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Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Floral Studies

A triplet of floral study work created as demonstraton pieces for my Wednesday and Friday drawing classes. The top (Margeurite) has been drawn on Fabriano Artistico Hot Press 300gsm, the other two are drawn on Lana Hot Press 300gsm. Graphite pencils 2H, HB, 2B and 4B.

Sunday, 20 May 2018


It was a chilly Tuesday night last week in Box Hill, but about 12 people braved the wet and cold to come watch me demonstrate with Derwent Graphitint Pencils. I enjoyed catching up with old friends, especially the wonderful botanical artist Beverley Ednie -  check out her facebook page, her detail work is wonderful and her nest drawings are superb.

As I indicated in my last post, I worked on a drawing of a Sugar Glider possum. Prior to the demo I worked on a quick 15 minute free hand sketch of my chosen reference so I understood the animal, proportions and position. This was checked to the references, then a simply light outline of the drawing was transferred to a sheet of light grey Art Spectrum 300gsm cotton paper. Paper was securely taped on all four sides to a drawing board.

I started with graphitint (indigo and russet) and 4B watersoluble graphite as a washed base. Drying off with a hair dryer*, I built up on this first wash I intensified the hues with more indigo, cool brown, 4B and touch of port in the feet and nose, lightly washing/dabbling to soften and blend the hues. Once totally dry I then worked progressively over the entire drawing witht he graphitint pencils and 4B 'standard' graphite. Touches of white pastel were added to bring out the whites in the fur.

The demo work took about 90minutes and was completed to what I felt was about 80% done. Once back in the studio I spent another hour or so refining the work, building up and intensifying the graphitint colours, gently touching with water if required. I also introduced some Faber Castell colour pencil soft pink into the feet and nose, and some deep 4B and 6B Staedler Mars Carbon/Graphite. A little more white pastel to highlight and it's done.

As a demonstration work I am not too disappointed in it. I can see issues with some of the rear leg anatomy and the 'tree' surface. But I guess it turned out pretty much okay in the end.
Thank you to WASA for once again allowing me to demonstrate with them. As always I had great fun and they are a wonderful group of artists.

*Note. I generally do not use a hair dryer but let washes dry naturally. However, as time was limited a fast drying method was needed.

Friday, 11 May 2018

May 15 Demo at WASA

Sugar Glider

This Tuesday Night, May 15, the Wildlife Art Society of Australasia (WASA) has kindly asked me to do a demo. This will be held at the Box Hill Library meeting room, Whitehorse Road, Box Hill Victoria 7pm for a 7.30 start. It is free for members and for guests - all welcome. 
I will be drawing a Sugar Glider using Graphitint pencils supported by graphite, carbon and white pastel pencil on a 300gsm grey Art Spectrum art paper I found at my local Art Shed. This is the first time I have tried this paper, but it has a nice weight and lovely textured surface.
The little 'pos shown here is a test drawing I have just completed to trial the pencils on this paper.
Observations and photographic references were taken earlier this year at the Moonlit Sanctuary in Pearcedale. A wonderful sanctuary for Australian wildlife - especially nocturnal animals.

Do come along to the Demo in Box Hill if you can! Would love to see you there.

Saturday, 5 May 2018


Visited the North Wharf at Docklands this morning. Wandered about and looked at the reconstruction happening on the 3 masted topsail schooner 'Alma Doepel'.  Currently the masts have been removed and most of the structure is being replaced. You can see images of the 'skinned' ship on the website link. While you could not go onto the Alma Doepel one of the volunteers took me around the shed as showed  the work in progress. Lots of bits and bobs go together to make a sailing ship!
Further down the wharf was docked the smaller 2 masted topsail schooner, the Enterprize. This is replica built in 1997 of John Pascoe Fawkner's Schooner 'Enterprize' that sailed from Van Diemen's land (Tasmainia) in 1835 with the first permanent white settlers to what eventually becomes Melbourne. Traditionally rigged ship with all the tradtional tar covered hemp ropes, flax canvas and lots and lots of block and tackles and woody things. 
They allowed you to come on board the Enterprize and have a look about. I loved all the piles of ropes, belaying pins, brass bits and wooden blocks. I can see some drawings in the near future! I did a sketch of some of the blocks while sitting aft:

And from the wharf, a sketch of the ship from the front view. Boy, there is lots of rigging! So any sailors out there, I know I didn't get half of it on the page, and the half I did is not rigged correctly!

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Winner! Pencil category

This was a lovely surprise tonight - my 'Spoon collection' drawing (see March 22 entry) won the 'Pencil' section at the AGRA Kenneth Jack 2018! Got to be happy with that!
Thank you Seniors Art Supplies, Studio Craft and AGRA for the wonderful prizes. And thank you to the judges David Jack and Joe Attard for such discerning taste! 😁
If you have the opportunity, head into the AGRA Galleries and see the entire exhibition, there are some wonderful drawings there, and in all honesty I am honoured to have won this prize.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Celebrating 25 years: Old Post Office Gallery, Seymour

The Old Post Office Gallery in Seymour is celebrating 25 years of excellence in Fine Art and Dining. The beautifully restored old post office delights with multiple rooms displaying Australian Artists and selected International imported arts and crafts. The restuarant menu serves an extinsive yet affordable menu showcasing the best of local produce and Goulburn Valley Wines.
The 25th Celebration Art Show will open Sunday 29 April, 11 to 4 and will be featuring a variety of works from a select range of artists.

The Puzzling Cameleopard
Graphite on Paper

I will be exhibiting for the first time my most recent work, 'The Puzzling Cameleopard'. A little bit of history to explain the name and concept of the work: in 46BC, Julius Ceaser returned to Rome after his conquest of Eygpt with a vast menagerie of animals from the African continent. The star attraction was a giraffe, which had never been seen in Rome previously. The Romans were greatly puzzled by the creature and called it a 'Cameleopard' as it seemed to embody both the characteristics of a camels' head and a leopards' spots. Sadly, as an ostentatious display of his power, Ceaser eventually had the animal ripped to shreds by lions in the Colusseum. The animal puzzled scientists and public alike for several centuries, eventually being renamed some time in 1600c as 'Giraffe'. But harking back to Roman/latin times, the Giraffe's species name is Giraff camelepardalis.

Why not pop into the opening on Sunday, April 29 and say hello? I hope to be there in the early afternoon. Seymour is a great part of the world, maybe  walk the River Walk by the Goulburn River, visit the Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk or do a tour of the local wineries.The exhibition will continue through May and into June. Full details and opening hours here.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

The Spoon Collection: Completed

My earlier post in February showed the sketch drawings at the planning stage of this drawing. Here is the completed work: Graphite pencil on Fabriano 300gsm Hot Press Artistico. I have submitted this piece into the Robert Jack's Drawing Prize 2018 at AGRA galleries, 11-29 April.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

'Line' at Tacit Galleries

'Mech-egg #2'

Tacit Galleries in Collingwood is showcasing 8 artists who specialise is drawing. The title of this showcase exhibition is 'Line' and it will run from 21 March until 22 April, at 123a Gipps Street, Collingwood, Victoria. Opening Night is Wednesday, 21 March 6.30 to 8.30. 
  I and my good friend Lisa O'Keefe are included in this exhibition. As a bit of a 'teaser' I will be showing three small drawings of my steam punk eggs from my upcoming October exhibition at Tacit entitled 'The Mechanical Pencil'. Why not come along this Wednesday March 21 and join me for a glass of wine? Love to see you there!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Nature Journal Page

Bat Wing

My Wednesday afternoon class did a session of journalling together. Most drew the wonderful old building next to the CCC with its' convoluted rear stair case. Although I thought it was interesting and did a quick sketch myself, what really caught my eye was the remains of a bat wing with the claws fully attached I found on the grass. There were a few 'ewws' muttered, but I found it fascinating to study and draw - being careful not to touch it with bare hands! 
Too large for a micro bat, I thought too small for a flying fox, but research tells me that it probably was a Grey Headed Flying fox , perhaps a small or young one. The claws look appropriate for that species . We have been having very hot weather lately, very warm nights and it may have succumbed to heat stress. Otherwise cats?
Sketch done in my Fabriano Journal using Derwent watersoluble 4b graphite pencil washed, then a Staedler Mars Lumograph Black 4b pencil and finished with a bit of ink from a Copic .7 multiliner.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Watersoluble Pencils

My Wednesday and Friday classes are working with watersoluble pencils - Derwent 4B Sketch and Wash graphite and Derwent Graphitint. This is my 'demo' work using the Indigo and Chestnut Graphitints as well as the w/s 4B and a 'standard' 4B graphite pencil. This is on a Lana 300gsm Hot Press - although the paper is quite white my shot of it has a brownish cast.
If you would like to see the progress and technique, please watch this video: