AnneLawsonArt Botanic Art In My Studio My art work

In my studio, December 2016

What’s happening in my studio?

Well, not much painting-wise. Like you, I have been busy with other interesting things that this time of the year throws up, including a very interesting talk by Dr. Tom May, who spoke about “From mushrooms to the mycobiome”. But that’s not what this post is about…..

My Cullen painting is at the same stage as last month. It’s not going to be finished in 2016. 😦

I have sent off my #stitchingsanta parcels. It is a fun idea organised by Sheila at Sewchet. Back in October she sent out an invitation to play along this year. I love making connections around the world, so I was in. I asked for two people ~ a sewing and a knitting/crocheting secret santa. Then Sheila’s email arrived telling me who I was going to collect for. I had so much fun collecting things. But challenged too. They need to be things the present-opener would like, as well as having an Australian theme and flat enough to go through the post as a letter. I think I did well, but, as it is a secret, all I can show you is this…..


In my studio I have some new treasures……

I can never go far without picking up something to bring home. These caught my eye on the path near the Botanic Gardens. I love how the weighty seedpods contrasts with the delicate wings, the smooth and the finely textured, the green and the pink, the shadow and the light ~ all this in one little miraculous package.

The other treasure is a print from my very talented friend Melanie Lazarow. I saw her recent exhibition and enjoyed her abstracts. Some are large and a wild mixture of vivid colours, some are small with detailed geometric shapes. She is also a wonderful photographer and her passion is recording how people fight against injustice. However, it was this print that cried out to go home with me.

Image copyright: Melanie Lazarow

I love the colours in it, its moodiness, and of course the plants.

While my Cullen painting has been languishing, I have made progress with my embroidery.

It is such a different process to my botanic art. When painting I know exactly how I want the final image to be. The point of botanic art is to replicate the plant in fine detail. Many of the decisions about composition, colour, tone, the process and so on are made before I start. Major problems I encounter during the painting process have usually arisen because I haven’t thought through issues at the beginning. The colour may be wrong or I haven’t really considered how I am going to paint those fine hairs or realise that the original drawing was incorrect.

The embroidery is so different. I have an idea of how it is going to be at the end, as I often work from a photo, but that only gives me the broad outlines, the shape of the tree or where the sky is going to be. I am always problem solving as I go. What stitch is best to make this look like grass? How am I going to show the highlight? Is my yarn giving me the tones that I want? Why don’t I try this thread? So many ‘What if….?’ questions. And I love that about it. It’s playful.

So….what’s happening in your creative space? You will notice that I am not saying “studio” except in the title. I like the sound of it there! Creative space is much wider ~ I’m thinking studio, kitchen table, sketchbook, computer, note book, anywhere you create. And I am not limiting it to painters. Writers and quilters, printers and poets, everyone is welcome.

And it doesn’t have to be a final, well rounded piece. It can be, but it might also be a look at what you are working on, a tip, a technique, a new piece of equipment. It might be a photo of your work space or your inspiration board. Or even an inspirational quote!

Leave a comment below with a link to your blog post, Instagram photo, Facebook entry….whatever.


21 replies on “In my studio, December 2016”

The embroidery is amazing… you’ve really expressed the essence. Interesting things are what feed creativity… it’s and bit of give & take time wise. My life feels like a creative space at the moment… much of it attempting the previously untried. Hopefully I can carve out a few hours to ensconce myself in the Backroom and document it into a blog post before Christmas.


the really good thing is that there is no pressure. If it happens, good; if it doesn’t well, other good things will have happened! I am glad you have the space to live your life at the moment ~ when I think back to your posts when you were still in Sydney…..


What a lovely lot of eye candy you’ve given us in today’s post 🙂
I love what you’re doing with the embroidery. I find it very rich and satisfying to look at; you’ve achieved a real sense of depth and dimension, and your skill at mark-making in paint is clearly paying dividends here, as you have effortlessly achieved texture instead of the flatness so many of us would have been dissatisfied with!

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Oh, thank you Kate. One of the positives about this textile work is that you can layer over and still have some of the underneath yarn still show through. Again, a very different process to watercolour. It is very difficult to correct a big mistake.

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I love those seed pods! I did some work as a metalsmith and always thought it would be a good skill builder to try and recreate a pod like that, just with hammers. Never tried it, though! My “studio” is busy–making chocolates, weaving kitchen towels, hand quilting . . . never any time to be bored! I think your embroidery is fab.


i love your weaving, Kerry. You create so many beautiful patterns. In my next life I hope to come back as a weaver (and I don’t mean a spider!). The seed pods would be awesome in metalwork. Do you still do any smithing?


Thanks, Anne–I have plans for future lives, too! And, no, I do little with the metalwork now. I still have all the expensive equipment but it’s a craft that takes a lot of time and focus. Plus I wear almost no jewelry so I ended up with all these pretty pieces, just sitting around . . .

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Anne, you are skilled at so many things! I’m always in awe of your abilities. I’m dying to know what’s inside your stitching Santa projects. Will you reveal them once the recipient has opened them?

Those are amazing seed pods. I’ve never seen any quite like them.


The heads of those amazing seedpods are quite solid and heavy. I never tracked down the tree, but they probably didn’t fall far. I will have to go back and investigate 🙂
I will reveal the goodies I sent. I am very excited because my parcel arrived this morning, from Joey in South Africa. She has very generously sent me a number of little packets and I am allowed to open one each day up to Christmas. I think I will post each one each day on Instagram, and then all of them here on the blog, with what I sent.


Your embroidery is amazing Anne – it’s so full of life.
Will those seed pods become a painting?
I have been making needle cases and zipped fabric pouches like a woman possessed for a couple of weeks now for a fund raiser, as small gifts for friends and maybe my Stitching Santa partners (it’s a secret!) but now I must get on with finishing the quilt I’m hoping to give my husband at Christmas.


My fingers itch to do a little drawing of the seedpods, and I wonder about making them from material and stitching. But at the moment, like you, I am caught up in other things. Have fun with your #stitchingsanta ~ it’s such a feel good thing to do isn’t it? And good luck with the quilt for your husband!


Nothing like a good natter, so let's have a chat!

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