Friday, May 29, 2015


As I couldn't find any hot-press watercolour paper in town, I bought a pad of smooth bristol paper. I think it will be gorgeous for line work. Probably not for watercolours, though, as evidenced by these two sorry apples (the one on the right looks more like a kumquat, don't you think?). I must try it for an urban sketch maybe, with a very light wash.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Gelli Babies in DLP

These ladies are fitting right in. I think I will be using this silhouette again in my art journals. I've photocopied the original to a reduced size, which I think will work better on the page, less towering maybe. And you can see to the side of the first silhouette some of my handwriting with my new Calligraphy pen - well, I'm an artist in training!

Documented Life Project - textures - texture paste

May is the month of textures in Documented Life Project world. I skipped the last two weeks - using fabric, and sewing. Just not my thing. And I don't have a sewing machine - although they were on offer in Lidl and I was tempted. But where would I store it? And what would I actually do with it? I think I have enough arts & crafts projects on the go without introducing another medium. And I will be skipping the current week too - cheesecloth really does nothing for me.

So I was glad to see that Week 20 was about texture paste. Great excuse to try out the set I bought in Lidl last week (lovely boxes of acrylic media, and also canvases and paper)

I created a couple more Gelli Babies to complement the pages I had chosen for this challenge. (Who needs expensive stencils when you can cut your own from magazines!) But the pages were still a bit bare. Rubber stamps, letter stickers and tags came to the rescue! All set for journaling now! And by the way, did I mention the calligraphy set I got from Evans? It's called the Calligraphy Compendium, a fancy name for a few pens and ink cartridges, a booklet and paper. But it's amazing how good my handwriting looks when I use it! And it wasn't expensive at all. One of those small investments that actually can help make a page so much more polished! But you'll have to wait to see it - I crossed out the journaling part here!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Didn't like the rest of my face, so I cropped it out. Measure Measure

Mugged - Nine Times

You thought I had given up on the Mugged series, didn't you? But I've got plenty more mugs to present to you. And of course, I've been peppering them in my other drawings and watercolours without actually naming them as such! 

And I do think I'm getting better at them! 

Feel free to disagree!

An afternoon's work

You probably don't want to see another view of my little watercolours. But this shot includes the set I used. This tiny little travel set was a gift I got from two of my nieces, and I'm very fond of it. Two yellows, two reds, two blues, two greens, ochre, two browns, and a white (which I probably won't use much). This is as much as you'd ever need. Sometimes, I find that having so few colours is wonderfully liberating - no agonising over subtle colour mixing, and it's so transportable. I had it with me last year in London and earlier this year in the US, and I carried it with me everywhere and ended up using it quite a bit.


But if I present it as a polaroid, then it doesn't look like I ran out of space at all!

That's it - problem solved


My mugs are getting better, don't you think? A little bit too square at the bottom, but the top and the handle are not bad at all, if I may say so myself. But the watercolour pad I was using was a bit on the small size, and I ran out of space. Something that happens to me a lot. I tend to jump in without thinking about the overall composition. Note to self - next time, buy a large watercolour sketchbook. 

Or plan ahead  - maybe a little thumbnail would be all I need. But it feels silly, doing a thumbnail sketch in preparation for a sketch. And when will I actually start painting an actual painting?

Marraine Anna

This is an idea I found on the Art4All website from the Sketchbook Skool group - if you run out of ideas about what to draw, go through old family photos. This lady here is my maternal grand-mother. As always, I struggle with faces. And then I struggle with bad drawings. A drawing like this can send me in a funk. And I might not touch a pencil for months again. But let's not overdramatise. Let's move on. And the rest of her isn't bad. That's what Picasa's crop tool is for!

How to draw a face

Of course this looks nothing like me. But it's pretty! Steps on WikiHow. Ideal if you want to draw a generic face.
I must memorise the steps!

Paint tool

What do you call these? If it was drawn well, you might be able to tell me. My pen went quite wobbly this morning!
And can you see the ghost of my two ink bottles?

Selfies - II

Not so cross-looking here, and I did manage to add glasses. But my face is too long in relation to my hair. Still, worth exploring further.

Selfies - I

Do I look cross?

(Acrylic ink on newsprint covered with acrylic paint)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


I was clearly feeling inspired at the weekend. Actually, I had a good bit of time on my hands, and I used it productively, for a change.

Animals - a daunting subject, particularly if you're trying to draw from life (see unfinished drawing to the left - he got up and didn't settle back the same way again. Now of course, if I was organised, I would have that sketchbook downstairs near his bed, and I would patiently wait for the opportunity to complete my work.). But I had been looking at an artist's drawings and paintings of her dog, and I thought I would have a go. So I picked up my pen, waited for our big boy to settle on his favourite seat, and I did a contour drawing. It wasn't so scary, now was it? Encouraged by my drawing, I mixed my watercolours and covered the broad areas, trying to avoid going into too much detail, as that paper doesn't take water too well. 

Talking about paper quality, I was looking for a watercolour sketchbook in town, but couldn't find what I wanted - went to two shops and neither had any sketchbooks with hot press paper. Normally I like rough watercolour paper, or cold press, as I prefer to work with the texture of the paper. But this time, I wanted smooth hot press paper for pen and watercolour work, for my pen to glide on the surface. Well, it will just have to wait for my next online order. I have plenty other art supplies to keep me amused in the meantime. And surely our big boy will go back to his bed and pose for me again!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ink x2

Since the drawing of one ink bottle had gone so well, I decided to jump in and try two. Mmmm. Each on their own is lovely. But they're not exactly identical, are they? Still, I gave it a try.
These Daler Rowney acrylic inks are lovely, by the way. They are the ones I used for my recent self-portraits. I bought inks after going to the Gao XingJian retrospective in Brussels. I haven't yet tried them on big washes, as I'm currently concentrating on drawing, but no doubt I will move back to watercolours and I'll be curious to see how these acrylic inks interact with watercolours!

Sunday, May 24, 2015


To be honest, I never thought I would be able to draw this little ink bottle. Yes, it's wonky. But it's so cute! And I'm quite pleased with my hatching and cross-hatching. And I did get absorbed, losing track of time, which, for me, is what it's all about. Daily objects are definitely my favourites. No issues with self image, no major planning required, no composition. Just put pen to paper and follow the outline, then add shapes, one at a time, and shadows, bit by bit. No pressure, no judgement.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Washi tape

Ellipses are so hard.

"Wonky circles are a fact of life, so get over it and keep working" 

This is a quote from a Sketchbook   Skool Fakulty member, I think, but I can't find it now. I haven't taken any of the Sketchbook Skool classes yet, but I'm hoping to sign up later on this year. Like a lot of people, I struggle to make the time for drawing. And ironically, I have been procrastinating about signing up, "because I don't have enough time". But I have been following from the wings, so to speak. I've been looking at the websites of some of the Fakulty members, e.g.  Koosje Koene and Danny Gregory, and also a lady who has been taking the Klasses (yes, I know, this happy of replacing all Cs by Ks is really annoying!). And I've been drawing nearly every day, even though I hate ellipses.

Friday, May 22, 2015

What I'm wearing today - 22 May 2015

Boden denim skirt
Boden breton top
Navy Ralph Lauren Outlet cardigan
Navy patent pumps
Red Boden bag

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gelli babies

Gelli prints are always good for days when I'm not feeling too inspired for drawing or painting. That's how I felt last weekend. So I cut out a womanly silhouette from a magazine (If you need to know, it was Pandora Sykes from the Sunday Times Style magazine - a few weeks ago, wearing a crochet dress over a bell-sleeved blouse). I traced the shape on slightly heavier paper, and I used it as a mask for Gelli prints.

The paint that sticks to the mask turned out more interesting than the gelli prints themselves.

And the remaining paper was duly punched into big circles, small circles and hearts. Can't wait to use these. So, all in all, a pretty productive weekend!

What I'm wearing today - 18 May 2015

Boden jeans
Clarks runners
H&M jumper
Scarf (gift)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Glass of wine

Well, I didn't get around to drawing and painting my tea, pistachios and walnuts this week.
But I did try a sketch and watercolour on watercolour paper - you really can't beat watercolour paper. The only thing is that my marker (Faber Castell Pitt pen) drags slightly on the rough surface. Next time I'm in town, I must get a hot-press watercolour paper pad. Hot press is smoother. I tend to buy cold press or rough watercolour paper, as I like the textured effects. Time to try something new.

And yes, it's the time of the year when I start drinking - although the weather here is still cold, summer is the time when I drink the odd glass of rosé. I really hope it gets warmer soon! I still feel like the year has only barely started, i.e. like it's still winter. If the weather is still cold next weekend, I'll start drawing cups of tea again. Ah well. It's all practise!

What I'm wearing today - 16 May 2015

Orange Boden coat (velours)
Levi's outlet jeans
Clarks pumps
Orla Kiely bag
Scarf (gift)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Self Portrait

I recognise myself in this ink drawing on colourful underpaper. Do you recognise me?

Saturday, May 16, 2015


I am currently a keen follower of Koosje Koene's Draw Tip Tuesdays. Her advice this week was to draw "what's in front of you". Excellent advice, as I often struggle with the "what will I draw?" syndrome. 

So, I looked up from my desk, ignored the dead fly on the window sill, and picked up two stones from my little collection. Most probably from Killiney Beach.

And I just drew them. Stones are a very forgiving subject. As long as you get the shading and highlights convincing enough, it doesn't really matter if your angles and proportions are not spot on. So they are a good way to boost your confidence!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Self portraits

I promised I would stick at it, no matter how difficult I find it.  This one I drew without looking at the page at all. I struggle with proportions. I have to trust that some day I will recognise myself in these self-portraits.

This one I started without looking at the page. Then I gave up and looked at the page a lot. And it got worse and worse. And I do not recognise myself (thankfully?)

Is there anything positive I can take away from this?
  1. I like how I drew my hair, without worrying about the detail, but catching some elements quite well.
  2. The two little squiggles for the nose are pretty, and can definitely be incorporated in some form of portrait.
  3. I hate to say this, but there is something about the chin that is accurately "me"
  4. Portraits with glasses are hard. Maybe I should wear my contact lenses the next time I draw a self-portrait.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Green tea

And even after finishing my drawing and watercolour, my tea was still hot, so I quickly ate my snack and did another watercolour, trying just one layer of shadow this time - it bloomed anyway, but I quite like the colours.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Eagle Ray, Baros, Maldives

I think this video was taken by Shuga from the Baros Marine centre. I just came across it in my files today and I thought it was so beautiful I wanted to share it with the world. Seeing eagle rays in the flesh is one of the most spine-tingling experiences of my life. Beautiful, majestic, like a ballet dancer.

A cuppa and a healthy snack

After saying I hate drawing food because I would rather eat it warm, I thought there is one thing that I  always let cool down before I touch it - my cup of tea!

So I set up a little still life of green tea, pistachio nuts and walnuts, using one of my favourite mugs, a little plate from Japan and two gorgeous pink umbrella snack plates I got as a birthday present last year.

I picked up an old sketchbook and started drawing, following the contour, and using negative space to figure out how it all connected.

Then I added watercolour. And it looks more three-dimensional than I had hoped. The paper in this sketchbook is not great for a watercolour wash, so I should not have added layers of colour to the shadows, but it kind of works anyway. Next weekend, I'll try something similar on proper watercolour paper and see what happens. 

PS: I dipped my watercolour brush in my tea - twice - and drank it anyway!

Abstract - Tranquility

I've decided to call this abstract acrylic "Tranquility". I'm not sure I love it yet, but I'll look at it for a while to decide whether it's done or not. I used my good old "Painting Abstract" book by Rolina van Vliet for ideas and techniques. It's a great source of inspiration and advice. It's a while since I had looked at it, but it's the kind of book you can pick up and use without having to read it from start to finish. 

Abstract acrylics, traditional watercolours, drawing, art journaling. So much to do, so little time

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Neat tips on how to draw a banner on Koosje Koene's website. I can see myself using this on DLP pages a lot.

Practising drawing and lettering

... Gs and Ss are hard to do!

I have a lot to learn, but I just got myself a calligraphy pen set, so expect to see major improvements soon. Next I'll have to pencil in lines so my writing doesn't go all over the place, and pencil in the letters so I don't forget the odd letter here and there.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Paint brushes in a jar - with background

This hatching is very soothing - 5 in one direction, 5 at a 90-degree angle, repeat!

(and the paper got a bit crumpled)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Pamper your Feet

Heavily inspired by Koosje Koene - really like her drawing tips and she keeps on inspiring me to draw (nearly) every day!
Quote from The Little Book of Calm

Timber - drawing

This is unfinished, but I felt I captured our big boy's face quite well here.