100 days under canvas – part 4, sketches


We are now in wildflower country proper, having left the wild and windy coast behind. The next post will be the flowers, but this one is catching up with some of the sketches that have been gradually filling my sketchbooks. The drawings above are of collected objects from Cape Leveque and Middle Lagoon – broken and whole shells (some inexplicably shaped), a fishbone, some petrified coral and the little plugs from shell openings. 

Cockroach bush (senna notabilis). Very common, and I think the explanation of the name is obvious!


Shells and a small pea-like flower from Osprey Bay in the Cape Range National Park, which lies along the coast off Ningaloo Reef. Beautiful coastline and a magical place for snorkelling – we saw a great range of corals, mostly sand coloured but a few brilliant reds, purples and greens not to mention the fish. Incredible colours and quite unafraid of large interlopers. 

It must have been high season for these butterflies. There were masses of them at Coral Bay, many on the grilles of cars, but also scattered in corners of buildings and just on the ground. A few were still complete, but many were damaged. Nevertheless they still have a dignity and beauty in death. I loved the abstract shapes they make, and will explore them further when I get home. 

More broken shells – they have an endless fascination for me. These were from a station stay on a wild but very beautiful stretch of coast at the end of Ningaloo Reef. When the tide was out we could walk on the reef and watch hermit crabs hurry around, look in deep clear pools that were created by gaps in the reef and see urchins, bright corals, fish and anemones that were all invisible under crashing surf when the tide was in. 

There are so many unusual plants here, but the green birdflower has to be one of the oddest. Each flower is distinctly a bird in flight, head out, wings up. Humour in nature!

This is a native hibiscus – some are pink, some blue, this one was a delicate mauve. I have also seen yellow, but with a flower head that hangs down, and a different leaf. 

Just to finish, a pic of me at one of our bush camps putting the finishing touches to my Sturt Desert Pea drawing!

Author: anna warren portfolio

I draw, I paint, I am a printmaker. Always searching for the interesting detail in the world around me.

31 thoughts

  1. What a treat to journey with you through your wonderful sketchbook Anna. I love them all, so fascinating. That Sturt’s desert pea is truly so vibrant isn’t it?


    1. Thank you so much Anita! Yes, three months travelling around Australia, we are 8 weeks in. I’ll look forward to having you along. My internet access is limited and sporadic so I probably won’t be able to visit your blog till I get home, but I will get there!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All good! Enjoy your journey! I love road trips and I look forward to following your journey. Where are you now? Art and blogging is a great way to keep you busy as you travel! Well done! X


  2. Anna this is so fantastic! I love seeing all your sketches and notes, I am in awe. What a trip, to be able to not worry about tomorrow and just spend the day in a tide pool, idealic. I have learned so much from your observations. I look forward to the next installment! Your sketch book is so alive, just so beautiful!


  3. Amazing journey of your travels – the soft and delicate hibiscus at the end was my favorite, but the shells are incredible just right on the details and coloring. Really enjoy this Anna! Your artistry shows tremendous attention to detail and skill.


  4. These drawings are so lovely Anna, I have enlarged and poured over each one. What a fabulous trip so far and I love seeing your journey in the small things that you have been inspired by. More interesting to me then the big panoramas we have all seen. Thanks for taking me along and I can’t wait to see the wildflowers. Karen


  5. Travelling and experiencing it through drawing, how wonderful. I love all the detailed little sea objects and reading your descriptions of place. Do you know Peter Sharp’s work? I think he said something about the landscape being large and overwhelming and so settles in for the smaller found objects.


    1. That is such a great quote from Peter Sharp, it really sums up how I feel too. And I love his work – maybe I should follow his lead and make some huge works inspired by these when I get home! Thank you so much for your comment, it’s very encouraging!


        1. I agree – finding the abstract from the real is something I like to do as well. I’m intending to do more with the butterflies as I think there is great potential there. Peter Sharps work is very brave in the extent to which he simplifies but with the essence remaining.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re doing some tremendous drawings and documentation on this trip. I am enjoying each and every study. Are you missing home by now or still in adventurous mode? And I wonder where exactly you ARE right now – in relation to where I am (back in Perth)?


    1. Thank you, I’m glad you are enjoying the drawings, they do feel very much like documentation to me too. Some will become more ‘art’ later on. Missing home in fits and starts, but still having enough surprises to keep the enjoyment going! We are heading south now, not so far from Perth and will be in Albany by the end of the week. Will be in touch soon- I am doing battle with limited data. Look forward to hearing all about your trip!


  7. I too have love enlarging your drawings and paintings Anna ! They fill the room almost 🙂 Tremendous work . Oh yes 😉 I can see you’ll be looking at those butterflies in many ways once back home . Loved catching up with your travels Anna and yet more to come . Brilliant xx


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