Sketchbook pages shown in chronological order 7 May – 15 August 2012.

Previous sketchbooks:
Click here to go to sketchbook 01 (23 August 2011 – 3 November 2011).
Click here to go to sketchbook 02 (4 November 2011 – 1 March 2012).
Click here to go to sketchbook 03 (1 March 2012 – 27 April 2012).

Click here to go to sketchbook 05 (16 August – )

7 May 2012
Sketchbook work went on the backburner while I focused on completion of Assignment 2. Hopefully I am now returning to good habits.
At lunchtime I saw a woman wearing a very simple striped scarf, cream and crimson stripes, but twisted and draped to give great visual interest. As a weaver I’ve had a tendency to want to avoid or mute stripes as too obvious – silly me!


8 May 2012
Wish I could have got a better shot of this shirt seen on the morning bus – love the colours.

I tried returning to the work I was doing at the end of sketchbook 3, here, but acrylic paint was annoying in the short time I had at the end of a work day – no time to potter off somewhere while things dried before another layer. I’m now rather bored and over it, so suspect it will remain unfinished.

10 May 2012
A beautiful, sunny non-work day! Wanting to re-energise my sketchbook work I went outside, first drawing quickly without looking at the paper.
Leaf litter on the back deck.

The towering black-butt gum tree.

Jacarandah leaves next door.

Now in the front yard and looking at the page, but still working quickly sketching some weeds (our main crop!)

Next a kind of flowering succulent.

The camera came out to capture some overall patterning.


I love the lines of the weeds.

Altogether a nice shake-up, and I hope the start of good things!

11 May 2012
Working to develop previous sketchbook work – part of project 6 stage 2, all on A3 unless mentioned otherwise.
First, a mixture of yesterday’s weeds and some early mark-making in project 1. It doesn’t match with what was in my head!

This mixes up some monochromatic work in sketchbook 1 (4 October 2011) with the colour scheme from the shirt photo on 8 May 2012 above.


Working on the photo of fruit seen here in sketchbook 3, 27 April 2012.

With all the colour above I couldn’t tell if the actual shapes were interesting, so did some quick work on A4. I think the shapes have potential.

Next I did some work on the computer, using gimp and photos of past sketchbook work.
This bird started in the workshop with Peter Griffen. I’ve made stamps from it, sketched it in multiple forms and levels of detail, played with all sorts of filters in gimp – but still I haven’t been able to extend it beyond the initial idea. This reversal was meant as a rather twee “love birds” heart, but there’s a malevolent stare happening instead.

Finally, another version based on the weed sketch and photo from the previous day. This was trying to vary scale – a very large flower head – overlaid by the uneven stripes of the leaves.I did an edge detect function, which gives the wierd colouring.

12 – 13 May was spent on fabric collage work for Project 6 Stage 2, plus going to special events at the Art Gallery (the opening weekend of the new hang of Australian art) so no sketchbook work.

15 May 2012
I still don’t feel I have control over basic drawing materials.

19 May 2012
A rough sketch of the plan for project 6 stage 3 – combining multiple samples on a single page or panel.

21 May 2012
Walking home after work I noticed the shadows of plants, reminding me of the week sketching I did last week.


I like the differing density of the shadows, caused by the multiple street lights and my own shadow.

Once I started looking there were other interesting shadow patterns, such as this driveway.

It’s great having the (phone) camera with me all the time, but it has its limitations. This photo looked totally dark until I played with colour levels in gimp. I like it!

22 May 2012
A work day lunch, in a “secret” rooftop garden complete with fishpond.


25 May 2012
I need to get back into good habits with daily sketching, so have been playing around with the contents of the little pencil tin I carry around with me. Previously I had some felt brush tip pens, but now I’m trying a more “classic” mix.

26 May 2012
Planning for placement of cut paper resists and colours in disperse dyeing for project 6.

27 May 2012
This is an A3 sketch of a plant I was taking for Nancy.

28 May 2012
A work day, so an effort to pick up the pencil in the evening. Still I know it gets easier doing it regularly. This is from some fabric on the basket of a little sewing table I inherited from my grandmother.

29 May 2012
More from the sewing table. It’s fascinating how fairly simple shapes are filled and elaborated with simple arrangements of dots. The fabric is just 3 colours – the base cream, then green and a brown forming the design.

30 May 2012
Home from another workday, and I was desperate for some colour! This is A3 using oil pastels. The design started from the painted scrollwork on a chair from grandma, but quickly became a simple, spontaneous use of colour.

31 May 2012
Looking at some woven baskets. I wasn’t trying to draw so much as trying to understand what I was seeing, really focusing.

1 June 2012
Working from the recent gerbera sketch and imagining colours. I tried a couple of ideas for using the colours in weave, but not convincing.

2 June 2012
Working from a photo of the city fishpond.

5 June 2012
I went back to the fishpond one lunchtime, I tried to capture some images direct from life. Very difficult! Not much to show for quite a bit of sitting and attempting. I did notice that by the end I was seeing more than I had previously when just sitting, for example the number and position of fins on the fish.

7 June 2012
A white daisy, drawn from a photo on the internet (I didn’t note the url). This is related to my ageing theme, through a story I need to write about in my theme book.

9 June 2012
I’ve been looking at the blog of another OCA student, Jereme. I need to work at using lots of different media to explore an image.

10 June 2012
I continued on the same page the next day, first (top right) drawing with a glue stick then rubbing charcoal over.

It was interesting watching the image appear, and reminded me of “secret writing” as a kid. Since I’m currently trying to push myself to be more intuitive and spontaneous I quickly squeezed a lemon and drew with a pen and nib. Tricky to draw when you can’t see the previous marks! I find the results after ironing (to colour the juice) interesting. A good way to get some more energy in the marks, I think. Detail shots below.

11 June 2012
Still working on the daisy idea (I might write about the background of that, now I have a separate Ageing Theme page). This time conté crayons on black paper. It gives a nice fresh look.

14 June 2012
Trying to work out the weave structure on Nancy’s blanket. I felt very out of practice, and leno is hard to put in a grid anyway, since the whole point is varying from one. Depending on the style these scratchings could be interesting texture in a background.

15 June 2012
I started with pen on handmade paper, still with the daisy, thinking there could be some interesting spreading of the marks. There wasn’t much movement and I was very dissatisfied, so I changed track and tried to draw a hand holding the flower – working from an idea from Claire for the Ageing theme. Looking of the photo it reminds me of a crucifixion detail. Could that be a metaphor for Nancy’s treatment in the name of society’s mores?

15 June 2012
Keep circling back, trying to build up some basic drawing skills.

16 June 2012
I always seem to enjoy working with pen and ink, and I was pretty happy with this sketch of warp leftovers.

17 June 2012
I visited Nancy in the nursing home and she asked me to take the wilting parts off the plant I had given her.

19 – 20 June 2012
Cooking dinner, I liked the look of the ends cut off some bok choy. I tried a few different ways of capturing the structure, and each time round I felt I saw more clearly.

22 June 2012
I spent some time with Agnes, going through old photos to find some from Nancy’s house. I’m still figuring out what to put in sketchbook vs theme page, so at the moment am doubling up some things.
The back wall is basically one long window. This is the living room, basically towards the neighbouring property.

Looking out from the dining room, beginning to get an idea of the district views. The lower left has been fiddled to take out some faces.

Dawn from the balcony. There’s more view to both left and right, and when it’s not hazy you can see beyond the bay to the ocean.

23 June 2012
Based on a painted saucer. I used two colours of watercolour, and enjoyed it a lot.

24 June 2012
This is the same two colours of watercolour as the previous day. I was trying to use use line differently – not just borders. This is based on a post about drawing on the We Are OCA blog here, plus I took a look at the document it references – here (THINKING THROUGH DRAWING: PRACTICE INTO KNOWLEDGE Proceedings of an interdisciplinary symposium on drawing, cognition and education. Edited by Andrea Kantrowitz, Angela Brew and Michelle Fava.) – 99.9% incomprehensible to me, but it encouraged me to try to draw differently.

25 June 2012
I was really enjoying the watercolours. The ones I started with are in tubes. I felt with my little attempts I was wasting a lot of paint, plus it’s not the easiest form to use when travelling (all right – only an occasional need!). Anyway, when I saw little cases of Cotman’s water colours in half pans on special I decided to be tempted. The first page is just trying out the colours, experimenting with getting paint on the brush and some colour mixing.

Next I followed the little exercise included in the booklet with the paints.

This isn’t related at all. It’s from a brief segment on a TV show, where a re-modeled car was being spray-painted in a flame pattern. The artist had a couple of templates with multiple curves. He moved and turned it to mask the spray paint, and very quickly got a really varied and interesting result.

26 June 2012
Sketching with a 3B pencil on the bus on the way home. It feels much free-er and faster than sketches I’ve attempted in the past. I’m feeling quite encouraged by it.

27 June 2012

Another round of sketching, this time watching TV in the evening.

28 June 2012

On the bus again. This time I didn’t have my little sketchbook or pencils in my bag, so I tried biro in a little notebook. This way of sketching works much better when people are moving around – the lines are much more approximate, so a change of pose doesn’t seem to matter so much. I feel I’ve made a bit of a breakthrough. I like my results better already, and I think with practice I will improve. The little sketches seem to capture a moment, and the lines seem to me much more energetic – providing more possibilities as input to later development and design work.

29 June 2012
Part of project 6 stage 3, blogged here.

30 June 2012
Ken was napping in the loungeroom, his leg held up rather precariously by his grip on the heel of his sock.

01 July 2012
The next day mum took a nap in the same spot. I was standing up as I sketched, which I think is the reason she seems to be sliding down to the left.

Later that day we went together to visit Nancy. A couple of days earlier Nancy had been given a new bed, with a fancy control to move to various sitting positions. The only trouble is – it’s too short. Nancy is a tall woman, and she was clearly contorting to fit her feet above the footboard.

A couple of days later it had been sorted. The Director of Nursing had been away and it seems no one else could fix a clearly intolerable and unnecessary situation – even something as short-term as going “Oh, that’s no good. Bring the old bed back in until the DON returns and can fix it up”.

02 July 2012

05 July 2012

06 July 2012
Nancy as a young woman, based on a photo. Ink pen and wash. There’s lots to criticize in this, but I like it – especially some energetic lines with the wash over.

07 July 2012
I bought a pot-plant from the nursery, choosing one with daisy-like flowers. First attempt was with pen and ink.

Next attempt watercolour. Sigh I’m going to have to work on this!

09 July 2012
Me. My nose is a particular problem, but I find a lot I like in this.

11 July 2012

13 July 2012
Oddments, looking around the room.

15 July 2012
I liked the look of some gathering I did using hessian for Project 6 Stage 4 (here). The first drawing attempt didn’t go so well.

I think the second attempt went better. I like the energy. I tried to focus on shapes and shadows, and think I achieved some depth. I also like the very rough and unrealistic lines I drew for the grain of the base fabric.

16 July 2012
More focus on shapes and shadows, this time a rumpled blanket. I’m trying to figure out how to handle edges that are light, rather than dark.

26 July 2012
A big break in my sketchbook work. Busy and distracted.

This was trying to see shadows in a shopping bag. It didn’t work in the sense of being a drawing, but I feel the exercise helps me to see more clearly.

Latest update (loaded 20 August 2012)
27 July 2012
Trying to draw shapes rather than lines.

29 July 2012
I went to visit Nancy. When I arrived she was in the bathroom, so I tried sketching her sidetable while I waited.

30 July 2012
Still looking at shapes, this is in theory a sunhat.

2 August 2012
Trying to remember how some quilting lines work, plus looking at the shapes in one of my 3D project samples.

4 August 2012, or thereabouts
I seem to keep circling around all the different things I would like to improve on. I recently bought Jeanne Dobie’s “Making Color Sing: practical lessons in color and design” and have started working through it. This should boost both my watercolour painting and colour-use skills. With this I started using proper watercolour paper, instead of cartridge paper. On one level I knew it would make a difference, but I had no idea how much of a difference. D’oh
(Dobie, J. (1986) Making Color Sing: practical lessons in color and design New York: Watson-Guptill Publications

5 August 2012
I visited Nancy again and she asked if I was keeping up with my sketching. I hadn’t done any yet that day, so asked if I could try a quick sketch of her. She agreed. I felt very rushed because we couldn’t chat properly while I worked. The result is very ordinary, but Nancy was really nice about it.
The sketch on the right was done a few days later. I was watching TV and one of the actors reminded me of Nancy so I paused the show and tried to capture an image.

8 August 2012
Another attempt of the actor’s face. I feel like I’m only just beginning to see how faces work. In the past I’ve only really been conscious of full face, profile and maybe just a bit in between. Now I’m fascinated by all the angles.

9 August 2012
Working from Jeanne Dobie’s book

10 August 2012

11 August 2012
Looking out the backdoor, mixing greens.

12 August 2012
The next chapter was about push-pull – moving and shaping objects by bringing them forward or back by slightly shifting colour. I looked at the previous day’s work and tried to figure the layers front to back.

13 August 2012
I went to the in [two] art exhibition at the Ervine gallery and spent a long time looking at Craig Gough’s work “Primary Garden No 12”. Rich colour and very interesting to think about colour juxtapositions. (image hereon 20August 2012). I wanted to focus some more on what he’d done.

14 August 2012
Back to the watercolour exercises

15 August 2012
Sketchbook work was all related to project work.



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In Basketry NSW Transformation exhibition Sunday 2 July. More info fibresofbeing.wordpress.com

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