Friday, 30 September 2011

A Garden Tool

Some garden twine that's almost finished.  I've been using this for several years to tie up plants and canes and I've often thought how pretty the shiny green looks in the sun.  So now's the time to immortalise it before it runs out...a very useful  garden tool indeed!

This is one I made earlier...I'm posting from the library in the UK!  Yesterday I went to see the UKCPS London exhibition, I took lots of photos but will have to share them when I get back next week.  The standard of work in the exhibition was very good, I recommend seeing the exhibition if you can.

Monday, 26 September 2011


'Ferocious' for Illustration friday.

The Piranha is a flesh eating fish with an extremely ferocious reputation!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

An Encyclopedia of Secret Places

Here is a double page spread from my Sketchbook for the Arthouse Sketchbook Project.   This is a secret place I visited this summer somewhere in the foothills of Mt. Etna.  We stayed at an old farmhouse in the middle of the countryside and of course I couldn't resist getting up very early in the morning to wander around the gardens and orchards.
It was just me, the bees, butterflies and an old man picking oranges.  I think he was a little surprised  to see someone up and about so early but he wished me good morning and carried on working!

On a different note the 2011 UK Coloured Pencil Society exhibition has opened in London this week.
The award winners can be seen here , have a look at all the entries there is some fantastic work and it really shows what can be done with coloured pencils.
I  have booked my flights and can't wait to take my mum to visit the exhibition next week, I'm so proud to have two of my coloured pencil pieces in the exhibition!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

What Can I draw in my Sketchbook?

A few people have arrived on my blog after they've googled  'what can I draw in my sketch book'  and my first thought is .... whatever you like!   But then I thought it's not always that easy and getting started is the hardest part.

Perhaps you could draw a corner of your garden or what you can see from the window.  I sketched an oncoming storm yesterday morning looking out over the hill at the back of my house.  It's a view that I know so well  that I can almost sketch it from memory, the trees have been my subjects for many a practice session or for trying out new sketching toys.
I like to draw or paint things I find, flowers, shells, rocks and  dead insects to name but a few.  Here's two grey feathers I found by gate this week.

A couple of seed pods given to me by my friend from her garden.  I'm going to plant the seeds, my friend did tell me what they were in Italian but I promptly forgot what she said.  (This could be age!)
If  I manage to grow something from them I will sketch the plants too.

You could also join a sketching group such as Everyday Matters  or visit Cathy Johnson's Artists' Journal Workshop  to find inspiration and tips on how to get started!

Sunday, 18 September 2011


Mesmerise/mesmerize is the prompt for Illustration Friday this week.

I don't watch much TV myself but I notice how people especially children can become mesmerised by the flickering images on the box.

Coloured pencil  sketched on black paper.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Baroness of Carini

My next page for the Sketchbook Project 2012  is not a particularly secret place but it holds many secrets.
I love to visit creepy old castles, I'm really hoping to find a ghost!  This is Castello di Carini and when I read about it's secrets I just had to go and have a look.

The castle is high up on a hill surrounded by the town of Carini and once was the home of Donna Laura Lanza, the beautiful wife of the Baron of Carini.  She married young into a loveless marriage,  in 1563 her husband found Laura  with her lover Ludovico.
The Baron  immediately summoned Laura's father and in the middle of the night the castle was surrounded.  Laura was killed by her father to defend the family's honour and Ludvico was murdered by the Baron, putting a tragic end to the prohibited love.

According to the legend the dying lovers tried to reach each other and in doing so Laura leant on the wall for support leaving a handprint in blood!

The handprint can still be seen.....

I was disappointed to find that the handprint had been painted on with new gloss paint so that was a let down.  But the story is good and of course Laura's ghost still wanders around the castle!

It was still an interesting place to visit, we were left to wander around alone, getting lost in all the beautiful rooms.
Alas we saw no ghosts

Monday, 12 September 2011


For Illustration Friday - Boundaries

I took this literally and painted  a landscape boundary.  I love how stone walls and hedges criss cross over the countryside, dividing the land into portions.  They mark the boundaries of the farmer's land and the  boundaries for animals.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Things I Collect

When I'm out walking or on the beach I often bring things home with me that catch my eye.  Shells, feathers, leaves and stones just to name a few.
These are a little geological collection I keep just because of the diversity between them.  The smoothness of the egg shaped pebble from the beach, the hard, sharp surface of the lava, and a rougher flat stone from a river running down from the mountains.  The last 'specimen' is a piece of stalactite  was given to me by a friend from a local excavation.
Interesting to collect and fun to paint!

Monday, 5 September 2011


In the dark forest moves a figure.  Suddenly a red cloak is illuminated, caught in a patch of sunlight.
Who is she?  Where is she going?  It's all so mysterious!

Answers on a postcard please :-)

Friday, 2 September 2011

A Secret Place

The next few pages for the Sketchbook Project 2012.    My theme is Encyclopedia of ... Secret Places.

This is one of my favourite secret places, not far from where I live, but you have to stand on tip toe to see it from the road.
This old 17th century villa is falling apart.  It's windows are bricked up and is missing  most of it's shutters but it's still lovely, especially in the late afternoon when shadows fall over the front.


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