Alexander the Great

Visited the Australian Museum today to see the touring Alexander the Great exhibition. The collection comes from the State Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia which is on my art bucket list. One thing I will say about the incredibly rich and powerful, they got a lotta booty and they like to show it off. So thank you, Catherine the Great! As it was mostly her collection that is on display.

I only sketched from one section of the exhibition which was the early Hellenistic period, as the rest seemed like a lot of Greek statues or over the top gilded clocks. Some of the engravings were awesome, but I like the really worn down rustic stuff. Anyway, off to research more about the Battle of Tyre.

Have a great New Year everyone!

alexthegreat2 LR alexthegreat3 LR alexthegreat4 LR alexthegreat5 LR


Artwork was produced mostly using Derwent Inktense Pencils and a mircon pen.


Sketchbook Project 2013

Front cover of my 2013 Sketchbook Project
Front cover of my 2013 Sketchbook Project

On Monday I sent off my completed Sketchbook Project – a whole month before it’s due!! Huge feat and huge relief! But if I’m completely honest with you, I did cut out the last two pages, hee hee. But I had good reason for it which I will explain.

Sadly, I didn’t enjoy working on this year’s project as much as last year’s, see here. I think it started with the looong wait by the mailbox for my sketchbook to arrive, and then they cancelled the tour in Australia. It was very disappointing. I also miss the format from last year, where they gave you open-ended creative titles to select. This time the subject matter choices were based on format, ie journal, poems, narration etc. I liked the former because I found it far more challenging for my imagination.

The most enjoyable part of the whole project was meeting up with my sketching friends who were working on their Sketchbook Projects. We met once a month, sometimes at one of their homes or in a food court in town. It was great because we motivated each other, provided second opinions, and had lots of laughs and chatter, plus plenty of eating and drinking. We enjoyed it so much we have decided to keep meeting and work on our own individual projects instead.

Anyhoo, as my book took so long to arrive, I changed my idea in that time. Initially I was going to buy objects from places like St Vincent de Paul’s, the Salvation Army and other op shops, draw them and create a story about who owned them and how they ended up in the store. But I had so many bills to pay and no invoices being paid (not a great combination) that even spending $2 per object was not on the cards.

So I went with idea #2. I bought a box of fortune cookies and  created a double-page spread inspired by each fortune. Unfortunately I lost one of the fortunes, and another was a repeat, so that is why I had to remove the last two pages.

Please enjoy.

3 sbp_fc_companyelders LR
Fortune: “An elder wants you to be in their company”
Seated L-R: Leonardo da Vinci, Stan Lee, Douglas Mawson, Yoda
4 sbp_fc_failureopportunity LR
Fortune: “Failure is opportunity in disguise”
5 sbp_fc_windsails LR
Fortune: “We can’t control the wind, but we have the power to adjust the sails”
6 sbp_fc_opportunities LR
Fortune: “Be on the alert for new opportunity”
7 sbp_fc_audreyhepburn LR
Fortune: “You have a natural grace and great consideration for others”
8 sbp_fc_enjoypleasures LR
Fortune: “You will enjoy pleasures of life to the highest degree and will share them”
9 sbp_fc_coyoteLR
Fortune: “Those we hurt the most are often those we love the most”
10 sbp_fc_happypeaceful LR
Fortune: “Your life will be happy and peaceful”
11 sbp_fc_nurture LR
Fortune: “You will win success in whatever calling you adopt”
12 sbp_fc_newyear LR
Fortune: “Promises are like babies… Easy to make, hard to deliver”
13 sbp_fc_shackleton LR
Fortune: “One thing you can give and still keep, is your word”
15 sbp_fc_backcover LR
Back Cover

1st Urban Sketchers Australia meet up

USK PaddingtonGardens 4 LRIt was a much needed day out of sketching for me, and although Sydney was thrown into 40˚ heat leading up to our first Urban Sketchers Australia meet up, the gods were fairly decent towards us on the day. The gardens are a lovely refuge in the inner city and even though there was a constant stream of visitors we could still spread out and enjoy ourselves. It’s also one of the few public places that provides free reading material and cabana beach chairs!

I brought along my Derwent inktense pencils, a couple of W&N colour inks and my W&N watercolours, and I was also drawing in a large format Hahnemühle* sketchbook. I always apply my colour washes first and then my linework, and sometimes I look at my finished colour washes and think “does it need linework?” So I attempted one with and one without.

USK PaddingtonGardens 2 LRUSK PaddingtonGardens 1 LR

I guess they both work well, but it is nice to know I can create pictures without feeling the need to add linework. I created these pictures by first using my Inktense pencils not just to establish structure but for colour, then instead of using water to spread the colour, I used my watercolour set instead. So in the end I think it retains enough linework but in a more subtle way.

USK PaddingtonGardens 3 LR

It was nice to start to my first USK Australia meetup by breaking some new ground and I look forward to the next.

*I bought this sketchbook at the last minute – I wanted a large format sketchbook to take into buildings I thought might have an issue with large artboards. It’s great for pencils and concentrated watercolour application, but having more watery washes and colour inks it just seeped right into the paper.  I didn’t mind the subdued watercolour result (you can see it more clearly in the sky in the third picture), but I had to apply colour more liberally if I wanted it to stand out.

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