Category Archives: ships

Why do I do it?

building_siteHmmmm, why do I decide to sketch the things I do? I have worked out that I prefer to sketch hard-edged things rather than landscape, foliage etc. Why? I think it’s the challenge. During the period I was sketching in the Botanic Gardens, I found all the things to sketch there quite easy. Sit down, sketch, move on.

The other thing that might be a reason, is that the tonal values are so important to me. Hard-edged things cast great shadows and the way the light falls on them interests me more.  I am only happy when the tonal values are correct, then I can move on. Many sketchers concentrate on line only. Tone doesn’t really enter into the equation. I can’t be like that, nor do I want to.  Slows me down of course, but I don’t see that as a problem.

So Saturday was 42nd Worldwide Sketchcrawl. We were meeting  at 10am under the Harbour Bridge at ‘the little patch of green’ at the end of The Rock Market. The first sketch is ‘the little patch of green’. mooring_ropes As you see it is currently a building site. But I wanted to sketch it, because these steel blue pipes rising up reminded me of the stands of bamboo in the Botanic Gardens. You can see here that I drew bamboo on the 38th Worldwide Sketchcrawl.

So because of the building works, which have pipes running up to the bridge, and along the bridge but not over the bridge, I didn’t  find the rest of the sketchers, but I did find Rod. So I lucked out. He is one of the most interesting men I know, and you should follow his blog, and if you like textiles, or Japan, follow this one too.

So from there we walked down to Circular Quay and while Rod headed for the palm trees, I sketched the mooring ropes and bollards of the Sun Princess. Rod and I will be planning an art pursuit together before too long.  Keep an eye on both our blogs!


Filed under boats, Copic Multiliner, ships, sketchbook, sketchcrawls, sketching, watercolour

The lightship Carpentaria

carpentaria_3An Urban Sketchers ‘event’ at the National Maritime Museum today. Perfect weather …23 degrees….for what is still the middle of winter. I was prepared with scarf and gloves for being cold down by the water. Not at all! I had to take my coat off.

I love to draw this ship. It is the brightest vermilion when the sun is on it. I have sketched it before. I turned one of those sketches into a solar plate and have printed only two from it so far. Both of them have gone into the collection of the State Library of NSW.

The Carpentaria was used as a beacon on rocks where it was not possible to construct a lighthouse, and it operated out of Cairns in Queensland. One of the Urban Sketchers there today had actually seen it in situ. I commented on its strange shape, and he said it had to be tough to be out there. There is something about it that reminds me of a bobbing barrel, though it wasn’t bobbing today on the calm waters of Darling Harbour.


Filed under boats, Copic Multiliner, Darling Harbour, drawing, National Maritime Museum, ships, sketchbook, watercolour

EDiM5 and the James Craig

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.

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Filed under boats, coffee shops, Copic Multiliner, drawing, EDiM, Heritage Fleet, Maritime Museum, National Maritime Museum, Pitt Pens, ships, watercolour, watercolour pencils

EDiM3 – Sketch whatever you like

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.


Filed under Birchgrove, Copic Multiliner, drawing, EDiM, ships, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour

Farewell to the Duyfken

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.

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Filed under boats, Copic Multiliner, drawing, Maritime Museum, National Maritime Museum, ships, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

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.

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Filed under boats, Copic Multiliner, drawing, Heritage Fleet, ships, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour