-- 26 February, 2009 --

New Class

New Class
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.
A portrait class - time to sit, to draw and have someone who will stay still for half an hour not minding that you stare.

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-- 27 October, 2008 --

tone exercise

tone exercise
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.
I liked this warm up exercise more than I liked the final product. Go figure!

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-- 11 August, 2008 --

Tea time

Tea time
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

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-- 19 June, 2008 --


Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.
I sometimes wonder why I signed up for the Wednesday evening lecture series at the AGNSW. After a long day at work, as soon as the lights go down for the slide presentation I start to nod off. I even wonder if I might not have been snoring at times.

The art is wonderful, though, and the talks are usually interesting. Maybe I am just getting OLD!
David with the head of Goliath

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-- 14 May, 2008 --


Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.
The talk at the art gallery tonight was not very stimulating but the slides were. He left this one up long enough for me to relieve the boredom.

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-- 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.


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-- 18 March, 2007 --

New toy


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-- 17 March, 2007 --

Sydney Sketchcrawl

Sydney Sketchcrawl
Sydney Sketchcrawl
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

It is World Wide Sketchcrawl weekend. Thanks to the determination of Alissa, Sydney managed to put together a little group to contribute to the day. Given our position, geographically, I think that we were the first group to do the 13th World Wide Sketchcrawl.

We were a group of only 5 which dropped to 3 by lunchtime but we had lots of fun and did lots of sketching around Circular Quay and The Rocks. In honour of the 75th anniversary celebrations of the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I have chosen my sketch of this world renowned icon of our city as the first taste of my work this day.

We parted in a shower of rain with promises to meet up to do it all over again soon.

There are more sketches over on my Flickr Photostream.


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-- 15 February, 2007 --


Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

My mind has gone back to the wonderful experiences that The Poet and I had in December and January while staying on Dartmoor. I did this sketch on the last day that we spent there.

Widdicombe-in-the-Moor is a village that is well worth visiting. It is very small and is a popular destination for tourists mainly because of a poem that was written about it's annual fair. The little shops contain the usual tourist stuff but the pub has a wonderful restaurant which has recently been renovated and serves excellent food. I did this sketch of one of its open fires while I was waiting for The Poet to finish his lunch. The words under the sketch were written on the pub wall.

The parish church in Widdicombe is known as the cathedral of the moor. It is quite small but has a very tall tower. The ceiling has some fabulous bosses and the painted alter screen is ancient and well worth a close look.

Widdicombe is at the bottom of a valley with the moors towering all around it. It really is 'in' the moor. Before we drove away for the last time, I stood in the church yard, looking up at the moor and felt the rain on my face and the wind in my hair one more time.


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-- 25 January, 2007 --

Dartmoor New Year

Dartmoor New Year
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

One of the things that we really enjoy about the UK is having a meal in a local country pub. We have found that it is getting much harder to do now. The pubs we like to visit are sometimes hundreds of years old and make very little concession to the disabled, particularly to those in wheelchairs. We really have to feel like it to make the enormous effort that it now takes to get inside through narrow doorways and up very worn stairs.

The Dartmoor Inn near Princetown is not as old as some but still not wheelchair accessible so we had to struggle in with The Poet leaning very heavily on my arms. I must say that we have found that both the young and old in England are much more willing to offer a helping hand than people in Australia. I find this very disappointing to have to say about my own country.

With all of the other things that I need to remember to take on an outing (it is a bit like having small children again), I forgot to take my Moleskine on this day so I had nothing in my bag to draw on while I was waiting for The Poet to finish his lunch. Not to be put off, I used the chit that the server had used to record our lunch order to make a sketch of an interesting corner of the room near the fireplace.

My little sketch is now glued into my Moleskine 18 month diary as a memory of not only the venue but also the lunch.

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-- 12 September, 2006 --

Sydney Tower

Sydney Tower
Sydney Tower
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

I managed to worm myself onto the staff fo a visual arts excursion to Darling Harbour and then the Art Gallery of NSW today. There are 6 VA classes in Year 8 and only 4 teachers on that faculty so they are always after extras on these outings. I have been on either the Year 7 or Year 8 VA excursions for the last 3 or 4 years and, while tiring, they are a lot of fun. The topic that they are focused on at the moment is the built environment so they had to do some pencil sketches of the structures around the bay and then do a little collage postcard. The girls are so uninhibited and have no fear about drawing in public even with the Asian tourists who love to mill around and take photographs with the kids.

After Darling Harbour we got back on the bus and went across the city to the Gallery. We were broken up into two groups. The first group went in to wander around the permanent collection with a couple of the education officers. The rest of us sat outside the gallery making more sketches. I took the opportunity to do a sketch of the Sydney Tower in my Moleskine sketchbook. The girls in my group were not phased at all by their Technology teacher taking to a sketchbook.The education officer who took our little group around was fabulous. I admire these people and envy their job. I think that when I retire I want to volunteer as a guide at the gallery.

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-- 31 July, 2006 --

Wet Canvas Scavenger Hunt #3 - glass item

Wet Canvas Scavenger Hunt #3 - glass item
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.
Through an e-pal, I have been led to another drawing challenge on Wet Canvas. I tend to feel more motivated when someone else suggests something to draw.

In this challenge we are given a list of everyday items to find and draw. There is everything from a matchbox to your favourite corner in your house. I stole a 'spare' moment in my day to draw the coffee cup that I am currently using at school. I am not quite sure why I like this cup. My normal is fine bone china but this on is thick glass and can be bought cheaply from Woolies.

It looks as though I got the shape of the bottom of the mug through the thick glass sides all wrong but, really, that is what it looks like from where I am sitting. It doesn't parallel the top elipse in any way. Very odd.

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-- 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.

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-- 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 --

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-- 11 May, 2006 --

Hurry up and wait

Hurry up and wait
Originally uploaded by Robynls.

When I was at university I did a subject with the impressive title, Operations Research. In this course we learnt about the study of queueing theory. Queueing theory looks at algorithms that determine the requirements to maintain a queue at a given level. I can understand why banks and other places that deal with walk in customers would not wish to have queues of zero length but it would appear that hospitals, and other places that ask you to make an appointment, have not heard about this area of mathematics.

I often wonder if I am asking too much that an appointment made should be kept as close as possible to the time agreed. After all, if I were to make an appointment to visit a client or prospective employer, it would not be a good thing to arrive an hour late. This week, I have attended a GP's appointment where I waited for half an hour past the time agreed on and a hospital appointment for The Poet, pictured here, where we were called in a whole hour later than the time given. This last was especially annoying since they asked us to arrive half an hour before the time, so we sat in the waiting room for a very long time.

It is completely beyond my understanding why they can't do a simple little bit of arithemtic to figure out what time the average visit will take and then make the appointment times of that length. Instead the times are compressed into some impossible to maintain schedule that leaves clients grumpy.

At least I had the fore thought to take along my new Moleskine and a pencil to capture the moment. BTW we were not going to the Nuclear Medicine Department. It was just what I could see from the MRI waiting room.

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-- 10 May, 2006 --

Number 2 Son is Number 1

Number 2 Son is Number 1
Originally uploaded by Robynls.

An entry on Danny Gregory's Every Day Matters blog sent me hunting for this drawing of Number Two Son that I did last year.

I love making art but the very special thing about my Mondya evening art class is that I share it with Number Two Son. He started coming when he was at university doing his Computer Science degree. I thought that he should have a little bit of rounding in his life so I paid for his lessons and we went together ever week.

He has an unusual touch with the pastels and pastel pencils that he prefers to use and always comes up with different and very good. His special thing is to change the colour of the object that he is drawing to something completely different and unexpected. The new art teacher is particularly keen on the way he works and the previous teacher used to come and tell me how good she thought he was, rather like a parent/teacher interview. I wonder if she gave him son/teacher interviews about me :-)

It is such fun sharing the classes with him. We chat about what we are going to do as we go to the class and about how we went, on the drive home. We laugh about some of the strange things our classmates do and groan in envy of the talented ones. At the break one of us makes the coffee and then we wonder around looking at everyone's progress. I even sometimes get a little surprise hug when he comes to see what I have been doing.

I am still paying for the classes even though the lad is no longer a student but I don't mind too much. I am enjoying that he still wants to spend time with his Mum and that we have something in common that we can do together.

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-- 03 May, 2006 --

Chapel lantern

Chapel lantern
Originally uploaded by Robynls.
Eight years ago I would have been facing my first Parent/Teacher night here at this school. My card would have been fully booked because way back then parents would encourage their girls to take computer courses because they thought that they would need the skills in later life.

The girls still need the skills in later life but now parents see them skillfully using the Internet and chatting in the chatrooms and think that they know it all. Unfortunately, they don't but it means that my classes are very small these days.

At least the long wait between one interview and the next gave me the time to go and sit in the cool autumn sun and sketch the lantern on top of the school chapel. I have been promising myself to do this for almost all of those eight years and now I have.

I still can't draw straight lines.

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-- 19 April, 2006 --

Foot sketch

Foot sketch
Originally uploaded by Robynls.
I am exhausted! It is the end of the first day of a two day life drawing workshop and I have stood at an easel for 5 hours. I NEVER stand up to draw and my back is aching.

Our model is a pretty young girl who is a martial arts participant so she has a trim little body and the most beautiful long hands and well shaped feet. She took lovely flowing poses that have been a joy to draw. The tutor is an interesting man ... an architypal artist type ... who came to a class, in which he distributed charcoal and black Conti crayon, dressed in a freshly laundered pair of white jeans. Excentric? Yes! A good tutor? You bet! He came around to each one of us following every pose and made comments, adjustments and suggestions. Admittedly it did slow the class down. In 5 hours we got through only about 3 more poses than we do in our regular 2 1/2 hours on Monday nights, but all eight of us had lots of personal attention.

So, why the foot? Well, I drew that! Up until today my feet always looked like blocky little triangles as I whimped out of trying to draw them, because I knew that I couldn't. Well, guess what? I CAN DRAW FEET!

Graphite pencil and charcoal on cartridge paper.
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-- 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.

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-- 17 April, 2006 --

Holiday bliss

Holiday bliss
Originally uploaded by Robynls.

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-- 10 April, 2006 --

Thumbs up

Thumbs up
Originally uploaded by Robynls.

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-- 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)

-- 24 March, 2006 --

Regular mocha

Regular mocha
Originally uploaded by Robynls.

Posted by robynls at 4:14 PM | Comments (5)

-- 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)

-- 14 March, 2006 --

The Fisherman's Woman revisited

P03-13-06_19.54.jpg P03-13-06_19.54[1].jpg P03-13-06_22.39.jpg

I had not been looking forward to life drawing class with Mark in charge. It was reasonably certain that he would not allow me to slip into the comfortable groove of portrait drawing at the end, although, surprisingly, he did use the word 'protrait' at one stage during the evening. It came to nothing.

The experience wasn't as bad as I had anticipated even though the proper proportions fo the human body still illude me totally.

At the end of the class Mark announced that, rather than yet another still life, we were to bring one of the life drawing sketches to class this week and be prepared to place the figure in a context. Dispite pondering all week, I had no ideas.

The sketch began just as a composition trial and the figure was originally meant to be leaning against a tree. The ocean view just evolved. Then I wanted to try out some colours using watercolour pencils. I can't remember ever having completed a piece totally from my imagination, without a reference, before now. I am reasonably pleased with the result.

see my poem entitled The Fisherman's Woman

Posted by robynls at 8:38 AM | Comments (4)

-- 12 March, 2006 --

This way to The Office


There are some things that it seems important to cling to even when it seems too hard. Going to the theatre is one of these for me. To loose myself for a couple of hours in the worlds of Shakespeare or David Williamson is a release from what is happening in the day to day.

For others it is the sounds of the wind in the sails and water under the keel of a boat. At the end of the heuser is an ocean going yatch which has competed in the Sydney to Hobart, named "The Office". I laugh when I think of its owner saying to his wife

'Just of to The Office, dear -'

Posted by robynls at 3:45 PM | Comments (2)

-- 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)

-- 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)

-- 29 January, 2006 --

Gallery sketching

remy.JPG I have come home from holiday in the UK to find the current discussion on the Everyday Matters discussion group to be about sketching in galleries.

One of the things that I enjoy about being in London is a trip to the National Gallery. On this trip I managed to get together enough nerve to pull out my trusty Moleskine, which had become a sketchbook/scrapbook journal of our trip, and begin sketching. And what better artist to try to copy than Rembrandt. How bold could I possibly be! to even imagine that I could so anything that vaguely resembles the Great Master!

The discussion on Everyday Matters centred around whether or not sketching is allowed in various galleries. In my experience public galleries seem to not only alllow but even encourage budding artists to use the art works as examples to learn from. I believe that this is as it should be, since the works have been purchased with tax payers' funds. Private galleries, on the other hand, should have the right to withhold permission to sketch from their works since they own the works privately.

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-- 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)

-- 02 October, 2005 --

The Eye of The Poet - EDM Challenge 33

The Eye of the Poet
4B graphite stick on watercolour paper
  • Windows of the soul
  • Windows to disease
  • The eyes have it
  • Sacred eyes

I have watched the eyes of The Poet for the last 2 months as a barometer of the days. Focused - unfocused. Yellowed - clear. Today has been a very good day. Perhaps we can now see the way ahead and things are looking up.

Posted by robynls at 6:58 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

-- 19 September, 2005 --

A lantern for light

Lantern on Darlinghurst Courthouse
White pencil on 135gsm pastel paper

The Poet has been in hospital for almost seven weeks now – except for one week a little while ago when we mistakenly believed that life was back to stumbling along its usual rough and rocky road. How gullible on our part!

From the window of his current room he has the most wonderful view of the skyline of the Sydney CBD. It is a crazy mixture of the absolute ultra-modern and beautiful colonial buildings. Just beyond the St Vincent’s Hospice across the road, is the Greek revival style Darlinghurst Court House, built in 1835 and still used for criminal and other cases by the NSW Supreme Court. This lantern has been drawing my eyes to the courthouse ever since The Poet moved into this room, following his operation on Friday.

One morning last week, I walked past some of our Year 7 students who were having a plein aire art class on the front drive at school. Their teachers had given them some black card and coloured pencils and they were busy drawing the flowers in the garden. Their effort inspired me to try black paper. I have used a white version of those hard graphite sticks that look like an ordinary pencil without any woody case.

As I worked I couldn’t figure out whether I should use the white to represent the lights or the darks in the picture. Out of habit, my lines became the darks in the scene – which is actually the reverse of reality. Interesting … but next time I think I might try the mind twist of doing it the other way around.

Posted by robynls at 5:59 PM | Comments (10)

-- 20 July, 2005 --

EDM Fruit challenge

Watercolout pencil on watercolour postcard paper

I know that I seem constantly to be drawing fruit but the Everyday Matters Challenge Mistress has decreed that this week we should draw fruit ... so I did.

I have also launched into an eBay commercial enterprise, selling vintage postcards. I boldly had the thought that I might be able to sell some of my postcard sketches there as well, but there doesn't seem to be too much interest in this one. Oh, well ... back to the drawing board.

Posted by robynls at 12:44 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

-- 10 July, 2005 --

Eucalypt is Australian!

Winter Eucalptus
Van Gogh watercolour pencils
on Windsor & Newton 150gsm cartridge paper

Some guru in far off Kew Gardens has apparently decided that the gums of Australia should no longer be known as Eucalypts. Aussies who are aware of this are, quite rightly, aghast!

For over 200 years our gum trees have been eucalyptus. The whole world knows about our eucalyptus trees and our poor little koala bears have been eating them for millenia. They would be VERY confused if some paternalistic botanist somewhere else decides to call them something else. Don't we have some say in this? They are our trees, not someone else's!

Posted by robynls at 4:02 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

-- 01 June, 2005 --

Life drawing class


I haven't picked up a brush or a pencil for a while - haven't really felt very much like it. If I could sleep a bit better, I would probably feel a bit more like creative work but that hasn't been easy for the last little while. Oh, well - Monday night art class makes me focus a bit better than normal so something actually happens.

We had a life drawing class this week. The full body sketches were a complete, disappointing flop. The model had a beautifully proportioned body and she was happy to sit still for for longer than most of the models we have had previously but I just can't get it. The turn of an ankle or wrist end up looking like sausages under my pencils.

For the long pose that is the culmination of the class I slipped back into my comfort zone. I really enjoy doing portraits. It is a challenge to use a lead pencil making shading turn into the furrows and creases of a human face. Having a model who is prepared to sit still and be stared at for an hour or so presents a rare opportunity to practice this skill.

I think that this portrait is a reasonable representation of our Monday night model.

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-- 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.

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-- 11 May, 2005 --

A new moleskine defiled

OK - let's face it - I was bored! All of our students sat for a Science Competition paper this morning and the one thing about teaching that I find the most boring, next to playground duty, is supervising exams.

Still, I am not sure that that is a really good excuse for defiling a lovely new soft covered moleskine with pretty poor pencil sketch of an overhead projector. In my defence, it was the only thing in the room that was the least little bit interesting, apart from the students but if I had started to sketch one of them they would have been on to me in a flash.

Pencil sketches are a real pain to scan, too. On paper they don't look too bad but the scanner seems totally incapable of picking up the subtlies of the shading and misses the soft lines completely. I tried two scanners before I got this copy but it isn't very good - or is it just the drawing that's the pits?

Not one of my best days

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-- 07 May, 2005 --

Art exhibition warm up

Flower study
lead pencil and coloured pencil on 150gsm A5 sketch paper

It is time for the latest Archibald Prize Exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. There are only two disabled car parking spaces in front of the gallery so it is important that we get there early. This gives us the opportunity to have breakfast in the cafe across the road - the Pavilion on the Park.

While we were waiting for a scrummy breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon on whole grain toast with orange juice and coffee, I draw this flower that was in the garden near our table. I haven't a clue about flowers so I don't know what it is but it was sort of bacon and eggs coloured.

I can't say that I agree with the judges' choice of winner of the Archibald Prize. I don't think that self-portraits are fair as one of the competition rules is that there has to be a certain amount of live sittings for the portrait and the subject has to be prominent in the field of arts, letters, science or politics. Self-portrait means that the artist didn't have to approach someone famous to sit for them. This year's winner doesn't even look much like anyone at all, let alone the subject. Wouldn't have been my choice.

As a footnote, I find it interesting that the promotional material for this year's Archie's features, not the winning entry, but the painting that the judges felt should be highly commended. Interesting!

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-- 24 April, 2005 --

Dangar Island Writers' Workshop

'Workshopping writer'
pencil on Sennelier sketch paper

We spent the day at a writers' workshop today. The Poet showcased a new style of poem that he is working on. Me ... I draw.

This writer was not asleep as it appears in my drawing. The text that she was following was sitting on her lap. She has a wonderful, interesting face that shows her life experience well.

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-- 14 April, 2005 --

IF 'Alone' challenge

Van Gogh watercolour pencils on 150gm Mont Matre sketch paper

The Illustration Friday challenge for this week is 'Alone'. That conjures up lots of images to me, mainly of people in various setting like crowds or deserted beaches. Trouble is, I think that this is what will come to the minds of lots of people and I want mine to be different. By the way, I never look at the offerings already on the site before submitting my own as I don't want to be influence - or scared off.

So how else can alone be portrayed? It came to me while we were doing the shopping in the fruit and veg section of our local Woolies. Peas - they always come in groups in pods or crowds on plates, so what could be more alone than one pea in a pod. So here it is. Not one of my finest pieces mind you. I haven't really got the feel of my nice new watercolour pencils yet, but it will do for starters

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-- 05 April, 2005 --

1300 Year Chedi


Having delved into my very first art journal earlier this week to find a response to an art challenge, I looked through some of other pages and was taken back to that holiday in Chiang Mai. The text entry that I wrote for this drawing follows.

"1300 Year Chedi" say the road signs in Lamphun. What a beautiful contrast can be seen in this temple! The images in the meeting hall are modern, garish and similar to many throughout the country. The broken images in niches around the ancient chedi are beautiful - calm and dignified. A young monk struggles with an enormous fire hose, flooding the lawn explaining the surprising expanse of lush, green grass. Glossy winged roosters and hens scratch for lunch beneath the roses while tiny ants try to discourage us from staying too long.

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-- 02 April, 2005 --

IF 'Travel' Challenge

Wat Jet Lod
Lead pencil on cartridge paper
During a trip to Thailand in January 2001 I took up drawing. I had been going to Thailand for a number of years and become interested in the teachings of the Buddhist belief system, particularly the concept of living in the moment. During this trip I realised that I had seen and done a lot in this country but had never taken the opportunity to sit and contemplate.

The Poet and I went shopping at a stationary shop and purchased some paper and pencils and set out for the temples. This time, instead of rushing around with the rest of the tourists, we stopped and sat. We breathed the hot, dry air and listened to the quiet tinkle of the temple bells. We tried to see the images around us by putting them down on our paper.

This pencil sketch, made in the grounds of Wat Jet Lod - the Temple of Seven Spires - represents the beginning of my journey as an artist. It is a record of my travels to Thailand and my journey to an inner peace, which has a very long way to go.

On the first page of the album in which I have stored photographs, journal entries and drawings from this particular trip I have the following quote. Foolishly, I have forgotten to record where I found it but it most likely from a book of buddhist teachings.

As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life.

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-- 01 March, 2005 --

Wooden pears

Pencil study
Graphite on Sennelier l'ebauche paper

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-- 26 February, 2005 --

Dolly the Mega Cat

Dolly the Mega Cat
Aquarelle on Sennelier sketch paper
Since starting my own blogs I have become a regular reader of a number of other people's. Most of the ones that I find interesting are written by people who are involved with drawing, painting or creative writing. I have a number of them listed as links on my main page and my particular favourites are subscribed to my RSS reader so that I can see almost immediately when a new entry has been made.

One of the ones that I particularly enjoy reading is kept by English writer and artist John Bailey who styles himself the Old Grey Poet. John often mentions his cat named Dolly the Mega Cat and in a recent entry he posted a beautiful photograph of this magnificent (and very spoilt) creature. The photo struck me as a great reference for a painting but when I made this suggestion, John decided to pass, offering the opportunity to anyone else who might like to take it up. Well, here we are - my interpretation of Dolly the Mega Cat.

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-- 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.

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-- 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)

-- 01 January, 2005 --

Ely Cathedral

ely.jpgEly Cathedral is one of my favourites in England. I love the painted ceiling of the nave which was completed in the 19th century by two different artists. It is possible to spot the place where the second artist took up after the first one died - if you are very observant and look really, really closely - which is a bit tricky, given the height of the ceiling. We have visted Ely every time we have come to England. This time I took time to just sit and look and tried my hand at a little architectural sketching. I am still a bit shy at sketching in public but it was an interesting exercise.

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-- 27 December, 2004 --

A day of disasters ...

ltlman.jpgThis is the sort of thing that you get up to when you are bored - invading peoples' privacy. The plane from Paris to London was late. My eye was caught be this elderly gentleman sitting quietly waiting with his family across the other side of the room. It is a good thing that we practice quick portrait sketches, occasioanlly, in Monday evening art classes. While I was trying to be unobtrusive in my observation of my subject, a very over-weight young man sat down directly between me and my gentleman. It quickly put an end to my invasion of his privacy and also to my sketching. The over-weight young man did NOT spark my interest enough to waste a page of my new Sennelier drawing paper.

The day was just one disaster after another. We were late into Heathrow so the stand that our plane was meant to occupy was already taken, forcing us to wait on the apron. Once we got there, a piece of equipment prevented us from docking for a further 10 minutes. When eventually our onward flight was called, they had changed gates, requiring a desperate call for a wheel chair for the DH so that we could move to the new one. On arrival in Manchester we found that the airline had lost the DH's trusty walking machine, which we have found invaluable in this holiday. Serves them right! They will now have to deliver it to North Yorkshire!

In perspective though, none of this compares to the terrible things that are happening in South East Asia following the earthquake and tidal waves that have caused such devastation. Our problems are minor in comparision.

Posted by robynls at 7:27 PM | Comments (0)

-- 22 December, 2004 --


Remsml.jpgWe are in Amsterdam and to celebrate having a WIFI Internet connection through the generosity of the management of the hotel that we are staying in, I have overcome my shyness at sketching in public. We found ourselves in a place called Rembrandt Plein where we had a cup of coffee and a slice of wonderful apple pie at a cafe called the Ritz. It has a great view out into the square and the statue of Rembrandt in the park in the middle. I did this rather ordinary pencil sketch of the statue. Rembrandt I certainly am not but at least I have broken the ice. The next time won't be so hard.

Tomorrow we are off on the high speed train bound for Paris. Look out Senelier's - here I come, credit card in hand. I am not sure when I will get another Internet connection.

Posted by robynls at 2:26 AM | Comments (2)

-- 10 December, 2004 --

Different natives


The creek water is the colour of tea and at first I thought that the disturbances were being made by small flying insects landing on the surface. A closer look showed the fat little tadpoles darting out of the debris on the bottom, up to the surface and then back down into their hiding places. I often go to sleep in the summer listening to the sound of the frogs in the bush but I never thought about the tadpoles that these frogs used to be.

Posted by robynls at 2:34 PM | Comments (1)

-- 03 August, 2004 --

Portrait class

jamie.JPG amy.JPG

Back to the old lead pencil for drawing class last night. I took my new OPs to get stuck into some still life but because I wasn't there last week, I didn't know that we were doing portraits. Maya does this thing where she gets members of the class to sit for 10 minutes each while the rest of us scribble away. It is really one of the most exhausting things that we do so we stop after every second one to have a stretch and walk about looking at everyone else's work. It is really great to have live models to work from. It's a lot easier than working from photographs.

Fortunately, this time she didn't ask me to sit. I really hate to see myself through other people's eyes. The best one last time made me look like a fat hausfrau - my Prussian gggrandmother, perhaps? I think that it's hardest to draw someone that you know really well. This drawing of Number Two Son is a vague resemblence. The other drawing of one of the new girls in the class in much better and it was an interesting angle.

Posted by robynls at 8:37 PM | Comments (1)