Light Grey Art Lab — World Roulette

Light Grey Art Lab’s upcoming exhibition World Roulette brings together artists from around the globe to create unique, fantastical, sublime, and original worlds. Join Light Grey Art Lab (and their artists) in a celebration of the exhibition and a collaborative KICKSTARTER book & project, beginning Aug 28th-Sept 28th, 2020!

We are so excited to be publishing this book with 150 new and exotic worlds, and 150 stories. Born from the idea that there are infinite kinds of worlds out there – all with unique attributes, cultures, social structures, and time periods, we took the idea of alternate universes and made a book/exhibition FULL of places rich with their own nuances, histories, and perils!
Join us in celebrating the unique worlds built by a team of exceptional creatives!”

World Roulette opens August 28-30th at Light Grey Art Labs in Minneapolis: opening Friday 7-10pm, Saturday 12-7pm, Sunday 12-5pm. The exhibition will be on display through September 28th, 2020, and visible on the virtual gallery on the website and online shop ( The KICKSTARTER will be live AUG 28 – SEPT 28th! (Links to follow) The reception will include black and white originals or framed prints from each of the artists. The event is free and open to the public.

In the meantime, here is a link to the Facebook event: World Roulette, and a sneak-peek of the work-in-progress for my piece (which will be available as a print). It was fun getting back into some scratchboard again.

Illustration Friday: Hero


I haven’t done an Illustration Friday piece for quite a while, but here is a little scratchboard hobbit for this week’s topic Hero.

Illustration Friday: Contained


A scratchboard illustration (with touches of colour added in Photoshop), during which I discovered that reclining on the sofa half-watching a documentary was not the best position for working in scratchboard. We learn from our experiences. Also from fairytales: E Nesbit’s ‘Melisande, or Long and Short Division’, apart from having one of my favourite titles, taught me the value of keeping scissors in your pocket. Modern women’s clothing, alas, does not run to pockets.

I bought more scratchboard today. I don’t need it yet, but I consider it one of my civic duties to keep up the demand.

Illustration Friday: Voices


Scratchboard, of course, because I am intent on using up the world’s remaining supply, with the rough edges left in this time because I like the texture. As usual, I have saved the image larger than the original (5 x 7.5 cm or 2 x 3 inches).

This pair of carol singers is a study for a larger group of singers I still wouldn’t mind doing, but probably for next Christmas. I had ambitious plans tonight, but had to do (what I hope is) the final print run of Christmas cards (more about those here). This is not to rule out artistic hijinks tomorrow night, but even I know I should try to exercise some self-restraint and not overdo things (ha! says she who was out every night with Aimee & co from Thursday and at a Darren Hanlon concert with Deb until very late last night and is up to I-don’t-want-to-l00k-at-the-clock tonight).

Illustration Friday: Opinion

Opinion (colour)

Another scratchboard illustration for this week’s Illustration Friday topic: Opinion. It is 5×7 cm (2×2.8 inches), scanned on my mother’s scanner (with which I have a fraught relationship) and coloured in Photoshop. It is a combination of two ideas: someone staying aloof in spite of the opinions of critics, and Kipling’s Cat (which walked by itself, and all places were alike to it).

Here is the black and white version:

Opinion (black and white)

And while I was drawing dogs, which is rare for me, I did a quick scratchboard illustration for I. R. Mcleod’s poem Lone Dog:

Lean Dog

Illustration Friday: Wise


A scratchboard/scraperboard illustration: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise.” (Proverbs 6:6).

The original is a little over two inches square (est.) and the letter is based on two or three 16th century alphabets from Historic Ornamental Alphabets which seems to be from Delamotte’s The Embroiderers’ Book of Design, containing initials, cyphers, ornamental borders, ecclesiastical devices, monograms, alphabets mediaeval and original, national emblems, &c. &c. I left many of the horizontal lines, etc, to make it look (I hope) more like a woodcut. The ant is from memory, personal observation, unsatisfactory images in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (my parents have a very slow internet connection) and trying to get a clear photo of ants on the veranda.

They were on the veranda because swarms of Christmas beetles died – or were incapacitated – there the night before. In the morning, ants and magpies and butcher birds came to carry them away. A kookaburra also came along and landed on the washing line while I was hanging clothes. Later, I got within almost a metre of it:


I also made a quick watercolour birthday card for my sister (Genevieve, who went shopping with me, thought I should get a more age-appropriate gift bag for a 26 year old, but I resisted):

26th Birthday Card

Illustration Friday: Late

Late (black and white)

This week’s Illustration Friday picture is a sampler of scratchboard textures and also an illustration for one of my favourite books: Joan Lindsay’s Time Without Clocks, a memoir of artistic life (she was an artist and author, her husband an artist who became curator of the National Gallery) in Australia between the wars. She and her husband were visited by one of her old friends, and while the men were elsewhere, Joan and her friend sat in the living room working on a story they had been writing together when they were studying. The clock was broken, and so when they thought it was about four, they stuck a piece of paper to the clock with “four o’clock” written on it, and when they thought half an hour must have passed, updated it accordingly.

Here is a colour version:

Late (colour)

Illustration Friday: Clique

Clique (coloured)

I spent Sunday afternoon sewing velvet trim onto a satin dress and watching The Adventures of Robin Hood (the one with Errol Flynn), and continued the theme last night sitting cross-legged at the coffee-table watching Robin Hood: Men in Tights (the one with Carey Elwes whose sword-play, incidentally, is better than Flynn’s) and doing a picture on scratchboard. A friend was telling me last week about her gothic literature class, and it is not impossible that the picture was influenced by that, but possibly also by the use of shadows in the fight in TAoRH (the version in RH:MiT with the hand shadows cracked me up – spoofs improve close upon the heels of the original).

The original scratchboard picture is about 5cmx10cm (2x4inches), coloured in Photoshop. Here is the black and white version:


Illustration Friday: Memories


On a carless Saturday, I set out to walk to Paddington and was pulled into a passing station wagon and taken off to Toowong to have crepes for breakfast. Cheryl kindly took me back to Paddington afterwards, and we had coffee and fine English chocolates and in an vintage shop I found a basket of antique photograph postcards: a young couple in a buggy, a distinguished Edwardian lady, a girl with a startlingly horizontal hairstyle and a young woman with a sweet haunted face that looks like she should feature in a Tim Burton film. Apart from the young couple, who had written a letter enquiring after the health of Bert, there was no clue as to who they might be.

When I took the cards to the counter, the elaborately eccentric proprietor (pearl chokered and velvet hatted, with fabulous eye makeup and all her cash in a large embroidered bag) asked me what I planned to do with them – frame them and pretend they were my family? I confessed I hadn’t decided and she said that is what she does, and her walls at home are covered with other peoples’ wedding pictures and she creates a family for herself of all those images of people forgotten but not gone.


Comments and critique are always appreciated – I am still learning many things, including how to balance light and dark when working in scratchboard!

Illustration Friday: Routine


My father refers to himself as a “high maintenance husband”, so for this week’s Illustration Friday topic “routine” I showed my mother giving him some routine maintenance. Not, as one of my housemates thought, being tortured.

I haven’t used scratchboard since the last time I used it for Illustration Friday (Worry, in May). It was easier this time (and this is a very small image: 5.5×7.5cm), but there are many things I will do differently next time – especially the shadows and outlines. After using pen and ink so much, scratchboard is an exercise in negative thinking.

Here’s the sketch:

Routine (sketch)

ETA: One of the comments made me realise that there are two possible misinterpetations: the torture; and that my father makes us wait on him hand and foot! He has MS and needs assistance to do a number of things now, including cutting his fingernails. But when he was up and about, he was anything but demanding :)

Comments, critiques and further possible misinterpretations welcome. I can learn!