Tag Archives: drawing

Lovina Beach Tour

lovina_beach_tourThis was our first trip out with the formerly-elusive Made P. On our last trip to Ubud, he had been recommended as a driver, by a friend. I was told where he could be found, so every day we went and asked for him. Another driver spoke to us each day, telling us that he had already gone out on a job. Very popular driver!

After three or four days of this, we needed a driver. So, on the basis of  “you’ll do”, we went off with the driver who had been giving us the information all week. This was Nyoman, the driver that I was looking for this time, who had become our friend over the course of a number of trips, and who turned out to have died.  The first time we left the hotel this visit, we were approached by a number of drivers, but we said ‘no, no, no’, as we were only walking up the road. But one face was familiar and my brain said ‘I think that’s Made P. ‘ So at some point last time, Nyoman must have introduced us to him. And the next day when I asked him, he told us Nyoman was dead.

So, my travelling companion seemed to me to be more and more unwell, but she was determined to make the most of her time. This was Friday and she was leaving Saturday night. So off we went on a very long tour right up to the north coast.  Our first stop was Taman Ayun temple at Mengwi. I have visited it many times, also when you could go right inside, which has not been the case for many years.  My friend walked around with Made while I drew this shrine that was in the grounds. I roughed it in with watercolour pencil, did most of the inking, then took a photo to do the colour from, as it was time to go.

The next stop was BeduP1000192(1)gul on Lake Bratan, and Pura Ulun Danau, ‘the temple on the lake’.  Another temple said my friend, on only the second temple. Just as well we had our own driver and were not with a group. But this is one of the most beautiful places in Bali. So, a walk around the temple which is surrounded by beautiful parklands, and off up over the mountain, past the monkeys on the side of the road, and down to Lovina Beach.

We stopped in Kalibukbuk, not far from where I stayed last time. I am fond of Kalibukbuk. It is a tiny place but there are good places to eat. We had lunch at Bali Breeze which is right on the beach. 2015-02-20 13.42.17I took a selfie to make Broni envious and ate mee goreng for lunchwhile I drew the little lamp.  We took a walk along the parade of shops at the beach, but the rain began, so it was time to set off for home.

I asked Made to stop at the Puri Bagus hotel on the way, so I could have a look at it. I saw the one in Candi Dasa a long time ago and now there is one at Lovina. It proved to be far from Kalibukbuk and down a long long track. Totally isolated unless you have a driver. Though it was quite beautiful, the reception area was built up high, up some huge steps.  This is something that is often done in Bali, and though it looks good, it is too difficult for me. The height of the steps is far from what we are used to, and there is never a railing. Some places have strategically placed statues or other decorative things and that helps a lot. But I wouldn’t choose to stay at a hotel with  a barrier like this out front. So, crossing Puri Bagus off the list, with some regret.


Filed under Bali, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour

Getting in training

arezzoLess than a week now and I board that aircraft for Italy.  I have wanted to do some sketching from my photos ever since I came back last time. On the whole I don’t enjoy sketching from photos any more, but I must be in the mood for it at the moment. This is Santa Maria della Pieve in the Piazza Grande in Arezzo. Spending a week not far from here.

Another reason for this sketch is that I wanted to give the magic pencils a workout.  I haven’t used them for a long time , maybe since this sketch in 2010. I have a project in mind to do in Sicily and it may well be with the magic pencils, perhaps aided by a few watercolour shadows. But it might not happen, and it might very well turn out to be a dog’s breakfast, in which case I won’t show you.

Strangely, magic pencils are suddenly in the news, with Laurelines also using them very recently.


Filed under Arezzo, coloured pencils, drawing, Italy, magic pencils, sketchbook, sketching, Travel

Size matters (and I cheated)


The thing that drives me crazy about my own sketchbook is that, unless I plan ahead and draw a line around the page, I always fill the whole page. So with this sketch I cheated, and digitally put a white border around it. Recently while reading Matthew Brehm’s book Sketching on Location, I read what I already knew – sketches look better with white space around them (Flickr, take note).
So why do I do this? A couple of reasons.

I was a painter and drawer long before I became a sketcher. I am used to filling up the canvas. Used to filling up the paper.
The other reason is that I am used to working big. BIG. Before I went to art school I thought A4 (letter size) was big. Immediately when we started in first year, we were onto A1 size and expected to fill the page. That’s around 23 x 33 inches. Then A1 became small, and we were expected to work much bigger.


Cartridge paper – six sheets of A1

Here’s one I did of the studio. I started with one A1 sheet and it grew to six. So the whole drawing is about 99 inches across by 46 high.


Stonehenge paper – nine sheets

The next drawing is on nine full sheets of Stonehenge paper. Each sheet is about 22 x 29 inches. So this one is nearly 90 inches wide by 66 high.

This is probably the reason I can’t fathom the use of tiny sketchbooks. They make me come over all peculiar (more peculiar).

These large drawings were done about ten years ago. The last one may look abstract, but in fact it was an investigation into drawing ‘the bound object’.  We all had to bind an object during the holidays as a basis of our drawing for the next term (final year- Advanced Diploma of Fine Art).  I got some old metallic helium balloons with congratulatory messages on them, and bound my object (rags? I can’t remember)  with yellow curling ribbon. I was the only member of a large class with a coloured ‘bound object’. Beige, white, grey, black…and then mine.  I did the realistic colours first and then was instructed to do more in different colourways till I had a large wall full of them.

So on Thursday  we sketched around Newtown. In this area is one of the best streets in Newtown. An interesting link on this blog. So is mine by the way, but my street is full of ‘workers’cottages’ whereas this area has large mansions with lots of lovely architectural detail to sketch. I slopped on watercolour first and drew into it. There’s a nice little park opposite where we sat to sketch. Forced to listen to a ‘lovers’tiff’ which, it seemed to me, had only one obvious ending.


Filed under Copic Multiliner, Newtown, sketchbook, sketching, urban landscape, watercolour

Out of my comfort zone – prep for my trip

still_lifeI have long been interested in the book,One Drawing A Day: A 6-Week Course Exploring Creativity with Illustration and Mixed Media (One A Day) and this week I bought the Kindle version. I want to take it travelling with me. I only wishhhhhhh (amazon, are you listening) that they also had the Kindle version of One Watercolor a Day: A 6-Week Course Exploring Creativity Using Watercolor, Pattern, and Design (One A Day). They have it in the shop up the road now, but I want it on my ipad. Amazon, you’ve got six weeks. Oh, wait, no, it’s five now.

My reason for sudden acceleration of interest in these books is my old bugbear, finding time to sketch while travelling. Because I am a painter originally, the tone is as important as the line, maybe more so. But the tone takes the time to get on paper. These exercises are designed for working quickly with different tools. I’m trying to be less precious, less critical. The ‘monster’ technique from Inma Serrano has helped a lot with that, but I want to take it further.  (Read about that technique here.)

So the first exercise was with a fine pen. Semi blind contour. More looking at the still life than at what I am putting down onto my paper. I was also not supposed to rest my hand on the paper, but I kept forgetting that. I will have to do another one and concentrate on doing that. No control!

My still life was meant to be of things important to me, so ……it is my new benjarong pot from Thailand, a green glass bottle with a lovely stopper I bought in Arezzo, and a plant that Annie gave me for a gift.  It’s a challenge to me to leave out the colour, and also a challenge not to put the tones and reflections on the bottle and the pot, but with that fine pen I would have been there all day.


Filed under One Drawing a Day, pen, sketchbook, sketching

Collaborative works, ten years apart.

wendy_portrait_800As a January project I volunteered to join a collaborative portrait project as part of the SW Games Facebook Group. I had expected my section to contain a nostril, or a section of chin, but as you see what I got was far more complex.   I used watercolour and my NEW purple Copic Multiliner pen.

Apacezannert from the Rome Map we did recently, I haven’t done this type of project since 2004. My final year painting class at the Sydney Gallery School, Meadowbank did a collaborative version of a Cezanne still life. And here it is!

My section (A4 size) was part of the dark inviteunderneath the table. I did it in oils with acrylic underpainting. Many glazes. It was chosen by the other students for the invitation for our exhibition. Luckily these images were still hanging around on my computer.

So, this January 2014 collaborative project is MUCH more complex that the one ten years earlier. I haven’t the foggiest what the image will be like when it is all revealed.  It will be any day now, and I will show you.


Filed under Copic Multiliner, oils, sketching, watercolour

Sketching around Newtown

warren_ballSketching yesterday around Newtown. A little park with some lovely old houses around it. One row of very elaborate large houses had so much architectural detail that you could sketch there for a month and still do something different every time. The first sketch I was  trying out the three-media technique (with a variation). I used a red Copic Multiliner to sketch it initially, then put my mid-tones on with  pink and peach Tombow pens – a bit too similar to each other. I needed to do that before the light moved around. Then a purple Tombow to reinforce the main lines and the darks. A waterbrush to just wash some of the purple over the  windows. Very quick, and even better…nothing to finish afterwards.

no_44The second one was from a row of small simple, but still old houses on another side of the park. This is the two-media technique. Green Copic Multiliner and watercolour mix of Antwerp Blue and Paynes Grey.

I did enjoy doing the pink and purple one. I have been wanting to do something in completely unrealistic colours and now I have.  It is the monster technique of course. Such fun to do, but perhaps I should get back to some serious stuff. I do enjoy trying new techniques though. Any suggestions?


Filed under Copic Multiliner, drawing, Newtown, sketchbook, sketching, tombow pens, watercolour

Old water pump at the Powerhouse Museum

water_pumpLast week we went sketching at the Powerhouse Museum. I took watercolour pencils and used those inside the Museum.  Also Copic Multiliner. It is quite dark everywhere in the museum so it was tricky trying to catch the different shades of grey from the shadows and the water in the tank and in the pump area.

We tucked ourselves away in a corner because there were some school groups visitng the museum, and we didn’t want to be in the way. However this water pump is able to be used, and most of the children who came by wanted to try. we had to reassure the parents that they weren’t blocking our view (well, not for long). Some little boys said it was really difficult to pump, but then two little girls came along and they really thumped at it and made it go fast. We didn’t try, ourselves.


Filed under Copic Multiliner, drawing, Powerhouse Museum, sketchbook, sketching, Stillman & Birn, watercolour pencils