In the Garden: Flowers

Hello! I’m on the spring-cleaning mission. Every room and every corner of the house has to be sorted and cleaned. I’m buying boxes for storing cooking ingredients, my and kids art & craft supplies, out-of-season clothes, etc. There are paintings that are begging to be framed and hanged to cheer up the blank light-brown walls (definitely not the colour I would choose to paint a house). I have over 9 (!) years of the computer files & photos to go through. I want to paint some illustration-type of images and would love to be able to use my own photos as references. However, it takes me too long to find the right photos and I want to learn to use Adobe Lightroom to index & cross-reference them all. And while I clean and sort, I’m also contemplating my priorities & dreams. I want to have a clearer direction of where I’m heading and what I want to achieve in the next few years.

While I’m trying to look inwards the nature outside is bursting out in flowers before everything complete dries up in the scorching sun.
The succulents are putting out gorgeous display of the flowers in the various colours and shapes.
Succulent with pink flowers
Succulent with white flowers
My friends are telling me that this is Jasmine and praise its scent, while I try to stay as far away from it as possible (I’m not a big fan of strong smells).

Inside of an iris
The irises are still blooming, but many of them are starting to wilt, so I painted one of the light ones and am hoping to find the time to paint the darker purple one.
Watercolour of light purple Iris

Winsor & Newton watercolours on Arches medium watercolour paper (10.5 x 15 cm)

Some houses have gorgeous displays of roses and our white & purple ones are also starting to open up. I’ll paint them next.
White roses

In the Garden

Hello! The re-instalment of the OS went well and I seem to have a working laptop again, though I’m still installing all the applications I use and changing settings to get everything the way I like it.

In between my battles with the laptop, I was doing some gardening, though the weather is so unusually warm that I suspect I should’ve planted many more veggies few weeks ago. I worry that if the weather keeps on breaking all the top temperature records most of my plants will die from the heat.

At the moment everything changes so quickly: a week ago I sketched the apple blossoms and now they are completely gone. (Please excuse the blurred edges – I couldn’t get my sketchbook to lie flat in the scanner)
Sketch of Apple Tree Blossom

Winsor & Newton watercolour in Strathmore 400 Series sketchbook

Photo of Spent Apple Blossoms
I spotted this gorgeous lizard (could be Shingleback) at the back of the garden a week ago and yesterday saw another smaller one, but was too slow to take the photo.
Shingleback Lizard
Head of Shingleback Lizard
I enjoy gardening, but the main reason for attempting to grow food is to show my kids how much works goes into it, to get them excited about the fresh produce and to encourage them to try new food. This spring my kids, who act like I’m poisoning them whenever they spot any green herbs or leaves in their food, tried some of the spinach from the garden and the oldest asked me to add spinach to her school-lunch sandwiches. Therefore I declare this growing season a success no matter what happens next.
photo of growing  spinach
photo of lettuce
Today I planted tomatoes and couldn’t resist making a quick ink sketch.
Sketch  of tomato plant

Lamy Safari pen with DeAtramentis Archive Ink in Strathmore 400 Series sketchbook

There is so much more going on in the garden (flowers, bees, birds) – maybe I’ll post a garden update once a week. What do you think?

Perfect find

Hey! How are you? I’ve been battling my MacBook this week. It’s been slow since I’ve upgraded the operating system to Yosemite earlier this year, but lately it reached ridiculous levels of painful slowness – every few minutes everything stops and I get to “enjoy” looking at the spinning “beachball” cursor, while waiting for the system to catch up. I cleaned few things up & it seems to improve matters, however the laptop is still sluggish and freezes up periodically, so I may try doing a complete OS re-install (dreading it! Can you believe I used to work in IT?!?). My husband, who still works in IT, keeps on smiling knowingly & suggesting that maybe the time has come to buy a new computer (mine is 5 years old). Wish me luck in getting this beast to work!

On one of my walks, which weren’t so numerous this week due to the sudden heat, I found another feather. It was a perfect companion to two other tiny pinkish ones, which were patiently waiting to be painted.
Watercolour of pink feathers

Winsor & Newton watercolours on Arches medium watercolour paper (10.5 x 15 cm)

It is so easy to say that this wasn’t a good week (with another mild sickness & nights of broken sleep), yet I live a comfortable life in a beautiful place with a loving family and whenever I paint I’m reminded of how lucky I am. Wishing you beauty, peace and love.

25 paintings in 30 days

4th of October already? The 30 paintings in 30 days challenge is finished and I’m glad to get to the end of it. I didn’t manage to paint 30 paintings as I forgot to plan for the school holidays and didn’t have the energy to paint every evening at the end of the fun filled days. However, 25 paintings feels like good enough result for me. Here they all are, grouped by theme instead of chronological order:
Collage of 25 paintings done in 30 days
The challenge was a great reminder that regular painting brings with it the improvement in skills and allows to explore the same subject in numerous works gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation of the beauty and complexity of nature.

The challenge also helped me to gain a realistic view on how many hours I can dedicate to painting. During school term I get about 3 hrs two mornings a week for painting while the youngest is in childcare. In the evenings I get between 1 and 2.5 hrs to myself, but I need at least one evening for planning/admin/letter-writing/etc and another evening for chilling out. This is a tiny amount of time as even simple small paintings take me at least an hour (and often two) to paint. I need to think hard about the way to divide this time in the most beneficial way to achieve a healthy mix of learning, targeted to improve specific skills; working on more intricate paintings (I’m bursting with ideas!) and painting for the pure fun of it. I also want to get back into daily sketching/visual journal keeping as it creates lovely record of my everyday life and allows to tackle some of the subjects I wouldn’t paint otherwise; but maybe I can fit it into my daily routine with kids.


No, I didn’t paint during the trip to Melbourne. Looks like I still need to have my daily routines around me to keep me painting every day. Last night and today I added another cactus and two succulents to this page.
Watercolour sketch of succulents

Winsor & Newton watercolour in Strathmore 400 Series sketchbook (21.6 x 27.9 cm)

I have a big succulent collection (they are easy to propagate, easy to look after and the kids love them), so there are still plenty to paint. I may be able to fit another two to this page.

Away for few days

This is all I managed to do yesterday.
Pen sketch of few suburban houses

Lamy Safari pen with DeAtramentis Archive Ink in Fabriano Venezia sketchbook.

I was hoping to paint in the evening after everyone is in bed, but the youngest, who was sleeping beautifully lately, just wouldn’t fall asleep.
I’m off to Melbourne with the family for few days. I’ll bring some art materials with me and will try to find time to paint, but won’t be able to blog until Monday. I may post an occasional photo in my Instagram account.

Outside vs Inside

Every time I sketch outside I get surprised by how many distractions there are and how much harder it is to create something. While I was painting these pansies in the garden the sun was glaring down affecting my perception of the colours; the wind kept on trying to blow away my paper (and was successful once, smudging green and purple paint); my son kept on bringing me leaves to sketch and knocked over my pens and brushes (I’m just grateful that it wasn’t the water jar).
Watercolour of pansies

Winsor & Newton watercolours on Arches medium watercolour paper (10.5 x 15 cm)

It is so much easier to paint inside in the evening at the comfortable desk; with some nice music thanks to ABC Jazz FM and no demands for attention.
Watercolour of eucalyptus leaves

Winsor & Newton watercolours on Arches medium watercolour paper (10.5 x 15 cm)