Summer Garden Art – Ink and Wash

Summer Garden Art – Ink and Wash


This summer I was fortunate to take a week off to visit some good friends of mine who live on the Sunshine Coast in west British Columbia, Canada.

Their delightful home is perched high on a hill with sea views that overlook the local bay.

This is a wonderful spot to observe sailing boats, cargo ships and cruise liners navigating up and down the coast.

We also spotted hawks and eagles.

In early evening, the full Moon rose from the east, climbed high and bathed us in shimmering light that danced across the water and set the scene for a perfect moment.

Garden Layout

Due to the rugged terrain, the front garden has deep lavender and cone flower terraces supported by tons of bedrock underneath.

The house is perched right at the apex of a rocky outcrop.

After a 3m wide terrace, the back garden falls off at a steep incline plunging to the lower garden level below.

Water Restrictions

Due to the incidence of forest fires and a lack of rainfall in the area, there are stringent water restrictions in place during the summer months.

This means that you can only water with handheld hosepipes or buckets for two hours each day.

Therefore, this garden must contain chiefly indigenous plants which can survive these dry hot conditions and those which can make it through the harsh winter snows that may accumulate up to two feet deep.

Because of the natural terrain, the back garden is particularly interesting with a walking path that winds throughout.

Looking with my artist’s eye, I decided to draw a plan view of this garden rather than to select one part to draw.

Garden Plan View

I created the sketch for the plan view from the terrace by lightly drawing the outline shape of the perimeter fence and the outside walls of the house.

I later realized that the garden is not actually square, but it’s a bit more of a rhomboid shape and that the house has a few more ins and outs than I had in my sketch, but in general, there are two rectangular shapes, the fence and the house.


With a 0.1mm black pen I lightly sketched the main features of the garden.

First, I drew the terrace round the back, the gates on either side, the pathways and the rough hewn stone steps to the east and west.

Seating Areas

Next came the sitting areas of which there are several.

There is the main terrace seating area, the Hummingbird café bench, the lower-level intimate chat section on the path, the main stage forum in an emerald glade of fine grass and finally, a few steps up from there nestled a garden chair in the solitary meditation area.

Along the wall I sketched in some of the massive external boulders as this garden was basically hewn out of bedrock.

Large Foliage

Some of the trees and plants are quite spectacular.

There is a gigantic wisteria on an espaliered fan just at the top of the terrace which I drew first.

A colossal magnolia tree with extra-large blooms dominates the scene right down in the main valley, but still visible from the house.

Around the corner to the left, is a delicate rose garden still under development.

A hardy white grape vine cascades over an aging trellis arch at the top of the western staircase flight.

Against the back boundary grows a towering clump of bamboo which eagerly shot up this summer.

Hard Landscaping

A sun-kissed covered seating area is fondly called the Hummingbird café for obvious reasons.

The guys have hung feeders and the birds flock in.

Down at a section which I think is called the “globe theatre glade” had been erected several vertical poles all around the circle.

This provides a strong statement area.

Topping each post are stylish multi-colored garden lights which can fluctuate from white to colored, warm or cool at the flick of a switch.

To have a wonderful area in which to gather on warm summer evenings is no doubt a serene place where the imagination can soar.

Raised Beds

The folks had strategically positioned several raised beds and grow a striking selection of herbs and vegetables including some immense tomato plants.

Pumpkins cascade out of terracotta pots to seek the warmth and light.

This vegetable heaven is over towards the east of the property, so on the plan view it is represented with oblong boxes.


Once I had laid down on the page the main hard pathways of this drawing, the key seating areas and some specimen plants, I was ready to fill in the rest.

I took my time in the core section and found different ways to illustrate distinctive plants.

Now this really is me using my artistic license as there are many component bushes and trees thriving in this area.


For most of this drawing I used plan perspective which means the viewer is looking down from above.

Plan view lays things out very much like a map.

For a lot of the unknown shrubs, I use the plan viewpoint where I just plonked the leaves on the page, but in some cases, I employed elevation perspective where I created the side view of the plant in its position.

This combination technique adds visual interest to my illustration.


A vast number of birds are attracted into the garden.

The hummingbirds came in their droves.

I saw blue jays for the first time in my life.

Chipmunks popped in and out of the shrubbery busily collecting snacks, peanuts and seeds.

Many chickadee birds fluttered in the trees and around the bench where I was.

As I sat on the terrace with my sketch paraphernalia, a chickadee bird swooped down and landed on the top edge of my sketchbook.

To start with I didn’t realize what it was and I let out a scream that had the household running as I leapt to my feet.

I soon realized it was a cute little two-inch wild bird.

I settled back down to my sketching and five minutes later another chickadee, probably the same cheeky one from before, landed on the toe of my flip-flop as I relaxed, legs crossed, sketching.

This time I kept my cool as by now I was an expert outdoors woman and not just a city slicker.

Evolution of a Garden

I had visited this enchanted garden last year and although the main features were in place and all the hard landscaping had been done, back then the plant life itself was quite a wilderness.

In the year I have been away, the owners have really labored to clear a lot of the vegetation to bring forth specimen plants that were there, but could not be seen.

By the sweat of their brow, they felled dead trees and cut back countless brambles and blackberry bushes to let the light in and which allowed lower growing shrubs to have a fighting chance.

Gardens, obviously, are living things and that they continue to evolve, whether we pay attention on not, is a natural wonder.

I look forward to witnessing how this well-loved outdoor space will develop in the future.


I had my traveling art field sketch equipment with me as I don’t like to take too much art stuff when I go away.

My minimal drawing kit included:



Side Note 

As I have recently been getting into colored ink work, I really wanted to take my tinted inks with me, but it was totally impractical to lug twelve small glass bottles of quick-stain ink my bag.

The thought did cross my mind and then I let it go…

Paint and Wash

After breakfast I set myself down on the back terrace with my field drawing equipment.

My water pen had some liquid in it which I prefer rather than a jam jar of water.

Mixing olive green and yellow ochre, I put two drops of water into the khaki pan and two drops of water into the mustard-like pan and with my paintbrush slowly stimulated the paints.

Then I mixed the two colors over on the paintbox lid palette.

I thinned the colours down substantially by releasing drops of water into my palette.

I’m really working with microscopic amounts of paint here with only one or two teaspoons of each color.


I started coloring the stone steps to the east and west and some of the main boulders with very light watercolor wash

Ensuring to let the pigments dry and to not work on adjacent colors that were still wet, I pushed on.

Lightly washing the shrubberies in different greens, I developed the plant life in the garden.

It was a scorching day around 28C and the paint was drying quite fast.

I turned to the large stones with some yellow ochre and a dab of sepia brown.

Once the boulders were dry, I mixed up a slightly deeper carmine red and added light shadows nestled below and to the left of each rock.

Adding shade again breaks from the plan view to the elevation view, but this is a piece of art, so that’s why I did it.

I believe the combination of top and side views created additional interest in this artwork.

Area Names

The owners have some fun and quirky names for the different zones of their garden.

Where I could remember some of the words, I wrote them on my drawing.


I did enjoy creating this artwork.

Although it is not correct as an architectural drawing or even perhaps a garden layout drawing, it is a perfect sketch representation of this wonderful and magical garden.

As my friends continue to pour love, warmth and energy into their property, it will no doubt mature, blossom, bear fruit and become a garden of anybody’s dreams.

I feel honored to have shared some time with them in their wonderful uplifting outdoor space.

Thanks to my friends for their exceptional hospitality and openhearted spirit.

I simply loved being an aspiring artist in their welcoming haven.


If you have are still with me this far in, then thank you for sharing part of your day with me.




Pin this image to your Pinterest board.

Aspiring Artist Activity

This activity is to draw an artists impression, or illustration of your backyard.

If you don’t have the luxury of a garden, find another natural space which you like to visit.


  • Sketch the perimeter fence of the property.
  • Add outlines of the big shapes like house walls and any other buildings.
  • Sketch in any paths, streams or ponds.
  • Now bring in greenhouses, raised beds, seating areas and the like.
  • Start to add textures to hard surfaces such as wooden decking, stone paths, gravel walkways, brick paving or boulders.



  • Now draw in all the main greenery such as large trees and specimen plants.
  • Using a variety of styles, fill in all the beds with different plant drawings.


  • Once you are happy with your pen drawing, get out your favorite colored art medium, so perhaps this would be watercolors, markers or inks and lightly wash color over your drawing.
  • Start with the lightest colors and work up to the darker shades.
  • It is okay to leave some parts unpainted.
  • When everything is dry, go over it all again with a black pen to sharpen up the images.


  • Add words to your page to add interest such as terrace, greenhouse, fishpond, glade or potting shed.
  • Let everything dry.
  • Frame your artwork.
  • Hang it proudly in your art studio.
Alison Hazel

Author Bio

Alison Hazel is a mature woman who shares her ongoing journey about becoming an artist later in life. She creates simple art that anyone can make. She hopes to inspire you to reach your creative potential in the area that suits you.

Go here to read more about Alison’s story.

If you want to send Alison a quick message go here.

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Neurographic Art – Basics

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Author: Alison Hazel   –   Published: December 2021   –   Revised: January 2024

Read more about the neurographic art inventor psychologist Pavel Piskarev.


Thought, Word and Deed

Everything you do in life comes from the thoughts you have, the words you say and the deeds you do. There is a direct process from one step to the next. You cannot do something (such as make art) before you have thought about it. The practical decisions you need to make before you can create some art are to find a pen and get some paper. What you will draw is the magic that come through a neurographic art practice.



The benefits of neurographic art are subtle, but many. Through creating a neurographic art practice you can:


  • Relieve anxiety.
  • Find peace.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Calm your mind.
  • Gain clarity.
  • Get things in perspective.
  • Help yourself.
  • Help others.
  • Use images to express your inner feelings.
  • Allow abstract thoughts to pop into your head.
  • Make fabulous art for your wall.


When you draw and make art, your hand holds the pen and your brain moves your hand. Thus, there is a direct connection between your hand and your thoughts.


Neurographic art can be related to an intuitive scribble. A scribble has no form and just appears on the page. An intuitive scribble is brought forth when you focus on a problem or a decision you wish to address. Energy flows around you, through your body and in your brain. When energy is blocked it usually happens at a harsh wall or obstacle that you cannot overcome.

Three Methods of Neurographic Art

There are three main types of neurographic art, specific, popular and combination. There may be others as subsets of the above, but most artists will work in one of the three methods whether knowingly or not.

1. Specific Neurographic Artwork Method

To be specific when you create neurographic art you need to use the special neurographic line (see below). The neurographic line will tap directly into your mind and help you build new neural pathways in your brain.


Neurographic Line

The neurographic line is the best line to use for deep meditation, self-awareness and for anyone on a consciousness raising journey.


2. Popular Neurographic Artwork Method

The popular neurographic art method is to simply draw curves and swoops on the page, or even straight lines and shapes, in the artwork. Then you curve the intersections and you may add shapes and color.

This type of artwork is fun and good to start with. It is not strictly neurographic art as it may not carry the full mental health benefits of using the neurographic line. Additionally, you may add dots, flowers, stars or other exciting embellishments to yourr art piece.

The popular neurographic art method is suitable for kids and is often used in schools.


3. Combination Neurographic Artwork Method

Combination neurographic artworks employ smooth lines, neurographic lines, loose shapes and embellishments all mixed in together. This is where most people are at ease with neurographic art for their drawings.

The combination neurographic art technique can bring light meditation properties to the process and create a meaningful artwork as well. Even a small piece of the neurographic line will be of benefit in the combination art method.


Be mindful of what you are trying to achieve.

Do you want:


  • Therapeutic mental health strengthening.
  • Casual feel-good art.
  • To have fun exploring a new and trendy art movement.

The Neurographic Line

Not all lines are created equal and the neurographic line is no different.

What Is a Neurographic Line?

  • A neurographic line does not repeat.
  • A neurographic line changes direction as soon as you are aware of its route.
  • A neurographic line does not end in the middle of the page, it either flows to the edge of the page or it blends into other lines or shapes like circles.



What is Not a Neurographic Line?

Let’s consider what does not constitute a neurographic line. A neurographic line is not:


  • A straight line.
  • A smooth, wavy or curved line.
  • A smooth shape like a circle.

3 Ways Neurographic Art May Benefit You

Let’s have a look at three ways that creating neurographic art can benefit you. Of course there will be many other ways as well, but these first three are the easiest ones to start with.

1. To Make Intentions

To make an intention with your neurographic art is to bring a focus to a situation challenge or issue that you are facing.

You would do this before you start the artwork.

For example, perhaps you are trying to decide whether you should quit your job and take a new position which has been offered to you and you’re not exactly sure what to do.

You can consider the pay increase, adjusted hours, a better commute or how it may improve your actual career prospects.

You also want to ponder over the action that you’re going to take on an inner level which you could certainly do with neurographic art.

How to Create Intentional Neurographic Art

Take a sheet of paper on which you’re going to make the artwork. On the back write one or two words that you need to focus on which clearly explain the dilemma you are facing.

In the example of, “should I take the new job?” you would simply write the two words “new job” on the back of the sheet. This intentional writing of the words is to focus your mind as you create the artwork. You are intentionally creating an artpiece that will help you decide whether or not to take a new job offer.

The idea is not to have a simple yes or no answer at the end, but during the course of creating the artwork (which would probably take you at least one or two or five or six hours) you will focus your mind on all of the options and permutations which taking the new job would entail.

Ideally at the end of the artwork you will have a clearer understanding of whether to take the new job and how you feel about it.

2. Neurographic Line

Neurographic Line in Neurographic Art

Using the Neurographic line when you create neurographic art. As you may know not all neurographic art uses the neurographic line.

The neurographic line is a specific line:

  • It does not repeat.
  • It is not a straight line.
  • It does not curve smoothly.
  • It generally wiggles along.

The idea is that as you draw this line, as soon as you become conscious of the direction in which you are going, you have to change direction.

Non-dominant Hand

One great tip when drawing a neurographic line is to use your non-dominant hand. That means that if you are right-handed, you would put the pen in your left hand and if you are left-handed you will hold the pen in your right hand.

Crossing the Center Line

By crossing the centerline of your body and putting the pen in the opposite hand you are forcing your mind to see these paths differently than it would through the automatic way that you naturally go if you are perhaps right-handed.

Signature: Sign Here

You can clearly see the benefit of working with your nondominant hand when you come to writing your signature. If you are naturally right handed, as you write your signature John Smith after years of practice you just automatically swish out all the letters and dash of your signature. It is very often not very clear to see, but because you have been writing it for so many years, your brain will automatically sign your name without thinking and you do it with your dominant hand.

However, if you put the pen in your non-dominant hand and you try to sign your signature suddenly your brain has to actually work. This means that you naturally tap into a new neural pathway as you think about what you are doing. It does not come naturally to you because you haven’t worn a pathway in your mind, so it’s something new for your mind to grapple with. You create new connections as you learn how to sign your name with your non-dominant hand.

3. Smooth Connections


Once you have the main lines down on your page, whether they be circles shapes, swoops, or the neurographic line, you are now at the point of smoothing out the connections.

How to Curve Your Connections

To smooth connections you take your black pen and draw curves where every line intersects another line. Generally, there will be four curves at each intersection.

How to Curve Intersections: Neurographic Art

One of the main principles of doing basic neurographic art is curving the intersections. The intersections occur where two lines cross or where a line crosses a shape such as a circle, an oval, or another shape.

Where two lines intersect there will be four curves required at that intersection. I’m going to share with you best principles for curving your intersections in neurographic art.

Intersection Meaning

As a reminder where two lines intersect in neurographic art, and you curve the intersections, these are the points where the new neural pathways are being built in your brain. This means is that this is an opportunity for new thoughts ideas and inspiration to come to you.


It is a bit like tramping out a path in the woods. To start with you must hack through the undergrowth to create a new pathway. After you’ve been doing that for a week you can see a vague footprint footpath through the bush.

The more you walk the same path and use the same ideas the stronger the pathway will become and overtime it will widen. Eventually pathways which are used frequently will become well entrenched in your thought patterns.

The idea is that to branch out and create a new pathway means going in a different direction and make new connections. These lines and intersections in neurographic artwork are symbolic of new thought patterns, ideas and ways of thinking in your mind.


This leads to brain plasticity and a growth mindset.

Line Thickness

When creating neurographic art one must consider the thickness of the line you are drawing. If you use a very thin line, you will have smaller intersections and if you use a thicker line, you will have bigger intersections.

Circle Template

To understand how to curve connections in neurographic art you would technically use a circle template. This is not necessary, but to understand the principles of where the curves are coming from it may be a great guide.

You can eyeball the curves you need in your neurographic art and depending on the thickness of your line will depend on how large your circle diameter will be.

All intersections that are on the same drawing would technically have the same radius curve at their intersections. If your main lines are too thin, or your intersections are too big, the artwork looks a little unbalanced. If your lines are very thick and your intersections are very small, again the artwork looks unbalanced.

It is better to find a happy medium between the thickness of the lines on your drawing and the curves you make at your intersections. There are no hard and fast rules for this. With practice you will find your own individual art style when working with neurographic art.


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Basic Shape

In a basic two-line intersection, the lines will cross horizontally and vertically. The lines will be at 90° to each other. To curve the intersection, you would take your template and with a large radius describe the curves on each corner. Use the same size circle to create the curve for each connection.

Angled Connection

Where two lines intersect and are at sharp angles, your connection looks slightly different. Still use the exact same circle template with the same radius and draw out the four curves. This means that on the very wide, or oblique, angles the curve will be shallow and low. On the very narrow, or acute, angles, the curves will be deep and high.

Curved Intersections

When two lines that intersect are curved, there may be a variety of widths to the main connection. Take the circle template with the exact same curve and the same radius and draw in smoothly the curve on each of the four sides of this connection. This may result in a larger connection area that is all in black.

Multiple Intersection Hubs

If your drawing has multiple intersections, where more than two lines are coming together in the very small area, it will result in a far larger connection hub overall. There will be more than four radii being described out to smooth the connections, but it does depend on the artwork.

This is a very interesting situation as it allows a very large hub or node to appear in the drawing. This more defined intersection will become a higher focus for thoughts and ideas in the artwork. In the example below note that the inner triangle has been fully engulfed into the node. This increases the magnitude and focus of this connection.


To draw multiple connections on an artwork can be laborious. This is the moment where you have to take your time with your artwork as you bring focus to what it is you are doing.

The activity of drawing small curves soft curves onto the page is very meditative. Now you can consider the intention you wrote from step one and think about it as you, almost mindlessly. draw in all the curves on your artwork.

All Artworks

No matter what type of neurographic art you are doing whether it is simple basic or combined there will be connections to be smoothed. This is a very satisfying part of the art creation process and it is not to be taken lightly. As you are drawing each curve consider the question, issue or what you wrote on the back of your page. At this point you can let your mind wander to provide you with other ideas that you may not of thought about regarding your situation.

Explore more >>> Neurographic Art Coloring Book

Yes or No Answer? Probably Not

Again, you are not necessarily looking for a yes or no answer. What you are trying to do is to open your mind to further possibilities or other ways that this situation could be addressed.

Aspiring Artist Activity

Make a piece of art and bring all three techniques that benefit using neurographic art to the work. Get a piece of paper which you will be working on and some pens, paints or other art supplies and please do the following:


  • Write your intention on the back of the page this could be one, two or three words to bring focus to what you are trying to resolve.
  • Start your artwork with a black pen at this point you can do circles if you wish, but bring in neurographic lines and not only straightforward lines.


  • Curve all the connections and consciously focus on your intention. Take your time and let your mind wander.


  • Continue adding colour and embellishments as you see fit to make a beautiful artwork of which you are proud.

Take Notes

When you have finished your artwork put it aside and make a note of ideas that popped into your head while you were crafting this artwork. 

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Alison Hazel

Author Bio

Alison Hazel is a woman who shares her ongoing journey about becoming an artist later in life. She creates simple art that anyone can make. She hopes to inspire you to reach your creative potential in the area that suits you.

Read more about Alison’s story.

Send Alison a quick message.

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