This spring we’ve had much better weather than the drenching we got in the autumn for the Sketchabouts in the Royal Botanic Gardens. Most of the days didn’t seem to have much promise, but they were all terrific. Last Saturday was no exception. Gorgeous day.
The group went to the Palace Garden to sketch. Because I’ve been drawing so much at the zoo lately, I decided to draw a lion. There were two of these lion statues at the entrance to the pavilion. I think mine shows that he is the King of the Rose Garden with his crown of roses.
After that I snuck off from the main group, because I was determined to draw a jacaranda tree before leaving the Botanic Gardens that day. They are in bloom all over Sydney at the moment, looking so lacy and ethereal and I decided there was no time like the present to draw one.
Lunch, we usually go to the lawn that is near the main pond, where we sit under the shade of a big tree, eat our lunch, chat and share our sketches. I always gaze and gaze at the intricate bark of this tree that shades us, and this time I decided to draw it. Unfortunately I didn’t think to look what sort of tree it was, so I’ve called it ‘The Lunch Tree’.
Last Saturday it was supposed to pour with rain again. Surprise. Though cloudy & a bit hazy if remained fine and warm enough for comfortable outdoor sketching. It was the 2nd of the Spring Sketchabouts in the Royal Botanic Gardens and this time they led us to the native Australian garden just near the Opera House.
The garden is on quite a steep little hill and I went to the top as I’d not been before. The Gymea Lilies were in bloom so for me that was an obvious thing to draw. They are just magnificent. They grow to 5-6 metres tall ( a metre is a yard + 3 inches) and the ones I was drawing were downhill from me, as you can see by the photo that Jennifer took & was kind enough to send me to use on my blog.They are in bloom all over Sydney at the moment and I took this other photo in another part of the Gardens. Next, I moved along the slope to draw some Kangaroo Paw. Yes they are called that because of their shape. Look at this closeup. They also come in a beautiful rich red. I was looking for some of those to draw as they seem a little more ‘typical’ to me, but they were mostly in the middle of the slope and not accessible to draw. I’ve since found some in another part of the Gardens, so I’ll go back to draw them.
I’ve made a solar plate of the Gymea Lily drawing already and will be printing that in a couple of weeks.
This solar plate etching was taken from one end of this sketch. I drew these
palms one wet wet day in the Tropical Centre at the Royal Botanic Gardens and we had such a fantastic day that I am totally inspired by palms.We’re going to the Gardens again on Saturday and it’s raining again!
This first solar plate etching was inked up in an aubergine colour mixed by Seraphina Martin who organises the Printfest for us.The next one was inked up in a colour called Sanguine by Charbonnel inks. Probably my favourite colour.
The image with all the palms comes from this drawing . The first was inked in Prussian Blue (also Charbonnel) and the second in Sanguine.
Each time the plate was first inked up with the colour I’ve mentioned, so that the ink went into the grooves in the plate. Then the surface of the plate was rubbed back, and it was rolled over with a big roller with a gradient which shows in the background of the palms. More info about solar plate etching on my glossary page.
I can’t finish this post without a word about Sonia who was the Australian killed in the helicopter crash in New York yesterday. I didn’t know her personally but I saw her around. She had this cafe I drew recently, under its previous name Baciagalupo, and I’d see her when I went there. More recently she has had Madam Fling Flong’s where we had cocktails a while ago. It’s true what they say, she had quite a personality. She will be remembered for a long time around Newtown.
Last week we had some beautiful days and we went to the Royal Botanic Gardens. There was a stiff breeze down by the water so we went to the beautiful ‘Spring Walk’ and drew this interesting Japanese plant on the left.
After lunch I wanted to draw trees. During the Autumn of the Arts in the Botanic Gardens, Julia and Catherine drew some big trees up at Government House. They went straight in with the pen, and used colour for impact rather than to reflect nature. They were amazing. I have been wanting to do this ever since.
The top one is a Port Jackson Fig and the lower one is a Moreton Bay Fig. Roll on summer so I can get out there again. It’s blowing a very chilly gale today.
It’s already a week ago and I’m not keeping up with my blogging. It was a Spring Sketchabout in the Royal Botanic Gardens. The previous day had been foul, but much to our surprise on the day it was sunny, though cold and windy. We were drawing along the ‘Spring Walk’ which was stunningly beautiful, and even sheltered so we weren’t cold at all.The panorama, as you can see from the photos, was daunting to say the least. I didn’t want to do a flower study, because that was getting a bit too botanical. So I found this stand of iris that looked pretty wonderful, drew them, then moved along and drew a polyanthus border.
During lunch, some hopeful ibis came hanging around. I managed to quickly sketch them before they were chased away by sketchers guarding their lunches. There have been ibis in the Gardens as long as I can remember. Over recent years they have become scavengers, and are often seen in numbers on the wheelie bins of restaurants around Sydney or anywhere with food scraps.
After lunch I wanted to draw a tree. However I wanted to sit with my friends more than that. I liked the yellow tulips, so I drew them pretty much ‘blind contour’. I don’t look at the page a lot when I’m drawing anyway. The colour is not true to nature and that wasn’t blind contour – I looked! In the background are the lyrics of ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips. I’m still singing it.
Oh yes more solar plate etchings. I went craaaazy at Seraphina’s Printfest. I wait all year for these three winter Sundays, so I’ve got to make the most of them.
These two plates are also from my drawings last summer at the Botanic Gardens, however they’ve been altered a little. The autumn statue was transferred to the drafting film with pen, but instead of transferring the background from my sketchbook (gum blossoms) I transferred banksia from a different drawing & I did it with a big soft pencil that gives a softer line for the background.
The lion got much the same treatment. In my sketchbook he has a Sydney Harbour/Botanic Gardens panorama, but in the solar plate I’ve drawn the actual background where he sits in the Oriental Garden. A bit mix and match. Again I’ve used pen for the lion and pencil for the background.
I used green ink (new!) to ink up the autumn statue, and for the first lion I used yellow deep (also new) – suitable Gardens colours. You can see the yellow in the lions’ mane and on the curlicues on his legs. I love printing in all these bright colours.