print, print.

This print is a solar plate etching taken from this drawing. I copied the drawing to architects’ drafting film to expose my solar plate.

It gives me the opportunity to make multiples and also to take my sketches to another level in another art form with the use of lots of lovely colour.

The first one was inked up in blue with a colour roll of a gradient from lemon yellow to yellow deep.

The other two were inked up in a new deep pink colour that the makers call ‘geranium’ and I call ‘lotus’. They were both rolled over with a large roller with many colours blended across it. For the top one I chose blue blending into purple and the bottom one the blue blends into green. Such fun watching them come off the press & seeing what I get.


Filed under Botanic Gardens, Print-making, solar plates

My big drawing

Finally unveiled – the big drawing that is in The Paginated Garden exhibition. The frame size is 36″ x 24″ and the drawing itself is 20″ x 30″. I did three small studies from different photographs in my sketchbook, using Prismacolour pencils and watercolour, and then chose this one to do the large one from. I used oil pastels instead of the Prismacolours for it, and that was my intention all along, as coloured pencils wouldn’t have covered all that ground quickly enough.

My intention was to do something bold and

dramatic, as I wanted particularly to do something that was nothing like botanical art, given that it was in the Royal Botanic Gardens. Also, the lighting in the room didn’t seem great, although last night it seemed much better than we’d all expected.

The big drawing is much closer in colour to the study. The difficulty of photographing the big one with reflections & so forth means that the scan of the study is more accurate.


Filed under Botanic Gardens, drawing, oil pastels, sketching, watercolour