Thursday, May 28, 2015

My Melbourne Sketchbook

Last month I was in Melbourne for 12 days on a sketching vacation. I feels like a long time ago because it always seems to take weeks for me to get around to scanning and posting all my sketches. So finally, I can now share them all with you.

Here they are in a single image

and here in an Issuu version so you can flip through every page.

As always with a trip to Melbourne I managed to sketch Flinders Street Station(FSS) a FEW times (this is an understatement!)… in fact I do try to sketch it every day I pass by it - one day I sketched it three times!  The opening image was my last sketch for the trip just before I headed to the airport and this ink sketch was done immediately after arriving.

I also sketched it from other angles - from looking down one of Melbourne's famous laneways and from the other side of the Yarra River. Yep! I am have a chronic FSS problem!

I continued my recent trend of sketching bigger street views in ink only - East Melbourne in a grey ink and Swan St Richmond in brown ink. Both were done using a Sailor pen with a Fude nib.

I also visited a lot of cafes and drank a lot of coffee. The coffee in Melbourne is amazing, however I think the tea is better in Sydney. Many of these cafe visits were in the great company of Urban Sketchers - Chris Haldane from Sydney, Paul Wang from Singapore or any number of the amazing local Melbourne Urban Sketchers. We were certainly looked after very well!

The biggest thing about this trip for me was the fact that my sketching was limited. I know that it doesn't look that way from the quantity that I achieved, but my left hand was out of action for a few days (recovering from an injection that I had a few days before the trip). As a result I did a number of sketches using my other hand (right hand)!

It was a lot of fun, although slightly frustrating, and I realised that most of my sketching skills have to do with my vision and the decisions I make rather than the execution, so having limited control using my other hand didn't make quite as much impact as I thought it would. It made me ponder whether my eye-hand coordination skills were transferrable between left and right and whether it was simply a matter of control - something that was improving every time I tried! It was also a lot easier to paint that it was to draw (this sketch of my food was all right hand!)

If you want to read more about my trip please visit my blog. As always I learn so much when I go on a sketching trip and come home with new ideas - these are summarised in my Seven Reflections from my Melbourne trip.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Old Service Stations in Sydney

Guest Post by Nancy MacAlpine, Sydney Urban Sketcher.

Over the last few months, Nancy has been doing a wonderful series of sketches of old Service Stations in Sydney. Here she shares with us four of her favourites. Please check out her blog for more of her work.

I had been think about sketching this Spanish Mission style service station in Newtown, an inner Sydney suburb, for some time.  Finally got around to it over the Christmas break and having time to spare, started a project of sketching these fast disappearing buildings.
This particular service station is a beauty, built in 1928 and  designed to attract  the wealthy as they were the ones who owned cars.
Service stations were purpose built between the wars when cars became more widely owned  Of course pre-existing buildings were converted for this use too.  The purpose built stations  in Sydney often are deco style, P &O style or Spanish Mission.

This is the second service station that I sketched and you can see the similarities between this one and the first.  This happens to be the place I take my own car to be serviced.  It serves petrol too and the bowsers are right on the footpath.  This was built between the wars. It was closed this day, when open it is a very busy place.

This is an unusual service station on Cleveland St, Sydney, and it had some nice old luxury cars out the front.  I had thought it might be from the 50's but the owner says it is from the 1930's.  I realised after that I had seen some Clarice Cliff ceramics that had similar shapes, also created in the 30's.
A man stopped and talked about this building when I sat sketching it.  He said his father used to take his car there and it always had an excellent reputation for good work.

I sketched this Arabic style service station on a very sunny summer day.  This one is located on the Princes Hwy at St Peters, Sydney. It was far too hot on that day so I sat in the shade of a doorway across the highway.

It has been so much fun sketching these buildings and trying to find a bit of their history.  Unfortunately, so many are disappearing, we need to capture them before they are gone.
There are more of these service station sketches on

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The end of the Rio milk bar, Summer Hill, Sydney

RIP George Poulos, Summer Hill
I heard yesterday that George, owner of The Rio milkbar, died last week. He was an icon in Summer Hill. He had worked in his shop for 63 years, and always wore a shirt and tie. I drew his shop for the last time recently, to capture the Christmas swag hanging above the front door. In the olden days the shop was open until 11pm to capture the theatre crowd coming out, and George was famous for his milkshakes. Apparently, people like Johnny O'Keefe used to visit the shop. Despite ill health and even at the age of 92 George  still opened his shop until late. I will miss looking at this little bit of history when I drive through Summer Hill. Someone will come along and buy it,  paint it and spruce it up,
and it will lose all its character!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Urban Sketchers Sydney - Sydney Hospital Sketches

Following is a collection of sketches created at Sydney Hospital on 2 May 2015.

Mike Botton

Rooi Lim

Clover Goa (left)  Tricia Kress (right)

Liz Steel

As organiser for the day, finding quiet time to sketch is always a challenge. I did three sketches, none of them were completed. The first (on the left), in brown ink, was my warmup while waiting for everyone to arrive. 
The second (on the right) was of the round corner turret that I have only noticed recently - I have been in this courtyard many times but never saw this part of the hospital. I really liked the green stairs at the base but it started raining when I was only halfway through - umbrella was put up and I continued, but my flow was disrupted. I keep working rapidly to reach the bottom of the page and then abandoned the sketch. Ironically the rain stopped so I would have have plenty of time to finish this according to plan- oh well, that is one of the joys of Urban Sketching.

Liz Steel

My third sketch was going well until the ink ran out… I was hoping to sketch an overall scene of the courtyard …It wasn't to be!

Chantal Vincent

There are many interesting features of the Sydney Hospital to sketch but I could not go past the fairy tale like turret set on the side that looks out to the gardens of the Domain. Secondly, the bronze statue of the wild boar 'Il Porcellino' - great to sketch and entertaining to watch so many passers by stop to rub his snout. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Urban Sketchers Sydney at Sydney Hospital

The Urban Sketchers Sydney events just seem to get better and better. Despite Saturday's 'rain- heavy at times' forecast we had a fantastic turn up of 34 people  to the Sydney Hospital courtyard.It is always great when we are all sitting together in the one area, so this courtyard was ideal. And a nice roomy cafe was a good base!

Everywhere you looked, there were sketchers!

Once again the work done by the group was amazing- so much variety even though we were all sketching the same thing.

And here is the group photo... there were 34 people in total (some had already left before this photo)

It was very special to have Cecily and Khim from the Penang USK group join us for the day. I love the way Urban Sketchers makes meetings like this possible!

A collection of some of the sketches will follow later in the week

Friday, May 1, 2015

Video of Melbourne Urban Sketchers at North Melbourne

Further to Evelyn's report of a great event in Melbourne last month, I am excited to share with you this video put together by Kevin - thanks!
You might also want to read Paul's report on the main Urban Sketchers Blog
and the summary I wrote on my own blog at the end of the day.

If you want to join the group click here