Thursday, December 31, 2015


This is from a photograph I found on Facebook if I remember correctly. It was a photo that a friend had posted, and I remember thinking this is a place I would like to go to some day. And I saved the photo. But I forgot to take note of the location!

Sleeping Willow

Exploring what I can do with my new Pentel Brush Pen. If you look really really carefully, you will see a sleeping cat in there!

Pentel Brush Pen

New pen! I love it! Will be experimenting with it over the next few days!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My right foot

The only drawing I got to do over the Christmas holiday But at least it was a life drawing!

Christmas was the usual rounds of setting table, filling dishwasher, emptying dishwasher, cleaning kitchen tops, emptying bins, etc. On top of dog walks, injecting cat and other daily tasks, it was a busy 10 days. Thankfully I don't have to worry about the cooking!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Koosje Koene video

Not much time to draw myself, so I'm using the time I have by watching these videos!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

pepper mill

This is probably my last drawing before Christmas. Busy house now!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Dreaming Dreams of Amaryllis

I can't believe I've actually reached the end of this little sketchbook! I've never filled a sketchbook so quickly in my life - just a little over three months. I have other sketchbooks that are still awaiting completion, years after starting them. So I will turn my attention to them now. Although some of them are not as good a paper for watercolours, but they will work beautifully for pen and pencil work, so expect to see plenty more of those in the coming weeks - or more realistically after Christmas - I'm not reaching my goal to draw every day (even just a five-minute drawing like this one).

And in case you're curious, the sketchbook is a trav.e.logue by by

Monday, December 14, 2015

Show me the way to Amaryllis

I took a few photos. When I am finished painting the current watercolour (a rose), I will have to explore these - how I will render the beautiful, silky, shine, I have no idea. But it will be a few months before I get to it, at my current rate!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Gelli prints

I know, they don't really look like Gelli prints, but I've been experimenting some more with heavy body acrylics to create beautiful textures and patterns. It was great fun. This one I think I did in three layers:
  1. First a smooth layer directly applied with the brayer.
  2. Then a relatively thin layer of heavy body acrylics pulled from the Gelli plate.
  3. And finally contrasting colours thickly applied to the Gelli plate with a painting knife

Plenty more to follow!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

What I could be wearing today!

I've discovered a new passion: Trying on designer items in TK MAXX - All gorgeous but I didn't buy anything in the end! But I'll keep looking and some day I'm sure there'll be a real real bargain for me!

It's only recently I've been converted to TK MAXX. And it's only a few weeks ago I've found out that they have a small section of designer goodies, only in some of their shops (unfortunately not in Dundrum Town Centre, I'm told). Actually it was an article in the Sunday Times Style magazine by Pandora Sykes that alerted me to this most glittering development!

So I was in town yesterday afternoon and I decided to have a look for myself. I tried a few things that didn't work at all (Roberto Cavalli top - shoulders too wide, Hugo Boss black jacket - sleeves too long).

But a couple of items were really tempting!!

Black dress with silver beading by Matthew Williamson (over €500, closer to €600 actually), absolutely fabulous but I have no reason to buy such a fancy dress, that I would probably only wear once - at that price at least. I know I know, the original price tag was probably well over the thousand euro mark! And it is beautifully made - all the beading gives it a wonderful weight, the sleeves are perfect for arms that are in need of weight training - and it was in perfect condition. 

I was really excited about it, but not at that price, even if it was a bargain!

Many of my female friends thought I should have bought it! Ah well, it's probably gone to a good home now and will make someone really happy, or very broke.

Peach and grey tunic by Missoni (€200). It was very flattering, but the colour wasn't a hundred percent right for me. They had it in purple and grey, and also in green and grey, and grey and grey. But none of those made my heart sing. Missoni is all about fabulous colour combinations, and this wasn't quite fabulous enough for me!

And let's face it, my look these days is more like this than sophisticated living!


We got an amaryllis bulb in Lidl a few weeks ago. I was hoping to get a Christmas rose, but they didn't have any at the time. And I've probably missed them at this stage. But I'm delighted with the amaryllis now. And I'm going to have to draw it again, as the second flower has opened already, and there are two more to come on the same stem, and a second stem shooting up as we speak. It would have been a good subject for time-lapse photography!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Someone I know

Someone else who probably won't be happy with how I drew her! But BB thinks that's my best likeness of anybody so far. It was drawn from a photograph. I'm planning to draw from life over the Christmas holidays!  Practise Practise Practise

And if you don't believe that regular practise can improve your drawing skills, just look at these self-portraits (newest at the top of the list):

Thursday, December 10, 2015

I'm a Malamute

Some days are just too busy for a drawing, but it doesn't mean you can't have fun.

This picture of our boy was taken at daycare at Positive Dog Training. He loves the place. And he comes home exhausted after a long day playing with other dogs and practising his best moves to get as many rewards (tasty treats, what do you expect - he's half Malamute after all) as possible.

He's learned a lot there (and at the DSPCA King of Paws training). The one thing we still need to practise though, is loose leash walking. A lot of dogs pull. Being half sleigh dog doesn't help in that matter. He's very good with heel walking on the way home from the park (with the two-point lead). Not so good on the way over - there is just so much to be excited about. And if he sees an interesting dog, a squirrel, or, god-forbid, a rat, all bets are off!

Wednesday, December 09, 2015


The said friend will probably not talk to me after I post this sketch. And I would agree with people who would call this a caricature. Is there a term for unintended caricatures? 

And yet, I think it has captured some of her essence. And I am practising with faces partially turned away from the camera, so it's a good exercise for me.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Abstract - progress report

Plenty more to be done. And I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to go near it again. When Christmas comes, that room becomes the place where everything that's in the way goes. So it will only be sketching for me for the next few weeks! Which can be frustrating, as I love to escape to my little room, cramped as it is at the best of times. 

And right now, double whammy, we have a painter in doing a few ceilings, and hall, stairs and landing. He's a lovely chap, but I find myself restricted to one room, which is not how I operate at all - I would normally be up and down those stairs 100 times a day (well, maybe I exaggerate a little here). And his radio is playing and he is singing and whistling. 

Yesterday, I ended up downstairs playing Bach's Cello solo Suites to drown out the noise so I could concentrate on my Japanese (which is going quite well, I have to say, despite my brain finding it harder than it did 20 years ago - I just need to put in a lot more study time than the young ones in the class, who range from 18 to about 33 I think). This is where meditation would come in handy, but I'm still at the stage where I find it hard to meditate if there are distractions nearby!

Next time, remind me not to get a painter in a short few weeks before Christmas. February would have worked out better for me!

Monday, December 07, 2015

Sunflower with background

I think this one is finally finished. But now I'm not sure if I should add a background to the other one? Maybe I'll look at it again after Christmas - life is just too busy right now, and if I add one more thing to my ToDo list, I'm going to panic!

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Saturday, December 05, 2015


I find writing book reviews tedious, so I'll be really quick

  • The Rosie Project - A geek with Aspergers's guide to falling in love. Really sweet. Until I found out that the writer doesn't even have Aspergers. I was quite disappointed when I found out.
  • A Day at the Office - How office romances start, and end. Good fun. Very light
  • How many letters are in goodbye? - How a mother's tragic death has affected a young Irish girl, who now lives in the US. She keeps writing to her mother, as her life spirals out of control. Yvonne Cassidy's characters really get under your skin.
  • A spool of blue thread. This was advertised as Anne Tyler's last book. A family saga with a few twists. Didn't really work that well for me.
  • The Snow Child. A couple who have lost a baby go to Alaska to start a new life. One snowy day, they build a snowman, or rather a snow girl. A story full of love and longing. Magical.
  • Afterwards, by Rosamund Lupton. A mother and daughter are critically injured in a fire that was started deliberately. But by who? And to what lengths is the criminal prepared to go in order to eradicate all evidence? What a mother has to do to save her daughter. With a twist of magical realism. A gripping story.
  • Nora Webster, by Colm Tóibín - After her husband dies, Nora Webster picks up her life, one day at a time. A beautiful, slow, story, set in small-town Ireland in the seventies (but it feels like the 50s - that's small-town Ireland for you!). To me, this is a much better book than Brooklyn.
  • Major Pettigrew's last stand - such a sweet story. Who said romance is dead? The kind of book that makes you smile from start to finish.

By the pool

You'd know I was drawing this from a glossy magazine - who sits like that? and who wears a black long-sleeved dress by a pool with water that colour?

Friday, December 04, 2015

Learning Japanese

Another online resource for learning Japanese!

Erin is supposed to be a British exchange student living in Japan to learn the language and culture. Well, the actress who plays Erin in the videos looks and sound pretty Japanese to me. But the lessons are pretty good - you can view text in romaji, hiragana/katagana, kanji and English translation.. There are videos, cartoons, vocabulary sections, key phrases, exercises.

Plenty to keep me occupied! As if I wasn't busy enough already!

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Tea pot


Here is an earlier version of the tea/coffee pot I painted a few days ago. It takes me a while to become familiar with the shapes and volumes, so I often need to develop a series of drawings and paintings before I'm happy with the end result. That's where sketchbooks comes in so handy. And I ran out of space of course!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

It gets chaotic

I need a bigger desk. Or a desk for each project: watercolours, abstract acrylic, sketchbook, Gelli printing, ... Or maybe I just need to tidy my room!

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Abstract - work in progress

It didn't look like much at that point, and I really don't know where it's going to end. But I'll keep applying paint until it works out. That's the beauty of acrylics.

Right now, I'm not even sure which way will be up, or even if it will be landscape or portrait. I haven't touched it in a week. I just know it's not done yet, but what to do next? I want this to be completely abstract, so I'll have to eliminate elements that are too figurative - no more buildings, bridges, or even alien faces!