Thursday, 13 February 2020

Titan arum - new painting

Recently I visited the Cairns Botanical Gardens in northern Queensland. The very hot and humid conditions were ideal for their collections of tropical plants.

I fell in love with the incredible Carrion Lilies with their huge presence, colours and design elements.  They grow to about 3 metres.

Above is the Amorphophallus decus-silvae which is found in Java, Indonesia.

After returning from Cairns I visited the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney and discovered the wonderful Amorphophallus titanum - Titan arum,  which is an herbaceous flowering plant with the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world.

It is commonly known as the Corpse Lily due to its foul smelling inflorescence. The odour resembles rotten flesh which attracts the pollinators Flesh Flies and Carrion Beetles. The Titan arum is endemic to the hot and humid rainforest areas of Indonesia but they can be seen in many botanical gardens worlewide, including Sydney, Australia.

They only bloom every 4-10 years which make them a very special addition to any collection.

Below are the initial washes of my flower, and I am planning to do a second painting of the Amorphallus decus-silvae to compliment the Titan arum.

The spadix has a very 'bubbled' surface, so I applied masking fluid over a very light wash. More washes are to be painted over the masking fluid.

Still lots of detail to complete to finish off this painting - and this is the part I love the most!!!

Monday, 9 December 2019

Broome, Western Australia July 2019

In July 2019 I was in beautiful Broome in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. This is a very interesting coastal town of nearly 19,000 people and is famous for pearling. It is full of vivid colour and natural phenomena, as well as having sunset camel rides and dinosaur tracks in the beach rocks, dating back 130 million years. The sunrises and sunsets are unbelievably spectacular.

I had a group of 12. I only take limited numbers as I demonstrate and tutor constantly, so everyone gets the very most out of the tour and has individual tuition and guidance.

Here are some of my sketches from this trip. 

Broom courthouse on left, where markets are held weekly, and Johnny Chi Lane on right, with people waiting for their bus.

We sketched in the grounds of a pearl shop, where there were many historical artifacts from the pearling days.

And a very special sketch from the Japanese Cemetery, the largest Japanese cemetery in Australia dating back to 1896. Most of the graves are of the Japanese migrants who settled in Broome to prosper from the rich pearling industry. It is a memorial to those who were loved and lost.

The wording on one of the gravestone read:

"We did not see you close your eyes,
we did not hear you sigh.
We only hear that you were gone -
without a last goodbye."

Sketching in Bali & Borneo May 2019

In May, I was privileged to take a small group of 9 to Borneo, where we sketched the amazing orangutans of Central Kalimantan. As travel was along the river waterways, the klotok boats we travelled in did not accommodate any more.

Prior to flying to Borneo, we spent three days in Jimbaran, Bali, and I ran workshops on how to sketch the orangutans. We also ventured further afield for more sketching and a little exploring. It is a beautiful place with lovely people, and I never tire of visiting. Over the years have taken many groups to very special places on the island to sketch, away from the crowds.

Le Mayeur Museum, in Sanur. This is a place I try to visit when I go to Bali. I love the history of the Museum and the wonderful detail in the buildings.
We flew from Denpasar in Bali to Surabaya in Java, transited there and continued on to Central Kalimatan. Our aim was to visit three orangutan rehabilitation centres in the Tanjung Puting National Park. 

During this tour we not only saw and sketched orangutans, but proboscis monkeys, gibbons and the long tailed macaque monkeys, all unique. In the ecolodge we stayed there were a troop of gibbon monkeys living in the trees. I also saw a giant monitor lizard stealthily moving along on the muddy river environment underneath the walkway I was sketching from.

There were various colourful birds (the Bornean Bristlehead, stork-billed kingfisher and garnet pitta), and green water snakes which could be seen along the river.

This is my forest scene, showing the various birds and animals to be found along the river environment.

Mother and child eating bananas at the rehabilitation centre. The babies stay with the mother until they are about seven year old. There is a very special affectionate bond between them.

This was my cabin along side the river and set into the forest. The gibbon monkeys would occasionally jump on the roofs of the cabins during the night.  
With the logging of the forests these endangered species may only be with us for another ten years.

I have an extensive article on this tour which will be published shortly in Australian Artist Magazine, where I describe the sketching tour in more detail, and with more sketches.

Melaleuca thymifolia finished

I have completed my Melaleuca thymifolia for the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney Florilegium exhibition in 2020. The botanical exhibition celebrating the 300th anniversary of Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander's voyage of exploration to Australia will be held in Sydney. There will also be a book published of each artist's botanical painting contribution. These will all be plants that were discovered by Banks and Solander during their time in Australia.

Leonie painting Melaleuca thymifolia

Details of plant

Final painting

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Melaleuca vinimalis - Thyme honey-myrtle

I am just beginning to record my next botanical painting, which will be for the Florilegium Society at the Royal Sydney Botanical Gardens. The exhibition will be in 2020 as that is the 300th anniversary of the voyage to Australia of Sir Joseph Banks and Swedish naturalist Daniel Solander, among others.

Banks was an English naturalist, botanist and patron of the natural sciences. They joined Captain James Cook's first voyage to the Pacific on the Endeavour in 1768-1771. During this voyage of discovery they landed in Botany Bay in 1770.

During the eight days of their visit, Banks and Solander investigated various areas around Botany Bay, and including explorations both south  and north west of Sydney Cove.

They collected, pressed, dried and sorted specimens with botanical descriptions. On 3rd May, Banks reported that the collections of plants had grown so immensely large he was concerned about care and longevity of the pressed specimens.

The Banks and Solander exhibition will be showcasing the plants collected from the area of the Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens and that are still growing there.

My contribution is the Melaleuca thymifolia which is found growing near the gates at Mrs. Macquaries Road.  Here is my progress to date.

 I contacted the arborist at the Gardens and he showed me where the shrub was growing and made three small cuttings for me.  You can see it is a very small flower, approximately 2 cms across, so the painting will be enlarged.

 This is a cutting of the flower.

 The opening buds are very interesting.

 This is my initial drawing with one of the cuttings.

Australian natives can be kept for months in the fridge. I use a plastic container lined with damp paper towels, and wrap the stems in damp paper towel. Put on the lid, place it in the bottom of the fridge and it keeps its colour and shape beautifully.

Concertina Montage Sketchbook

I have just completed a concertina montage sketchbook. Travelling in the United Arab Emirates, then down through India, Colombo (Sri Lanka), and Singapore I had an enormous amount of sketches.

These countries are so rich in colour, atmosphere, sights and sounds. I never tire of the multituide of experiences that flood the senses.  So I decided to complete a montage sketchbook. This way I could record all my favourite things and capture the colour and vibrancy of these countries.

The page on the left is the basic pen drawing. These were done from my iPad images. Every drawing brought back such wonderful memories. The drawing on the right shows when I begin painting one of the buildings in Little India, in Singapore.

Working with this method of montages, you chose just sections of an image that really appeals to you. It also allows you to stop and start, whenever you have the time to add more drawings, or finish of paintings, as each drawing is really a minature painting (or sketch).

On the left is page one of the concertina sketchbook, which shows the map of where I travelled.
On the right is a page including Goa and Cochin in India. Sometimes the simplest subject has the most interest, and I love working with texture, shape and colour.

Here is the finished concertina sketchbook. Each page is 14cm wide and just over 20cms high, slightly smaller than an A5. I bought this sketchbook while in London, but would not use it again as I do not like the paper.  It is easy enough to make your own sketchbook and that allows you to choose the size and type of watercolour paper to use.

There are YouTube videos on making sketchbooks and these can be as easy or as complex as you wish. 

Happy sketching!

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Free Online Sketchbook Revival

Free Online Workshops

I’m excited to announce that I will part of a great online event called
Sketchbook Revival.

My online travel sketching demonstration will be live on from  22nd April - 4 May 2019. 

Join me here

You need to register to gain access to not only my online video but the other artists videos as well. Click the link above which will take you to the registration site, where the organiser will explain about the free workshops. Just enter your name and email address.
Last year over 15,000 artists joined! And it is totally FREE. It will feature over 20 diverse artists from around the world, (fine artists, illustrators, intuitive artists, designers, art therapists, art journalers and expressive artists). You can follow along with their demonstrations and fill your sketchbook pages with watercolour, pencil, acrylics, college, ink, charcoal and more.

I am the only artist with a video demonstration on Travel Sketching with Pen & Watercolour Wash.

In my session you will have a list of materials and will follow me as I take you through the process of doing a pen and wash sketch, with various techniques, ideas and lots of tips as I go along. This will be a half hour demonstration and at the end, you will have own finished sketch.

The best part about the workshop is that it’s easy to join. No need to travel anywhere, book any tickets or rearrange your schedule. You can fit the workshop into your regular life and enjoy the sessions from the comfort of your own home, without spending a cent.

So what are you waiting for? Revive your sketchbook practice with fresh inspiration and motivation, new ideas and tips. All you have to do is sign up

Make creativity a priority while we sketch together. You are also able to access all other artists demonatrations.

Join me on my travels to Savusavu, Vanua Levu in Fiji…..and sketch along with me. There will also be a free gift at the end of the video demonstration.

Art Tours, Workshops, Distance Learning Course