-- 04 May, 2007 --

EDM Challenge 117

EDM Challenge 117
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

Before going into the Decoding the Renaissance lecture at the AGNSW this week, I had a bit of time to spare. I went into the Eastern Art gallery because it is softly lit and very quiet and the exhibits are calming.

The procelain pieces are beautiful. They are not necessarily very old but I admire the skill that it takes to achieve such perfection of form. My special favourite are the lovely green Celadonware. We have seen lots of it on our visits to Thailand and I have a coffee set on a procelain platter. It was a gift from our friend, Peo, in Chiangmai.

I saw 3 or 4 of these stem cups in the gallery and thought that a sketch of one of them would suit the EDM Challenge for something round. The potters are very good at making things round. I'm not.

BTW - the stippling in this image is a result of the scanner sulking over the Progresso graphite shading, not the drawing process but I have left it because it looks kind of nice.


Posted by robynls at 12:17 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

-- 25 March, 2007 --

Bowl in Reflection

Bowl in Reflection
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

Our teacher pushed us this week. We started out painting cut lemons in glass jars resting on a piece of brushed aluminium. What colour IS brushed aluminium, anyway?

Then he set up this big glass bowl of fruit on a large, gold framed mirror. Not only did the mirrow reflect the bowl but also the night darkness beyond the windows of the studio. Lots of very bright colours and the black of the outside darkness which really was black.

The last challenge was a beauty and we had so little time to do it. He filled some glass jars with liquorice allsorts, put them on top of a sheet of clear acrylic which was balanced on some empty glass vases on the mirror. AHHHH! To make things worse, I was trying out acrylics for the first time.

By a stroke of great good fortune, the Everyday Matters Challenge Mistress has made bowls this week's drawings challenge. I am sure the this picture counts.


Posted by robynls at 6:20 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

-- 29 January, 2007 --

EDM Challenge 103

EDM Challenge 103
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

Now that I am settling back into my regular routine of work and home, it is time to take up the challenges of the Everyday Matters challenge mistress. During the weeks that we were out of Internet contact, slumbering away on Dartmoor, she challenged the crowd to draw their favourite sports equipment.

This is my contribution to that challenge and I have used another page in my new art journal. If I were to redraw this sketch right now I would have to include my little mate Meg curled up in front of this equipment because it is her favourite too.

Posted by robynls at 5:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

-- 17 October, 2006 --

How to interpret Harvest

Harvest ATC Harvest ATC Harvest ATC

This ATC thing is becoming an exercise in train of thought. Mention that word 'Harvest' as a theme and the first thing that popped into my mind was 'harvest moon'. I will admit that I had to Google some images to find out what one would look like before starting this card. Although this scan doesn't show it very well, the moon shines because I used a new medium called H2O made by a manufacturer called LuminArte; a watercolour paint that comes in wee little pots and has a lovely lustre.

Train of thought heads off then to apples. The only harvest festival that I have ever been to was in an apple and grape growing region. They look so good together on a fruit bowl and they bring back pleasant memories of the holiday. This also explains the third card in this series.

Posted by robynls at 8:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

-- 20 August, 2006 --

EDM Challenge 80 - What makes you happy?

Meg Brooch
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.
'Draw something that makes you happy, and write about it, too.' So says the EDM Challenge Mistress for this current challenge.

At this point of my life, my cat, Meg, is what makes me absolutely happy. And why wouldn't she? She is devoted to me, or at least to my hands that feed her. She cuddles up to me in the night so that I am not alone in the dark. She is there to greet me when I walk through the front door at the end of the day and she follows me around the house when I am there at the weekend. She sleeps on my lap when there isn't a laptop or a sketchbook there and at my feet when there is. I like to think that she even gives me kisses on the nose.

I have done this painting on an unusual support for me. It is a shape that I punched from DAS modelling clay, using a kiddy's cookie cutter in the shape of a cat. I have used gouache to paint the sanded surface of the dried clay so that it looks like Meg. A brooch pin is superglued to the back. When the paint was dried, I finished the surface with clear nail varnish to protect the paint and give it a shine. Making art makes me happy. Learning new ways of making art makes me happy.

I am not going to keep this brooch, unfortunately. I designed it give away to my partner in a Swap-bot 'Create me a handmade item' swap. I have signed up for lots of different swaps on this site. When I started I looked forward receiving letters and little parcels from my partners but now it make me very happy knowing that other people are seeing my art works and might even be enjoying having them.

In reflection, this object represents lots of different things that make me happy.

Note: 29 Aug - I finally posted this little brooch to its new owner today. It was very sad as I like it very much. Perhaps I will have to make myself one, when I get the time.

Posted by robynls at 4:34 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

-- 21 July, 2006 --

EDM Challenge 76 - Fresh Flowers

EDM Challenge 76 - Fresh Flowers
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.
When I arrived home from work this afternoon there was a BIG box waiting for me. I couldn't remember what I had ordered so it was like getting a Christmas present. I waited like a good girl until I had finished all of the jobs that needed to be done and then took the box into the kitchen where I had cleared a space on the bench and used the kitchen scissors to slice open the miles of packaging tape that held the box together through the post. Inside, under four air filled plastic padding pillows large enough to be used as small sofa cushions, was a tin of 24 Derwent Inktense pencils and one Fabriano Quadrato Artist's Journal.

Now to the pansies. Our Challenge Mistress said "This week's challenge is to draw or paint some flowers". Clever girl admitted that it would probably be a bit tricky for those of us in the southern hemisphere enjoying the relief of the winter's chill and invited us to do the coral trees or the wattle that she has heard are beginning to blossom. Never one to do the predictable, however, I have chosen to draw a couple of the pansies that our gardener at school had put out especially to make the gardens colourful for the opening of our refurbished Junior School.

Oh, by the way ... I have used my newly arrived toys for this challenge. The pencils ain't half bad. The Fabriano paper is a little on the thin side for a wet medium, though. I think that I will stick to dry the next time I use it.

Posted by robynls at 9:42 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

-- 11 July, 2006 --

EDM 75 - SpagBog ala Rob

SpagBog ala Rob
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.
I haven't cooked much for years. The Poet and I traded jobs when we got married. I ironed his Navy uniforms and he did the cooking. He left the Navy a long time ago but I didn't take over the kitchen until the Parkinsons made him too unsteady to cook anymore. Now I am in charge the meals a pretty basic. I have started a new Moleskine to record my illustrated recipes for my sons' amusement in years to come.

Here is the recipe -

SpagBog ala Robyn

250gms good mince per person
a large onion
tin of diced tomatoes
jar crushed garlic
tomato paste
red wine
herbs, salt, pepper

Heat some oil in a deep frying pan. Peel and dice the onion as small as nerve and knife skills allow - the smaller the better in my opinion. Add the mince and brown it as you squish up all the lumps. When it looks like you would like to eat it, toss in the diced tomatoes, a teaspoon full of the crushed garlic and a sachet of tomato paste. Stir it all in and turn down the heat. Add some ground pepper, salt - you don't have to tell the kid who doesn't take salt, he'll never know -whatever herbs you fancy - oregano or Italian herb mix is good for the theme and a healthy glug of good red wine. Never use wine that you wouldn't drink 'cause you are going to have the rest of the bottle with the meal. Keep on a low heat for about half an hour, stirring occasionally, to let the flavours mix through. You don't need me to tell you how to cook the spaghetti. Read the side of the packet.

Put some spaghetti on the plate and spoon lots of the meat over the top. Grate some parmesan cheese - you did remember the parmesan, didn't you? - over the meat. Pour a big glass of the red and enjoy!

Posted by robynls at 11:09 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

-- 06 July, 2006 --

EDM Challenge 74

EDM Challenge 74
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.
Our letterbox has seen better days, particularly since at least one of us has either backed into or scraped against it as we have back out of the driveway. The letterbox always gets its own back in the damage that it inflicts on the car.

In the years that we have lived in this house a mountain of mail has come to rest in this box. Everything from the inevitable junk mail from the local supermarket, hardware or pizza shop to the much anticipated postcards from participants in the Purple Ink Yahoo Group postcard exchange aka PIPE. All of us have struggled through one course or more in those years. Depending on the stage that we were at, the most important pieces of mail at the time would have been either an acceptance letter for a desired course or the results at the end of a semester.

The mail that I love the best are the birthday cards. Christmas cards tend to come from everyone from your mum to the local real estate agent, trying to drum up business, but birthday cards always come from someone who really loves you and wants to let you know about it. Over the years they come less and less but that makes those that do come even more important.

Posted by robynls at 7:01 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

-- 03 July, 2006 --

EDM Challenge 71

EDM Challenge 71
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.
If this skier really looked like this I think that he would end up on his bum in the snow. He is leaning far too far back.

I did this drawing during the past week at the school ski camp. The skier that I was TRYING to draw was a long way off on the front valley slope at Perisher Valley. I was sitting in the glass covered front bar of Jax in the Valley Inn. It was much warmer were I was sitting but it meant that the skiers were just little ants scurrying back and forth across the slope.

Posted by robynls at 2:09 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

-- 09 June, 2006 --

EDM Challenge 66

EDM Challenge 66
Pencil and watercolour on
watercolour Moleskine
In this challenge we were asked to draw a fire hydrant and then to write something about fires and firemen. In Australia fire hydrants are holes in the ground, not the elegant structures that appear on the streets in the US. Rather than do a picture of one of these steel covered holes, I have used my watercolour Moleskine to do a sketch of a fire extinguisher in one of our classrooms.

When I was a little kid, my Dad was a fireman. I can remember (vaguely) him being away from home at all sorts of odd times when he worked his shifts. For years when we drove through the suburb where his firestation was located, someone would point out that that was where Dad used to work.

The only bit of his uniform that was left after this stage of his life was his great big leather belt with a very hard brass buckle. It hung over the knob of the diningroom door. When we did something naughty, Mum would tell us that we should be whooped with the belt. Of course, she would never do such a thing but she did have the three of us well and truely bluffed.

Posted by robynls at 3:52 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

-- 06 June, 2006 --

EDM Challenge #70

EDM Challenge #70
Sennelier soft pastel
on black cartridge paper.
Draw what you fear. Who? ... Me? ... I'm a grown up person with responsibilties and obligations. Of course I don't fear anything!!!

Well ... maybe growing old alone. The darkness holds lots of tiny, unexpected noises that aren't scared away by the quiet breathing of someone else or herded back into the corners by their movements. The cold creeps in under the covers, unobstructed by another body radiating companionable warmth.

Two is a much better number than one. Two lights the darkness. Two warms the cold. Yes ... I am afraid of growing old alone.

Posted by robynls at 6:01 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

-- 27 May, 2006 --

Cafe latte (& EDM Challenge 69)

Cafe latte
Originally uploaded by Robynls.
A tutorial on the Wet Canvas site presented the idea of using a drawing surface with an aspect ratio of 1:4 or 1:5 instead of the usual 3:4 ratio of the human field of vision.

In the tutorial, the student is advised to create a view finder of the new ratio to help with seeing the section of a view that should fit into the frame. Of course, with all of the other junk I have to carry about on an outing with The Poet, the view finder was the last thing that I would remember to bring.

No problems! Draw a frame on the page, mark the centre point and then just line it all up. It results in a different and interesting change from the usual.

I didn't drink cafe latte on this visit to The Loft Cafe. I had a coffee smoothie, which was really quite nice. I think that I might have to go back and have another one - just to make sure.

-- It seems that I inadvertently managed to meet the EDM Challenge #69 with this sketch too --

Posted by robynls at 6:47 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

-- 24 May, 2006 --

Mothers' Day present

Mothers' Day present
Originally uploaded by Robynls.
With new Moleskines it is best not to think too much about it ... just do it.

The new watercolour version is really nice to use. The paper takes the watercolour very nicely. The paint does not pool on the surface and flows well on a wash. Although it is a cool evening, the paper dried quickly. Some people have been complaining about buckling but it isn't any worse than any other watercolour sketchbook that I have used. I think that the elastic strap will hold the covers together firmly enough to smooth out what buckling there was.

My reference is a sweet bear that Number Two Son bought for me for Mothers' Day this year. She is the newest member of my sleuth of bears and very cute. I am sure that she qualifies for the EDM Challenge #67 'Draw something Mum'.

Posted by robynls at 11:00 PM | Comments (9)

-- 18 April, 2006 --

EDM Challenge 63

EDM Challenge 63
Originally uploaded by Robynls.
The Poet and I have lived in our little house for about 15 years. For most of that time we have shared the house with my two boys but now this is just one of them still here with us. In the front garden is an enormous Liquid Amber tree. It is about 15 metres tall. I think that we actually bought the tree rather than the house. It is always the last in the neighbourhood to loose its leaves in the autumn and the last to get them back in the spring. The dried leaf in the drawning opposite is left over from last year because the tree is still green.

Posted by robynls at 6:57 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

-- 05 April, 2006 --

Challenge #61 - a grouping

A collection of rubber stamps
Originally uploaded by Robynls.

Posted by robynls at 7:29 PM | Comments (11)

-- 02 April, 2006 --

Jamie's car

Jamie's car
Jamie's car
Originally uploaded by Robynls.
My response to the EDM challenge for week 60 in which we were asked to draw a car or part of a car.

I started out to just draw the wheel since I have real problems with geometric shapes and then just kept going. The car has black ducco but I left it as a contour drawing to draw attention to the wheel in the wheel well. That may not have been a great idea as the perspective isn't vey good.

The car belongs to my Number Two Son.

Posted by robynls at 3:50 PM | Comments (6)

-- 23 March, 2006 --

EDM Challenge #59 - Signs of Spring

At last ... Autumn
At last ... Autumn
Originally uploaded by Robynls.
Watercolour pencil on Moleskine

Posted by robynls at 11:47 AM | Comments (13)

-- 17 March, 2006 --

EDM Challenge #29

Covent Garden Capitol
Originally uploaded by Robynls.
The hotel that we stay in when we have been in London is not the grandest hotel in town (although it is right opposite the Savoy) but it does give us quick access to all of the pleasures of the West End.

Covent Garden Markets are just behind the hotel. The Poet and I enjoy going there for coffee and cake and a sticky beak at the crowds. On our last day in London, in January, I sketched this pillar capitol while we sipped our coffee.

While sorting out my EDM Challenge pictures to upload to my Flickr account, I realised that this little sketch suits challenge 29 perfectly so here it is.

Posted by robynls at 7:55 PM | Comments (1)

EDM Challenge #58

GO! The Swans!
Originally uploaded by Robynls.
At 7am, when I walked towards my car that was parked, as has become the norm, on the nature strip in front of the house, the morning air on my bare arms had an autumn coolness to it. Finally, after weeks of hot and humid weather, the season has begun to turn.

The Commonwealth Games in Melbourne have begun with a flurry of fireworks and our thoughts have turned to the approaching football season. The 16 Aussie Rules team captains were part of the Games opening ceremony 2 nights ago, passing the Queen's baton between themselves along barges on the Yara River. I am not sure what viewers in other countries who don't know anything about the game made of that part.

Where we will be seated for the football games this year is still a mystery as our season passes have still to arrive. I hope that we get a good view from a wheelchair friendly spot.

Posted by robynls at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

-- 02 March, 2006 --

EDM 56 Self Portrait

Self Portrait
Progresso on Canson Mi-Teintes Paper

I wonder why it is that portraits of those that we know best are the hardest to do? I have tried on a number of occasions to draw my son during art class as part of an evening when we take turns at modelling for the rest. I am usually satisfied with the sketches I do of other class members but the drawings I have done of my son never feel quite right.

When this week's EDM challenge for a self portrait was posted, my figurative drawing knees went to water. If I can't do a respectible job of my son then what chance do I have of doing the face that I see in the mirror each morning. The answer is 'None'.

A white-on-black whimp-out hides the worst of the mess but does show my most distinctive feature - a waist-length plait of slowly greying hair.

Posted by robynls at 8:21 PM | Comments (8)

-- 28 February, 2006 --



I don't really think that the EDM Challenge Mistress really meant for us to do a drawing and then look for the challenge to fit - should work the other way around to meet the challenges - but that is what I did a few minutes ago for this drawing from last night's art class.

We walked into the studio to find a clothes rack in the middle of the room hung with all sorts of garments of a variety of fabric types and drapped around with scarves and things. One week we get Mark's daughter's toys and the next he raids his wife's wardrobe! After each us had done the double take, he said 'Just pick a small bit to concentrate on'.

Hence, the scarf - which was, in reality, a very soft white knitted fabric. After 2 hours of overworking the flatest drawing I have done in months and trying to make the darks darker and getting nowhere, I had really decided that I would not put this one up on my blog, but here it is. It does look a little better on the screen than on paper.


Posted by robynls at 7:23 PM | Comments (4)

-- 27 February, 2006 --

EDM Challenge 44 - Draw an animal

A Snoozing Meg
Koh-I-Noor Progressos on black notepaper

My dear LOML - my little Meg - cooperated by staying still enough, long enough for me to do another drawing of her. I think that there may be many more done of her in time to come. She is so beautiful and I am completely besoted.

I began doing these sketches on black paper, using Koh-I-Noor Progressos, last year, while The Poet was in hospital. Usually Progressos are white or grey but I have a box of twelve different colours. They are actually woodless pencils but I am not sure if they are really any different from ordinary coloured pencils. The white ones are rather chalky. The coloured ones are a lot harder than the white ones.

I have tried to use a 'variety of lines' as instructed by our new art teacher and I hope that it has given an impression of Meg's fur, which is slightly longer than a short haired cat's but not like a long haired cat.

Fortunately, the Challange Mistress at Everyday Matters had asked for a drawing of an animal while I was busy being distracted elsewhere last year, so I can tick another one off the list.

Posted by robynls at 8:54 AM | Comments (10)

-- 23 February, 2006 --

EDM Challenge 55 - Door Knob


It's nice to be able to find some time in the day and in my head to do more sketching. I had forgotten how relaxing that a few minutes with a pencil can actually be. I have allowed so many of the EMD Challenges to pass me by when I could have been using them as a relief from the stresses of the last 6 months! - Silly me!

Our Challenge Mistress asked for door knobs this week and the one on our staffroom door just called to me - 'Draw me! draw me!'. Our staffroom has been created out of what used to be two offices so that now 6 of us share a space that was once occupied by 2 people. The door that sports this knob is no longer used. These knobs have been there for 50 years so they are well worn from the grip of many hands.

The sketch was done using a Pentel clutch pencil with 0.7mm 2B lead on plain white notebook paper. I found this notebook in Bay Swiss about a year ago. The front half has lined note paper and the back half is unlined. It has an elastic strap like a Moleskine but was a great deal cheaper.

Posted by robynls at 11:35 AM | Comments (5)

-- 26 October, 2005 --

EDM Challenge 32 - Draw something metallic

Enamel still life
soft pastel on Ingres pastel paper

I am not really sure that this is what the Challenge Mistress on Everyday Matters meant when she asked us to draw something metallic for the challenge in week 32. I suspect that we were supposed to do something all shiny but then I never was very good at taking the straight path.

The jug and cup in this still life are white enamel with dark blue trims. The white shows such interesting colours on both the lit and the shadow sides. The pears are actually a set of ceramic salt and pepper shakers. I made them shiny to begin with but then decided to fake real pears.

By the time I finished this picture, I was up to my wrists in pastel dust, which is actually half of the fun of using them. It is a bit like a kid making mud pies.

Posted by robynls at 8:52 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

-- 07 October, 2005 --

EMD Challenge 34 - Autumn Leaves

Autumn ain't Autumn
Koh-I-Noor Progresso on Canson Mi-Teintes

OK ... so this isn't an autumn leaf ... but this is Australia so it isn't autumn either. It's spring and the ornamental fruit trees in the garden are in flower.

Koh-I-Nor Progressos are woodless pencils rather like the white thing that I used on the courthouse lantern sketch a couple of entries ago. They are a bit disappointing as they are not as soft as the white one was. They are really more like ordinary coloured pencils. I experimented with using only 3 primary colours and a white with this sketch.

Posted by robynls at 8:14 PM | Comments (8)

-- 16 August, 2005 --

EDM Veg Challenge

Sennelier soft pastel on Ingres paper

It is almost as though my art class teacher is reading Everyday Matters. Our reference this week was this wonderful pair of pumpkins, which allows me to provide a response to challenge #26.

I have gone back to my comfort zone. I am using soft pastels again. The Sennelier pastels are just like butter - soft and creamy. I love getting my fingers into the pigment on the page and sculpting it into the shapes that I am looking at. The angle of the cut face was a bit tricky and took a few goes but I am reasonable happy with the outcome.

Posted by robynls at 9:31 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

-- 21 May, 2005 --

Sketchcrawl - my day


I tried to drum up some company for a chapter of Sketchcrawl in Sydney, but ended up with a resounding silence. Rather than be detered completely, I thought that I would just stop every now and then through my regular Saturday to make a sketch. Trouble is, when Saturday is the one day of the week to do all of the household jobs, the day sort of got away from me very quickly. We are going to the football tomorrow so the shopping and the washing and the visit to Grandma all had to be done today. That doesn't leave a lot of quiet time for sketching, so this is the best that I could manage. I did, however, knock over a couple of the Everyday Matters Challenges that I hadn't had a go at yet. The lamp is the first thing that I see when I wake up, or would see if 6am weren't so dark. The autumn leaf is for the tree challenge just to let the rest of the world know that it is autumn here when it is spring in the northern hemisphere.

9:10am I had a bad night and woke up late. This is the first thing I would see in the morning if it wasn't dark at my normal getup time.

9:45 Had to go down stairs to get my Moleskine so I made breakfast for a change.

12:07 Can't avoid the washing if I want to go to the football tomorrow.

12:30 Coffee break before starting the grocery shopping.

2:15 Visiting Mum-in-law and collected autumn leaves from the garden.

Posted by robynls at 5:22 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

-- 01 May, 2005 --

EDM Challenge #13 - Phones


I think that eagerness that Australians have to embrace the mobile phone has something to do with the vastness of our country, much of it uninhabitable, and the great distances between places. It is no longer a status symbol to own a mobile phone. Even The Poet sometimes remembers to take his with him. Almost everyone has one tucked away in their pocket or bag. They can be seen in use in cars, buses, trains and while walking down the street. Answering a call on the mobile phone becomes more important than any conversation that might already be happening with someone in your presence. Unpleasant confrontations can be avoided by texting someone, rather than approaching to have a face to face conversation.

In an earlier entry for another Everyday Matters challenge, I talked about how I am on my endless quest for the perfect handbag. Until recently I think that I was on a similar quest for the perfect mobile phone ... and then I found this one.

Mobile phone manufacturers seem to have all sorts of wonderful bells and whistles to offer on phones. I wanted to have as many of these packed into a single phone. SMS, MMS, email, web browser, infrared, Bluetooth - for a computing teacher who hates teaching computer communications, I now seem to have access to all of it in this one small phone. It takes photos and video, maintains my contacts, calendar, tasks and notes. Goodness me! I even occasionally use it to to make a phone call.

Posted by robynls at 6:35 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

-- 15 April, 2005 --

Making a spectacle of myself

'Constant Companions'
Zig & Tombo Brush Pens on Mont Marte 150gsm sketch paper

I didn't feel the need for eye glasses until I was about 25 or so. I was doing my under-graduate degree at night after teaching all day. In first year classes of 400 odd students, I found that I was having to sit closer and closer to the front of the lecture theatres in order to read the overheads. By the time I had focused on them, the lecturer had whipped them away. I thought that I was just tired.

I can still distinctly remember the day that I got my first pair. After having them fitted, I walked out of the optometrist's office and looked around the small suburban shopping centre. It was like seeing the crispest, clearest autumn morning that I could possibly remember. All of the furry edges on things had gone!

Since then I have gone through innumerable pairs and presciptions. These days I have to wear multifocals to adjust my reading eyes as well as my distance eyes. Nothing is ever at the right spot in the lenses so my head is forever bobbing up and down like those little nodding dogs on the back ledges of cars. I have to lift my head to read the labels on things on shop shelves and then lower my head to see what is in my trolley.

The most depressing thing is what it does to my art. I can't see the reference out there properly and it's hard to get the drawings in the right spot in the glasses. It is handy though when I want to do a tone sketch. If I take my glasses off, I don't have to squint to hard to see the darks and lights

Happily, on my last trip to the optometrist, the cheerful young woman (why do they all seem so young these days?) told me that it shouldn't change much from now on - God bless her! Not withstanding ... I HATE GETTING OLDER!

Posted by robynls at 6:00 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

-- 09 April, 2005 --

EDM Challenge 10 - Hands

"and it is HANDS...
your hands, your significant other's hands, your kid's hands, your dog's paws...something wildly related..."

This is the challenge that has been issued by Kelley, the Challenge Mistress on the Everyday Matters group. This is enough to make me break out in a cold sweat!

I quite enjoy doing portraits. Some days I am OK at them and others days I'm not ... but hands ... no way! On the nights that we have a live model in our drawing class I either avoid the hands altogether or stick some sort of squiggly thing on the ends of the arms.

So here it is - my left hand. Posted by robynls at 2:11 PM | Comments (8)

-- 28 March, 2005 --

EM Jewelry Challenge

"Silver Dragonflies"
Lead pencil and watercolour pencil
on 300g sketch paper

In December I was walking each morning to enjoy the bushland park near where we live. My walk took me across a foot bridge over the small creek that meanders through the park. It was my habit to stop on the bridge for a while and watch the insects flitting over the water of the creek. One morning, after my walk, I drew one of the dragonflies that I saw at the bridge.

During our stay in London, a few weeks later, The Poet and I visited Southwark Cathedral. In the gift shop at the cathedral The Poet found these silver and enamel earrings. He bought them for me because they reminded him of the drawing that I had made of the real dragonfly

This week's Everyday Matters drawing challenge is to sketch 'your watch or a piece of jewelry' so here it is. This is my response.

Posted by robynls at 8:46 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

-- 19 March, 2005 --

EM From the Kitchen Challenge

Vegemite Jar
Windsor & Newton Oils on Arttec Oil Sketch Pad

Almost every Australian kitchen will have a jar of Vegemite in the cupboard or refrigerator - correct storage is the subject of contention. For the uninitiated, Vegemite is a spread which is made from yeast, looks like very thick engine oil and tastes very salty - similar, but not the same as Marmite, known to the British. Rumour has it that it is made from the sludge left over from the beer making process.

You either like Vegemite or loath it, there is no in between. It is not a taste that you can pick up in adult life so new-comers to Australia are a lost cause. For real Aussie kids, this is the first thing that they taste after their mother's milk, spread on soldiers of bread or toast. It should never be spread thickly, which is the mistake that new-comers make. A thin film is all that is needed. Vegemite also works well as flavouring in stews, stocks and casseroles.

Like most Australian icons, Vegemite is no longer Australian ownered, having been sold some time ago to a well known multi-national but I doubt that it will ever be taken up anywhere else in the world. Aussie travellers have been know to pack a jar in their luggage so that they can have their daily fix while away from home. Heaven knows what customs officials in other countries make of it when inspecting for banned goods.

This is my first attempt with oil paints having been inspired to give it go by Duane Keiser's A Painting A Day blog although I am kidding myself that I will ever be that good.

20/03/2005- A reader pointed out the Vegemite web site for those interested in more information.

Posted by robynls at 2:24 PM | Comments (14)

-- 14 March, 2005 --

EM Toyland Challenge - My Blind Bear

Old Blind Bear
Stabillo Pastel Pencils on Olive Grey Canson Mi-Teintes paper

This bear is about as old as me - the bear, not the drawing, which I did tonight at our Monday night drawing class. He took me about 2 hours to do. I used Stabillo pastel pencils on Canson Mi-Teintes olive-grey paper - A4 size - smooth side. He is my response to the Everyday Matters toyland challenge.

When I was a little girl, I went with my family to visit some relatives. I must have been asleep when we left because the bear was left behind. When we eventually retrieved him, his eyes had been pulled out and his squeaker didn't work any more. 50 years later I am still having trouble forgiving my cousins for hurting my bear.

These days he live a comfortable life with lots and lots of other bears in my collection.

17/03/05 - PS I have done a little cheat, due to the pressure of life, and submitted this entry to Illustration Friday, too.

Posted by robynls at 8:47 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

-- 08 March, 2005 --

EM Teacup Challenge

Teacup challenge
This was last week's challenge to the subscribers to the Everyday Matters Yahoo group - I'm a little bit behind. We were to sketch our favourite teacup.

Since I spend so much of my life at school, my favourite cup lives there. A very observant viewer will recognise which well known London department store was the source of this cup. It is a long walk down to the staffroom at school so my cup rarely gets washed, hence the brown tea stain on it's inner surface, which I think contributes to the flavour of the tea.

It has been a long while since I last broke out my watercolours and I am a little bit rusty with the technique. My weapon of choice recently has been either pastels or Aquarelle pencils. I think that I got the perspective a bit twisted, too, as the upper elipse doesn't quite match the bottom one, but in my defence, it only took me about 10 minutes, between classes to complete the sketch.

Posted by robynls at 2:17 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

-- 20 February, 2005 --

Everyday Matters Handbag Challenge

handbag.jpg This week's sketching challenge on the Everyday Matters discussion list is to draw your favourite purse or bag. I have chosen to use pencil in my new moleskin 19cm X 25cm sketchbook.

This is my magic bag. It doesn't matter how much stuff I put into it, it still seems able to take more. Things disappear into the bottom of this bag only to suddenly reappear months later. I had a really great sharpener for my pastel pencils. After giving it up for lost and buying a new one, the original sharpener turned up in the bottom of this bag. Wallet, two pairs of glasses, sketchbook, pens, pencils, headache tablets, mobile phone, organiser ... there is nothing that this bag won't swallow. Strangely, magically it never seems to get any heavier.

It is made of soft black leather and hangs from two straps making it into a backpack. It has a zippered pocket on the front were I usually put my car keys because if I drop them inside I can't find them again. The zippered pocket on the side is supposed to be for the phone but I don't use it. Inside, there is another pocket where all of my pens, pencils and erasers live so that they don't drift to the bottom.

I don't know what I would do without this bag.

Posted by robynls at 10:11 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

-- 18 February, 2005 --

Everyday Matters Lamp Challenge response

lamp.JPG The Everyday Matters group issued a challenge this week to draw the lamp on your desk. My desk doesn't have room to have a lamp in amongst all of the computer stuff laying around.

This lamp lives in our loungeroom. It actually isn't an oil lamp at all. It is a sculpture made from a piece of turned wood for the base and the chimney of an old oil lamp on the top. I bought it years ago at an art show when I lived on the far north coast of New South Wales. During a blackout, while we were away on holidays, Number Two Son decided to improvise by putting a candle into the lamp.

This drawing also breaks the drought that I have been experiencing with some new soft covered Moleskin sketchbooks. Finally I have managed to make messy marks on one of the nice new clean pages. There is no going back now.

Posted by robynls at 10:10 PM | Comments (3)

-- 23 August, 2004 --

EDM Challenge #1 - Oily walking boots


I am besotted with van Gogh so when I pull these boots out to act as my models for my Arts Centre lesson, I can pretend that I might one day grow up to become a mad suicidal genius. This time I painted them using oil pastels - a variety of brands - on Canson Mi-Teintes paper in a sort of sandy colour. Not sure of the dimensions but the sheet is larger than A4. I thought that I should have done some sort of background or shadow to try to ground the boots on the paper but the teacher said to just leave it. She felt that they are sitting on the page fine as they are. Whatever, I am quite pleased with this finished product.

Posted by robynls at 11:32 PM | Comments (6)