Back before I went to Europe I read this article on Lynne Chapman’s blog about Inma Serrano‘s workshop in Barcelona at the Urban Sketchers Symposium. I had meant to try this technique in Europe, but….well…. there was too much else to think about.
Last week we went again sketching to Cockatoo Island. On the ferry I remembered this technique (which I read about three months beforehand), and decided to give it a go. I had my usual sketching kit, n0 special materials, so I had to make do with what I had. Watercolour and some Copic Multiliners in various colours.
In a nutshell, the idea is that you draw the object as if it was a monster. In Barcelona, Lynne Chapman drew the Cathedral; I drew machines at Cockatoo Island. We had planned to sketch outside. It was a beautiful day, but the breeze was flipping the pages of our books so we went into the Turbine Hall. The first one I sketched was the Scary Monster. It sends rays out of that white thing at the front to disable its enemies. You can see what a complicated piece of machinery it is. I NEVER would have chosen this particular machine if it hadn’t been a monster. This technique takes the technicality out of sketching and the fear not not ‘getting it right’. And it is quick.
How I did it. Well, as I said, the memory of the technique was slightly dim, but I gave it my best shot. I used a biggish round brush and put the blue on, then I dropped Alizarin Crimson into the darker areas, a little bit of yellow on the highlighted areas and tried to leave some white for the lightest lights. Straight onto the page – no pencil guidelines. I allowed it to dry then worked into it with a wine coloured Copic Multiliner. Brought back two little highlights with white gouache and – finished.
I didn’t worry about realistic colour; it is far more fun to have colourful monsters. In real life though the top one was battleship grey, the next was grey with a greenish cast, and the last was a creamy sort of colour(ish).
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.
Some time ago I began a book especially for sketches of pipes. The book is here along with the sketches I did a year or so ago. I have moved away from my plan to do all the pipes grey except for where there was paintwork. At Cockatoo Island on Easter Saturday I noticed that mostly the pipes were rusty, and though I don’t intend to always follow that, I have introduced that colour.
I layered some of the rusty pipes along behind the original ones to pull the whole thing together and carry the sketches from page to page in my concertina book. One pipe below the yellowish one that hasn’t had colour yet. The concertina has ten pages, and this is five of them, so I am half-way there. The trick will be to leave the right amount of white space.
We just had time before catching the ferry back to Circular Quay to go into the Industrial Precinct and sketch another machine. This one reminded me of a sewing machine but I’m sure its not.
Cockatoo Island was more crowded than I’ve ever seen it before with people everywhere, and many many campers and more tents than I have ever seen before. Sadly, one of the campers never made it back to the mainland, after falling from a cliff overnight.
Thanks to Chantal Vincent who made a video of our wet day at Cockatoo Island.
USK Sydney at Cockatoo Island – Crane Crawl. Saturday 02 March 2013 from Chantal V on Vimeo.
Saturday was the ‘Crane Crawl’ at Cockatoo Island. The weather wasn’t promising but I wanted to go anyway. At Cockatoo Island the sky was dark, so rather than start to sketch and get rained on before I was finished, I went straight to the Industrial Precinct. I’ve only sketched inside there once before and was longing to do it again.
Even while I was doing my first sketch, the rain came down and was hammering on the tin roof. I love sketching these old machines. I wish I knew what they were for. The top one is a bit like the Beam Benders but not as big, and it has a wonky ‘bender,’ if that’s what it is.
For the next machine I chose a red background. I am jumping around in my book of toned paper. I chose a nice industrial brown for the first one, but then I wanted to keep the day’s sketches together as a group. What do you think this machine does? Maybe the wheel at the top lowers the head and it cuts metal between those two wheels. There is a bit of commonality between this and a sewing machine.
My last sketch of the day was this little grouping of a cupboard, some boxes and a thingy. I was running out of time, and chose something without a lot of ellipses.
We got soaked waiting to get on the ferry to go home (all those people disembarking at Cockatoo Island in the pouring rain!) But we had a great day sketching and I wouldn’t have missed it. Can’t wait to go back. All sketches with Lamy Safari pen, and Prismacolour pencil(s) on Canson paper.