Sketchbook pages shown in chronological order.

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 04 (7 May 2012 – 15 August 2012).

Click here to go to sketchbook 06 (7 December 2012 – ).

16 August 2012

17 – 28 August 2012

While on annual leave for a few weeks I decided to work on my colour-mixing and watercolour skills by working through the exercises in Making Color Sing: practical lessons in color and design by Jeanne Dobie.

I was unhappy with the results I was getting from my “student grade” watercolours, so took a side excursion into pastels.

Having bought some better quality paints, I started getting closer to the results shown in the book.





Around this time I started working on the colour matching exercise at the beginning of Assignment 4. I started off in watercolours, feeling fairly confident of my mixing skills. I simply couldn’t get the results I needed, so moved to gouache. I started feeling I’d got worse, not better, and became rather discouraged – so no sketchbook work for a few days.

4 September 2012
Back at work! The new theory is that to ensure daily sketchbook practice I should decide each evening what I’m going to do, then get up half an hour early the next day to carry out the plan. Early results are positive!

Moving away from colour mixing, I started preparing for the weaving section of the course by looking closely at some of Sheila Hick’s work (in Simon, J and Faxon, S (2010) Sheila Hicks: 50 years, Andover, Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy in association with Yale University Press)

5 September 2012

6 September 2012

7 September 2012

8 September 2012

9 September 2012
I attended a one day workshop with Gria Shead at the NSW Art Gallery. More info in my blog post (here – 9 September).
Sketch in willow charcoal – a handkerchief.

Two handkerchiefs.

Again, this time on better paper and really trying to figure out that outline.

The final attempt, on craft paper pre-painted with gesso. Charcoal, acrylic paint, white pastels.

10 and 11 September 2012
More from Sheila Hicks.

12 September 2012
This morning I worked on a different book – Traditional Textiles of Central Asia by Janet Harvey. This is from page 17, a felt floorcovering.

17 September 2012
The system of getting up early to sketch in the morning went well on work days, but fell apart on the “weekend” (4 days for me) when I got absorbed in project work. I went back into the schedule on Monday morning, and am trying to maintain momentum through the full week.
Another image from Traditional Textiles of Central Asia.

18 September 2012
Preparation work for Project 8 Stage 2 Exercise 3.

19 September 2012
Preparation of a potential base for Exercise 4, based on some photos I took on Cockatoo Island. I wanted to explore the structure – how the tower was put together.
First one of the source photos (I like the various cranes and the harbour bridge in the background).

Now trying to understand what I was looking at.

20 September 2012
Back to Traditional Textiles of Central Asia. I’m finding the sketchbook work very helpful in making time to actually focus on pieces and not just flip through the pretty pictures.

21 – 22 September 2012
I did the initial sketch one morning, then the next day did a yarn wrapping based on the image. Selecting yarns and making the wrapping took as long as the original sketch!
I’ve jotted down a potential scarf idea based on this.

23 September 2012
I’ve been re-reading some information about Liz Williamson for some work on a research point, so spent some sketchbook time with Liz Williamson: Textiles.
Cochrane, G. (2008) Liz Williamson: Textiles, Australia: Craftsman House.

Later in the day I did some related work, looking in Quinn, B. (2004) Textile Designers at the cutting edge London:Laurence King Publications. I’m definitely finding it a better use of time to sit with a book at the worktable, sketchbook ready to go, rather than sitting in a comfy chair and flipping through browsing photos.

23 – 24 September 2012
Finished work on Quinn’s book, and moved on to Cole, D. (2008) Textiles Now London: Laurence King Publishing. I was able to borrow both these books through the local library system.

24 – 25 September 2012

On these days I was also working on project 8, stage 2, exercise 4. It took me quite a while to figure out how I wanted to weave across my rigid shape.

26 – 27 September 2012
Back to Drusilla Cole’s book.

28 September 2012

29 September 2012
I did some quick pen sketches on A5 paper while in the plane on a long weekend trip to islands in Bass Straight (blog 7-Oct-2012).

30 September 2012

1 October 2012

2 October 2012
Back home and very tired, I tried drawing fabric, thinking of the workshop with Gria Shead (post 9-Sept-2012). I lost the plot and it all went horribly wrong.

3 – 4 October 2012
This was based on one of the photos I took from the plane. Have I mentioned things going horridly wrong??

9 – 12 October 2012
I tried sketching a piece in Anni Albers’ book, then took it a bit further by trying to weave a sample based on the original photo. (Blog post 13-Oct-2012)


13 October 2012
I was fairly happy with the little weaving experiment, so decided to try some colour mixing that has been on my mind since the stitched exercises earlier in the course.
Work in progress

There are two yellows and two reds, the same as those I used back in project 3 (blog post 11-Dec-2011)

By folding the scrap over to intensify the two more extreme combinations, I think you can see the richer colour on the right hand corner (the warmer red and yellow).

Just for fun!

14 – 21 October 2012
Emboldened by my efforts to broaden my sketchbook work I decided to try collage. Since I was working in project 9 (blogged 21-Oct-2012) with my King Island photos of seaweed I took that as a subject. It took me a few days of playing with tissue paper to get some basic shapes together. Then I tried creating an interesting design. It looked like a mess of nothing. I kept going back to my work table, rearranging things – still no good. I tried creating a background page, charcoal and conté crayons on kraft paper. This helped, but not a lot. The photo below shows one arrangment. Things never got glued down.

22 October 2012
I moved to another of the King Island photos. The grasses make beautiful lines, the sparkling sea becoming just a background. (charcoal on A3 cartridge paper).

23 October 2012
While sifting through the pile of photos, I saw seaweed shapes on the rocks. Perhaps that would give the structure I needed. Charcoal on A3 cartridge paper.

24 October 2012
After spending time looking at yesterday’s sketch and the weaving yarn experiments, I came up with a plan for the stage 3 sampler.

25 October 2012
Around the time I started working with the seaweed images I spent some lunch time wandering around a yarn store looking for possibilities. In the end I followed the self-made-yarns route so hadn’t used them. I decided to “sketch” using the little weaving frame and the untouched yarns.

26 October 2012
A closeup view of the seed heads of grasses at the beach on King Island.

A cropped section of the original photograph.

29 October 2012
Following my trip to Ruark Lewis’s exhibition (post 4-Nov-2012, although obviously the visit was earlier) I made some quick notes on the possibility of paths between points – the change of scale in Nancy’s movements. Also a reminder of the bird we watched together. It spent a long time preening itself on a branch just outside her window.

30 October 2012
Very badly lit – late afternoon on a sunny Sunday! The initial fast sketch in conte crayons, when I was looking further afield having given up on a weaving that included grasses. This is based on photos from Flinders Island.

1 November 2012
A combination of two photographs from Trouser Points on Flinders Island.

The same sunny afternoon, so light still bad. This is the simplified version of the drawing above, made more carefully using a traced version of the photo montage I developed.

4 November 2012
Nancy had some kind of health event – possibly a stroke. She now lies quietly, her back to the window.

5 November 2012
Some sketches of Indian Mynahs, based on photos on the web. I emailed my description and dad was able to identify the bird Nancy and I had seen out her window a few weeks ago.

6 November 2012
Thinking of Nancy’s recent health issues, I found some photos of x-rays of the head of a stroke victim, and did a blind drawing.

7 November 2012
Meg (Unravelling blog) sent me a postcard showing a piece of her weaving. Lovely texture. I’m using the postcard as a bookmark and it’s a pleasure each time I see it.

8 November 2012
Some (many) days it’s hard to decide what to do in my sketchbook time. Here I tried to focus on and capture how I was feeling.

12 November 2012
Nancy is painfully thin – the bones (and tendons?) of her hands are isolated, the flesh falling away. I tried to find a photo of hands on the internet, but couldn’t find any with that combination of age, frailty and – just bones with a thin layer of skin. Her left hand around the thumb was causing her pain that day. It was hard to see if it was bruised in the shadow of the bone.

17 November 2012
The sketchbook came to a standstill while I was working on the final weaving sample for project 9 (posted 16-Nov-2012). I’d get up early as planned, then wander to the loom to check the previous night’s progress before starting to sketch. Next thing I’d find yarn or shuttle in my hand and the alarm going – time to get ready for work.
I find it hard to sketch with no particular goal in mind, especially since I’m always inside in the same room. There are things I could change there, and I could try to figure out what Pat meant about using non-traditional materials, but instead I decided to try tying in with my regular reading on art history. The reading is also based on a recommendation from Pat – Styles, schools & movements: the essential encyclopaedic guide to modern art by Amy Dempsey. I’ve been reading a section each day (well, most days) for a few weeks now. This sketch is based on a photo on page 67 of the book, in Fauvism. It’s looking at part of Three figures sitting on the grass by André Derain. It’s around A4 in size.

18 November 2012
This is following reading on Expressionism, done looking at a photo on the web of Emile Nolde’s Candle Dancers. It’s wonderful the sense of wild abandonment he was able to achieve. Groups of dancers seem to be a recurring theme in Nolde’s work, based on the images I found. Roughly A4 (half an A3 page).

19 November 2012
Die Brücke – Fränzi in front of carved chair, (1920) by Kirchner (click here to see a photo of the original). The painting is in oils and strong / strange colours. I was mainly looking for blocks and shapes, thinking about the influence of woodcarvings on the group. This is an A3 page, using charcoal and conte crayons.

20 November 2012
Ashcan school. The subject matter of these painters and photographers was often the gritty, seamy side of life. Some of the paintings I find slightly saccharine, including the original that this sketch is based on – Cafferty 1926 by Robert Henri. The original is in rich, dark oils (see here) – my acquarelle pencils were a poor match. A plus about this project is that I spend some time doing a little research and trying to get a better feel for the overall look of the movement. I’m not giving the time nor do I have the skill or desire to “copy” an image, but this approach is working quite well in getting me to focus on each section of the book.

21 November 2012
Deutscher Werkbund. This kettle was designed by Peter Behrens (original image here). I’m trying to vary how I approach each sketch. In this case I used gimp to detect edges and remove colour. I printed the result, cut it into components to help focus on the design elements, then collaged onto an A4 page and sprayed with gloss.

22 November 2012
Cubism. I didn’t find it easy to select an image – many are just too complex for me to take in. This is based on Still Life in the machine elements by Fernand Léger. Click here for the source image. I ignored colour and the shading/moulding, and used a grid and pencil to try to capture the shapes and planes in the painting. It was interesting to absorb myself in the task, more clearly seeing the simplification of shapes, the decorative elements. It took ages, then I spent more time on the internet trying to find more information and a critical analysis of the painting. Maybe in a course module I’ll have the opportunity to return to Léger and learn more.

23 November 2012
Futurism. Not a particularly attractive movement in terms of its manifestos – misogynist and militaristic. They had a passion for speed and power, and according to the book “in a sense, they put Cubism into motion”. I found two forms of Carlo Carrà’s Woman on the balcony – a study in pencil (http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/drawings-watercolors/carlo-carra-studio-per-la-donna-al-5492918-details.aspx) and the 1912 work (http://www.flickriver.com/photos/32357038@N08/5468827832/). I looked at both, trying to identify underlying structure and also changes made during the work’s development.

23 -24 November 2012
I went to the Francis Bacon: Five Decades exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery. I only saw part (couldn’t take it all in – will have to go again) – but was overwhelmed by thoughts of Nancy and her claustrophobic imprisonment in the nursing home. I checked in Dempsey’s book and found Bacon in the “Existential Art” section, so jumped to that for today’s sketching. The work below is all in charcoal on A3 kraft paper. It takes elements from Bacon’s paintings and attempts to use them to express my feelings about Nancy’s situation.




25 November 2012
Jack of Diamonds school, Looking at “Portrait of a boy in an embroidered shirt” by Ilya Mashkov. I didn’t get the filled space of the image. Note to self – try drawing negative space.

26 November 2012
Der Blaue Reiter. Looking at “The large blue horses” by Franz Marc. I did a quick experiment with colour and proportions in stripes, but don’t feel it was successful.

27-28 November 2012
Synchromism. Looking at “Synchromy” by Morgan Russell (original image http://www.artexpertswebsite.com/pages/artists/russell_m.php). I very much enjoyed doing this, and took some extra time to finish it. I used inktense and aquarelle pencils with those water-barrel paintbrushes. While working I started to get the hang of the pencils – mixing colours with more confidence, doing some shading, lifting colour with a paper towel. I also found the colours and shapes of the original image very attractive, and interesting to focus on the repeats and changes. The little area at the bottom of the page where I cleaned the brush is rather lively and fun too, so I’ve included extra photos of each.


29 November 2012
Orphism. Naturally I was drawn to Sonia Delaunay – see my post of 1-Mar-2012 for a review of the book McQuaid, M and Brown, S. (2011) Colour Moves: Art & Fashion by Sonia Delaunay. New York: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution. That book was also the source of the base image I worked on here – “Autoportrait no. 962” by Sonia Delaunay.

9 Responses to “sketchbook 05”


  1. 1 Jane B September 15, 2012 at 7:39 am

    I was reading way back in 2009 and just realized it, so now I have fast forwarded through your life to the present. The scraps of paper on the drawing of the fern put the specific colours into context and give them more meaning than when you were using the grid. I hope my comments are making sense to you – I am having fun reading and recording my one sided conversation with you. Have to go into the city soon – maybe the bells will ring today.


  1. 1 Assignment 4 – Analysing colour, texture and proportion « Fibres of Being Trackback on September 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm
  2. 2 Project 6 Stage 2 Exercise 4 – weaving in a rigid grid « Fibres of Being Trackback on September 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm
  3. 3 Project 8 Reflective Commentary « Fibres of Being Trackback on October 12, 2012 at 5:18 pm
  4. 4 Reading about Weaving « Fibres of Being Trackback on October 13, 2012 at 6:18 pm
  5. 5 Project 9 Woven Structures Stages 1 & 2 « Fibres of Being Trackback on October 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm
  6. 6 Project 9 Woven Structures Stage 3 part 2 « Fibres of Being Trackback on October 26, 2012 at 2:59 pm
  7. 7 Research point: Designers and Designer/Makers « Fibres of Being Trackback on November 1, 2012 at 11:23 am
  8. 8 Assignment 4 Reflective Commentary « Fibres of Being Trackback on November 30, 2012 at 11:18 am

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Fabulous figure sculpting workshop with Kassandra Bossell!

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