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.
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.
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.
It’s so long since I blogged that I’ve almost forgotten how. WordPress has changed (for the better) and I’m finding my way around.
Finally on Saturday I was able to go out sketching with friends again. It was hot, but a cloudy day. which was for the best. It meant that we could sit where otherwise it would have been full sun and impossible. We wandered around aimlessly for quite a while trying to decide what to sketch. We tried to get down near to some of the boats, but it proved to be a floating pontoon that was heaving about on the choppy water. In the end we just sat down right where we were standing. There were plenty of boats about, and some naval ships, but machinery of any sort always attracts me so I decided to draw this.
We went to Darling Harbour near the Maritime Museum on Saturday with the Sydney Sketch Meetup group. It was a perfect day – 22 degrees. Maybe winter will be over soon. This is my third drawing and the one I’m happiest with.
With my first drawing I went straight in with the pen and the proportions weren’t correct. But once you’ve done those pen strokes, you have to go with it. So the next drawings I made some rudimentary marks to get the proportions correct before I drew.This red one took 45 minutes. A lot of that time was in putting on more and more red. The ship was bright glowing vermilion.
This drawing was from the other side of the same ship and it was done before the redder one. I experimented with a new Tombow pen I’d bought on Friday. I want to use my Tombow pens in this sketchbook, but I needed a pale grey for the shadow. I did the drawing in pen with grey Tombow first, then added colour.
The Bareki was actually the first drawing of the day, and the one when I learnt that with ships, it was best to put pencil proportions in first. I will try to draw it again one day soon. I have drawn a few ships in the last 12 months or so and they are more difficult than they look.
Some months ago I bought this book Painting & Drawing Boats and I can really recommend it. In fact anything by Moira Huntly I have three of hers now.