Monday: white flower study

Today I decided to illustrate some white flowers after reading a section dedicated to them in a fantastic botanical illustration study book I bought at the Gallery of NSW a couple of months ago.

White flowers have always presented a challenge to me and other artists alike – it is quickly easy to over saturate them with opacity and make them look daft. In ‘Watercolour Flower Portraits’ Billy Showell discusses the importance of translucency and washes in illustrating more natural white flowers excellently with step by step photos, relatable and easy to understand discussion and a swatches of different shades of shadows to base off.

A few of the flowers I illustrated directly from a little posy I bought myself yesterday from my local florist, however I decided to imitate some of Showell’s illustrations also to learn technique and more of her process. I always feel slightly opposed in myself when it comes to imitation – and I remind myself that many of the greatest painters learned through this strategy, and although in recent years with crediting or lack there of on the internet it has become frowned upon, it is still a wonderful method to learn from other artist’s processes!

I struggled at first with the round flower from my posy which I think is noticeable it was the first, but I did pick up using warm and cool shading to imitate the natural sunlight filtering into my study. I found it a lot easier to find my bearings once I stopped being so loose  (which is normally the contrary for me) and actually lay down a very light, fine sketch first.

All in all, it has been an eye opening study with the help of the book and practical application, and has definitely shed a little light (pun intended) on my techniques not just for the difficult white flowers, but for further colour flower illustration in the future!

Illustration: dipping in sweet waters

Today after running errands and cleaning,  I wanted to something along the lines of a landscape! I couldn’t help adding the surrealist element of a nude bathing babe.

I layered washes to form the depth in nature, including the water that the babe is partially soaking in. Of course, I used my taping technique I’ve mentioned in previous posts to crop the view frame.

It turned out satisfactory, but I’m really interested in working on some more folky landscapes in the future! 

Illustration: blue birds

My darling friend Mia gave me the pleasure of attending her gorgeous baby shower yesterday, ready for her and Jackson’s baby boy that will arrive in the next few weeks. Mia has always been very supporting of my illustrative endeavours, and mentioned months ago she’d love a painting of mine to hang in the bub’s nursery… So when I had a painting day with my mum, sitting outside in her pretty back yard, I got inspired to paint two blue birds guarding their nest as a gift for the nursery.

I was really happy with how the painting turned out, however I always get nervous giving my paintings as gifts for some reason. I included some gold leaf gouache I’ve been playing around with recently although it’s hard to see in a photograph!

Mia also had the excellent idea of including a hint for a gift on her baby shower invitation, mentioning to bring a book instead of a card so the parent’s and the bub could enjoy the sentiment we chose to write inside for many years to come – I decided to buy a Peter Rabbit volume because it was my favourite as a child (I forgot to snap a photo!)
And as always, I really enjoyed myself wrapping the gifts. Seeing Mia smile at her and baby Max’s presents was heart warming, and I am so very excited to meet him!

Illustration: nude babes

First of all, I have a bit of updating to do since my last post – I’ve been mostly absent from my blog writing due to not having the interwebs installed at our house until a few days ago. Now it has been connected, I’ll be leisurely spending hours on my laptop browsing and posting on here!

After said last post where I saw the Frida Kahlo exhibition in Sydney, I became deeply inspired by femininity, sexuality and it’s ties to nature, and finally, multiculturalism. So, on a sunny Sunday afternoon I decided to paint some babes climbing flowers together:
Unknowingly, as I painted, these babes became beautifully sexual without intention, blissful and playful in their body language. This scene, aided with beautiful flora made me feel as though looking onto the finished painting felt a little like looking into a party or paradise, and I really enjoy it for this reason.

I think another influencing catalyst to the painting was definitely the warmer weather of spring returning: beautiful flowers blooming, harmony, a sense of contentment but also being comfortable lazing and doing duties naked.. Since I was only I child, I haven’t been quite happy going about things in the nude, that is, until this year! There is something very natural and freeing about nudism, and I greatly enjoy it as I parade around my sun filtered home.

So, after a brisk absence, here are the nude babes climbing flowers!


Sunday trip: Frida Kahlo exhibition

Yesterday Callum and I ventured to Sydney to see the Frida Kahlo exhibition that I’ve held off seeing in hopes it wouldn’t be overcrowded. Callum bought tickets to celebrate my being qualified, and I was ecstatic to see her amazing, striking works of art in person after years of studying them and admiration through text books in high school.

Frida has been highly influental in my studies of art over the years, not just in admiration of her technical detail but also her persona. I was like a child completely immersed and overcome with interest in a new gift while laying my eyes upon her creations.

After the exhibition I took a look in the Art Gallery of New South Wales shop, and picked up a couple of books – Rivera’s biography I’ve been wanting to read after taking interest in the exerts Frida’s biography contained, and another botanical illustration book. I was delighted to snatch up a Frida pin by a talented local artist, and Callum bought Frida and Deigo’s themed album of beautiful mariachi and Broadway music!

We then ventured to go botanical gardens conveniently across the road and fathomed at all of the different species of cacti and succulents for hours before setting out to find some yummy lunch.

Journal: flower illustrating

Yesterday I headed up to stay the night at my parent’s house because my big sister was visiting and I enjoy going back to the country for a little break almost each weekend.
Along with eating lots of yum food and spending time with the fam, my big sister, Mumsie and I sat down to do some art making together.

I decided first of all to try out putting a black background behind some flowers I painted, which I found gives an entirely different look to a folky watercolour, in contrast and saturation. In the future, I’d like to have a dabble with gouache on a black background because although in this case I didn’t stress too much on neatness, I think the final outcome would be much more crisp with gouache instead of it’s cousin, watercolour.

On Sunday morning after waking up and gaspbagging with my mum and sister in bed, I set out into my childhood yard to see what Mumsie’s beautiful garden had to offer me in the way of specimens of flora – I chose some adorable mini flowers and got to work illustrating them. Once finished, I pressed the flowers in some baking paper into a thick book, so once dried I can glue into my journal next to their illustrations!

Happenings: lately


There’s been a lot going on around me lately, which I mentioned my mother in law coming to stay in my last post – and this week has been just as exciting and busy. I decided to keep work out of this blog, but I just have to say that I’ve been on glow this week from finishing my four year apprenticeship in tattooing! It is very inspiring, and I’ve spent the weekend celebrating it but keeping in mind I still have a lot to learn, and wont stop learning in this profession.

I also thought I’d post an update about my reading nook in my studio – my boss’s wife was selling a set of these adorable little retro chairs and I snapped them up. They’re super comfy and really suit the vibe of my quirky little study, and remind me that thrifting is such a pleasure! The present beside said chair is for my beautiful Mumma’s birthday that’s in the next couple of weeks… I love wrapping gifts!

I’m feeling really positive about the future and refreshed with inspiration compared to the low I was at in my previous post. I treated myself today to some new supplies –
at Eckersley’s I purchased some gold gouache to have a play around with, some new cotmans for my watercolour palette, some new brushes, and also a brush washer (because I can be incredibly lazy and sometimes, my brushes suffer for it)

Spring study for inspiration

I’ve had a lovely weekend with Callum’s mum visiting over her birthday. She lives in Brisbane and was delighted by beautiful little Newcastle as we showed her all of our favourite spots – a weekend of eating cheese and meats we gathered exploring, visiting our favourite restaurants and cafes, and also a trip to the local Farmer’s markets! 

However, after the last week of feeling dull and uninspired it wasn’t enough to get my creation clock churning today. 

I decided to celebrate the approaching Spring by doing a little study in my sketchbook, capturing the things I enjoy most about it. In all honesty I’m glad this little endeavour has a page in my sketchbook instead of on my good paper, because I don’t think I was inspired enough to put all of my effort into the itinerary of mini (5x5cm) illustrations!

I’m happy I put paint to paper, but am none the less still feeling a little dull. I’m sure all of my fellow artists are familiar with these creative flunks. Instead of staying inside wallowing in self pity and reading, I’ve decided to eat some nice fruit and spend some time in my back yard doing yoga and pressing some flowers – maybe I’ll attempt another page of mini illustrations and create an itinerary of my back yard’s plants that inhabit it. 

Illustration: Taurus zodiac 

I am definitely the definition of Taurus through and through- the stubborn, sometimes agressive and bossy persona that comes to mind when you imagine a bull. However, unlike other star signs these seemingly negative traits that come straight to mind upon mentioning, I believe myself and my fellow people of Taurus have more positive traits that shine above the rest. 

I wanted to make a list of the few things my beloved zodiac sign has bestowed upon me since my birth;

-I’m a hard worker, very reliable and motivated in work ethic. I think this is evident in my business and work at home. 

-I’m quick to harvest the fruits of my labour, and I won’t deny I enjoy all things great and beautiful and enjoy surrounding myself in material pleasures.

-Thanks to my ruling planet of Venus, I enjoy beauty and portraying it, I fall inlove rather than amuse myself with flings, and I’m very creative not just in art but in all aspects of life.

-I’m stubborn and force myself to excel until the ending of something.

-I’m sensual in all aspects, and this makes affection very important not just in romance but also in business.

-My sign ties me to the earth in my element, and I am always extremely conscious about the interconnection about nature and am very inspired by this. 

-I can be bossy, however I see this in a positive with my ability to bring practical voice of reason to diffuse any unhealthy situation.

I have spent a few years of my life in a shadow of my star sign, and often made guilty when people assume it means I’m bossy and volatile – but I have grown to love it by focusing on the positives of my personality traits that my sign has gifted me! This is my illustration to celebrate:

Illustration: linework cottage 

This morning I had a little doodle before my appointments began at work and created a cosy little country cottage. I really enjoy making a scene especially inside a view finder frame of some sort! 

I’d love to tattoo it perhaps in black and grey but this weekend I think I’ll paint it in colour and see how it turns out!