spying on the neighbours...Week 2 at Sketchbook Skool was led by Nina Johanssen. She’s an urban sketcher, and took us for a tour of her sketchbooks. We watched over her shoulder as she sat in a park and painted some buildings.

I came down with the flu this week, and was also filling my manager’s shoes at work while she took 2 weeks off, so all the homeowork I managed to do for this week was a quick sketch of my neighbourhood, from the back deck of my own boat. Oh, well, I did plenty of urban sketching during my travels, so it’s nothing new.

Embroidery on marbled fabric

Kehaar on marbling2A week of rain…it just pours and pours. Nowhere we can really go on days like these, and not much we can do on a dark, gloomy boat. I sat in the crepuscular shadows and stitched a tiny sailboat against a roiling sea of marbled green and blue canvas. It captures the feeling of being alone on a wild sea, perfectly…

Kehaar on marbling1We marble our own fabric; this is a piece we made for an exhibition in early 2014. It was then that I figured out one good way of combining marbled fabric with hand embroidery…rather than try and tackle the intricacies of the marbling patterns, themselves, I try to see the print as an environment for some small motif…a hut on an island, a cat hunting a rabbit in tall grass, gold fish in a lily pond… It works well, and I love doing these small designs, as the embroidery is finished in a few hours, very satisfying to start and complete a project on a single day!

Kris requested this piece; he wants to frame it and hang it next to his chart table. The sailboat is just under 5 cm. (2 in.) high. Worked in split stitch, couching,satin, and french knots.

Reading Monsoon Dervish…


Started another painting this morning…it went pretty quickly and I managed to get quite a lot of the tougher bits done by the time the sun was setting in the West and I couldn’t see to paint anymore.

The picture above is just a detail…with my exhibit coming up, I have got to stop showing every finished painting on my blog, or there will be nothing left to surprise visitors to the opening night with!

Why, yes, I am being coy…there will be paintings you haven’t seen yet, so if you live in Darwin and are reading this blog, you want to get your butt over to the Woods Street Gallery, DVAA in the City on November 4, Friday at 6 PM. In the other gallery will be the super talented artists of Jackson’s Drawing Supplies, and you KNOW they’re always making amazing stuff (and god I envy that they work inside a yummy art supplies shop!) so this is a double-show you don’t want to miss!

*whew!* Okay, spiel done, back to this painting…

The reason I had to post even just a detail is that I am so pleased and proud of this “book made of ocean and sky”…with a tiny Kehaar (that’s the boat Kris has gone sailing away on) pushing through the waves. I also love how the waves spill off the book and onto an area of my writing desk. I struggled with this bit, because it was pretty much fantasy, unlike the other objects, which I could set in front of me and draw studies from. I have to say it has turned out almost as good as I imagined it, and that’s very unusual for me, so I am squealingly pleased. The book could only be Kris’ self-published Monsoon Dervish, an account of the 11 or 12 years he went sailing, from Darwin to Madagascar, Zanzibar, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Japan, Vladivostok, Pusan, Sarawak, and The Philippines, where we met.

I listened to Sting’s album Symphonicities while painting this…and got a shiver everytime I heard The Pirate’s Bride (becauseĀ  I am missing my seafaring love, as always…you know I wouldn’t be painting something like this if I weren’t!)