Paris Sketchbooks, Winter 2017


Things I did not do in Paris: Draw often.

Yet, I enjoyed every day to the most. In the year ahead, I will be more diligent with my travel journals as they make such lovely keepsakes, but I also won’t be too hard on myself if I skip the journalling to just enjoy the moment. It’s all about that happy middle ground. And there was much happiness to be found in Paris.

Autumn leaves drifting through the rain, mist wreathing the ancient spires of buildings, leafy spaces bursting from alleys and courtyards, bread warm from the oven and uneven cobbles pressing aches into the soles of my feet . . . Every sense was indulged, delighted and awed.


Places of Note:

Jardin des plantes

Jardin du Luxembourg

Du Pain et des Idées

Blé Sucré


Couldn’t be Left Behind:

Stillman & Birn Sketchbook (Senior Art, AU)

Sennelier watercolour in Gris Chaud  (Sennelier, FR)

Delfonics Puppy Print Pencilcase (Delfonics Store,Carrousel du Louvre, FR)

Pentel Orenz Mechanical Pencil 0.2  (Delfonics Store,Carrousel du Louvre, FR)

TWSBI ECO fountain pen (Larry Post, AU)

J. Herbin lavender scented ink in Encre Bleue (BHV Marais, FR)


Tasmania Journal

Tasmania in winter is a clear-skied delight.  In Launceston, dawn breaks in cool, pastel hues. Lilac skies, ribboned with mist, hover above the frost-lined banks of the Esk River, and despite the hum of traffic stirring, it is peaceful. We are setting off to Cradle Mountain National Park, located a few hours south. It’s been eight years since I last visited, and I can barely sit still as we watch farmland pass by the bus windows.

Cradle Mountain does not disappoint. It welcomes us with rain, with sun, with mist and low-slung cloud, with snow crisp on the ground, and with wombats, wallabies, pademelons and currawongs. It suddenly feels like four days will pass far too swiftly.

Our first day takes us along the Cradle Valley boardwalk, where alpine coral fern and beautiful buttongrass moorland dominate. We follow the windswept path beyond Ronny Creek, up through a small pandani grove to the beautiful Waldheim Chalet. The wind rattles the pandani, and it sounds like rain.

Our last day, we walk around Dove Lake. The old forests are thick with beech, sassafras, king billy pine and pencil pine, each decked in lichen, liverworts and mosses. We are lucky enough to see some late Nothofagus gunnii still clinging to its golden autumn colours. As we complete the Dove Lake Circuit, rain glosses the quartzite in a milky glaze, and a rainbow arches out of the mist. Remarkably, our feet are reasonably dry.

The above entry is taken from my travel notebooks. I kept notes in my Field Notes journal during the day, when it was too damp, windy or cold to stop and sketch. A lot of the sketching was completed back in the cabin each night, with notes transcribed from my journal. 

The full journal will be available to my patrons at the end of this month. A short version will be available in my website portfolio in the near future!




On My Desk: Turner Acryl Gouache Japanesque Colour

This beautiful set of acrylic gouache fell into my lap late last year, brought back from Japan and given to me as a gift. The set is called Japanesque, and features colours inspired by traditional Japanese paintings. They also feature a hefty array of metallics, a range of golds, bronzes, coppers and silvers with red, blue, green and black tints.

I use watercolour more than gouache, and I feel comfortable with watercolour, yet I wanted these as soon as I saw a picture online. There was no small amount of trepidation as I opened the lovely, green box and saw the neat array of rows. Each tube tilted precisely at an attractive angle. So much potential.

I’ve been using them for finishing touches, dabs of metallic shine, dashes of bold colour. But I wanted to paint something for this blog post, and so I quickly did a stylised study of some autumn garden finds.

There is something exhilarating about new art supplies. Something charming about struggling with a medium you don’t instinctively know. As much as I like my safe, cosy comfort zones, there is a lot of fun to be found when stepping out of it.

My challenge to myself for the rest of this year is to try new things, and new skills, and new techniques. I predict things might get messy for a little while, but I am excited to think what might develop from it.

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