Sunday, August 31, 2014


What an exciting month we have had.  We are going  to be on TV!!!!!!

On the 19th of August, the Brisbane Urban Sketchers  Tuesday Sketchout Group were interviewed by the film crew of The Great South East.  The segment will be shown on Channel Seven in September on The Great South East Show.  The show airs on a Sunday, and we will be advised which day, so I will let everyone know on the Urban Sketchers Brisbane Group page on Facebook, and in the Flickr Group. It was a lot of fun, and we get to show Queensland who we are, and what we do.  A nice plug for Urban Sketchers.

This is a group photo of the day, with Blair Allsop - TV Presenter, and a Brisbane Greeter. 

We have had some great sketchouts this month. Photos below.  We have had new members join too, which is exciting..
Sketching Raddacliff Place, nestled between the Brisbane City Library buildings and the Treasury Casino.

Queens Park is just around the corner. Statues of Queen Victoria (1891-1901) and T. J. Ryan, Premier of Queensland (1915–1919) and a German World War I field gun make great subjects.

Our last sketch of the month was at the University of Queensland,  at Gardens Point (The City) sketching Old Government House.

It has been a great month!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Old Treasury Building, Melbourne


I drew the Treasury Building in Melbourne a few days ago. It was a cold winter day and braving the cold, I managed to complete the above sketch on location, but had to go indoors to colour it.


It houses the original gold vaults in Melbourne. These next two drawings were completed sometime ago and I have forgotten about them until just now. We were in fact escaping the heat of Melbourne's summer early in the year and had gone down to the basement to draw.


The basement was also where the caretaker of the building lived in the 1900s.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Archibald2014, Most Famous Portrait Prize in Australia : Elated, Hot, Contemporary, Traditional, Whatever!

Hi, Friends, come and see Archibald. The most famous portrait prize in Australia. I'd post sketches of a winner Fiona Lowry, "Penelope Seidler," and intertesting portraits, Sophia Hewson, "Atrtist kissses subject (Missy Higgins!)," Anh Do, "Father." I've felt 2014 Archibald is different from other years. NSW Gallery staff said, "Yes, the committee has changed. Different judges." I see... 
You can find 
1) more small works in, (but no watercolour), 
2) more "ordinary" models work in, not super-famous people. eg) artist's parents, a son, next door, butchery  -- it has surprised me and encourages me!  
3) some first try artists in. 
In a technical aspect, the finalists show wonderful diversity. An individual approach is very unique that excites me so much. 

Archibald winner Fiona Lowry's work shows the grace, dignity and beauty of old people. 
Fiona was a Doug Moran winner in 2008 -- I remember her self-nude very well, a young lady! Fiona uses a very interesting approach, acrylics and air brush.  I've immediately realised that the model's eyes were clearly drawn, the focal point of the painting. A rest of the work is softly blurred. Air brush works very well. A slight and delicate colour, thin raw sienna? is put around the model that contrasts to the background created in a very, very modest raw sienna plus patchy green? It comes out like a black and white from a distnce. Fiona's tender approach shows women's delicacy and the model displays an experienced career woman's dignity and elegance.  

2014 Archibald Winner, Fiona Lowry, "Penelope Seidler," Medium acrylic on canvas

Sketching finalists' work gives me wonderful insights of technical and psychological aspects of creators. **Please pay attention to gallery visitors' height like a scale that tells how big work is.

NSW Art Gallery
Sketched it before opened. Cold, early in the morning!
A bit coffee break for you. Tada~~, a hot and controversial work! An artist is kissing Subject, Missy Higgins (*popular Australian singer song writer) --- has got in. To this hot subject, viewers' reactions are quite interesting. Men show very negative responses to this work. On the other hand, women look neutral or swinging between acceptance or disapproval. In the sketch, I put both man and woman. Although each painting has a tag, plain writing for "kids" to help understand work, this work does not have it. 
Sophia Hewson, "Atrtist kissses subject," oil on board
Regarding an entry condition of "model's publicity," the staff emphasised, "It's "preferably," a public figure." I interpreted, "It gives artists room and flexibility. Any model is acceptable?" The staff affirmed my say. The staff's say is a great encouragement. Thank you. For example, Anh Dohas created his father's portrait in strong strong strokes and vivid colours. Yet, his colour use is very sensitive that shows a well-organised "value." Anh Do is a multi talented person : a successful comedian, TV presenter, author and fine artist/portraitist. His refugee experience from Vietnam has become a children picture book, too. In our society, if a person keeps a positive attitude, I believe, always nice people support diadvantaged people and it opens doors. That's the beauty of human society.  
Anh Do, "Father," Oil on Canvas
Our faces fascinate me most in drawing subjects. Eyes, eyebrows, mouth, ears etc, etc, "landscapes" in each face tell a story profound, precious and different. Yet, we have commonality and can mutually embrace. My mentor Ann James says, "Your positivity and watercolour and seeing and reflecting people so well is partly because you feel so much." Yes, I feel something that intrigues me to keep drawing people. 
I happily work on portraits.   

BTW, Hooray!!!!! Regarding CBCA book of the year 2014, 
CBCA announced winners and honour books.

Congrats for all the people!
Also, Crichton Award for New Illustrators is,

We celebrated my mentor Ann James and editor Helen Chamberlin's awards. A lovely author, Janeen Brian and Ann illustrated "I'm a Dirty Dinosaur," has become an honoured book for Early Childhood. (*I once illustrated Janeen's text.)  
Shaun Tan's work, "Rules of Summer" won "Picture Book." Of course, that book was edited by a brilliant editor, Helen Chamberlin! Helen, you're great! 

Friends, Happy Painting!!! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

USk BNE at UQ (University of Queensland)

In early June the Urban Sketchers of Brisbane visited the University of Queensland.  The focus was the Forgan Smith Building, which forms one side of the Great Court at the heart of the campus.  This historic building is arguably the most significant heritage building in Queensland and is a magnificent example of Art Deco architecture.  The building and inner cloisters of the Great Court are highly decorated with relief sculptures, friezes and grotesques symbolising significant events, ideals, thought leaders and university staff connected with the colleges.

Some of us arrived early, ahead of the appointed time, because we were so keen to sketch.  I began an ambitious view of the central tower as seen from inside the Great Court.  I finished only part of my intended result – bit off more than I could chew, I think!  It’s always amazing how time flies when you get into “the zone” of sketching.  We attracted some attention from passersby, some of whom may now join the group, so that was exciting.  Carol was even asked later by one of these "fans" to return to her original position for a posed photo.  Here is my photo of her in the same spot.  You can see the fabulous carving atop each column of this cloister walkway.

When assembled, our group began by sketching near the law entrance, which has a sculpture on each side as well as a frieze above.  We debated who this fellow ought to be.  Who in the history of law would wear a crown?  Perhaps King Solomon?

Moving to the other side of the cloisters, several of the group created wonderful sketches of the arches and views.  Meanwhile, I sketched my fellow sketchers.  It was wonderful to see how intensely they were observing and drawing and painting.


Below is the spread of collected sketches from the group at the end of the outing.

I finished my tower sketch off after the group dispersed -- you can see it here.

Join us on facebook and flickr

Saturday, August 2, 2014

USK SYD at the Australian Museum

Urban Sketchers Sydney met up at the Australian Museum today. Being mid winter we thought it would be good to have an indoor venue and many people were thought we had chosen well. We have had some lovely warm weather lately (25C during the week) but it was very fresh this morning.

A group of 18 of us met up in the cafe of the museum at 10am and then a number of people wanted to sketch outside…I decided to join them. It was a sunny day- maybe we could find a sunny spot out of that cold wind and see how long we lasted. As it turned out some of us did find a nice spot in the sun and managed to spend the whole morning sketching either the museum, Hyde Park, the cathedral or another building down William St.

We had a great show and tell  checking out what people discovered inside or out. There is a lot of draw in the museum and it was so much fun to hear all about it. Today we had a great variety in the sketches- all kinds of different paper / sketchbooks and a wide variety of pens, pencils, watercolour. A visual rich selection and we all learn so much from each other.

Thanks to those that came and a special welcome to a few new faces.

Next month we will be meeting on Saturday 13 September. Keep an eye out here more details.

You can see some of the USK SYD sketchers in the flickr group and in the USK AUS facebook group.
My sketches from the day are here