Tag Archives: Coloured Pencils

This Is Not Art

This is not

“Something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings”     – Merriam Webster dictionary

This collage does express visually to me why it has been nearly 4 months (?!!) since I posted here and how I feel and it is important to me, so maybe it is art, albeit not good…

Daily Sketches and photos

This Is Not Art

I find some comfort in Salvador Dali‘s words:

Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it!


One Mans Flowers…

Many of the wildflowers in our garden at Balligar in Western Australia have turned out to be weeds – officially declared pests! This has led to much thought about the concept of weeds – or “matter out of place” as described by E.J. Salisbury (a botanist) – and germinated the seeds of a new series. This is a prototype inspired by the Arum Lilies that grow in clumps in the lower part of our property.

Arum Lilies - WA Weed

One Mans Flowers… By Helen Lock

Done using permanent ink and watercolour pencils on Arches Watercolour paper. Border and text added using Publisher.

All comments, critiques, recommendations and suggestions welcome!


Mistaken Identity

At first I titled this coloured pencil painting ‘Bottlebrush” but

Not A Bottlebrush

Kunzea Baxteri

discovered that is is a Kunzea.  One has to look closely to see the differences though!  Kunzea leaves tend to be smaller than those of Callistemons and the five sepals and petals are deciduous in the Kunzea and persistent in Callistemons.  They are closely related.  Here is a photo of each taken in our garden this Spring.

Not A Bottlebrush

Kunzea Baxteri



The Kunzea is endemic to the south west of Western Australia and occurs on granite outcrops and hills – so this Kunzea Baxteri is right at home at our place!

I’m enjoying the education I’m getting as a by product of painting and posting.

I’m also awed and appreciative of the free resources available to us on the internet. (Just follow the links in this post if you need convincing.) I remember it used to cost thousands in old money to own an encyclopedia!  It is just one of the reasons I support ‘net neutrality


The End Of The Rainbow

If Blue Leschenaultia is known as ‘The Floor Of the Sky’ perhaps Parakeelya should be known as ‘The Floor Of The Sunset’ but for me it is the end of my WA Rainbow:

WA Rainbow - Violet (Parakeelya)

WA Rainbow – Violet (Parakeelya)

Parakeelya is a low growing Australian native with purplish flowers about 2cm wide.  Its name is Aboriginal but its origin and meaning are unknown.

All parts are edible but, as food this annual is apparently more palatable to stock than humans and can provide forage after soil moisture has dried up.

My painting was inspired by seeing a carpet of these flowers on a beautiful, sunny, Spring morning in the Julimar State Forest north east of Perth in WA.  The original is 9cm square and worked with Prismacolor pencils on paper.

I find it mind-bending to maintain concentration to get the details of interlaced things like the flower stems looking realistically tangled and wonder if there’s a special technique that would help!  I also wonder if I could ‘loosen up’!

I’d like to make another rainbow one day, meanwhile I’ll leave you with some thoughts about rainbows.

The lyrics of ‘The End of The Rainbow’ by Richard Thompson, sung here by Elvis Costello, represent a perspective I cannot share else I’d have no raison d’etre.  It is a very sad and depressing song.  These are the words of its chorus:

Life seems so rosy in the cradle,
But I’ll be a friend I’ll tell you what’s in store
There’s nothing at the end of the rainbow.
There’s nothing to grow up for anymore.

How much better to believe that the rainbow is enough in itself.


Indigo, Indigoing, Indigone!

It may seem a strange choice to paint the Western Australian wildflower Blue Leschenaultia to represent Indigo in my WA Rainbow series done in coloured pencils.  It seemed an awkward choice to me at the time because it is such a brilliant blue flower, as you may have seen in my earlier post  ‘The Floor Of The Sky’, but I struggled to find an alternative and decided to show the darkened flowers in the warm glow of dusk.

WA Rainbow - Indigo (Blue Leschenaultia) by Helen Lock

WA Rainbow – Indigo (Blue Leschenaultia) by Helen Lock

Now having done some research for this post I discover that although Indigo is the sixth traditional colour of the rainbow as named by Sir Isaac Newton we may not be seeing the same colour as Newton.  According to Gary Waldman, a contemporary physicist,

“A careful reading of Newton’s work indicates that the color he called indigo, we would normally call blue; his blue is then what we would name blue-green or cyan.”

So maybe my choice was good after all!

My research also provided this thought provoking quote from Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins:

At birth we are red-faced, round, intense, pure. The crimson fire of universal consciousness burns in us. Gradually, however, we are devoured by parents, gulped by schools, chewed up by peers, swallowed by social institutions, wolfed by bad habits and gnawed by age and by the time we have been digested, cow style, in those six stomachs, we emerge a single disgusting shade of brown.

The lesson of the beet, then, is this” hold on to your divine blush, your innate rosy magic, or end up brown. Once you’re brown, you’ll find that you’re blue. As blue as indigo. And you know what that means.


I’m gone –
until next time.


Silky Blue

The Silky Blue Orchid represents the blue in my WA Rainbow series.  It is a native of Western Australia and grows from Perth to Esperance.  It’s labellum (lip) reminded me of the iconic Mick Jagger tongue, enhanced (?) with piercings!

Cyanicula sericea_1266

Cyanicula sericea_1266 (Photo credit: eyeweed)

This orchid is a perennial that grows to about 40cm tall, flowers in our spring and has a single silky leaf – hence its name.  It usually grows as scattered, individual plants and like many other wildflowers around here does well on gravel.

The ‘tongue’ forms a similar function as Mick Jagger’s – it attracts attention!  In this case it attracts potential pollinators and the ‘piercings’ are actually dark blue ‘calli’ (small knobs) that act as a guidance system for them.  My coloured pencil painting gives you a closer look.

Silky Blue Orchid by Helen Lock

Silky Blue Orchid by Helen Lock

You can see many species of orchids in Kings Park in Perth, Western Australia.  Do visit Kings Park if you ever have the chance.  It has an excellent botanical garden, many other attractions and fantastic views of the city and the Swan River.

English: View of South Perth from Kings Park

English: View of South Perth from Kings Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)