An early start to catch our flight to Bali. Taxi came 5.30 a.m. Everything ran as smooth as silk. We had great seats on the aircraft and lunch was served soon after our 9 a.m. takeoff. So early in the morning we had one Bintang beer with lunch to celebrate the commencement of our holiday. And of course we needed the can for the sketch.
The rest of the flight we spent doing our “Learning Indonesian” lessons. We couldn’t do the audio because we would have felt forced to repeat after the instructor and we wouldn’t want to frighten the horses. As well as audio, they come with PDF files so we worked from them. It is such an excellent course, and free. We asked the cabin crew for help with our pronunciation, though there was some fairly quiet hilarity between ourselves at our efforts. Well, we thought quiet, but when I stood up to let BB out, a friendly passenger in the row behind us said “you two seem to be having a good time”.
A sunny morning for the Queen’s Birthday public holiday. I met up with a large group from the Sydney Sketch Club as we sketched a monument to Queen Victoria near Hyde Park. Wonderful sketchers there.
Somehow for once I wasn’t in the mood. I think my head is already on holiday. The rest of the group went off to sketch another Queen Victoria statue, but I decided to go home and do some more trip preparations.
Urban Sketchers in Sydney had their monthly event at Sydney University for June. The weather was forecast windy and some rain. At first it was quite mild, but by 12.30 it had turned cold and we were glad to get out of the weather. Didn’t rain on us though.
We started out in the quadrangle, which is very ornate wherever you look. The neogothic architecture is certainly a challenge. I started with the tower. I was working as I previously did on Cockatoo Island on collaged Japanesed papers that had been washed with watercolour. A number of different textures of paper have been used. You can see the threads in the paper on the left of the tower, while on the right, those brown looking dots are actually gold sparkles in real life. I didn’t touch the sky. It was like that already.
For the next sketch the wind drove me inside to a sheltered corner, so I sketched from inside, looking out.
Saturday morning was another Urban Sketchers Event at Cockatoo Island. Remember we got rained out (well, rained in) last time, and I sketched the machines?
This time a cloudy day was forecast with strong winds. It can be cold there out on the island, and although the weather has been perfect, we are well on into the autumn. In the event, it was yet another perfect day and we were stripping off layers.
I wanted to sketch this hugely complicated crane that I haven’t tried before. It is always trickier than you think, sketching cranes. They are so very tall. You have to anchor them on the ground somehow, then you run out of page when you go upwards. This crane is just gorgeous where that rectangular thing is, and next time I shall attempt to draw a detail of that area. As it was I went off the page at the top, and across onto the other page once I got the rope-thing hanging down. So I continued to add more buildings coming closer to me, able only to fudge the perspective and the proportion because it was so unplanned. Nevertheless I quite like it.
Yesterday was Anzac Day, a public holiday in Australia and New Zealand. There is a huge parade through the city, but instead we went to Cockatoo Island again. Any opportunity……
These pages in my Stillman & Birn sketchbook have been pre-prepared with collage for ages. Even since I came back from Huskisson, and so long that I can’t quite remember if I used Matt Medium of Matt Gel Medium. I used a variety of torn pieces of Japanese papers. They were all cream or white, some with metallic bits through them, others plain or with various other bits through them. When I had stuck them down and they were dry, I threw some watercolour on them.
I was always planning to use them at Cockatoo Island, so I used the yellow ochre on them both, thinking of the sandstone there. One I used a dusky pink as well, and the other I mixed a grey blue from ultramarine and burnt umber.
It was a perfect autumn day. Chilly at 9:45 when I arrived, but by mid afternoon we were looking for a patch of shade. Another glorious day on Sydney Harbour.
Last week I went to sketch The Pink Building again on a dry day. However, even at 10am there was no light on it. I have been watching it for years and I know that for quite a lot of the year it is in shadow. Perhaps that time of year has come.Back along the lane I found this group of buildings with the sun coming from one side.
Tone is so important to me, and that is probably one of the reasons I don’t work particularly fast, because I am refining the differences in the tones. So I had to find something to sketch with strong tonal differences.
When I got this one home I wasn’t particularly happy with the colour, so I actually got up in the night to alter it, because I couldn’t get back to sleep for thinking about it. What did I do? I lightened the two sunny yellow areas using sfumato. I lifted off the colour of the front wall to a pale raw umber, as I thought it was muddy. In the morning I glazed very watery ultramarine over the front wall and the other shadow areas. Finished.
Now I am happy with it. If time permitted (which it won’t) I would quite like to do a 12″ square acrylic from it for the Pyrmont Art Prize.
Strangely enough I painted one from here for the Glebe Art Prize, though it sold before that and never made it to the exhibition. It is from a totally different angle, but do you recognise with area it comes from? It’s called Up Up and Away, partly because of the repeating upward thrust of the roofline, but mainly because it was the rear of the Flight Centre building at the time.