Last Saturday was the 34th worldwide sketchcrawl and we ended up at the Australian Museum. The original plan was to go to Hyde Park. We met there and by that time it was already sprinkling with rain. We hoped it would stop, but as we waited for latecomers, down came the rain. We had to put our wet weather plan into action right way because it was bucketing down. We only had to cross the road, but it was like wading through a creek. We were wet through. They put all our wet things into a room for us and we dispersed throughout the museum till lunchtime.
There is a reason I chose to sketch these two. I live 4km from the very centre of Sydney. Nearby there is a park and an old church. In the churchyard there are possums. Less than 5 times in the more than 25 years I’ve lived here, as I’ve walked along beside the churchyard, possums come to the fence, or low down on a tree. Just before Christmas a possum started coming to my courtyard. Then he’d go from my tree to the roof, and end up in a tree out the front. (Possum poo on the roof of the car.) At the beginning of January, one night I was sitting in my kitchen with a friend, quite late, having a glass of wine. Arabella, my cat, came near the screen door and started to hiss and hiss. I turned the outside light on, and here was a possum with its pink nose sniffing along the screen door. I put some rejected cat food in an old plate out on the table just outside the window. The possum retreated to the bottom of the tree while I was out there, but as soon as I was safely back inside, it climbed up on the table and had a leisurely meal for 10 minutes or so, with the two of us just sitting the other side of the glass, watching.
The plover is another story. I went to Cockatoo Island with a friend in the spring. As we walked along one particular path, a plover started to divebomb us. At first we ignored it. They’re bigger than, say, a pigeon, but not a huge bird. Obviously we were getting nearer its nest though, because it has quite a wingspread, and it got very scary. We retreated with our arms wrapped round our heads.
The second drawing is one started in Hyde Park as the rain was starting. I used a sanguine Pitt Pen, size M. I noticed the white reflections of the flagpoles on the wet ground as we ran off to seek shelter. The background was drawn in with watercolour pencils.
It’s winter again so the Australian Museum is the place to go to get out of the cold and rain. The only one of these birds I had drawn before was the southern boobook (owl) and my previous drawing is very different.
It was school holidays and by midday we needed to get away from the noise. That often happens and it doesn’t matter because it’s such a wonderful place for children and adults. You just go and get a bird or an animal on a plinth, put it in front of you and draw. Then when you’ve finished you go and get a different one.
These birds are all solar plate etchings printed from plates I made from drawings done at the Australian Museum.
The first bird is a Shining Starling. Originally there wasn’t enough light in his eye (I proofed him last month) but I cut down a very small paintbrush and painted a little highlight directly onto the plate with shellac, and it worked! I printed him a few times using the blended colours on different parts of a large roller.
The next one is a gang gang cockatoo. To make this solar plate I put a piece of architects drafting film over the original drawing and traced it with Liquid Pencil. I added a few darks with a large propelling pencil. The print has been done by inking up in black and rolling over with the a large roller with a blend.
Last Saturday we went sketching at the Australian Museum again. I am on a roll using the timer or stopwatch in my camera. I am doing these drawings in around 10 minutes and when that takes into account sharpening my Prismacolours – it’s not so bad. I go straight in with the pen, and I am really not feeling that my drawings are noticeably worse that when I’m sl-o-o-o-o-ow.
Nearly a month ago now, Alissa and I went drawing at the Australian Museum. I’m slow to blog at present. We drew birds again – using Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils (40% off at Dymocks George Street store if you buy 6. )
The poor old corella looks a bit sad – not one of my best efforts, though they DO have those blue bags under their eyes.
We got two drawings done before we were overwhelmed by children. Some days they are delightful, other days they are intrusive.
Yesterday on a horrible wet day we went to draw at the Australian Museum. My plan was to complete a GRID page layout as a sample for my sketchbook/journal class. I started with each page divided in pencil into six squares. Then I made space for my headings…and started.
I drew the longnosed bandicoot first. then the ringtail possum. Then I found the wonderful yellow tailed black cockatoo. The musk duck was next – he had such wonderful feet. Then I found a little space in the corner for the white-browed scrubwren (I didn’t see any white!)
It turned out quite different to what I had expected, but I liked the way the extremities of some of the animals poke out of the boundaries of their space.