Clouds in Pastel

Before I embark on a colour version of my cloud study, I’ve had a go at changing the composition by making a pencil sketch. I’ve propped the charcoal study in front of my laptop screen,…

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Pears in Pastel

In my first post on drawing in charcoal I demonstrated a tonal study of two pears. This time I am preparing for a pastel drawing, of two different pears (I ate the other two). I begin this time wit…

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Drawing clouds in charcoal

It’s quite hard to appreciate just how dark a blue sky can be. Before I attempt a pastel, I make a tonal study, working from the colour subject (in this case, I’m working directly from …

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Drawing in charcoal

It’s often hard to decide at what stage a charcoal drawing is finished. I can see the shape and volume of these pears at this very early stage of the drawing. I started by rubbing the side of…

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Sketches of the human form

nude back views small 30.09.15

Off to Melbourne tomorrow for a quick trip so I will have more airport fun. In the meantime I’ve been sorting out my GOOD life drawings. I have about 300 that I still haven’t photographed – very often I’ll look through the photos and decide they weren’t worth photographing. But every sketch is a valuable exercise in observation. I do it twice a week if possible.  These sketches are on cartridge paper, or baking paper, which is really good for charcoal.

Maxine back view reclining contour small 30.09.15

I’m very fond of this one. It started as a ‘blind’ drawing in conte crayon – not looking at the paper – and then I drew again, this time looking at the paper 30% of the time.

Kelly foreshortened small 25.11.15.jpg

I’m also really fond of this one – it’s out of proportion but this model has the most wonderful long legs, so it’s appropriate.

kelly with flower 25.11.15.jpg

This is what she really looks like.  I liked the touch of the flower – her idea.


2 views of Matt 3.10.15

And this model is a delight to draw – he came up with some relaxed and imaginative poses, and he also has very nice legs (:  This was conte crayon on baking paper.

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Sketches based on Sketchaday sketches

Mt Begbie smaller

A week since we arrived home, and I have been doing daily sketches but not necessarily from life.

Today I took the pencil sketch that I did of Mt Begbie in Sketchaday21 and tried working it up in charcoal, using Strathmore Toned Gray paper which is recommended for charcoal and pastel. I was skeptical at first as it doesn’t have a tooth like pastel paper, but it’s apparently a revolutionary new material that grips the medium – and it seems to work. I’m not too happy with the composition –  I also think I need to work much larger. It’s a practice piece for a project that could take some time to complete, and has to remain under wraps for the moment.  But I guess this won’t give anything away -it’s one of the working sketches. Not drawn from life, I’m afraid. I never did get to see a bear in the flesh.


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#Sketchaday 26: Home sweet home, after a rather tedious journey – but you’re never bored when you carry a sketchbook!

The Modern final

The Modern, Mackenzie St, Revelstoke

The drawing above was half completed in pen on August 11, the day I left Revelstoke, and I added colour to it today, Sunday August 14, after arriving back in Adelaide yesterday morning. We set off for Kelowna on the afternoon of August 11, stopping a couple of times to give Leo a break. The second time we parked by the lake at Sycamous (pronounced ‘Sycamoose’), and it happened to be rather a picturesque spot. I just had time to scribble a pencil sketch and then added colour to it today:

Sycamous, smaller10.08.2016

The lake was huge, yet the power boats on it were creating vigorous wavelets that washed noisily onto the beach.  There’s something 18th century about this view: the tree seemed to be posing for the scene.

The following pictures illustrate the journey that began the following morning, and finished over 30 hours later at Adelaide airport.

Denny's, Kelowna 11.08.16

The waitresses in Canada are always asking us if everything is ok. This particular lady had a very friendly smile but she also looked very capable of ensuring we didn’t create trouble if the meal wasn’t to our satisfaction. Fortunately it was amazing – a typical Canadian breakfast, enough fat and protein to keep us going for the whole journey.

Waiting to board the flight from Kelowna 11.08.16

Mother and daughters, waiting to board

After boarding the plane at Kelowna we had to go to Calvary rather than straight to Vancouver. There we had to wait for three hours…

Waiting at Calgary 11.08.16

Chili’s Texas Grill, Calgary.

waiting for the flight Calvary to Vancouver 11.08.16

Waiting for the plane to take off, Calgary 11.08.16

Finally we got on the plane to Vancouver!

Waiting in the bar at Vancouver airport 11.08.16

Then we had to wait another four hours in Vancouver airport.  It gave me a chance to have a good look at the wonderful indigenous sculptures they have there, including the one in the background of this sketch, a huge bronze statue by Bill Reid, called ‘the spirit of Haida Gwaii’. The architecture of the airport made me think of trees, but I don’t know if it was deliberate.

Waiting to board the flight Vancouver to Sydney 11.08.16

Then we finally boarded the plane to Sydney… This time I didn’t bother trying to sketch people inside the plane: instead I managed to sleep part of the way and spent the rest of the time watching the Revenant and four episodes of Fargo, just to remind me of how cold it gets in North America.

Scenes from Sydney airport 13.08 16

..and 15 hours later, we gathered our luggage, transferred it to the Adelaide flight, and caught a bus to the domestic departures terminal… this small boy was one of at least a dozen young children who were on the Sydney flight, including several very noisy babies. We weren’t bothered in the slightest. I also noticed that it was hard to find people to draw who didn’t have their heads down, intensely studying mobile phones.

So that’s it – the end of our holiday. Now it’s back to work, so we can afford to take another trip! Any feedback about these sketches would be very welcome. I’m thinking of making this blog into a book, if I can include some of the final outcomes to these sketches. I also have a children’s book or two in mind…



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