June drawing times

Well I’ve gotten past my little hissy fit and now back into the making of things. Being too much in my head and not just going with the hands isn’t good for The Practice.

So planning my days and things that need to get done and drawing for many. many hours is my life again. It’s good to be driven, have purpose and enjoy what the process.
Kidlet has been joining me for some drawing sessions too, there is nothing sweeter. So I did get a bit distracted from my Big Drawing to do a Small Drawing of her drawing. 😛

There’s a bunny in my studio, drawing a cookie-moon

And I’ll finish up with a self portrait – have a good weekend

Self portrait and house plant sketches

Drawing Language – Artist talk

From This Wild Song website:

Can’t wait for our next forum Drawing Language with artists Filomena Coppola, Lily Mae Martin and Charlotte Watson! Join us for a lovely afternoon at The Art Room ( in Footscray ) and learn more about these artist’s work, their drawing language, and their experiences as women in the arts.
Afternoon tea is provided, please bring your questions!
Places are limited


I’ve been thinking a lot about what I will talk about at this forum and am really looking forward to it. It’s been an interesting process stepping back and looking over my drawing career, there’s a lot to say. I’m also excited to meet the other artists and hear what they say too.

On Saturday – I went to an artist talk by Megan Evans at the Art Gallery of Ballarat and it was truly fantastic. Artists talks are so important – if you are an artist or interested in becoming one or just interested I think these experiences are truly valuable and totally worth attending.

See you there 🙂

Meanwhile I am working on this large one, at the kitchen table as I had to keep an eye on kids who also kept an eye on me 🙂

Drawing of a backhead A2 express locomotive

Ballarat Heritage Weekend has just been, the highlight for me was ( is always ) the steam trains.
The sun shone and my spirits were high, I thought I’d go out and see what observational drawings I could do. I haven’t done that in a long while. I took a ride on the train, which was a A2 express passenger locomotive, built in 1915 and the Newport Workshops. It was such an amazing experience. The train departed from Ballarat station and went to Lal Lal. When it stopped a young kid said “WE’VE RAN OUT OF PETROL!”, super cute.

I did a lot of terrible sketches, just what I needed to do! Took a lot of photos and spoke to volunteers from Steamrail Victoria. Such a gift, people sharing their knowledge.

I also did a tour of the old Ballarat Gaol, which was grim and very, very interesting. I looked at amazing vintage cars and then later on in the evening Kidlet and I went to the 100 years of music at the Ballarat Mechanics Institute. She danced and danced and asked me to join and I did not 😛

The heritage weekend is one of those things that you always want to see more than you actually can. I love learning history, even the dark stuff.
I had plans to do more finished drawings of the weekend, but I’ve just started working on some large pieces and that is where my drawing time is going too. So, enjoy this drawing of the beautiful train backhead. Get to the BHW one year! It’s well worth your time.

I am yet to make my best work

I’ve really been through a stage of some sort this past year. Reflection, depression, sorting, connecting, ending, searching. At times it has been very distressing, and other times it’s just traveling along side my day to day, silent but present. I wouldn’t know what to call it, perhaps that’s something I can do when I’ve moved further away from it but whatever the last 12 months was, I really feel like now I have turned a new page.


Perhaps this is what happens when you quit something that has been all consuming. I stopped drinking a year and a half ago and my life is SO different. May not look like that on the outside, I appreciate that – but who I am and how I relate to me and the world is very different. I’ve had to learn, though, that I cannot fill up all that space with just work. Art needs its own time, it also needs time off and just a few weeks ago I finally stopped. Well, I did a small thing here and there but ultimately – I stopped. Right at that point I started up teaching and really had to check myself to make sure I didn’t channel my bitterness about ( my ) Art to the teenagers I am to teach and guide. ( PS young people are the best people ) That was a great opportunity for reflection on myself, my Art and ultimately my disappointment with my own practice.

I’m lucky in that I know some pretty great people. I really feel like I have friends and a community around me that cares. I really feel held and able to let go a little and bounce back when I can. So thank you to everyone for the chats over coffees, teas, lake walks, train commutes, openings, emails and ( bloody ) facebook messenger. Thank you.

Last week I went into my studio for the first time in a month and pulled it completely apart. I’ve sorted, scrubbed, taken apart, given away, thrown out and moved things about. It’s a completely different space. I felt like I was suffocating here in a weird way and now it feels light, ready and hopeful.

I’m drawing again, I’m motivated again and I feel like I am yet to make my best work – which really is the best feeling.

The Good Room

Of late, I have let too many things that do not matter -matter. After a good few weeks off doing things that are not Art I feel like I’ve had my time and now it’s time to get back to it.
I forget how good it is for the art and for the soul to just stop every so often. Break bad habits, shut the socials down and do life things like garden and cook and sometimes laying on the floor and having a good cry. But also, boxing! I’ve taken up boxing and I am completely in love with it.

But today I wanted to write and talk about The Good Room. Gene and I were lucky enough to buy our first home about two years ago. The house we got defo was in need of some TLC. It’s still got a long ways to go, but it has already come so far. Gene’s been woodworking and he’s so very clever while I’ve been gardening and learning the art of not killing plants, but growing them and growing them well. We are so lucky we get to share this with our almost eight year old daughter. She’s helped paint and wood work and garden and chooses things out also.
There’s a big room out the front of our place that we just used to store and dump stuff. When we moved out from Melbourne a number of years back, it was pretty sudden and up until a few months ago we still hadn’t unpacked a lot of that stuff. So we got in there a number of months ago. Pulled things out, cleaned and sorted and delivered unwanted but good things to the op shop. Luckily when we had first moved in here it was one of the few rooms that we had professionally painted, so after we cleaned up it was time to source some furniture.
It took a while to work out what kind of style we wanted to go for. After a visit to a very wonderful writer’s house in Mildura earlier this year – I knew I wanted to head towards mid century style of furniture. Gene agreed, but on the condition that we do not get those fuckin spiky clock things. ( Which I had spent the day looking at on eBay! )
After lusting after things on pinterest I simply googled ‘mid century Ballarat’ not thinking I’d have any luck but what came up was Pamo Industries. I was very, very excited when I found this. We went to their showroom and lucky for us they had chairs already restored but also a coffee table and a sideboard which had yet to be restored. It would take some time for the table and sideboard to be finished so we looked for a rug that would fit in with it all in the meantime, which we did. ( The whole house will need to have to floorboards re done at some point, but that’s a thing for the future.) When the furniture arrived it was better than Christmas – it is so beautifully restored and looks beautiful. Kidlet, Gene and I sat in there just marvelling at it and the space and laughing together. Perfect. We also sourced a couch from gumtree and have art from other artists and myself to hang on the walls.

The Good Room still has a ways to go. The plan is to find a few more lamps and side tables for it, that will take some time to hunt and find. We would also like to build a unit to store all of the books. There’s a TV port in the room but we’ll leave that, this room is for reading and crafting and tea drinking. Kidlet calls it the ‘Relaxing Room’ – it really, really is.

( L to R ) Small painting by Nadia Toukhsati, drawing by Lily Mae Martin, painting by Monique Revell, painting by Nom Kinnear-King.

Furniture by Pamo Industries.

OK, now time to get to the studio and see what I can do. See you soon.


Articulating new work has been really hard. I get the impression that people think artists come up with an idea in their head and then make it. Maybe for some artists it does work that way, but it never has for me.
It is very important to me that I see some sort of progression throughout my pieces. I understand that not every work will be a masterpiece and I know not every work will be moving forward as there can be a sort of one step forward two steps back kind of thing. As frustrating as this tends to be I can generally move through it.
At the moment, however, I am a little stuck. Perhaps this is a life thing too – there are moments where we feel like we can’t get a break, can’t get a win. I just can’t seem to crack it. I’ve begun many works that I have had to abandon, I’ve also been working for a very long time on a piece only to realize it is an epic fail and or I’ve accidently ruin it! Very disheartening.
I guess with art there’s no trajectory. I thought I was on an up for a bit – my work was moving forward and the many, many applications and prizes that I enter paid off. But this year, so far – brutal. I cannot get my work to move forward, or I am failing to see/ work out how to satisfy this within myself and the work. I feel like I’ve burnt out but hardly done anything. Or have nothing I really want to show.
At the moment I can’t see anything good in my work. It’s nowhere near where I want it to be and I have no idea what I am doing. I’ve set myself the task of spending a few hours each day, doing something practical in the studio, When the alarm goes off I leave and do other things with my time and try not to get too emotional about it all. It’s a massively emotional thing for me – so much of my identity is tied up within this. So failing over and over again – well, I feel pretty rubbish.

Experimenting and failing

I’m trying to do new things, I think it is good to try and push oneself. But it’s also good to be able to see when it’s not working out. I don’t usually allow for this. Time restraints weigh heavy on me… I don’t like having to do difficult things in my studio when life is a little difficult at times and then I end up having nothing going my way. But – I’ve been wanting to try things and it is getting to a point that I think if I don’t do it now, I never will.
So I have been painting, and I’ve been trying out different drawing styles – so far I’ve just pushed myself to keep going with them until I feel like I have explored it enough. I’ve also been reading a lot – some fiction for a book club, and a lot of history on ancient Celts. I’m also reading about climate change and thinking a lot about landscapes and our demands on it.
Incredibly fascinating stuff.
I thought I had an idea where all of this is going, but I don’t. It’s a little terrifying at times but I do boxing to balance out my frustrations and we will see where this all goes or doesn’t go.
Keeping most things offline have felt important at this time too. That was hard because notifications are like a drug ( shut up, you love it too ) and I can’t help but want to be reflective online rather than present in real life. I’m trying to correct that too. I keep thinking about 2008 – ten years ago, when I was in my final year of university and how I let that large body of work develop in my studio and no one saw it until the exhibition at the end of the year. I’m aware that this is not how things really work now and progress shots are interesting – however I need to balance this out better and I find social media is too much involved at times it shouldn’t be. For me, anyway.

I’ve not successfully completed a work for some months now – except for two small portraits of animals, which I think worked out pretty awesome – but this is OK. This is good to do, or so I keep telling myself 😛