Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Square, Melbourne

Christmas Square is a temporary set-up in the city. I think it’s for kids although there were many adults there. My morning started off beautifully but the city got too busy and I couldn’t wait to get home.


I had a nice quiet time sitting at a cafe drawing this scene (above), having a coffee and pastry. It was a good view of the square (actually more like a rectangle where the tall Christmas tree is) with the Melbourne Town Hall in the background.


Then I went into the square and it was very busy (Christmas Eve). I managed a quick sketch, then decided that the city was too busy for me and went home.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Melbourne USK Sketchcrawl at the BIG DRAW

Are you in Melbourne on Jan 4, 2014? Come and join us - we are drawing at the BIG DRAW at Federation Square:

More details:

> When: Jan 4, 2014 (Saturday)
> Time: Meet at 12:30 pm. We will draw and meet up again at 2:30pm (the event ends then) for our usual photos, coffee and catch-up.
> Where: Meet at the BIG SCREEN (stage) at Federation Square.

I am really looking forward to it. See you there.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Xmas Carol & "Fair Go" Sketching

Hi, Friends, how have you been?

Now, a Christmas season! I love listening to Christmas carols, especially, organised by school kids! Oh, their voices are so cute and beautiful. (*I personally believe their chant is an angels' hymn!) Audience appreciate their singing and dancing. Certainly, children have practiced for so many hours. We should say special thanks for teachers, too. 
When school children realise my sketching, they have a great interest in me. Some pupils nudge each other and wave at me. (Hey, kids, look at your teacher, not me!) After the choir, they dash to me. 
"Can I have a look?" Sure, why not!
They try to guess my models and tell each other, "That's you." I was sure that modeled children would be happy and not focused kids could get disappointed. That bummer was easily gussed before sketching. So, I did a "trick"!

BTW, Friends, have you ever heard of a "fair go"? In Australian English, "fair go" implies equal rights and egalitarianism.
According to a Macqrie dictionary, 
In Australian and New Zealand English, (Colloquial) 
Noun 1. a fair or reasonable course of action :
Eg) Do you think that's a fair go?
2. a chance to get on with something without interference or distraction :
Eg) The chairperson pleaded for silence and a fair go for the speaker.
Interjection 3. an apeal for fairness and or reason. 
Eg) Fair go, mate!

Friends, do you notice something in the sample sentences above, particularly, in conversations? Yes, a speaker asks/demands a information reciever to do a right thing in a speaker's disadvantaged contex and unfairness. 

Now, you get a phrase, "fair go" user actually wants for justice, equality and accesibility of resources. So, a "fair go" comes up in a welfare, a social system, politics, sports and almost in any Ausrtalian social phases. It is an interesting expression and a controversial topic from time to time in Australian society. 

Back to the topic, sketching the carol! I do fair go sketching for kids. How do I do it? I secretly mixed up some children's appearances and made one picture. I do not choose a specific child for a model! Yes, it means my singing child is no one in the choir. I keep it private  for children and just let them guess as they like. (they are having a fun to guess who's who.)
A brave boy asked (commanded?!) me to "Draw me!" Sorry, dear, I cannot pick up one person. "Fair go."
Regarding fair go, may that phrase will be fully achieved in society. Christmas is really a lovely time in a year. A city is full of love, joy and fun. We enjoy parties, catching up, family reunion, exchanging cards, charities and events. I hope we can keep this sweet feeling whole through the year, every day. May love, peace and fair go will pour out on the earth. 
**In addition, a "Macquarie dictionary" is our nation pride! That's the best dictionary on Australian English and edited by Macquarie uni in Sydney. If anyone wants to study Australian English, look up a Macquarie dictionary! And my hidden hobby is reading dictionaries. 
And thank you so much for warm cheers and a great patience for a new post. I've submitted picture book illlustration colours done so far. A short break! Yey! 
Friends, Happy Painting!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

USK AUS in Newcastle Saturday 11 Jan

We are very excited to announce our first Urban Sketchers Australia regional event to be held in Newcastle on Saturday 11 January 2014

Meet at Customs House 1 Bond St Newcastle (just across the road from the station)
between 9.30 - 11.30 before heading off to explore the surrounding area for the rest of the day.

More details will be posted in early January but please keep the date free!

Two train options from Sydney 
Departing Central 07:15am Arriving Newcastle 09:58am
Departing Central 08:15am Arriving Newcastle 11:03am

For more details contact:
Phil Bamford (Newcastle)     phil.bamford [at] gmail [dot] com
Liz Steel (Sydney)         lizsteel [at] gmail [dot] com

Everyone welcome!!!! Really looking forward to it!

Monday, December 9, 2013

USK Sydney Cockatoo Island

 Yesterday, about 15 sketchers met at Sydney's Cockatoo island (a quick ferry ride in the harbour)for the final Urban Sketchers Sydney event for the year. The weather was all blue skies and sunshine, as summer has finally decided to arrive in Sydney. We have visited Cockatoo Island regularly as is so full of inspiration and potential sketching opportunities
I always like to arrive  a little early to start sketching before everyone arrives and I start talking. I sat the café with Phil & Chris and looked back to Sydney, sketching the panorama in watercolour pencil. Is was so peaceful.

Often when I visit Cockatoo Island I feel the need to draw BIG-  the buildings are big, the cranes are big . I draw everyday on a 20 x 13 cm moleskine watercolour sketchbook. So this time I came prepared with some larger sheets of paper, Unfortunately, I was in the mood for drawing the papers were left untouched this time. But I will return in the New Year to experiment with size and equipment


The Drawing Office is one of my favourite buildings on the island. And that was even before I knew that it was called the Drawing Office and then that just made if more special. The Drawing Office was established in 1914 as part of the dockyards of the Royal Australian Navy, which were based there.I love the colour and textures, the greens and the rust .I have sketched it a few times previously. We only had about half and hour for this one before meeting everyone for lunch.

some of the sketchbooks from the morning
We chatted, compared notes on what and where we sketched and the experience of the morning.

Liz Steel reminded me that Cockatoo Island was the first place we met and sketched together way back in 2008. It was an International Sketchcrawl and we were the only two that turned up. How much has changed in our sketching lives since then! So many wonderful art adventures, meeting some interesting and inspirational people. There have been opportunities in the art world that I never would have dreamed of.

Certainly my sketching has changed. I think that I am more confident in my line and colour. I feel like I am capturing a lot more character of the object I am drawing. Below are my sketches from 2008.

I can see that my subject matter has not altered at all, and I could have chosen the same objects this weekend.  That would have been interesting!
I am still using watercolour pencils, as I had only just discovered them then and am now a complete aficionado.
I was using Pitt pens and Micron pens then, whereas now I love my Lamy Safarfi Joy ink pen. The flow of ink off the nib is so smooth and suits my drawing style.
I also drew on castoff sheets of A4 card stock then, and now I am up to Moleskine watercolour sketchbook number 37 since December 2008. I will be starting on sketchbook number 38 as I fly home for Christmas in a short time. I sketched at the airport for my Christmas flight in 2008 in the first pages of my first Moleskine. I am getting nostalgic thinking about it!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Onikenbai Workshops

In November I attended a 3 day workshop where I was taught Onikenbai - a traditional dance that comes from Iwate Prefecture in Japan. It is a dance not practiced all over Japan, and this particular group that came out to Sydney are the oldest practitioners of it.

While the weekend was about learning from them, I managed to fit in a bit of sketching on the last day when they put on a small performance for us in full costume. To see more sketches and artwork I gave to them as a gift please visit my blog here.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

USK SYD at Cockatoo Island

We finished off the year back at Cockatoo Island on a glorious day. Here are 2 of my sketches from this morning.

Once again a wonderful group of sketchers turned up and it was great to see everyones work at lunch. I had to rush off but I hope that others stayed on in the afternoon.
Here are a few photos from the day....

Reminder- Jan 11 we are planning to go to Newcastle for the day. More details will be posted next week. Hope everyone has a wonderful Xmas and summer break!

Monday, December 2, 2013

USK Melbourne Sketchcrawl

A sketch completed during the Melbourne USK Sketchcrawl in Hawthorn on Saturday. It was a lovely sunny day – just perfect to be drawing outdoors.


The Hawthorn Town Hall is such a beautiful building (I think I might be addicted to drawing town halls).

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Melbourne crew at the Grampians

A group of us from Melbourne (Evelyn, Angela, Ilze, Muzo, Umut, Anne and myself) packed up our bags and jumped in a car to have a long 4-day weekend sketching in the Grampians. It was an excellent weekend for cooking up feasts, drinking wine, toasting marshmallows, animal spotting and sketching from sunrise to sunset (and usually late-ish into the night as well). We sketched everywhere we went including on the journey in the car. 

The Balconies are a nice lookout and we took up most of one end sketching. A few curious kids were watching us, and one of them said ''I wish I had my notebook'' to which Angela offered her some paper and pencil. Before we knew it we had a bunch of kids and we shared our tools around. We joked that it was essentially was a makeshift Day Care, but they were all lovely and focused on sketching and painting. The parents thought it was great, as they spend a good 20 - 30 mins with us.

The Balconies, Grampians

The hike down to the McKenzie Waterfalls is well worth the view. Angela, Evelyn and I perched ourselves on a tall rock to sketch the waterfalls. 

Melbourne Cup Day is a public holiday for Victorians. It also happened to be my birthday. We stopped at the Sisters Rocks, followed with a wine tasting at the Seppelt Winery and sketched the Lodge. 

We stopped for a late lunch and to see the race. We also had one last stop to sketch the Beaufort Fire Station. First I drew it and painted only the sky, then as a bit of an experiment I drew it again and painted just the building and trees.