A warm day at last! I have been wearing a coat, scarf and warm undies since I left on my trip to Italy on 31st March. The winter has seemed very long.
We made the most of it by going to Blackwattle Bay to sketch and then for lunch at the beautifully sited Blackwattle Cafe.You can sit outside with a view of the water, the boats and Anzac Bridge, and the food is cafe food. Unlike other places with water views it is just normal city cafe prices.
Blackwattle Bay is quite near the city, but with easy parking. We just go to the end of Glebe Point Road. Ten minutes’ drive from my place. All along the water, they have put native plants. They have also put in steps at a number of places because it is a big ‘doggy’ area, and the dogs and their owners go down the steps to the water. You can walk right round to the fish markets, and maybe even to the city. Every time I go I see little improvements.
The background boat was swinging around, as boats do, but the main one was tied up at a little jetty which made it somewhat easier. Watercolour and a blue Copic Multiliner. As usual I filled the page, so I got my white gouache when I got home and painted a little vignette.
I have the John Lovett DVD and the way he does reflections is just amazing. I watched the video, but mine is nothing like the way he does it. His are so simple and direct. Mine are played about in. But then again he has done it a million times. I was working from a photo. (No turning your nose up here. It has been raining for three weeks and I also have some health issues.) My water does look like the photo, so that’s something.
It is a photo I took in Siracusa, in Sicily. We were staying on the island of Ortigia, which is part of the city of Siracusa. It is joined on to Sicily by three short bridges and I took this photo when we were on our way to the flea market one morning. Although it was supposed to be an art tour, there was no waiting for anyone who stopped to take a photo, so it was just ‘grab a snap’ and move on.
And yes, I bought some interesting little things at the flea market.
Filed under boats, Charcoal pencil, Copic Multiliner, dip pen, inks, Italy, Ortigia, pen, Sicily, Siracusa, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour, watercolour pencils
Hmmmm, 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’. 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!
A beautiful day in Sydney last Thursday so we were off to Cooks River again, on the northern side of the bridge, closer to the boats. I did do more than this one sketch. I did try another of Lynne Chapman’s techniques, but not so successfully. So I’m not showing you……yet, till I get it right. The breeze was up, the boats were swinging about and I had used one of those jumbo Pitt Pens. Because I needed to restate my line when the boats moved, and the sketches were fairly small, the original line was too bold. Something learnt there.
So I tried the technique with the red primary object again, because that one was fun and successful first time. (Well, I thought so.) Funny shaped boat, isn’t it? I had to sketch it. Though it was a beautiful sunny day, it got chilly in the shade, yet it was too hot and glary in the sun. In the end the breeze drove us away. I was really hungry and we went to the Locantro cafe for some of their delicious pizza for lunch.
As you know I have been to the airport a few times recently. I go via the Princes Highway, and just before the airport turn-off we cross a bridge over the Cooks River. There are small boats on the water there, and it often looks beautiful with wonderful reflections, particularly early in the morning when many flights leave and arrive.
Finally we got there to sketch this week. It was later in the day and no reflections, but still beautiful. I wanted to try one of Lynne Chapman’s techniques from her Barcelona workshop. It was the second exercise in her post, the one she illustrates with some red chairs. The main object is to be depicted in reds and yellow, while the rest in blues and greens, with a little touch of the reds and yellows to bring them through the painting(sketch). So I made a boring old brown boat, red.
Boats are difficult to sketch because of the perspective already, but they swing around on their moorings, even without a breeze. So you’re looking at the back one minute and the side the next. Tricky. This book by Moira Huntly, Painting & Drawing Boats is excellent for understanding how the perspective works. I do notice though, having looked at many sketches of boats by various artists, that many of the most wonderful are done on the coast of England where the tides go waaaaay out and leave the boats sitting on the bottom.
I have loved ships and boats since I was a little girl. My grandparents had immigrated to New Zealand from Yorkshire. I guess they were homesick. We lived in a small town with a big port – ships carrying Canterbury Lamb back to the U.K. Every Sunday morning they would take me down to the port and usually we would be invited on board the ship and spend the morning there. So I love to sketch them.
This one, colour first, reds and yellows for the boat, then the background in blues and greens. Red and wine pens for the boat and a little blue on the trees. Finished. I can’t wait to use this technique again.
An 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.
As I said yesterday, one shipyard at the end of Rozelle Bay has gone, another seems to be on the way out. Sydney’s maritime history is disappearing before our eyes. When I took these photos there was still work going on, but clearing away had started also. Prime real estate, dontcher know.
This next image is the cabin/wheelhouse of an old ship.
The whole area was full of wonderful old rusted pieces of machinery. A sketcher’s paradise.
We paid two visits there. One was early in the morning to catch the cast shadows.
I have lots of photos. I’ve already used some to make solar plate etchings. I plan to do some paintings also. But now it has all gone, I know however many photos I took, it wasn’t enough.