Wednesday, 7 March 2018


At the beginning of the year I joined the RQAS - Royal Queensland Art Society, and resolved to exhibit more work during the year. The first exhibition was entitled Abstract. My entry was Bark Layers, a painting done on birch panel with oil and cold wax. 

The next exhibition for members is Chiaroscuro. The exhibition opens on Wednesday,15th March 7.00pm for 7.30pm and runs until Thursday 29th March.  
RQAS Gallery 3/162 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday 10.00am to 3.30 pm

Some information from the RQAS website:

This is the Renaissance term for the contrast of light and shadow so it fits that to celebrate World Bipolar Day on March 30th, this exhibition will raise awareness for Bipolar Disorder and mental health. Opening night will include speech from Anne Naylor author of “Art from Adversity: a life with Bipolar”, live music and nibbles. There will be a cover charge ($5 donation to Black Dog Institute) on opening night for attendees who are not exhibiting in the show. A selection of donated works will be auctioned off at the opening to raise funds for Black Dog Institute.

My entry, Reverie,  is a charcoal and graphite drawing. The inspiration was a muse from the Sktchy app - an online community of artists and art lovers around the world. It’s a place to share your artwork and get inspiration from hundreds of reference images. This particular image resonated with me because I felt that Eva Charlotte was lost in thought. 

Reverie - charcoal and graphite on Arches Satin paper 

And the framed drawing:

Reverie - charcoal and graphite on Arches Satin paper 

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Remembering uKhahlamba

Holidays are great but often it is really hard to get back into a working routine once back home. Facing a large blank canvas is also something many artists find challenging and setting up a painting routine is hard. A warm up drawing is a useful way to break the impasse. 

Mountain range - graphite 

This year, though, starting a new painting was so much easier. I received much inspiration during my short trip to the mountains of the Southern Drakensberg while I was on holiday. I have one new painting well on the way and ideas for a few others. I love painting and once I get into the groove after a break I can’t understand why I struggle to start painting.

Here’s a cropped WIP section - just the very top of the canvas Remembering uKhahlamba. In Zulu, uKhahlamba means the Barrier of up-pointed spears. The Afrikaans settlers called the mountain range Drakensberg - the mountains of the dragon. This vast escarpment stretches for some 1000 kilometres from the Eastern Cape as far as Limpopo Province in the North. 

Monday, 22 January 2018

Travelers Notebook - a recent holiday

Many of you will know that over the holidays, I was able to travel to South Africa to visit family. Since this was to be a time to re-connect, relax and not a serious sketching holiday, using the Travelers Notebook (from Bookbinders in Gympie Road, Brisbane and online) was the ideal sketchbook to use. Generally the paper format can be awkward for sketching since the pages are quite long and quite narrow. However, I found that it was this very feature that enabled me to do many sketches while out with family and friends. 

My rather chunky-looking TN at the end of the holiday 

The black leather cover stands up to rigorous treatment and, in fact, improves with wear. The Notebook is also fairly unobtrusive so it was easy to open and write or sketch without taking up a lot of space at a cafe table. 

I used two types of inserts - one with sketchbook paper and another with blank Midori paper. The latter is lovely for use with ink and I was pleased that the Sketchbook paper worked successfully with watercolour. I almost completed two sketchbook inserts and the same amount with the blank notepaper.

Time for coffee and cake

Sketching in the shade of Causarina pine trees

The blank notepaper became my travel diary where I could capture my thoughts at the end of each day. Before I left I splashed out and bought a HP Sprocket printer. I was then able to add photos of special places and people on the occasions where a sketch wasn’t possible. It is a small and light unit, working via Bluetooth with the iPhone. 

Combining travel diary entries with photographs 

Occasionally the connection would be erratic but switching on and off solved that issue. The colour can be a little flat and dull so boosting the saturation before printing gives a good result. 

Garden Castle, Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa

I have made a video flip-through of the whole book which you can see here: