Thursday, June 30, 2016

Brisbane Urban Sketchers - June Roundup..

June started with a washout rather than a Sketchout. After the monsoon let up the group was able to continue the month with a series of excellent Sketchouts. Our first  Sketchout was on Saturday 7th at Queens Park which is a compact venue with sketching opportunities in every direction.

The second Sketchout for the month was a visit to Fort Lytton for History Alive an  annual historical re-enactment festival. One member Christine managed to be there in two capacities, both as a sketcher and as a costumed re-enacter.  You can see  Christine with her authentic sketch kit on the right.

We followed up with Sketchouts at The Old Museum at Bowen Hills, Mowbray Park,the Barracks Precinct, Davies Park market at West End and finished up with a visit to the Brisbane Powerhouse and Newfarm Park where we met a new sketcher Angie and her baby George.

After the last ‘official’ Sketchout for the month some members were able to hold a final impromptu Sketchout at the Beenleigh Historical Village.

Roll on July!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Why I post my sketches online

thought I’d quickly share why I post my urban sketches on this Urban Sketchers Australian  blog and on social media. We have a huge resource of sketches from beginners and professional artists, painters, illustrators, sketchers online, and it is an absolute treasure to look at all of them. If I didn't have this pool of sketches, I just wouldn't see the variety in locations and styles and it would be a much slower learning process. 

Plus, I find out where people are from and I can directly approach them if I am travelling to their city, interstate or overseas. 

It’s a huge learning opportunity for me, to observe and enjoy other people’s sketches. I never think that a sketch is bad or good, I look and try to understand why I get attracted to it or what I might change if it was mine. Rather than just thinking – I like it or I am inspired by it and moving on, I tend to critically analyse it. This might not be important to everyone, but for me, I enjoy the learning process. 

I post my sketches because I want to be a fair and reasonable community member and contribute to the pool of sketches. I do find flipping through other people’s physical sketchbooks, far far more interesting than online, but it’s a close second best option.

Most of my watercolour sketches take between 30 to 50 mins (depending on the complexity and size of paper) but I mainly use pencil (or in some cases ink) when I need to sketch more quickly. The duration varies for different people and it's not important but I personally paint quickly as I can control the water on the paper more easily this way. If I work more slowly, its harder to control the edges, I need to rework more and doesn't look as interesting.    

I think group photos as a memento is nice, but seeing photos of technique and other people’s sketches is invaluable for me. The beauty of a large group is that people can get different things out of different posts. 

My learning process

One of the steps I take to improve the efficiency of my learning is before I start my sketch, I take a point of what I love about the scene or what story I want to share and I keep simplifying it. On my bigger sketchbooks, I write a little note down, but all of the following sketches were done in Erwin’s The Perfect Sketchbook (B5), which is smaller, so I simplified it to a single sentence in my mind. For me, this helps me to create a focus, and hopefully gives me better odds in creating a better sketch.

I will try to explain this process using my sketches that I have completed in early May as examples. 

I am also working at creating a better story with my sketch but that's for another post and it's a steeper learning curve for me! 

Binna Burra

This sketch in Binna Burra might not look urban, but behind me is a lodge with rows of cabins, and a tea house down the road. We grabbed a picnic lunch and we could sit on benches to observe the view. This is where guests congregate before the dinner bell rings and watch the sunset after a day of hiking. 

What I liked about the scene: The glowing light behind the trees and the puffy white clouds that seemed to mimic the shape of the trees.

Learnings: I like the misty-ness and the sense of depth I achieved. I don’t like the two dark harsh-ish marks on the right but at least it is angling towards the centre. I would soften it next time. I also like my scribbled notes in pencil at the bottom.

 View from the Binna Burra lodge lookout, Queensland

A pink Queenslander in Albion

I drove passed this Queenslander many times before, but it grabbed me this time. It is used for commercial purposes and sits on one of the main arterials in and out of the city. It looks like it could be picked up and transported away for new development at any moment. 

What I liked about the scene: The lollipop colour of the Queenslander with the modern golden arches in the background.

Learnings: I would add some sharper shadows on the Queenslander. You may not be able to see it, but I have pencil markings to show some shadings. I would put a thick cadmium yellow on the M and dot some yellows in the darks.

 Pink Queenslander

Regent Theatre Building

I have sketched the Regent theatre building in the Queen Street Mall a few times now. Each time it gets a little bit easier to capture all the textures. A friendly gentleman of 81, grabbed my upper arm and told me how he remembered when trams used to run up and down this street and all the buildings were different with the exception of the Regent building. He wanted me to change back all the buildings and I commented that I may look like a fairy godmother but I am sadly not.

What I liked about the scene: The retro Regent sign and the sculptural butterflies on either side (plus the friendly chat with the gentleman).

Learnings: I would tone down the sky and the Hilton building to put more focus on the building that attracted me to the scene in the first place. I should have left more speckled lights to suggest the pedestrian’s heads. I like the shadows, especially in the Zara building on the right.    
 Regent Theatre Building

Above the Administration Building at the St John Anglican Church, Brisbane

St John Anglican church is the church where I used to sing in an a cappella group during high school with the biggest event scheduled was for the Christmas Carols. They were still working on the main facade and I decided to do a smaller piece rather than tackling the church. 

What I liked about the scene: the interesting shapes and shadows of the carving above the doorway to the church administration building. 

Learnings: I was glad I used my pencil to indicate where the shadows were. The light moved very quickly around lunch time and the shape of the shadows changed as well. I might study John Singer Sargent’s Escutcheon of Charles V of Spain again to try and capture the glowly light.

  Above the doorway of the St John Anglican administration building

This was to share how I critique my own work and it seems to help me to improve my sketches. The pool of other people's sketches significantly speeds up my learning opportunities as there are so many sketches to learn from and to be inspired by. I share my own sketches in order to contribute to the pool of this resource

The way I learn might be different to others so this is the method that seems to be working for me. 

You can find more of my sketches in flickr (here) and on IG (@asuka_art). 

Happy Learning

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Wet And Wild Day in Wollongong

Yesterday as much of our state was lashed by wild storms, some brave-hearted Sydney USKers ventured down to Wollongong to draw with a group of sketchers there who are keen to grow and become linked with us.  We caught an early train, and travelling together gave us a lovely chance to catch up and chat, which isn’t always what happens when we’re sketching outdoors on a sunny day.

Despite the fact that the planned itinerary was never going to work in that weather, we all found sketching spots under some degree of shelter. Some of us visited the art gallery, while others drew the Town Hall or the amazing architecture of the new Wollongong Central and its views. Its design is based on the industrial heritage of the city, and its landscape, reflected in the rust-coloured steel bars on the front  facade and the local flora designs as embellishments on the white panels.

Despite soggy shoes and wet clothing we had a great day and it was good to encourage the Wollongong group too. The itinerary they had planned for yesterday is all ready to use the next time we go down, and we thank them for their warm hospitality!