Tag Archives: garden


After few days of 36-39C heat, today was slightly cooler with the forecast promising the top temperature of only 31C (87.8F).  So I used this opportunity to sketch the passionfruit vine, which is growing against otherwise ugly metal shed.  Sadly the flowers are already gone, but there are plenty of leaves and fruit.
Watercolour sketch of passionfruit vine

Lamy Safari pen with DeAtramentis Archive Ink and Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolour in Strathmore 400 Series sketchbook (21.6 x 27.9 cm)

And here is the photo of the two page spread, because I love how the sunflower and passionfruit vine sketches look together.
Watercolour painting of Sunflower & passionfruit


Happy 2016!

Well, hello in 2016! I’m wishing you a peaceful, joyful, healthy and creative year.

I took advantage of the overcast morning and started my first day of the year by sketching the sunflower in the garden. Sunflowers are such cheerful, solid, vibrant flowers. I planted two varieties this year (this one is Giant Single or Helianthus annuus), but I think next year I’ll plant few more.

Ink and watercolour sunflower sketch

Lamy Safari pen with DeAtramentis Archive Ink and Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolour in Strathmore 400 Series sketchbook (21.6 x 27.9 cm)

Afterwards I retreated into the coolness of the house to finish something that I wanted to get done last year, but frustratingly got sick & had to put on hold for few days. My daughter asked me to create a colouring page for her. She is very specific in what she wants, so I thought I’ll have a practice run first with the existing sketch to figure out the best way to go about creating colouring pages. Ta Da!
Goldfields New Year Colouring Page
As you can see I used the sketch for my Christmas cards. I retraced it with a Staedtler pigment liner pen. (My first attempt at using the pencil sketch didn’t work too great, because the scanning process turned the colour of the thin paper & pencil lines in too many shades of grey and was too hard to clean up.) After scanning the pen drawing I played around in Photoshop with various adjustments to try to get background as close to white as possible and the lines as close to black. My knowledge of Photoshop is very basic, so this step took the longest. I suspect that it would be faster to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator & my Wacom tablet (a birthday present from my sis) and trace the pencil drawing digitally in the Illustrator instead of by pen.

Anyway, if you feel like doing some colouring, you can download the PDF by clicking on the link Goldfields New Year Colouring page. My kids already had a go at colouring it in.
My kids go at colouring

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?

All sort of leaves

Yesterday I sketched some of the changes happening in the garden. (Both spinach and peas are growing well thanks to the warmer days). Today I planted few more things.
Garden sketches

Lamy Safari pen with DeAtramentis Archive Ink and Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolour in Strathmore 400 Series sketchbook

I also collected some flowering eucalyptus branches and painted one of them quickly, before the flowers die & leaves dry.
Watercolour of Eucalyptus Leaves

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

When I started doing 30 paintings in 30 days challenge, I completely forgot about the school holidays, which started on Friday. I love spending time with my kids, but after a full day of fun I sometimes feel exhausted and ready to go to bed even before the kids. So next 10 days will be interesting. I’m still planning to paint everyday, but I’m not sure if I’ll be posting my paintings every day.

When life gives lemons

I paint them!
Watercolour of two lemons

Winsor & Newton watercolours on Daler-Rowney watercolour postcard

The box of lemons is back and this time there were quite a few with the leaves and branches still attached – I guess the owners of the lemon tree decided that this painter prefers them that way (how I would love to get my hands on some oranges or mandarins with leaves). Of course I had to grab some and paint them. Then, once I’m finished with painting, I’ll make some lemon poppy-seed muffins.
Watercolour postcard-sized painting of lemons

Winsor & Newton watercolours on Daler-Rowney watercolour postcard

Not so long ago when I used to paint and draw very rarely, if a painting worked I wouldn’t paint the same subject again for the fear of creating an inferior painting compared to the successful one. Nowadays I want to paint the same subjects again and again to help me understand what works and why and to truly see the essence of what I’m painting. There is nothing like attempting to recreate something over and over again, to force one to observe it closely and to notice something new every time.

First day of spring

In the morning the grass was covered in frost. Yet the sky was breathtakingly blue and the day slowly warmed up. I got out into the garden to prepare the garden beds and to plant peas.
Spring Blossoms Watercolour

Winsor & Newton watercolours on Daler-Rowney watercolour postcard (A6)

The sun shone, the birds flitted about, the bees buzzed in the blossoms-covered tree and I shed layers of jumpers as I worked.
Spring Blossoms Watercolour

Winsor & Newton watercolours on Daler-Rowney watercolour postcard (A6)

For weeks there were signs of spring coming: first daffodils, occasional glimpse of a butterfly, hanging the washing outside for the first time in weeks, magpies gathering together and singing their beautiful songs.
Sketchbook pages - Signs of Spring

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

And now everything is bursting with new life, flowers, noise. I’m so glad to welcome you back spring.