St Stephen’s Churchyard

usk_churchyardSaturday was Urban Sketchers Sydney sketching day. I haven’t been for a while because it is too jolly COLD outside for me.  Saturday was fine and sunny, though it became very windy.

The venue was St Stephen’s churchyard, just across the park from my place. I used to go up there a lot on warm mornings to do some sketching. Here is one from 2011. And another. And one from 2010. That’s enough!

In Sydney terms, this is a historical churchyard (graveyard 1848, church 1874). The park outside the walls, that runs down towards my house was a cemetery at one time, and now the gravestones are fixed to the inner walls of the churchyard.  Here is how the park looks now. In its early days the church had a long drive(now a residential street)  that the carriages would drive down towards the church  to a circular drive within the churchyard.  You can read more about the history here. And also an EXCELLENT blog post about it.

As I often do at this place, I wandered around aimlessly trying to find somewhere to sketch. I wanted to be IN the sun, and I wanted light and shade falling on what I was sketching. In the end, my decision was to draw these colourful gravestones. After I settled down to sketch, I decided to include the two sketchers sitting in front of me.

I am working quite large – 15″ wide by 7 1/2″ high. The wind came up VERY strongly and I had to hold the pages to stop them flapping about. At one point, while there was a lot of wet watercolour on the page, the book slammed shut. Strangely it did no damage. I put the red on at home and darkened some of the darks a little, but mostly it was done in situ.

I will be posting some sketches of my ‘Volterra Walk’ soon.



Filed under Copic Multiliner, Newtown, sketchbook, sketching, Urban Sketchers Event, watercolour

Gordon Cullen; Visions of Urban Design


A group of us are beginning a project based on Gordon Cullen’s walk through a city, but ours will be through Volterra in Italy. I hope to get started today.

Originally posted on DESIGNABILITY:


Last week I started to read a book about Gordon Cullen’s activities in urban design and illustrating instructive visions from the city as our built environment. This fantastic book, written and collected by David Gosling, stimulated me, even more than before, to go inside the city and watch every facet of social life through urban spaces and places and capture them in my visual memory by “sketching” them! In this path of architecture there were a few people who influenced me, and recently Gordon Cullen was added to my heroes list. Here I present the foreword of this book by Sir Norman Foster, I hope this would be a source of inspiration also for you!

“When I think back to the influences which led me to study architecture I still recall Gordon Cullen as one of my heroes. His drawings and writings were an inseparable part of the numerous copies…

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monte_de_pieteFinally I am going to post this sketch i did a few weeks ago. What has been holding me up is the COLD. My desktop computer is in the spare room, and it’s like ice in there.  So here I am at last. I scanned the sketch in there and got it onto WordPress, and now I can write the post in another room where it’s warmer. 

We went to Redfern with Sydney Sketch Club. Several of us were late, as there was track work on the railway lines. Buses replaced trains, but the problem was, they were skipping Redfern and going straight into the city. However, once we arrived we got right into sketching. Again, I am sketching right across the spread of two pages and using the width of the pages as the height. So, a big sketch. 

Monte de Piete was a Catholic pawnbroker and moneylender, dating back to the Middle Ages. Mr A. Margoschis was a local pawnbroker who in 1877 was involved in a murder at his nearby residence. You can read the story here. The things you learn from going out sketching!

Redfern is only two train stops from where I live. At one time I spent a bit of time there, because I had a friend who worked there and I used to go often and have lunch with her. Because it is so close to the city there are some more interesting shops springing up there now.


Filed under Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, Sydney, watercolour

USK Chinatown

chinatown_uskJust back a few days and the weather turned icy cold. Such a shock to the system. Nevertheless I braved the cold and went to the Urban Sketchers monthly get together in Chinatown.

On this occasion we had an unusual task. Each person was given a slip of paper with a building on it, and they were to sketch that building. Several people had the same building as there were quite a lot of us. The aim was to get a complete streetscape of Dixon Street, the main street of Chinatown in Sydney.

Apart from the cold, it was just a little rainy. However, cold as I was, I persevered and the rain did not. After finishing sketching we went to one of the food halls for a hot Chinese soup.


Filed under Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour

The turtle fountain

tortoise_fountainIn the garden at Cendana Hotel are many wonders. Among them is the turtle fountain. Not far from our room, we walked past it a number of times before realising that it was inhabited by quite a number of turtles. Three or four big ones and two babies. This one with the colourful shell is one of the babies.

Having turned over two pages at a time in my sketchbook, I needed to rectify this by doing extra sketches to fill the empty space, so one hot afternoon I sat in a pavilion and sketched the turtle fountain.

imageSo much wildlife at Cendana! Turtles, cats, Bird and two other caged birds, plus wild swallows flying over the pool at the back of the hotel. In the ricefields right next door  ducks and herons, and dragonflies, both orange and green. No monkeys. Although it is in the Monkey Forest Road, we are well up the road from the forest itself.

rambutan_umbrellaThe umbrella was sketched on a different day at Rambutan hotel, to fill the other empty page. Ceremonial umbrellas are such a feature of Bali. It’s good to get one or two in the sketchbook to capture the flavour of the place.


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Filed under Bali, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour

Gate at Tirta Empul

tirta_empulI did this one before my May trip to Bali. It was from a photograph taken during my February trip, and it was experimental.  The gate is at Tirta Empul, where there are holy springs, but I think it was a private gate. Two men came out and looked at me strangely while I was taking the photograph. The light was falling beautifully on the different levels on the fence and I may well use this photograph again.

Holy springs at Tirta Empul

Holy springs at Tirta Empul

I sketched it with my Hero pen with water-soluble ink. I thought I had green ink in the pen but it turned out to be brown. Then I threw a lot of watercolour, allowed it to dry, then a bit more with the pen.


Filed under Bali, Hero pen, inks, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour

Light entertainment in the lounge

rat_orchidSad to leave. Tempted to stay. Nevertheless we caught our flight that evening. A late departure around midnight. A visitor before we left. My friend Nyoman who I have known for over twenty years. He brought us a farewell gift…….the wonderland KRUPUK with peanuts that we had at Mumbul. And now we know what they are called. ……REMPEYEK. Now we can ask for the by name. Write it down!  They’re yummy.

A quick meal at Cafe Wayan after checking out of our room, then into the car and off to Ngurah Rai airport.  Through all the usual trials of check-in and  immigration, but quick, with our priority pass. Then we settle in the Garuda business class lounge. Still the same underwhelming area, screened off from the main concourse.  Food – abysmal. However we asked for a glass of wine and got one . ONE. I said ‘What about my friend?’.

I settled down and started on my sketch. But there was something going on behind me. What’s happening? I asked Broni. There’s a RAT in the lounge, she said. Some passengers told the girl who had brought our drink. She squealed and ran away. The two girls from the reception desk came next. Some Aussie women in front of me, giving a bit of a running commentary said, “They’re holding hands ….THAT’LL be useful.”

By this time there was a buzz of very much suppressed mirth from the passengers. We continued munching our delicious rempeyek.  The girls came back accompanied by two boys with a shovel and brush. They chased the rat a bit, cornered it for a minute but it broke away. Came nearer to us. But the passengers weren’t upset – they were enjoying it too much. Finally the boys cornered the rat, killed it, and carried it out on a shovel. There’s a case for cats at Ngurah Rai airport, I think.

I believe the new Garuda business class lounge opens this month. Or maybe jam karet.

Yes, I will be flying Garuda next time.



Filed under Bali, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour