Saturday 30 May 2015

new travel sketchbook

Travel journal with copic stitch, hand-painted cover and Fabriano hot pressed watercolour paper

You'll be seeing a lot of this book over the next few months. But most the photos will probably be of the inside so I thought you might like to see the cover.

I always have fun with the cover. They're not always painted like this one - sometimes I use pieces of material which have memories, or hand made papers. I'm going to miss my studio, canvas and paints, so for this one I thought to take my favourite colours with me.

Just finished binding it this morning. 4 more sleeps!

Sketchbook with Fabriano hot pressed watercolour paper

Thursday 28 May 2015

packing for the next adventure

Next week we leave for the European summer for some adventuring and painting. Here, in New Zealand, it's very cold and wintery, so I'm looking forward to catching some UV.

Our first stop will be France to pick up our little mini camper van - which has been parked up over the European winter. Then the adventures begin :-)

Of course, before I pack anything else, I sort out my sketching and painting gear. I try to keep things as light as possible as we also have climbing and BASE jumping gear to take with, but over the years I've gotten the packing light thing down to fine art. Excuse the pun!



Clockwise from top left

  1. Small moleskine watercolour sketchbook. Rather tiny for eveyday sketching, but perfect for taking for a walk. These little books can go anywhere. And they do. I've taken them to some amazing places. I don't paint in them very often and they can take a year or so to fill. But then it's great fun to page back through them and see a page from somewhere else far away on the other side of the world.
  2. Handbound watercolour sketchbook. This is essentially my travel journal. In it I do sketches outside of most of the places we visit. I bind a new one for each trip as they get super precious. Towards the end of a trip I won't let it out of my sight! So many memories get crammed in these. Most pages are a sketch and/or collage and a story of that day. I make these myself now as I have yet to find the perfect store-bought book.
  3. Spiral bound sketchbook. I like to have a cheap book for jotting down ideas, doodling, keeping notes, writing down peoples names and contact details. Rarely is anything in this book a complete work of art, but sometimes there's a surprising gem or an idea that leads to something.
  4. Watercolour block. Last year for the first time I started sketching on loose sheets. These drawings, done on location in Europe, became more than just a quick sketch of the place I was in, they became finished works. You can view the portfolio of these sketches on my website.

Drawing and painting tools

This is the maximum I take on a trip. However, I do have the advantage this year of having a set of cheap acrylics stashed in our camper van in Europe. 

Lamy fountain pen with F and M nibs. De Artremis Document Ink (permanent, black)
Parker fountain pen. Quink Ink (water soluble, black)
Sakura Micron felt tip pens.
Signo Uniball pen (white)
Mechanical pencil and eraser
Watercolour paint brushes
Watercolour travel set (pans), watercolour paints (tubes) and gouache paints. Palette not shown.
Inktense pencils.
Ruler and straw

On a lightweight climbing trip this set of gear gets drastically reduced - and that is why my Inktense pencils are cut in half. Sometimes even a full length pencil weighs too much!

Getting excited! Time to start counting sleeps!

Thursday 21 May 2015

out and about with my sketchbook

Winter has arrived with a bang and after about 10 days of continuous rain (more rain in one go than I ever remember), the sun came out, the clouds cleared and revealed the mountains all covered in fresh snow. Just beautiful. So when my husband suggested a little adventure in our local Mount Aspiring National Park, I packed my tiny sketchbook and watercolours and tried to capture the scene.

Here in New Zealand, the big mountains have snow all year round and native trees don't lose their leaves. Unless you know the scene well, you can't tell if a picture is a summer one or a winter one. So I'm telling you that in this scene is a winter one and you can't see me drawing in a big down jacket, beanie and gloves :-)

Thursday 7 May 2015

autumn leaves

Wanaka is world famous in New Zealand for it's Autumn colours. Most New Zealand native trees are evergreen so there's not usually much change of colour with the seasons. But Wanaka has a number of introduced species planted along the lakeshore, in it's parks and gardens. Poplars, in particular, are a icon in our local landscape and at this time of year the gold colour is just wonderful ... especially against the grey skies we often get at this time of year.

An artist can't help but be inspired by all this colour, can she?

Here I am cutting leaf shapes from some papers I painted with lots of bright Autumn colours.

And below is the start of 'Autumn Leaf Mandala'. About to get glue everywhere and on everything. I'm never a tidy worker.

The making of Autumn Leaf Mandala

And here are some finished pieces. On a rainy day it's like having Autumn and sunshine right in my studio!

Autumn Leaf Mandala. 

Autumn Leaves 1

Autumn Leaves 2

Taking it one step further, I then scanned the pieces into my computer and had fun making merchandise out of them on Redbubble.

Autumn Leaf Mandala on a throw pillow

Autumn Leaves 1 on a tote bag

Autumn Leaves 2 on a pouch

There are also prints, leggings, duvet covers, tshirts, scarves and much more in my Redbubble store - Redbubble will print these on demand and ship all over the world. How cool is that?

And if you'd like to purchase one of the original works, please just get in touch.

More leafy designs to follow shortly :-)