Category Archives: Botanic Gardens

In the shade of a tree

waterliliesSaturday – 32 degrees. We had thought of going sketching ships outside the Maritime Museum, but there is a lot of concrete there and it was too hot. Instead we went to the Botanic Gardens, under the shade of the trees, on the lawn.  We arrived really early and parked right next to the gate. No cars around.

Wfig_treee sketched in three different places. The pink plant first, then the waterlily garden, and after that the Port Jackson fig tree and the plants surrounding it.

I have sketched this tree before. Here it is from a different angle. I didn’t realise previously that this tree is surrounded by very sketchable plants…evepineapplen a pineapple. Many of these plants deserve their own sketch, but this time I just did ink outlines. Less is more.


Filed under Botanic Gardens, Copic Multiliner, sketchcrawls, sketching, watercolour

Back in the Succulent Garden

succulents_orangeLast week, in the depths of winter, we had a day that was 25 degrees. That’s 77. We decided that though we had a late start we would go to the Botanic Gardens. The succulent garden has a wall around it, so we headed there, because there was quite a breeze. It gets very hot in there in the summer, and you have to go very early if you don’t want to cook, so it was a great opportunity to sketch there.

Many of the succulents were in flower, and the majority ranged from red, through orange, to yellow. I decided to make the orange ‘a feature’. I was sketching the flowers in the upper left when a couple came and watched me. He said, “She’s cheating, she’s putting flowers”. I just pointed upwards at the flowers and said nothing. Not very observant, huh?


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

Lotuses in Bloom

lotus_2014I hadn’t been to the Botanic Gardens for quite a while. It has been supposed to rain all week, but in fact though it has been cloudy, it hasn’t rained. We took a risk and went to the Gardens yesterday. It didn’t rain. It was very hot and sticky, and though not sunny, I got sunburnt.

I like to draw the lotuses each year, when they are blooming. Or if they are not I still like the way the light falls on the leaves. Here is one from two years ago, and another. This is from 2010, and this one from 2009 might be the first one. I turned some of these into solar plate etchings that I printed in many colours. And this smaller solar plate etching is from the leaves of the very first lotus sketch I did. They all look so different, don’t they? Which one do you like best?

Yesterday’s effort is large-ish, 35cm wide by 20cm high. Green Copic Multiliner for the leaves and Wine for the flowers.  It is so nice to be able to work right across the spread again.


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

Negative painting in watercolour

paperbark_wcI had in mind to do a painting from sketch of the paperbark trees in  I did recently the Botanic Gardens. I found a half sheet of watercolour paper that I had stretched in the distant past and got started. I wanted to do a stylised landscape using the techniques from Linda Kemp’s book Watercolor Painting Outside the Lines. Some years ago I got this book from the library. At first I thought there wasn’t a lot of information in it but closer inspection found that I was wrong. Everything you need to know about negative painting is covered in this book. I had to buy it.

This method of painting involves working in layers of washes.  First I did the underpainting by wetting the whole sheet and dropping colours in and allowing to dry. Then I drew on my two main trees and some grasses, and painted negatively around them. Each layer has to  dry thoroughly before going on to the next layer.


The second image shows the work when partially done.

After a while I ran out of layers of trees coming directly from my sketch. I took my painting on its board, and my pencil and rubber up to the park at the end of my street. I sat in the shade amid the paperbark trees and drew another layer.

I worked with a limited palette. It just worked out that way. Viridian and Brilliant Alizarin, Ceruluean Blue and Burnt Sienna, and also Aureolin Yellow.  I group the colours in this way because the first pair  was used to make a range of greys for the washes, as was the second pair.

There are a number of book reviews on my blog, but if you go to my website you will see a number of different art books I have reviewed (and I don’t review anything I don’t recommend) , and where there is a review on my blog the website will link back to it. Just click on the Resources tab.


Filed under Botanic Gardens, watercolour

38th Worldwide Sketchcrawl

38_sketchcrawlSaturday was the sketchcrawl, luckily on a cool day, after the previous day was 46.4C at the airport. That’s 115 and at the closest weather station to my house. Due to the hot day, the colour of the Gardens was looking a little more ochre than usual. That made my decision for me, as to whether to work consecutively in my new book of toned papers, or whether to choose the background for the sketch. Well, it seemed a little silly to go consecutive, just because I always do, when I’ve specially put some watercolour paper in there for when I need it.

In choosing the papers for my book, I used the lightest colours at the front and worked though to darker colours at the back. This was so, when I opened a page where two colours of paper created the spread, they wouldn’t be tonally very different. This is one of those spreads.

My first stop was the succulent garden, because usually you get baked in there on the concrete, and it was cool enough to tolerate it even though after 10a.m. Next stop was the statue so that I could draw something hard edged. Finally we found a stand of bamboo with shade as it was hotter by then. I like to draw bamboo from time to time, and I knew it would fit in to finish my spread quite well. I want to draw the black bamboo next. At this time of year its a matter of finding a place in the shade.

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Filed under Botanic Gardens, Copic Multiliner, drawing, Prismacolour pencils, sketchbook, sketchcrawls, sketching, Uncategorized

Playing with selective colour

A beautiful day in the Gardens for sketching but lots of mozzies at the first spot. Luckily I had some RID, but they still managed to sneak in quite a few bites. We decided to sketch this plant, though we had no idea what it was. After a while a guide came by with a group, so we asked her. It is a ginger, and the red part is the bracts and only the yellow is the flower. I looked it up online and it is called Spiral Ginger. Once you know, it is easy to see, because it is a lot like the Beehive Ginger I drew in the Tropical Centre.

This week I was excited by a drawing of a boat by Jorge Royan where he used selective colour. It is not on his blog yet, but you can find it on Facebook on the Urban Sketchers page. Hence I decided to do selective colour in these sketches.
paperbarkNext we moved away from the mozzies and as the sun was high in the sky we wandered around looking for a patch of shade. We found this little ‘glade’ not far from Twin Ponds and sat under the shade of a large tree. A breeze was coming off the harbour and we were nice and cool on a very hot day. These paperbark trees are so interesting to draw. The park at the end of my street has many of them.


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

Back in the Botanic Gardens

back_gardensOn Friday we were back in the Botanic Gardens for the first time this summer. I’ve been wanting to go back there for a long time. It was a perfect day for sketching. We found a shady place out of the hot sun. I enjoy drawing palms, but there are a lot of leaves and it to0k me some time. lotus_leaves

After lunch we went to Main Pond. I like to draw the lotuses every summer. This year, after the stormy weather on Christmas Day it was no surprise that there were no flowers. Only a bud or two. I always enjoy the play of light and shade on anything I draw, so that is why I am just as happy drawing the leaves.

A Happy New Year in 2013 to everyone.

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