Oh boy it is difficult when Every Day in May is on to keep up with the sketching, the posting, the commenting and the blogging. Several sketches backed up ready to blog, but no time.
Saturday was a day planned over a month ahead. We had arranged for three of us to sketch on board the James Craig. That is the tall ship I went out on just before Christmas. It was a beautiful day, lucky for us, though a bit on the cool side after a while. For a sailing ship, it is amazingly large once you get on board. The thing that is really noticeable is the sheer quantity of rope, and the variety of ways it is used and the different bits of hardware associated with it.
Before we went on board we met at the cafe (Yots) to sketch ‘something sweet’ for EDiM5. I got this small but colourful cupcake, which turned out to be a mud cake consistency. Yum.
I sketched the lifebelt first. We needed somewhere to perch and also be out of the way of people who were touring the ship. We started out near the ship’s wheel and I now know (now you tell me!) that it is a difficult ship to steer because it is long and it takes 16 turns of the wheel. Not sure if that is from hard- a- port to hard-a-starboard, or whether it is from the straight ahead position.
My second sketch was a quick one started in pen & watercolour and finished with my blue-grey watercolour pencil. When I got home, I realised that the white thingy-o needed to stand out more against the city buildings so I darkened them. It was either that or darken the thingy-o.
It gave the sketch a totally different look. The buildings, which are across Darling Harbour, look much closer and it looks like a rainy day. It’s only a sketch. The first one is much more indicative of the day though.
Filed under boats, coffee shops, Copic Multiliner, drawing, EDiM, Heritage Fleet, Maritime Museum, National Maritime Museum, Pitt Pens, ships, watercolour, watercolour pencils
Yesterday was a revelation as far as sketching opportunities around Birchgrove. We could draw anything we liked for EDiM, so we set out to Ballast Point Park to sketch this blue ship that we see from the ferry to Cockatoo Island. As you can see from this map there are parks all along the foreshore, all with a view of the Harbour Bridge and lots of other beautiful scenery. What I need to check out more closely is how close you can get to where all the ferries are moored. It seems to be a shipyard repair area.
I am SO happy to have sketched the ship. It’s been top of my list for two or three years, however there is no shelter from the sun or wind where we had to sit to sketch it. Luckily a perfect autumn day. We went for lunch at the Willy Wally where we once held an art auction, then we just cruised around the tiny streets in the car till we found a place to stop.
It was difficult to decide what to sketch. Although it is close to where I live (maybe 20 min in the car) I hadn’t sketched there before and there was too much to choose from. Then we came to this little ferry terminal, plonked down our chairs in the middle of the road and started to sketch.
Because the Duyfken is leaving so soon, I felt the necessity to go on board, so two days after my previous visit I was at the Maritime Museum again. This time we got a Big Ticket pass to take us on board all the ships, however we only visited the sailing ships, Duyfken and James Craig. Annie did the James Craig tour (which I’ve done before) so I sat and sketched a lifeboat.
We got some lunch and sat in the shade opposite Duyfken again, and this time I bravely drew the whole ship except for the tops of the masts and the lantern at the bow. Even so, I felt I was drawing awfully small. I prefer to zoom in.
My third sketch of the day was the Tu Do, which means ‘freedom’. It is a vessel from 1977 that Vietnamese people arrived on. You can read the story of the To Do here.
In Sydney, Boxing Day means the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. If you don’t go on the harbour or to the foreshores to watch, you sit back in front of the tv to watch. This year I went out with the Heritage Fleet on Boomerang. I hadn’t seen it from the harbour for years.
It was a cloudy but humid day, but once on the water we lost the humidity and the weather was perfect. It was the tiniest bit rock’n'roll (enough to make me stumble about) but not windy, so the sketchbook wasn’t flapping this time. Totally different out there to the last time I went on Boomerang.
We went to Rushcutter’s Bay first (the Cruising Yacht Club – scene of some of my youthful ummmmm… partying). That’s where the fleet is based. Then we went to the starting line to watch the fleet depart. We did ourselves proud with food – Christmas pies, Christmas cake, turkey, pate, salad and a bottle of wine.
The Sydney Morning Herald the next morning said that the harbour was like a washing machine. There are so many boats out there. And we counted 13 helicopters, though I didn’t draw them all.
Last Sunday a friend and I went out on the tall ship James Craig. We sailed at 10am and all sketching was done before about 11.45 by which time we were outside the heads and the weather had deteriorated, to put it mildly. It turned out to be ‘an experience’, rather than a nice boat ride like the previous week.
This spread is actually several drawings from different areas of the ship, pulled together with the drawing of the ship’s bulwark. As the crew are working the sails, they need to come to various areas and work with ropes, so we had to move out quite quickly more than once. I thought, oh, once we get going and it settles down I will do some nice sketching. But about 10 to 12, by which time we were outside the heads, down came the rain, and up came the sea. We had quite a sheltered place on deck so just sat & chatted. Far too wet to have the sketchbook out.
And the glamour! A very kind man got big rubbish bags for us to wear over our coats to keep out even more rain. It wasn’t possible to move about at all, because you had to hold on at all times. Eventually the rain stopped & my friend went off (bravely) below to get our lunch from her bag. She came back being towed by a crew member. It got rougher and rougher and the waves were coming up over the front of the ship. Meanwhile the crew were going up aloft, and the majority of them were not so young. Look at them up there. Brave, if you ask me.
We were forced below for a while to shelter from the rain. When it lessened we went back up on deck and we had to hang on to the hatch door at the top. There was nowhere to move to as it was too wild & windy. We ended up sharing the door with three men, so the five us hung on to the door for grim death for about the next half hour. We were all laughing our heads off. In fact although we grumbled about the weather a bit, we were laughing all day. Through all of this the steward was going around trying to sell alcoholic drinks, with his drinks basket & just wandering about without a care in the world. Once we got back inside the harbour, we bought a drink from him. Thank goodness for not suffering from seasickness.
Oh it was a wonderful day. Not perhaps quite what we’d expected, but exhilarating. It put so many images into my head, even though the sketching had to stop early.
I have been working on collographs for this artist’s book for about three years now. It will be about ships and shipwrecks.I only have the opportunity to use a press for three days every winter, so it is not just a matter of ‘getting on with it’.
I made 11 collograph plates and discarded one of them. Although I had two good sets of 10 prints, I lost interest for some time because I couldn’t think of a way to hang them together as a book.
Earlier this year while I was swimming laps, I concentrated on this problem, got in the zone, and came up with a solution. I then decided that two sets was barely an edition, and I would do another set. So on the last two printing days of this winter/spring, I printed another set.
If I was a purist, each print in each edition would be printed the same, however that is not the case at all. The first two images are printed from the same plate but look how the colours vary. As I’m printing in a group situation, and I’m not the one to choose the inks for viscosity printing, each printing day brings a new set of colours. The two middle prints (of seaweed, and of ship’s ribs)were printed on the same day, but with different parts of the large roller which had a blend of colours all along it. The other two were printed on different days. I suppose I could keep note of the colours and ask for the same ones. However I didn’t say I was a purist, and the thing I have always loved about viscosity printing is how each print is a surprise when it comes off the press.