Saturday, February 26, 2011


The title and concept behind this piece is derived from the saying "To have salt rubbed in an open wound."


I managed to briefly document the progress of "Salt", taking a photograph at the end of each night spent working on this piece.

I am frustrated to look at the beautiful colours captured in the very last photo when the piece is almost finished, compared with the pale washed out version my (expensive) scanner managed to capture (above).

The sketch took two nights to complete. Breaking my recent habit I decided to complete the drawing in pencil for a softer finish at the end.

I like to get the backgrounds blocked in first. All the drawings from my teenage years are coloured figures floating in empty space, because I would be too nervous (and bored) to bother with a background after completing the main character. Working with the hardest parts first helps me immensely these days.

At the end of the second night of painting, (photographed the following morning). I have again attempted to use India Ink for the shadowy other room.... my verdict? I never even want to see India Ink again in my life. Not being able to blend into a softly diffused space really frustrated me, but several more layers of watercolour and heavily diluted ink helped to even it out.

The final night, five days after starting on the piece I was determined to finish. This photo documents when I am almost finished, only the very last details are left. I try to leave things like lips and eyes till the very end, and flicking in those dark lashes usually signifies the completion of a piece.

This photo shows the colours so beautifully. I'm sad the scan didn't turn out like this, how annoying.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this one. Did you like the documentation of the different stages?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Inspiration at Night

Some moody shots of my most recent piece, "Salt"

I have been working a full seven days a week since the end of January, so precious time for drawing usually only presents itself late at night. For a few short hours I am allowed some measure of calm, some peace for my turbulent mind.

My porcelain muse stands watch as I draw, and the haunting voices of Nouvelle Vague, Melanie Pain and Florence and The Machines waver in the background, inspiring me with their sweetly melancholic lyrics.

"Salt" is now ready to have delicate layer upon layer of translucent watercolour applied, gradually building up the rich and silky tones I strive for in a finished piece.

But not tonight, my hours are up, and it's off to bed...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Incomplete Fragments

Do you remember my challenge?

Last year I counted 13 unfinished drawings, all waiting to be completed and painted. It seemed silly to start new drawings when I had all these fragments that would surely make beautiful pieces if only I would get my act together and colour them in. I vowed to finish all 13.

I only have 4 left! To celebrate I broke form to pursue a new piece, an idea that came suddenly and with forceful inspiration. I know, how naughty. I am working on it right now!
The piece will be titled "Salt", and I really hope it turns out how I envision!!

Then I promise, I will finish my challenge!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Betrayal

 The alternative title for this was going to be: "The Bordello", but I went with "The Betrayal" instead.

It only took me 12 years to finally paint a portrait of this friend. I realised that I have known her for half my life, and from here on with every year I will have known her for more than half... that feels special.

Regarding the illustration itself - I discovered India Ink is so completely different to work with than my trusted watercolours. It doesn't blend nicely at all, and being so dominant - even when watered down - the multitude of translucent layers of watercolour beneath it are lost entirely. Mixing black in watercolours is so hard though, and it's never black enough! This is all good learning, and since I very rarely make dominantly black pieces, it's not a huge issue.

I'd love to hear your thoughts......

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A tangle of hands

first there was one...

a friend came along, and there were two...

then came a little sister, and there were three...

a cousin arrived from afar, and then there were four...

Playing with my camera, and my small porcelain army. I've been posting a lot more artworks recently, after a long hiatus... have you noticed? I say it's the work of these little muses, inspiring me :-)

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Fox Lady's Mysterious Business

For this latest portrait, I was inspired by a lovely artist in Finland, Noora. Utterly in love with her charming artworks, I found myself drawn more and more to this open and friendly girl, till I begged her to let me draw her. It is the first time I tried to capture a person’s portrait without having ever met them directly. On opposite ends of the Earth, I had only her artworks, photographic self-portraits and her online “voice” (from her blog, etc) to rely upon.
 At any rate, this is my impression of her. I’m delighted with this piece, and I hope you are too!

I think one of the nice things about drawing figures based upon real people is that I’m not relying solely upon my own imagination to create an artwork.
I am influenced and inspired by many creative souls, from different walks of life and even from very differing backgrounds. Each one of my subjects has an interesting story to tell, and I try to capture these fragile glimpses and hint at those underlying emotions.
People are so wonderfully different, that all these little quirks can come through in a portrait. The way one holds her head, the way another has strong body language, one might have an intense expression, whilst another will hold herself in a particular way. I think it is only by observing all these different character quirks that you can create a cast of believable characters - otherwise you are relying upon your own imagination for each figure you draw, and might end up simply drawing self portrait after self portrait, your figures blurring into one hazy “character type”.

I try to be very conscious of creating a range of characters when I draw. I get told a lot that all my drawings look like self-portraits – I’m battling against it I swear!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Summer Daydreams

Portrait of fellow artist, Noora. 

A charming and sweet girl from Finland, I have been following Noora's work for a while now, and her art has delighted me to no end. I keep trying to convince her to sell me one of her paintings, they are bursting with life and exude a charm of innocence and joy.

I won't go into the long story, that's for another day - but I needed to draw a Finnish girl.
I was delighted when Noora accepted my request, and gave me free range to her many beautiful self portraits. This one struck me as particularly nostalgic.
A quick watercolour practice "sketch" before I embark on the actual portait, I can't wait to share that one! *_*

In the meantime, pop over to her blog, and have a peek at

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The offer still stands

I mentioned once that the first ten Giclee prints to sell through my Etsy Shop would each receive a bonus print! Both as thanks for supporting a fledgling artist, and as incentive!

Here are some, on the way to their new owners...

The offer still stands you know :-)

Friday, February 11, 2011

China Doll

For an absent minded sketch, I like how this little china doll turned out. I think her face is the most "doll"-like of all my drawings so far - hence my un-imaginative title!
I don't usually reach for the yellow when colouring my pieces, but I had this colour pre-mixed on my palette and decided to try for a slightly Korean/Eastern type palette with yellow and fuschia. I like the result :-)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Consult

A doodle that I decided I liked, and gave it some colour. I like the allure that something is happening here that we, the viewers, and even I, the artist, are not quite privy to. My mind imagines possible scenarios, each as mysterious as the next.

What is your impression? I'd love to hear...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Portrait of the Artist - Part 2

While we're on the subject of world renowned artists flocking to paint portraits of me (oh come on, I kid!)

Here is a fantastic portrait rendered of me by 4 year old Leda - watch out for her, she's going to take the art world by storm!!

I love this picture. It's hanging on my wall :-)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Portrait of the Artist

I count myself lucky, knowing as many talented and creative souls as I do. 
A very dear friend of mine, Laura Jade, gifted me with this emotive little portrait for my birthday. I feel the emotion she has captured here is exquisitely touching, and painfully apparent. I love it, and will always treasure it.

Laura only recently returned from a very long and thorough adventure of Europe. A year ago now, she sent me these two beautiful watercolours that she rendered during her travels.

She has been a huge inspiration, not only on my work but on my life as well,  and I urge you to visit her freshly finished website:


Friday, February 4, 2011

Those dears....

Recently I sent this little watercolour to a dear friend, you may have heard me gushing about her here often. Crystal Suh is the incredible talent that makes the ephemeral silk birds for Victoria Buckley Jewellery, going by the name of Sacrificial Rabbits.
Early last year she custom made me a unique bespoke fawn-nymph, and this was the little portrait I rendered of her.


Also, check out this awesome poem published on soundzine, featured alongside my etching "mouse nest"

It's a great poem, and here is the link to the wonderful write up about me: monika viktoria

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The heat.............

The heat is incredible. It's all around and it is penetrating and thick and sluggish and heavy.
42 degrees celcius, 7 o'clock at night and the sun burns my toes, blinds my eyes and presses itself opressively all over me.
Inside we do not own any fans (you know, the electrical kind) nor is our ramshackle house equipped with it's own airconditioning. Waving my little paper fan is useless, it just wafts hot air back into my face.
The cicada's screech their alien song, our parrots pant with their beaks held open. We use spray bottles to wet their feathers, even Beast, the cranky Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is willing to put up with this indignity. The finches were not so lucky today, no matter how we tried to keep them cool, the boys did not make it through the day.

This to me is an Australian Summer. Even when the bus overheated on the way home, and the bus after it did the same, trudging home in the scorching heat I couldn't help but smile.... This is when I feel most "at home" in Australia.

As a nice little respite, I share a photo taken of me by dear friend and artist Angela Rose of Butterfly Bones last week.... I'm trying to think cold thoughts,  imaginging I'm a mermaid....