Archive for February, 2016

First Attempts at Sumie
February 22, 2016

Below are my first attempts at Sumie painting. I attended a workshop conducted by Gerard Menzel on Sunday, the 14th of February. I have messed about with brush and ink in the past so I appreciated the opportunity to receive some formal instruction in the Sumie style of ink painting.


My first marks




Then on to the first of the four treasures of Sumie – bamboo. Previously, I used western style brushes so the eastern ink brushes were a revelation – so flexible and expressive. Gerard said it can take two years of practice to paint a bamboo leaf with one stroke of the brush.




The next treasure was the orchid. The traditional Sumie way is to hold an image of the subject in one’s head and convey the image onto the paper. I found this a challenge as I tend to work from direct observation of the subject. On the day, we were re-interpreting paintings which Gerard made to demonstrate the techniques of creating the subject. Luckily, I had studied and drawn orchids in the past and felt more comfortable with making these paintings.


Previous paintings were done on butchers paper whilst rice paper was used for these final two paintings.


Making paintings of two treasures was enough for one day. The chrysanthemum and plum blossom await another day.

Banksia Flowers
February 13, 2016


I have dug deep into my archives for this post.

At the time of making this drawing I wrote,

The subtle beauty of the blossoms of 

my favourite tree in the garden

offer solace

after a bruising visit to my parents.

7th September 2008

The tree was a Silver Banksia (Banksia marginata) and it was my ‘go to tree’ when I needed to think or seek refuge.

This post is part of a series of drawings about my former garden in Ferntree Gully.






Harmony View, Harcourt
February 2, 2016


Gardens of the Hedge (Horticultural Endeavours Demonstrating Gardening Enthusiasm) originally began as the fringe to the Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens held every two years. Between the 31st of October and the 8th of November 2015 (Cup Week to Victorians), Gardens of the Hedge opened their gardens in the ‘off’ year for the Garden Festival.

So I was very happy to visit Harmony View on the 7th of November. Harmony View is situated on the edge of the Harcourt township. The top view epitomises two main aspects of the garden – a rural outlook and callistemons.


The rural outlook


Callistemons in full bloom –




Crimson and white.












There was a small vegetable patch in raised beds.

The strawberries, whilst blurry in the photograph, looked very inviting.


Gardens of the Hedge will be opening their gardens again in September of this year. The Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens will be in full swing during Cup Week. Happy Days are ahead!