Monday, March 26, 2012

Hyde Park Barracks Museum

A wet day for week four of my Keeping a Sketchbook course. We had hoped to be around Macquarie Street in the open, but the rain drove us inside. We went to the sketcher-friendly Hyde Park Barracks Museum.
First we sketched in a room with a wonderful array of convict tools on the wall. There is even a little ledge right opposite to perch on while you sketch. We were looking at tonal values this week. These tools with their distinct shadows made a good subject.

From there we went to the hammock room on the top floor. Last time I went to this museum I got waylaid on the second floor and when I went upstairs I was presented with the sight of all these red shoes as other Sydney urban sketchers lay in the hammocks to sketch. (Sydney Urban Sketchers wear red shoes?) I've wanted to get back there to do that ever since. I've also wanted red shoes, but I got them sooner.

So we had a nice relax in the hammocks, sketching all the while. Then I joined one of the class in the corridor doing a perspective study. I sank to the floor to sketch. I think you can see that from the picture.

I think we made the absolute best of a wet day. The buildings in Macquarie Street are pretty amazing too, but inside this museum is something special.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Farewell to the Duyfken

I had to go back to the Maritime Museum last week again, because the Duyfken is leaving Sydney and going to WA for 10 years. She is such a beautiful little ship (a replica) and I've drawn her a few times.
We went on board and there were wonderful things to see there too - wooden kitchenware, I guess you'd call it. Cannons. I took some photos with my phone and I have material there for a lot of still life paintings.

We then went on board the sailing ship James Craig. I've been before and even sailed on her, so while my friend did the tour, I drew a lifeboat. I then bravely drew the whole Duyfen (I've only done sections before - she is so ornate) though I couldn't fit her all in. Drawing so small is not my forte.

The boat on the right is the Tu Do (freedom) which brought refugees to Australia in 1977. You can read the story here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sketch Sydney Uni & Special Thanks for Retiring Professor

Hi, Friends, how is it going with you?
I enjoyed a friends-get-together, shopping dresses
and sketching at a weekend, whilst I'm preparing a business talk with a client soon.

By the way, one professor will get retired. Today, I tried some of our uni buildings. I'm not so fond of sketching architecture except our own university. Recently, modern architecture and renovated buildings more come up on the campus. For example, Social Work and Education Building.
Often other people use uni theatres for presentation, book launch and conferences. I met a great picture book illustrator, "Shaun Tann" in the theature, for his book launch, "Arrival."
Ah, hopefully, one day, I would have a book launch at the uni.

Another, my secret favorite place is a "stairwell"! It's very interesting to look up. I tried colour based on a value study wtih a limited pattet.
....a stairwell could be a good place to whisper a love romance
...or break up?! Gulp.
Move on.
Particularly, old stone gothic buildings are lovely. I've sketched this clock tower for many times and still love it. So far, a black and white. I'm thinking of realistic colours on this drawing.

(**Once, I made a pinkish roof! The real colour is a purple+blue, even though many lecturers loved my unique approach. Thanks!)

But...mmm... "retiring" ... I have not thought of it...
Most artists would keep on working until die? Unlike other occupations, many artists do not have steady income. Artist friends and I talk over our superannuations. The professor's retiring made me think of aging. Not easy.

the retiring professor has really helped so many students ; I was one of them. It was that professor who encouraged me. With lecturers cheers, I got into a new carrer, an " artist and picture book illustrator." I'd celebrate the professor's retirement and wish all the best.
Also, let us prepare for our bright future all the time. Really we do not know when we open another door or others acknowledge our talents.
Friends, happy painting!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

At home

Whilst the out of town might appeal ... there's an essence of home when we are at home. Sunday papers deliver calm.

Australian War Memorial

On my last day in Canberra I visited the War Memorial. The last time I was here I ran out of time, so I gave it most of one day - but it still wasn't enough. My whole intention was to draw and tried to keep reading the descriptions for another visit, but it was too interesting and displayed so well that is was hard not to absorb whatever I could. I limited myself to 1-2 drawings per room, but I still only made it to the WWII exhibitions. How I wish there was an express bus from Sydney straight to the War Memorial every week.

I also loved the combination of my leaf green, Mustard and Iron Grey Inktense pencils and stuck with them through this visit. This first sketch, however, is with watercolour and indian ink.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hawks Nest, NSW

I expend a nice weekend in Hawks Nest, up north, near Newcastle. It was a farewell for one of my best friends, moving to China for few months and a lovely time to relax and enjoy the beach and the sun. 

Maritime Museum

Last Saturday I took my sketching class to the National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour. It was a beautiful day so we were able to sit outside and draw the vessels. As you see I've put the blue sky in - we've had so many rainy days that when it is a sunny day I feel that I have to emphasise that in my sketches.

The sketch at the top is the stern of Duyfken, a beautiful replica ship. The original sailed from Indonesia in 1606 to Papua New Guinea and came across Australia. It is a full size replica, but a small ship compared to other sailing ships such as the James Craig which I sailed on just before Christmas.

The flags spell out the word DUYFKEN. The Maritime Museum often use ships flags to label things such as WORKSHOP. Much more colourful and exciting, don't you think?

The funnel in the sketch below is from the HMAS Vampire. It has a Qantas flying kangaroo on there. I'm wondering if Qantas is a sponsor of the museum. If not, why? Adds a nice touch of colour anyway.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Capital time in Canberra

Took a couple of days visit to our country's capital to do a bit of sketching. Canberra has so much space and so perfectly planned it is so different from Sydney. It's also a lot greener too which was nice. And incredibly quiet. Today I've uploaded my bus stops of Canberra and a few other pieces. Tomorrow I will add some more.

These bus stops are out of some 70s science fiction movie, and may have reached iconic status as part of the Canberra urban landscape.

We took the train down, and I found a lovely combination of three inktense pencils (mustard, leaf green and iron grey) that I used in these window thumbnails.
This is the Carillion, a long-time landmark in Canberra. It is a free standing bell tower situated on Lake Burley Griffin. I remember the last time I was there I saw an outdoor performance of a Midsummer Night's Dream.
This is a large scale sculpture group of pears outside the National Gallery. It doesn't have the granduer of the glass pyramid at the Louvre, but it is synonymous with the gallery for so many generations.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

View from the 43rd floor

Visiting friends I just had to draw this one. Waterman Pen, Huberin ink. About an hour.
Some roof tops here!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monthly Theme for March: Roofscapes

120218 Crazy Roof Extension

We have decided to start having a monthly theme for all Australian sketchers. So to start with this month is Roofscapes or tops of buildings (sorry I am a little late in announcing this!)
Here is one that I did a week or so back or a crazy roof extension.

Please add your roofscape sketches here on or on our flickr group

Also, I would love to get some suggestions for themes for the coming months!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Also lunching at Pyrmont

I was also at Pyrmont lunching and sketching with Alissa. I didn't draw my food because of the ennui of the endless white cups. I had delicious and enormous corn fritters and I wanted to eat them while they were hot.

When we moved off into the square to draw, I was sitting a bit closer than the others and my sketch reflects that. After days and weeks of rain, every time there's a blue sky I have to put it in my sketch.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tropical Centre, Botanic Gardens

Last Saturday was Week Two of my "Keeping a Sketchbook " course. Just as well I'd organised wet weather venues because it rained. We were at the Botanic Gardens, and for the wet day we went to the Tropical Centre which is an unusual building with unusual plants. Last year we had a rainy day in there during Autumn of the Arts and we loved it. Same again.

Not many people were about because of the rain, so we nearly had the place to ourselves. There are so many things to draw in there that I want to go back and back and back. It is hot and steamy which is OK if it is not hot outside, but if the sun is coming in you can't stay too long.

I drew along with the class, but quickly so that I could go round and talk to them all.
They drew amazing things and I was so happy.

This coming Saturday we're at the Maritime Museum (inside or out, depending on the weather).

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Union Square, Sydney

Union Square is in the inner city Sydney suburb of Pyrmont.

A delightful place to sit in the sun and sketch. Some of the buildings in the square are cafes, so I sketched my lunch as well.

I wanted to use my Lamy Safari Joy ink pen, as I have been using watercolour pencil for days. It was tempting to draw the lovely sandstone buildings, but then I saw the roofline, then I made the decision to include the antennas !

The buildings in the square are on the National Heritage Register. Below is their desciption:
This terrace of five houses, dating from the Victorian period, has historical significance for its association with the development of Pyrmont Ultimo as a primarily industrial and warehouse district of inner Sydney. Large areas of working class housing, built by wealthy landowners, came to characterise the suburb and a close social environment evolved .

The houses are constructed of ashlar sandstone and the roofs are gabled (and clad with recent terracotta tiles). The houses are relatively intact, with rectangular door openings (surmounted by top lights) and windows fitted with eight pane sash frames. Chimneys are brick and are topped by pots. The dividing walls rise through the roof line.The row appears in fair general condition. In the 1970s the unsympathetic roof tiles and iron decoration to the facades were added.

The terrace is a good example of a Victorian era terrace row and it is a major feature on Union Street, being part of the registered Pyrmont Square Group. It consequently plays a significant role in the streetscape of this central Pyrmont precinct.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Trocadero again

I want to draw this amazing building again and again. On Monday we went to a cafe opposite and took our time in drawing a section of it. This is the central section of the upper floor where a bay window area is standing out from the rest of the building. It is very long and narrow and the main concern was to get it narrow enough to show how long it was. I'd love to be able to have a look out from that little top balcony up by the roof line.

This building is in King Street, the main street of Newtown, on 4km from the centre of Sydney proper. It was once a dance hall and has been abandoned for many years up until recently. You can see more here .

The paint job they have given it is very bland, though there are two shades of cream. I enhanced them a bit for the sake of the picture.