Monthly Archives: October 2021

Last Night I Dreamed of Kyoto

“Last Night I Dreamed of Kyoto” 28 x 20 cm. October 2021

I have been self-disciplined in sticking to local subject matter in 2021. I tell myself “YOU ARE HERE”. I am at my drawing easel in North Coogee, Western Australia. But at night when I sleep there are neither domestic nor international borders. In my dream state I am a free agent. Quite regularly my dreams return me to Japan and if they are of the anxious variety, more often than not, my camera is lost!

In this drawing the maiko is not the bright centre of attention. She is fast disappearing as she smoothly moves away through lanterns, neon and darkness. Beyond reach and dream-like, perhaps a dim figment of nocturnal imagination.


Below is the drawing at various stages. I experimented by blending the undercoat of Neocolor II pastel with a blender pencil BEFORE putting on coloured pencil. Doing this altered the paper – making it a smoother surface to work on. (I often use blender over the top of coloured pencils but this was the first time I put it underneath.) I liked the feel of working pencils over the blended Neocolors but I’m not sure the end result is different from what it might have been had I done things in their usual order.

Neocolor II water-soluble pastels (without water) undercoat.
Neocolor II undercoat lightly covered over with Caran d’Ache Pencil Blender
Luminance 6901 coloured pencils beginning to go over Neocolor + blender.
The layers of coloured pencils spread across the work.
“Last Night I Dreamed of Kyoto” finished.

Little Brother is Watching You

“Little Brother is Watching You” coloured pencil drawing, 16.5 x 22 cm. October 2021

If you are walking in a South Island forest you might sense that you are being watched. If so, look around you. Perhaps a South Island Tomtit (Ngirungiru) is monitoring your presence. He is interested in your footsteps on the forest floor stirring up insects which might just be lunch.

Ngirungiru appear from nowhere like tiny spies and, as such, Maori called them ‘torotoro’ – scouts. The birds are 13 cm long and weigh 11 grams.

Have I been in New Zealand/Aotearoa lately? No, I’m at home in closed-bordered Western Australia. But as I’m on a little-bird art journey at the moment I got out my photos from Orokonui Ecosanctuary to work from. I visited Orokonui in Otago three years ago.

It is wondrous to me that big personalities can belong to such little creatures. Birds’ personality-plus and pizazz are what I endeavour to portray in pencil.