Practice through a perpetual journal

I’m not sure how I found her, but awhile ago, I started following Lara Gastinger on Instagram. Her illustrations of botanical subjects are exquisite. At the end of December she described her perpetual journal process and invited others to join her in this way of working. I misunderstood at first and thought it was a daily drawing entry, but rereading her process again, I found out that she only enters one drawing a week. In this way, there is room for subsequent years of drawing.

I started by recording pieces of the winter wrapped garden and quickly realized that I was more inspired by my new fascination with houseplants. So I will record the houseplants I have and by the time spring arrives, I plan to move outside to record the garden.

This is a wonderful low commitment way of practicing observation drawing – especially during the busy months of work. It will also help me keep track of the plants I have and their development over the years (space allowing!).

Perpetual journal 1Perpetual journal 2Perpetual journal 3Perpetual journal 4

Small offerings

Christmas snowflake 2017
B. Wanhill, December 2017. Linocut. Caligo relief ink on Strathmore. 3.25″ x 3.5″

I’ve always been drawn to small. Takes up less space. Economical. Energy efficient.

As I reflect on another year gone, I see that this size parameter also measures the amount of posts I have added to this site and the amount of mark making I produced this year. So realize this entry won’t take up much time… and look closely!

For a month I was diligent about keeping a daily sketchbook practice. I spent 20 minutes to 2 hours every night recording mostly pieces from my garden. As garden specimens dwindled, I turned to recording words and other items. I am glad that I recorded a beautiful brooch my Mom gifted me, as it became the inspiration for the linocut Christmas card I designed this year.

I hope in the coming months I will pick up a more frequent drawing practice, but I know that work will be demanding between January through to March and then it will be garden season once again! (I have also continued with spinning, which I will record in another post.) Best wishes for a bright New Year. Peace and creativity to you – even if you find it in small ways.

Sketchbook Sept 28_17

Sketchbook Oct 1_17

Sketchbook Oct 4_17

Sketchbook Oct 13_17


Sketchbook Nov 13_17


Two years ago, I started drawing skies and almost as soon as I posted them, I stopped. A critical mind is important until it impacts productivity.

I’ve truly enjoyed making this drawing the last few days. The challenge of adding architecture which I never draw was fun and I learned that I could improve the drawing through photographing it and seeing where shading needed to be fixed. It’s not perfect but it’s finished.

This drawing was made from a photo taken on the first day of winter. The Prairies often have beautiful sunrises and sunsets and this day was no exception. I have spent years trying to build a garden to block this view of our back alley, but that day there was a realization that even the suburbs and man-made structures have their charm.

Best wishes in 2017.

Drawing. Lyra & Polychromos pencil crayon on Bristol. 10 x 10 cm. B. Wanhill 2016.

Dainty Blue

In August, my grandmother gifted me an exquisite set of tea cups and I have now just finished a rendition of one to give to her as a thank you card.

Drawing remains for me, an activity loaded with conflicting mind states: apprehension, contentment, concentration, judgement, excitement, disappointment, dislike… could this be the year where I turn that all off and just draw?!

For the sake of my students and my career in the visual arts, I think this would be a place worth moving towards.

2016: to a year of building concentration, perseverance and full time contentment in the process of creating.

Dainty Bue pc Wanhill16
Drawing. Pencil crayon on Strathmore print paper. 10 x 10 cm.


The beginning of sky drawing

It has been ages since I’ve sat down consecutively, thoughtfully and drawn. One can see in the results of the images here that skills are uncertain and drawing is about learning to draw again. I now think that’s fine – to continue to pick something up that makes one feel familiar and grounded. It’s been a pleasure and challenge to work at drawing these and a theme I think I can continue working at for awhile longer. Presently, my goal is reacquainting myself with the pleasure of process over perfection of form.

Drawing. Pencil crayon, Gamsol and pencil on bristle. 5″ x 5″   B. Wanhill 2014
Drawing. Pencil crayon and Gamsol on bristle. 5″ x 5″   B. Wanhill 2014
Drawing. Pencil crayon, Gamsol and pencil on bristle. 5″ x 5″   B. Wanhill 2014


Below are images I have created. My intentions for creating are mostly aesthetic. I am interested in the practice of documenting the formal act of seeing. I work from photographs and from life.

Pencil crayon.
Pencil crayon. Created for Alberta Flood Rose Project.
Pencil crayon and pen. Created for mail art post.
Pencil crayon and pen. Created for mail art post.
Pencil crayon. Created for a friend.
nov 2_12BWanhillcopyright
Pencil crayon and ink.
pencil crayon
Pencil crayon.
Pencil crayon.
Pencil crayon.
Pencil crayon.
Pencil crayon.
Pencil crayon.
Pencil crayon.