Sketching at Sovereign Hill

Wednesday was a public holiday thanks to the horse races, so we decided to visit Sovereign Hill before it gets too hot and too crowded with the summer tourists. Sovereign Hill is a village recreating the life during the 1850s goldrush. There are mines to explore, period buildings to see, costumed staff and volunteers to chat to, food to try out, a tent camp with a stream in which one can pan for gold, etc.
Sovereign Hill -  Main street
Last time I was here was probably about 15 years ago and my most vivid memories were of the candle-making and the tall wooden mine tower.
Sovereign Hill - candle making
My daughter visited Sovereign Hill quite recently on the school excurtion, but wanted to come back to try out some boiled lollies. So while the kids were enjoying their lollies I had my chance to do some urban sketching, but I wasn’t fast enough and had to rush at the end to avoid being “helped” by my son.
Sketching in Sovereign Hill
Sovereign Hill - sketch
I got confused by all the buildings on the left, so ended up with the empty space, which I later used to journal about the trip.
Sovereign Hill - wooden shack

Purple in the garden

While I was away in Queensland, there were few warm days here and the plants exploded into the sea of greenery and the abundance of flowers. Upon my return everything looked so lush. It feels like nature is hungrily enjoying the best of the weather between the chilliness of the winter and the scorching heat of the summer.
I’m slowly getting to know the garden that was designed and planted by strangers. Eventually, in a year or two, it will have to go back to them, so I’m conscious about how I change it and what I plant. I get the impression that the owners liked purple.
Dried up iris
The light purple irises are mostly gone, but now the darker ones are starting to bloom.
Deep purple iris
I made a sketch of one of them in the watercolour Moleskine in about 30 minute – a small sign of progress: instead of grumbling about the lack of time and daydreaming about what wonderful paintings I could produce if I had few uninterrupted hours every day; I sat down and painted something in the time I had.
Watercolour sketch of iris
Here are the photos of other purple flowers for your enjoyment.
purple daisies
Bee in the purple flowers
I wonder what this one is and if it is edible as the leaves smell like mint.
mint-scented purple flower
Purple climbing rosePurple climbing rose

Beauty in nature

On Wednesday my husband, daughter and I watched the total lunar eclipse.
Lunar eclipse
On Friday I discovered a swarm of bees in our garden.
Swarm of bees
The world is such an amazing magical place with beauty to be found everywhere. I’m grateful that painting is part of my life as it helps me to slow down and look at the wonders that surround me.

5 lessons learned from daily painting

Sketch of ScienceWorks Building

ScienceWorks Builidng – pen and watercolour wash in Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook (14.0 x 21.6 cm)

Hello! and sorry for the disappearing yet again. The school holidays started on the 19th of September and I took the kids first to Melbourne and then to Queensland. I had the best intentions to continue with the daily painting and blogging, but at the last minute decided to leave the laptop at home as it was another heavy item to drag around with me and I like to travel lightly. Once the holiday started I had to admit to myself that I would much more prefer to relax and enjoy it, instead of constantly look for the opportunities to paint.
Palm Trees
I feel that doing the daily painting challenge for 18 days was enough to teach me that:
1. I can paint regularly in the evenings.
2. Regardless of how much I enjoy painting, every evening I still had to overcome the desire to just rest and the reluctance to pick up my brushes, but once I did I would completely loose myself in the process and enjoy it immensely.
3. Painting every night at the end of the busy days is tough. From the next week I’ll aim to paint just five evenings per week allowing myself to have one evening to chill out (read a book, watch a movie, sit outside in the garden and stare at the stars) and another one to plan the week ahead and do paperwork.
4. Having a well organized work space and consistent routines helps immensely to get some painting and drawing done.
5. To continue painting in the new environment or outside my daily routines (holidays!) I need to have a well thought-out detailed plan beforehand.

18/30 – Succulents

Flowering succulent
Succulents are very easy to propagate and in the last few months I gathered a small collection by breaking bits of the succulents growing in the nature strips. Some of them are flowering at the moment. I wish I had time during the daylight hours to sketch them outside as most are in the pots that are too large to be easily carried inside.
One is still in a tiny pot, waiting to be replanted. It isn’t flowering, but the colours of the leaves are gorgeous, so in it came to be sketched.
Succulent - watercolour sketch

Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolour in Moleskine watercolour sketchbook (Landscape 21×13 cm)

17/30 – A break

Yesterday my 3.5 year old son conceded that I have a name. Previously he would get upset at any mention of me having any other label than his mum: “You are mummy. I call you mummy!” On the same day he told me that “Mummies can’t be artists, because they don’t have any pencils”. This one amused me greatly, because it definitely only works in a three-year-old logic as he knows how many pencils I own.
Quick pen sketch of a child
I didn’t paint or draw in the evening yesterday. I was feeling tired and jaded (not with the painting, but with the attempting to fit in yet another new place) and knew that I needed a break. I feel much better for it today. I did do a few quick gestural sketches of my son at the playground yesterday though – they had to be quick as he is always moving around.