Friday, 20 April 2018


I HAVE A HAIRY COMPANION - a very large huntsman has been in my studio all week, moving from wall to window frame and back.

     EEK!!!    he's not really so scary

 yesterday as i got ready to get in the shower, i realised he was on the side of the bath next to all my clothes, i went to get the camera and came back to find him just disappearing into the tile vent.  much shaking of clothes after the shower, just in case :0(
will he come out again???


 WE SPEND A LOT OF TIME ALONE working in our rooms so it was nice this afternoon to drive to nearby blackheath to visit Margaret Hamilton, former publisher and now writer and proprietor of Pinerolo, a centre for illustrators to do residencies which houses her wonderful collection of original book illustration. she also holds workshops in aspects of children's literature and lives there with her designer/artist husband Max.
we drove back into katoomba to meet up with the blue mountains illustrators group - once again at the beautiful Carrington hotel. there were about eight of us, a lively
night of meeting new people and putting a face to names i knew well like Tohby Riddle (in the middle)

a sensational break in the clouds on the drive back from blackheath

a visitor outside my window, there were three large cockies working their way
through the tree eating the  spiky round seed pods

Thursday, 19 April 2018


HAVEN'T PICKED UP A BRUSH  for days - i must do that these last few days. the computer component of this residency is not satisfying, i don't feel i'm really good at it, don't know enough.  and i'm worried about the useability of the final files of the artwork.  i'm sure it's ok, it's just my lack of confidence that's telling me bad things. grrrr

i drove dias and rose over to leura for a quick visit and the shop i wanted to revisit was closed, no explanation, just 'we're closed' in a handwritten note :0\   then i took them to the carrington for a pre dinner drink in front of the open fire, so grand and comfy there :0)

 a detail from
two grand 6ft tall
chinese vases that
stand either side 
of the fireplace in
the main lounge

Tuesday, 17 April 2018


I'VE DONE A VISUAL for the cover of the book, just computer stuff to do and this one last piece of artwork.  hope the cover meeting approves it, i've run out of ideas, this is my third rough.


IT'S NEARLY 7 - i'm going for a clifftop walk this morning, love that path around to Echo Point.  thinking about returning to leura to buy a skirt i saw there.  I photographed it to help make up my mind, it's
a beautiful fabric.
hmmm  :0\

Monday, 16 April 2018


A GOOD DAY -  i got some stuff done super early, before i got up. drove julienne, a fellow resident, to the station and then left the car and walked to the next town, Leura.  wow! talk about wall to wall shops, little shops with locally made beautiful jewellery,  interesting clothes, all the same kinds of shops but each with its own take.  i had a lovely wander and treated myself to some handmade earrings (my gift to myself for my shortlisting, that's the excuse).  walked back (lots of hills so puffing a bit). then home and onto the bed to cradle the laptop on my lap (naturally) and do a lot of photoshopping and sorting of files all afternoon.  i got a lot done :0)
then picked up by Margaret Hamilton who has a children's book program on Blue Mountains Radio, an hour program on which i was the guest tonight.   i've met margaret years ago when she was a children's publisher, now she lives up here.
a new resident has arrived here at varuna tonight, i must get a photo of us all soon.   another great dinner from sheila, all good :0)
beautiful sundown from my room
a little later, sunset from the studio of RBM 89.1 

Margaret in her spot


SATURDAY, and old friends fran and mike came to spend a couple of nights in a lovely old guest house in katoomba.  we drove over to medlow bath to visit the magnificent hydro majestic, it's a huge spa complex with the most sweeping views of the megalong valley and blue mountains, the main room has a curved window about 30 metres long across three large lounge areas.  a beautifully located building on the edge of a huge escarpment.   now decorated a la
asian luxury hotel, enough decor imposed on it for three hotels - artificial blossom trees, black glossy chandeliers.  but look past these and the building is still magnificent.

                             thanks mike for driving :0)

Saturday, 14 April 2018


AFTER A DELICIOUS BATH yesterday afternoon i sparked up and sat outside as the sun got low in the sky, and drew trees and thought about little skip's character - his mate ollie too.


I HAD A FLAT DAY yesterday, lots of computer work on the scans for 'when the war is over' so a cramped day of sitting.   i realised i was craving water,  would i go for a swim or . . . have a hot bath??   my bath here is in a lovely old tiled 30's cream bathroom.  wonderful
It made me realise how much i miss all that wonderful water going past my house

Friday, 13 April 2018


THE CLIFFTOP WALK to echo point is steps all the way, mostly up. but the spectacular views draw you on and if i do it every second day i hope to make the set of 85 steps in one spot without a break. i got to 63 yesterday. then as soon as you get to 85 there's a ladder!  worth it though :0)

                        a stop for breath and a look back

thank god i go right, and down to echo point :0)

a reward at the end, this beautiful little honeyeater


I DID SOME MORE WORK on skip today, i need to develop the two different characters and work out what they wear. gathering together everything i've done in the past.

  i think i like
my test sheets
more than
anything i
create :0)

i looked up above my desk and this gorgeous creature is hanging on an invisible web, slowly spinning and turning on the breeze through the window.   i have drawn pics of skip riding on a swallow's back but i think the dragonfly is a much more beautiful option

Thursday, 12 April 2018


I REMEMBER years ago when i started working on my little book about Skip the sprite, editor erica said 'go and sit under a tree'  -  and i did.  looking up into the branches gave me a key illustration idea which is the cover of the little dummy book i used for grant applications.
Now i've picked it up again, i want to get it published so i went out and sat under the trees and played around with character and paint colour tests. looking up into the autumn foliage is inspiring. i'll do it whenever i can while i'm here.

my room top left