Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Hamilton Road Studio - some places available

Edited 1st August 2016

Term 3 2016
July 13th to September 17th

Available places
There are a couple of places available for this term:
Thursday mornings - one place
Friday mornings - place filled
Please leave a comment or send me an email to inquire and/or enroll.

Blue & white Japanese teacup - watercolour on paper

Hamilton Road Studio, McDowall, 4053 Brisbane

Weekly classes:
Wednesday:   6.00pm to 9.00pm
Thursday:         9.00am to 12.00pm
Friday :             9.00am to 12.00pm

 Saturday:       8.00am to 11.00am
  • The classes are small with a maximum of six artists. This allows for personal investigation and exploration. 
  • The Studio accommodates both beginners and advanced students.
  • Please note that Studio classes are suitable for adults.
  •  Classes include the following: Drawing – charcoal, graphite, water-soluble pencils, pen & ink. Painting in watercolours, acrylics and oils.

Minimum enrollment is for a 4 week block with payment in advance for the block or for the term (usually 10 lessons)

Please contact me at for:
  • more information about the Studio and classes
  • if you would like to be added to the waiting list for a particular day
  • if you would like to receive my newsletter about Workshops and Exhibitions

Monday, 25 July 2016

Holiday in Tasmania - sketchbooks and materials

I've been back home for two weeks - why do holidays fly past so quickly?

When planning the trip, just as important as warm gear for the cold weather is deciding what art equipment to take. I knew The Perfect Sketchbook with Fabriano Artistico would be on the list. Then I added a Fabriano watercolour block, and then a cold press Canson block. (Yes, I know, way too many and I never got to use the large one!)

Here's a list of the rest...
 Schmincke watercolour travel boxes x 2 - one large and one small
Tubes of gouache (didn't use any!)
Pencil/pen wrap
Pink bag with spray bottle; sponge in a zip lock bag; small water bottle (specimen bottle - they don't leak!); waterbrush and small Schminke palette 
Tote bag
Cap - didn't wear once - beanie weather!
Faber Castell Collapsible water jar

If you would like to see all my sketching gear here's a short video:


When on holiday I like to write about my travels as much as I like to sketch so finding the right book to use is important. Years ago, I would have a small A6 hardcover black book as a travel journal and then carry a separate sketchbook as well. Then gradually I realised that I wanted a combination, and all in one book. It seemed wasteful to use watercolour paper for writing and yet flimsy paper wouldn't be any good for sketches. Then, while looking through some old sketchbooks I remembered the Daler Rowney Ebony sketchbooks. I bought a landscape A5 format, 150gsm and at the price I could afford to be extravagant with my use of pages of travel journaling. The paper although it's the same weight as the Stillman & Birn Alpha, it's not quite as nice for watercolour but at half the cost that's a small trade off.

So the sketchbook has been a lovely way to capture the story of my holiday in words and sketches.  
Since returning I've been doing some quick ink and watercolour sketches from photos taken during my visit to Tasmania. I'm so pleased that I always take an overload of images because I then have plenty of inspiration to work and can re-visit the places.
Rock formations on the Tasman Peninsula - ink and watercolour

I'm going to continue with this format book as a daily journal/sketchbook. This way the sketchbook can be a place to think things through, try new ideas and not become too precious about using up good paper

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Making videos

I’ve been playing around with making a few videos – it’s a steep learning curve.
It so happened that the management of my unit decided that today was the day for cleaning the brickwork on the driveways around the complex, so I had the wonderful music of the power washer all morning.

Then, he took a break so I decided to try a short demo. I spent the best part of 10  minutes  doing some demo brush stokes only to find that “record” had not been pressed! Oh dear – back to the drawing board.

Anyway, this short clip is from my recent watercolour portrait for Sktchy. I’ve added some images and titles so at last I’m getting to grips with the medium.

Sp pleased to have another Sktchy pick 

There's no music yet. I don't know about you but I find a lot of music that accompanies most instruction videos to be annoying. 
Please let me know what you think.
Do you like music? 

Monday, 18 July 2016

Highlands House Restoration

All too often "progress" can be responsible for obliterating our history so it's really 
gratifying when old buildings are lovingly restored. This was the case with a house in Albion at The Clayfield, part of the Aveo Group of Retirement Villages.


One of the residents, Robert Haynes, decided to write a book about the history of the house to commemorate the restoration. He undertook the difficult task of researching the history of the house and its occupants.

Highlands House from an old photograph - ink and watercolour

I was commissioned to illustrate the book, recreating historical photographs of the house as it was originally. In addition portraits of some of the owners were also included. There were an interesting mix of people - a chemist; a Member of Parliament; a High Court Judge as well as a Catholic Archbishop.

The house itself underwent a number of changes in use over the years, becoming a community house for the Christian Brothers for some forty years before falling into disrepair.

Just as the building has been restored I enjoy breathing new life into old historical images, recreating them in watercolour and ink. 

James Berkely's Memorial - Nundah Historical Cemetary - ink and watercolour

Hon. William Graham, MLA & MLC

The original fireplace - before restoration - ink and watercolour

Sir Pope Cooper - watercolour
The Lightoller's - owners for 22 years

 Archbishop Sir James Duhig - watercolour

Highlands House - from an unknown artist's illustration - ink and watercolour

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Color Mixing Bible by Ian Sidaway

When you visit an art store and walk down the paint or pastel aisles you will be faced with a bewildering range of colours. There are so many it's really hard not to be tempted to buy them all. Getting to know the composition of pigments will not only make your use for colour more effective but can also save quite a bit of cash. I've been led astray by a colour - Sapphire for instance - only to get the tube home and discover that it consists of Phthalo Blue and Phthalo green. I could have mixed it myself!
While it's a treat to find a new colour, ultimately you'll realise that a core palette of a dozen or so colours will be all you'll need.

Sometimes what you need is a book to demystify colour...
Color Mixing Bible - all you need to know about mixing pigments in Oil, Acrylic, Watercolor, Gouache, Soft Pastel, Ink and Pencil by Ian Sidaway.


The Color mixing Bible takes us through the history of colour, the science, colour theory, and pigment composition. He discusses choosing a colour palette then colour mixing in oils, acrylics, watercolour, gouache and even the dry mediums of soft pastel and colour pencils and inks. The last chapter concerns mixing whites in the different mediums.  Not only can you see which colours are used but it's also great to show how a value  scale can be created.

The chapter on terms and definitions associated with colour - hue, tint, transparency, opacity temperature and saturation is clear and concise.

The book is arranged by medium and colour group e.g. Oils/ mixing oranges
The vertical axis shows the range of readily available types of each colour. The horizontal axis features 12 basic palette colours.
Each colour bar shows the colour with successive amounts of the same colour added showing the full strength of each colour.

If you're a teacher and you need a quick colour 'dictionary' this book is useful. When helping a student identify a colour, you can flip to a colour, find the exact shade you'd like to mix and see which pigments were used. It's a great tool to help students analyse colour. 

If you're a beginner, you might be better served by painting your own colour charts. 
It does have a lot of useful information about colour.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

A visit to Kunanyi - Mt Wellington

A week goes by so quickly when you're on holiday. I'm at Hobart International Airport waiting for my flight back to Brisbane. I've had a wonderful time. If you follow me on Instagram or my Facebook page you will have seen some images from my trip. 

I've learnt when travelling that when an activity is weather dependant don't put if off if you have a good day don't waste it. My first day in Hobart dawned clear and sunny so I decided to change plans and go up Kunanyi / Mt Wellington first thing. 

It's quite a short drive up the mountain, with numerous places to stop to enjoy the views. A dramatic waterfall at the side of the road caught my attention. Time for a quick ink sketches and some photos.

The scenery from the summit is breathtaking - you can see for kilometres in every direction. 

It was very cold. Frost coated the rocks and damp moss made the pathways very slippery. 

Fortunately I'd come prepared with gloves, scarf and beanie. These plus a puffer jacket kept me relatively warm. 

As I drove back down to Hobart the clouds moved in and by the time I reached the bottom the mountain was shrouded in mist - it was an opportune visit. 

Monday, 4 July 2016

Sketching in the rain

It was a cold, drizzly day in Port Arthur Tasmania. I drove up to the historical site but decided against walking around in the rain, rather taking my chances on finding somewhere to sketch from my hire car. I'm so pleased I opted to have a car for the whole week away.

I started a watercolour of Carnarvon Bay, stopped after doing a few washes and then drove down to Maingon Bay Lookout near the Remarkable Cave. As it was raining quite heavily I decided on another sketch while sitting in the car with a view of the cliffs and sea. 

The watercolour earlier in the day was quite difficult to do while sitting in the car so I decided to do an ink drawing and add colour later. One of the problems was that the only cup holder was on the left so every time I wanted to wash a brush I was twisting around - not at all comfortable. 
Thanks to a good heater in the car I was warm and comfortable. When I returner back to my cottage I added the watercolour. 

Here's the drawing with the view...

Adding the grey clouds...

A little colour...

And the completed sketch...