Botanical Riches – Gouache

lorainecallowdesignsGouache paintings on my desk – Loraine Callow March 2017

Explorer Frank Kingdon Ward on his first sighting of the blue poppy in Tibet, 1924:
‘Suddenly I looked and there, like a blue panel dropped from heaven – a stream of blue poppies dazzling as sapphires in the pale light.’

Botanical riches on my desk this morning from the previous evening. The book “Botanical Riches – Stories of Botanical Exploration” by Richard Aitken is really an exceptional work. I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting Richard on a couple of occasions and his work influences my day job. Thank heavens for The Miegunyah Press and their superb book production that captures some of Richard’s encyclopaedic knowledge. I’ve had this for book for 10 years and constantly find something fascinating and inspiring in it. This time it was a poppy and Strelitizia reginae. I painted them in gouache in my sketchbook.

More on Richard and how this lovely book came to be.

Strelitzia Lorainecallowdesigns

Strelitzia in gouache – Loraine Callow March 2017.

A Red and Blue Festive Season

Christmas in Australia means summer and summer for my family means the beach. For me the fresh combination of red and blue and white feel more festive than the usual green and red combinations. I’m looking forward to turning some of these and other designs into products in 2016. Whatever your colour preferences I wish you sparkly, bright days and plenty of time to be creative!

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My Window Garden – Autumn in Melbourne

lorainecallow window 2 lorainecallow window 3 lorainecallow window 1lorainecallow window 4

Autumn has arrived here in my little corner of Australia and with it comes the morning sun at a slightly different angle – an angle that brings the distinct feeling of seasonal change and registers both the ending of something and the starting of something. It’s a bittersweet combination of melancholy and anticipation for the season ahead. In the meantime I’m full of gladness and deep appreciation that I’m blessed with flowers and a garden. I hope you are enjoying the season wherever you are!

Art Materials Love 2 – Micron Pen, Koh-I-Noor Watercolours

Loraine Callow Hand lettering 3
Loraine Callow Hande lettering 1 Loraine Callow Hand Lettering 2

 

Here’s a A5 sized hand lettering piece I did last year for a little friend’s birthday. It’s done on 300gms/90lb rough water paper using Sakura Mircron Pen and Koh-I-Noor Brilliant Watercolour – you can see how inky and deep the colours are! They look remarkably flat and not that interesting in the pans themselves but they are very punchy on paper! I’m delighted to say my 10 year old friend was very happy with her leafy nameĀ  and has it on the door of her room. šŸ™‚

More Stamp Garden – The Miracle of Home Printing

Stamp Garden - Loraine CallowI always have this feeling that I use about 5% of the capacity any technology I own and it’s only when I really want to do something that I’ll push a little. I’ve been printing documents and photos an on my Canon MG6250 for years – yesterday was the first time I slipped some card in the rear tray and printed something I’d designed. Small miracles hey? It’s not perfect and I’m still wrangling with image and paper size matching up, but I did it and I’m ridiculously chuffed at how this work is coming together.

Fragments

I’ve always been thrilled to find little shards of china buried in the garden or on digs along land that used to be near housing. I love the ornate decorations. I want to know the story of the cup or plate or bowl – how did it come to be exactly there under my feet? I have quite a collection and I am drawn to people who like to pick up and collect the things I do. 
This little as yet unfinished drawing, done in fine pen on quite rough water colour paper features pieces from my own treasure trove and a couple of spectacular pieces borrowed from a dear friend.The beauty of undertaking to draw something with lot of fine details is that you get to know it very well. The way the leaves intertwine, the shading to add depth to the decoration, the placement of petals just so, a temple here, a blossom there. I’ll never look at a teacup in the same way. 
Drawing the fragments has also been an exercise in faith – the faith in my ability to represent the art already inherent in those small remnants of something useful. At times I found myself struggling with confidence – I could actually almost hear the doubting voice when I was about to tackle a particularly complex decoration. I’m practicing quietening that voice and learning to continue working in spite of it. It’s a nice feeling to make it to the other side of that doubting time and settle to work or in this case settle to play.

PS – If I was doing this again I probably wouldn’t start on really rough paper – every time a .005 pen tip hits a bump it’s like driving into the side of a mountain!