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.
Another wet day for an Urban Sketchers Event. The venue this time was the ‘back lanes of Newtown’which is my local area. You might remember that Liz Steel and I went for a reconoitre to plan the venue and I sketched this portion of the building.
It started to rain almost as soon as we started sketching, but I persevered till I had all the ink on, even though I was drawing on a wet page. The paper was the robustissimo Stillman and Birn Delta series, and I was using a Copic Multiliner pen which continued to draw on the wet paper. Not only was the rain splashing on the paper, but the building turned out to be the rear of Splash restaurant.
I sometimes walk along this back lane when I go to the library, so I am very familiar with the colours of the building and I also have a few photos of it. At this time of the year, on a sunny day, the airconditioning vents cast wonderful shadows. When i put the colour on later, at home, I painted a hint of the shadows from a photo, and although I deliberately painted a rainy sky, it looks as if the sun was out as well. It wasn’t.
Well, we had to sketch fast because of the weather, and then a number of us adjourned to The Pie Tin, on the next corner. It is a relatively new cafe specialising in pies, both savoury and sweet. I had some sort of a North African lamb pie, and it was delicious, chock full with meat.
In fact the conversation was almost worth the curtailed sketching. One of the things it let me to was Rod Byatt’s interesting discussion about Danny Gregory’s new book An Illustrated Journey, which we all own, of course. The conversation also, as always, turned to materials. My view is that there is an over emphasis on materials. Yes, they must be good quality, but more is not better. Colour mixing, rather than buying every colour. Not a popular or common view. And I have heaps of stuff.
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.
This is the new family member, Cosmo, asleep on the back of the lounge. He is not asleep now. He’s helping. ……hgffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff09vvy G -/uuuucxvcdddddddddddddddddddCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCW/////////// >
if you see what I mean. Helping with the typing also.
He’s a seal point ragdoll kitten aged thirteen weeks. I have had him for three weeks. He is very confident and independent. A toe-biter in the night for a while, but improving now. The first photo is the day he came – aged ten weeks. vvvvIMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
When he is asleep is the only time he stays still. The second photo is last week, making kitten stir-fry in my new little wok.
I sketched him with a dark brown and a white Prismacolour pencil on toned paper.