Saturday, 29 September 2012


Watercolour on A4
Illustration Friday submission for the theme "Book". The little mermaid is based on a photo of my daughter's best friend at the Peat's Ridge festival a couple of years ago. The two of them are such bookworms. In all the pictures from the festival they are either swimming in the river or reading in the shade.

Thursday, 27 September 2012


Crooked - watercolour A5
Last minute Illustration Friday submission. Our dog Zoe, the perfect subject for the theme - she has a very crooked lower jaw that makes a tooth protrude on one side. Somehow it makes her seem vulnerable and loveable, and even though she is a bit crazy and barks at clouds, she has a very kind heart and has never hurt another creature.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Busy Spring!

Set of 3 birds - each A5 size - commission

Set of 3 tulips - each A4 size - commission
Spotted Pardalote
Just some progress pictures. I've completed a commission and have it ready to post off today, each piece in it's own neat celophane bag. I think they look much nicer in real life than on the scans. The birds are on medium surface Arches paper, which has a slight roughness to it, while the tulips are on smooth (hot pressed) Arches paper, which is velvety flat and gives quite a different finish.

A spotted pardalote, this one on the smooth. I have to stop myself getting too detailed on the smooth paper, with a tiny brush it's possible to paint each feather fibre. I try to keep the birds a little loose and focus on the main features.

News on the honeyeater nest - we checked it a couple of days ago and it was empty. We hope the babies were big enough to move somewhere safer, but more than likely they've been taken by a bigger bird or some other predator. A little bit sad.

While I was away in Sydney on the weekend, Andy spotted two new birds, a scarlet honeyeater which is smaller even than the spinebills, and a golden whistler I think it was, yellow with a black hood. 

It seems certain now that I'll have a stand at the pilot Shoalhaven Artisans Market next month, so the next few weeks will be all about preparing for that, mounting watercolours and working out how to display them. 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Branching Out

Watercolour on 8x8 Canvas
Just completed a submission for the Escape ARTfest 8x8 Canvas Prize with the theme 'Branching Out' which I thought very appropriate to my painting themes at the  moment, birds & plants. I also relate to the interpretations of 'breaking free' and 'trying new things', which have personal meaning for me on my arty journey.
On this little canvas I wanted to explain how it is to be free to express and create but still bound by time, ability, mood, space, fear and all those things that keep us earthbound and in our groove... but also sane and functioning. The title is "Let Reason Hold the Reins"
I was about to fill in the entry form when I realised paintings must be unsigned, so I'll have to wash the signature off before I varnish it.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Yellow-faced Honeyeater

Yellow-faced Honeyeater - sketches of a dead bird
At least once a day while I'm at my desk, a bird will slam into our glass sliding doors. Sometimes I'll look up to see a couple of feathers floating down in the wake of the accident, cartoon-style. But today a bad thing happened. The bird in question hit the deck stunned and did not get up again. I thought for a while she'd knocked herself out and would eventually come round, but I soon began to realise that the little kicks I'd witnessed were the last seconds of her being.

Of all the challenges for a small bird in this world, why should this way be her end? We obviously need to make our place safer for the free-wheeling creatures around here.

While I was making these sketches a reiki master on an elephant hunt came to the door wanting to buy our garden statues. She said there is no such thing as co-incidence. However I did not sell her our elephants.

Sunday, 9 September 2012


Imagination watercolour 21 x 21 cm
A submission for Illustration Friday with the theme 'Imagination', has ideas flitting about like Spinebills...

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Portrait of Our Dog

Zoe - Watercolour 15 x 21
I've been inspired by the amazing work of Jean Haines, to do a portrait of our dog Zoe. She has the thickest most beautiful woolly fur coat at the moment, much in need of a visit from the Lap It Up lady. But although we've had some deliciously warm springy days, it is certain to turn cold the day she gets clipped, and then she'll shiver miserably even with her jumper on. She spends most days in the beanbag beside my desk.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

White Cheeked Honeyeater

White Cheeked Honeyeater Nest

Watercolour 15 x 20
We found a nest in a clump of grass in the bush at the back of our house. So close to the ground, it seems like a very vulnerable position. The eggs are tiny, about the size of a fingernail, and speckled. Some of our neighbours clear all the undergrowth at the back of their property, and this really brought it home to me why Andy is so careful about keeping our section as natural as possible.