My first flowers

still life in pastel

Okay Okay, I have tried to avoid drawing flowers for many reasons. Firstly, those who know me know my mum paints flowers in her still life arrangements and as if I’m going to enter that world. It would be like cooking for your very first time duck confit to a french chef. So as if. I mean, really, as if, but … I was watching a DVD that you lent me mum and I loved it. It made me think maybe I could give it at least one try.

The other reason I have avoided flowers is because of the greenery. Green happens to be my favourite colour but I’m not a big fan of pastel greens. So of course I can’t stand my greenery. I knew I would struggle there and I did. Fact.

Another fact, I need to buy more pastels, particularly greens and blues. Dark ones. And … I need to learn how to arrange flowers.

Last reason why I have avoided flowers …. it takes too long. Too much detail, too many darks and lights, too many, too many, and not to mention too time consuming. I enjoy drawing, don’t get me wrong but it’s not like I’m an artist, nor a chef. Just a mum who gets sick and tired of saying ‘stop kicking my legs’ every singe time, and I mean every single time, with no exaggeration, none whatsoever, I sit down to eat with my boys.

Well ironically, well not ironically, or perhaps ironic is suitable here, who knows, I now have to think about what to cook for dinner – without greens, and lets hope, enjoyed without kicking legs.




New Work

Pastel and charcoal still life drawing

I am trying to draw every day. It’s the only way I’m going to ‘see’ if any improvement has miraculously appeared.

Yesterday, I was so involved in a drawing that I was 30 minutes late to pick up Loxley from nido. This was one of those occasions where not being able to speak spanish very well comes in handy. They’ll avoid me like the plague – ‘Oh know, she’s going to try and speak spanish again, let’s look busy’.

What would I say anyway? ‘Sorry, I was drawing a nude?’ Or even better, ‘I completely lost track of time studying the light on a jug’. If they don’t already, they would think I am some crazy Australian women who likes nude bodies.

Then I remembered, in this country, being late is just ‘normal’. I have never received an offered explanation from a local who has been late here in Lima. I have had to ask for an explanation every time. So when I wasn’t even given the opportunity to explain my tardiness I felt relieved because I’m hopeless at making up plausible excuses and besides, I didn’t know how to say ‘nude’ in spanish.


I know it won’t be hard to pick the faults but this is from memory. I mean, who on earth am I going to get to pose for me in the nude? Now I really would be the crazy expat women… and, I don’t want to travel into the middle of Lima central for art classes so I’m on my own here… and I don’t want to copy from a book anymore because I need to interpret the form myself rather than using somebody else’s interpretation.

nude drawing in charcoal


So be gentle mum.

Then again, you always are. Also, ignore her lower legs, they look like death warmed up. Poor thing.


Hi Mum,

still life pastel drawing

I get it now. I totally understand. Why you would let your paint and brushes allure you into a different world. One that didn’t require politics, bills, stoplights, talking or even listening for that matter. Nope. Instead, a peaceful world governed by decisions such as choosing this colour or that one, this size canvas or smaller, light from the left or the right?

As a result, I have been drawing everyday for the past week and I have some new drawings.

still life pastel jug and apples


still life pastel drawing

As for the other world, the real one with negotiations with children, to-do lists and almost being run over on the pedestrian crossing every day. Well we continue our wait for the sun to make an entrance for longer than 1 hour in a day. The boys love their new school. I am too because I can read and understand their homework and school newsletters. I have found the best French delicatessen so I am making my way through their cheeses and tarts. Simon is getting a suit made for a charity ball later this month. Me? No I don’t have anything to wear but unfortunately my indecisiveness has made one decision and that is to torture me, no doubt until the very last moment. I need you here to make me a skirt like you did for my year 10 formal.

This next one I don’t like very much AT ALL hence why it is more unfinished than the others…. but Simon insists.

still life pastel drawing jug and bowls


Exported 2

I thought I would add the recent attempts at pastel drawing including my first landscape. None are finished simply because I don’t have the foggiest idea how to ‘finish’ them. This is why I need you to move to Peru Mum. I’m sure sedatives are available for the plane trip, yes I think as many as it would take would be available . So what do you say? Come and tell me what to do. Wow, I never thought I would say that …


Here is my first landscape. Which do you think? Including the left yellow building or excluding it altogether?

Exported 3-2


Here is the excluded version ..

Exported 3


No I haven’t tried oils yet. I’m procrastinating and it is taking up a lot of my time.

A First

I am about to enter a battle. Tonight, it is on. 7-9pm to be exact. I have my arsenal in order, pencils – check, charcoal – check, paper – check, confidence – still searching.

Tonight, I go to my first life drawing class. I have only drawn people from books so I am nervous but excited, der. What do I do? I’m so scared. It is a class and I have this horrible vision of me regressing into a 13-year-old giggly girl. No, I don’t giggle (usually). How about a pouting snob as a defence mechanism to hide my flipping fear waiting to ravage me to the point of absolute paralysis so I end up drawing a nude the size of an ant? Hmm, that sounds quite likely.

Do I promise to show my work upon my return? No can do. I do promise however, to self medicate, before and after.

Well now it is the after and although I knew mankind wasn’t depending on my efforts last night to live another day in the atmosphere, the pressure was still ever present in my ‘can I take criticism without turning violet’ head.

To avoid the possibility of feeling and looking elementary I averted my eyes from the drawings by fellow students. As such, I have walked out feeling quite pleased with my efforts for a first timer (what I don’t know won’t hurt me right?).

We started with 30 second poses. WHAT? I haven’t even finished pondering the starting point in 30 seconds. Nevertheless, I managed to get something on the page …

nude charcoal 30 second drawing

30 second

Nude 30 second charcoal drawing

30 second













Then we graciously increased to 1 minute … it is double the time previously but 1 Minute? Come’on….

1 minute charcoal nude drawing

1 minute

3 minute nude drawing

3 minutes












Finally we progressed to 8 minutes … but somehow I wanted to go back to 30 seconds again so I had the excuse of ‘not enough time’.

8 minute charcoal nude drawing

8 minutes

8 minute nude charcoal drawing

8 minutes












By far the most enjoyable exercise we did for me was the blind drawing. We could only look at the model which means no peeping on the page. I loved this exercise and the results were … lets say ‘interesting’.

blind graphite drawing nude

blind drawing

I’ll be going back next week ‘for sure’. I may even peek at fellow students drawing … I think I might be strong enough to take that step.

Mr Char Coal

I don’t know if all of you have been introduced to Mr Char Coal yet. If not, here is the background about all my unrequited loves.

Well, Mr Charcoal and I had our second date. It’s been a while. You see, something came between us ….. Procrastin Ation. He was so persistent and eager. He kept knocking at my door, calling on the phone, emailing and even throwing rocks at the window. I was so flattered, so I caved. Yes I did. Evidence is splattered all over this blog too. Screen-printing, poetry about knickers, photography, even researching Gothic architecture and that’s only the evidence on the blog. You should see my house. It’s spotless (no, not really, thought I would just say that). I even dedicated a few blogs to Mr Procrastin Ation and he was pleased. BUT as time would inevitably tell, this thing with Mr Ation would get us no-where so I have returned to my first love, Char Coal, if he’ll have me.

Here he is. A bit rusty but it’s nice to have him back.

male torso in charcoal

male torso in charcoal and conte crayon



Freaking out over Nothing!

Do you ever just freak out over nothing? I mean literally nothing. It’s all in your head and even then, you couldn’t pin point it there either.

As I have mentioned on this blog, I love to draw. In fact it was one reason why I started this blog. I wanted to give myself a reason to do this one thing I love doing. Which doesn’t make any sense. Why would I need to give myself a reason to do something I love to do?

Here’s the drill …. Or whatever word fits the sentence to imply I am about to explain myself in a potentially long and wofty way.

I love to draw. I can’t explain why, I just do. I hold a pencil or a piece of charcoal and I am transported into another being in another world (except for the television or iPad sounds in the background reminding me I have responsibilities called children on a place called earth. Hopeless babysitters they are).

Anyway….. it’s like I am starting a new adventure. It’s just me, my perception and perspective that I have to deal with. No-one else’s, just mine and that is a relief in itself.

I run my hands over the paper and I could almost kiss it. I’m not kidding. I feel like I’m a little girl all over again about to open the biggest present of all. There is suspense because I don’t know how my drawing will turn out just like I don’t know what is under the wrapping of that big present.

I start to freak out but the excitement helps me to push through and then I start to draw. After a few strokes I climax (woops, that’s sounding like a different story), no I mean I reach the top and it’s all down hill from there. The fear starts setting in but I ignore it because it’s still fun. The paper still feels nice, the charcoal is still leaving brilliant marks and it’s all good.

Then sometimes, just sometimes I finish and I take a step back and I think …. Did I just draw that? No way, I mean, it’s really good! I like it a lot and I’m not just saying that to myself. I achieved what I set out to achieve and it feels good …. but that only happens sometimes.

Then I freak out that it won’t happen again so I delay, procrastinate, and then I get crappy because I’m not doing the thing that I love to do. How can I fear something that I love or love something that I fear? Neither makes sense!

I need to be logical here. No, that would me I am being silly, but I’m not. Yes you are …. Okay, rather than spilling my conversation with my alter ego for anyone to read I should grab this logical hat and take its advice and just go draw. Seeya.

No, I’m still here.

Yep, haven’t moved.

You know, I have wanted to take some photos recently …. maybe I will go do that?

Here are some drawings I did the last time I plucked up the courage to draw. I like them, apart from the whole vampire white face look. I have been trying to isolate facial features to get a better understanding of their nature…..

lips in conte crayon drawing

Here are some more ….. but in pencil

pencil drawing noses

I should go now. But what would I draw?

I think Loxley has a pooey nappy. I will go now. I have responsibilities you know!

P.S. Thanks for the chat.

Charcoal drawings were drawn from images in a book titled ‘The Human Figure’ by John H. Vanderpoel.
Pencil drawings were drawn from ‘Life Drawing’ by Robert Barrett.