Monday, 28 March 2011

Old Fashioned Toy

Illustration Friday - Toy
There is something very appealing about dolls houses, as a child I spent hours arranging and re-arranging  the furniture for my little doll family.  I'm not sure that i pods and computor games can give  the same satisfaction?

By far the most amazing dolls house and one I'd like to see,  is the dolls house built for Queen Mary the wife of George V in the 1920's.  Top artists and craftsmen used their skills to build tiny furniture and perfect working items, including  plumbing and lighting.  The dolls house is on show at Windsor Castle, but you can have a virtual look round here , if you have time to spare!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Terracotta Rooftops


This is part of a Sicilian town clinging to the hillside. What really attracted me to the scene was seeing all the rooftops from above and all the old fashioned terracotta tiles.  If  ever I was going to build a house I would have to use some of those!
I started with watercolour, letting the colours bleed into each other, then I used coloured pencil for the details.  I used Canson Aquarelle paper, which is the best I've found so far that suits both medias...but the search is still on for the perfect paper!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Drawing This Love

Not a new piece of artwork but a frame for a video.  Australian group Bright Knights are creating an animated video to go with their new single 'This love'.  The video is made up of 2,700 frames and each one has to be coloured by hand.  Anyone can take part and download a frame or frames to colour and be included in the video.

You can see the parts of the video already coloured and instructions for downloading here
It's a fun project and easy to do if you want to take part!

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Illustration Friday - Cultivate

I always wish I had time to cultivate different plants and flowers for the garden.  By the time I've got some freetime in the summer holidays it's way too hot to make anything grow, it's all about survival then!
I have to stick to my succulents, cacti and 'sun loving ' herbs!
Watercolour, coloured pencil and pen in my sketchbook.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Along the City Wall

Some more lunch break sketches from Palermo's seafront area.  Here's a rear view of the 'Porta dei Greci', an old gateway set within the city walls.  I liked the sparkling view of the sea from this side, even if the front is far more ornate.

This is the top of a beautiful pillar, one of two that seem to have once been an entrance way.
I've been using some very cheap Stabilo point 88 pens.  They have a quality that I like (or defect depending on your point of view!)   If you add water the ink melts into a watery effect.
See  below.

There are 25 colours to choose from, some are very bright, but I  bought brown, grey and black to play with, but I find the purple very tempting! 

Monday, 14 March 2011

Stirring the Leaves Up

For Illustration Friday the word is 'stir' and I tried to get away from the obvious spoon and bowl or cup.
This is a girl enjoying stirring up the autumn leaves, but then who doesn't enjoy doing that?
Watercolour pencils and pen in my sketchbook.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Wine in Cape Town

Cape Town is this month's Virtual Paintout destination.   Here's a vine grove in the Constantia Valley, a beautiful area just outside Cape Town.  There are some thirty wine estates in this area that lies against a backdrop of mountains and apparently a big 'wine tasting' tourist attraction.  I will remember that next time I drink some South African wine, although I admit to being biased towards Sicilian wine!

Pen, watercolour and coloured pencil in my sketchbook.
The Virtual Paintout website

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Four Pairs of Arms

I sketched these octopuses for edm 308 - something slippery, if you've ever held one you will know why!
These two little ones were caught by my brother in law near the coast.  They are considered a great delicacy here, but not one I share.  They also use the ink sac to make a pasta sauce that turns your mouth black when you eat it. (double yuk)   I think  I'd rather see these fascinating creatures swimming about in the sea and not on my dinner plate!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Warning - Beware

Illustration Friday - Warning!

There are many ways to illustrate a warning,  the ones we all see every day are warning road signs.  Although not necessarily this type I hope!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Over the Hills and Faraway

After my previous post of sketches from the city I really feel  like some fresh air.  This is the Sicily that I love, up high looking out over the hills and mountains and yes with the wind in my hair! 
I had to paint this from  a photograph I took at the end of the summer but it won't be long before I go back.

Watercolour and coloured pencil  32 x 24 cms

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Sketching the Old and the New

I've been working a  lot in Palermo the last few weeks and I grabbed the opportunity for some quick sketches.  These are  10 - 15 minute sketches from my car with a Pitt pen.
Looking at this apartment building I can see that it is leaning slightly....that's what happens when you draw in the car!

This is just the corner of one of the main old gates into the city, the front is so ornate I'd need at least an hour to draw it and my breaks aren't long enough.  Under this gate roars the city traffic, it's a wonder it stays up.
I'm not very fond of big cities, but I admit that I could be tempted to go there just to draw, there's enough there to keep me going for years!


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