We drove down Glebe Point Road, looking for (a) somewhere to park and (b) a sketchable house. Not much parking. We ended up down by the water. As we were driving round the block, we saw this house opposite the park, where there were shady trees to sit under. Another cream house, so this time I used Naples Yellow and dropped in some raw sienna. I have decided I prefer the tall terrace houses to sketch. And next one, any colour but cream.
I said I was going out yesterday to buy waterproof black ink. Failed! Marc Taro Holmes uses Platinum Carbon ink which is not available here. I went to a shop that stocked De Atramenis Document inks. They said that they are no longer available here in Australia as there is no supplier. They had a few Noodlers inks and that is the same story. Noodlers will be no longer supplying Australia. I have Noodlers already, and mine are not waterproof. I have Black Bulletproof and Lexington Grey. My Noodlers brown IS waterproof though.
When we got home, we called around some other art shops. All the same story.We looked at ordering from Goulet pens, but with the combination of postage (about $US25 for two bottles of ink) and our dollar (currently US$0.71) the price became astronomical.
Another ink that had been suggested was the Rotring ink that is used for technical pens. It is in a strange container not suitable for filling fountain pens. Sure, it can be decanted. The fellow in the art shop ‘demonstrated’ the waterproof-ness of it, and it smeared. He said he had done it too soon (immediately.) However my nephew called last night and we were talking inks. He has that Rotring ink and he ran a test, using water over it after leaving it an hour. Smeared.
So I will have to wait until somebody travels somewhere where waterproof ink is available. In the meantime I will be using my Copic Multiliner to start Marc Taro Holmes Lesson Three.
During the last few months, I have been taking note of sketchable old houses all over the inner west of Sydney. There are so many beautiful old houses in such varying styles. On Saturday morning we decided to go sketching in Glebe. Glebe Point Road runs from the city, down to the water at Glebe Point and Bicentennial Park. Blackwattle Bay also. Past the shops, as it starts to go down the hill towards the water (though not with water view) are some huge houses. I went to a party in one once. Inside they are enormous.
We bypassed some gorgeous houses because they were opposite cafés with outdoor seating. Saturday morning the cafés were full. Earmarked them for a weekday when the cafés are less busy and we can sit over coffee longer. It takes some time to sketch these houses because decoration is a feature of the style of house. While it is mostly good to simplify, one needs to capture a certain amount of decoration or one loses the flavour of the house. All the houses I have sketched have been greatly simplified, including this one, (though it doesn’t look like it!). It’s a matter of achieving a balance.
I was pleased that I could sketch this one in horizontal format, because all my Newtown houses have been tall houses in vertical format. There was a place to sit just beside someone’s driveway, so our view wasn’t blocked by cars. I wanted to sketch this one because I love the dome. I might have been sketching in Glebe again today, but it’s raining. Better luck on Saturday, I hope. A bonus of sketching in Glebe is that lunch at Blackwattle Cafe is nearby.
I live not far from Sydney University. It is a collection of beautiful old sandstone buildings. I didn’t go there for my degree though. The art school is on different (equally nice) premises, a bit further away, but the ‘word on the street’ seemed to be that the University of New South Wales was the better art school.
On Sunday, there was a ‘rock and roll market’ at Sydney Uni, with some vintage cars outside and many young girls done up in extreme 50s clothing. Hideous, in my eyes. I remember those things from the 50s. I remember all the rules for women of all ages that have thankfully gone. So don’t expect me to get excited about the 50s.
I went with the Sydney Sketch Club. Fun to go with a group and see what everyone else sketches. Many did the vintage cars. They were a temptation, but once I saw the twisty-twirly chimneys it was all over. I wanted to use my book of toned papers now that it has a new lease of life. The way the light fell on the sandstone was just the sort of thing I love to sketch.
It was a hot day. Gorgeous. We were sitting in the sun and after a while got very thirsty indeed. The only place we could get a coffee was inside the market, so we paid and went in. We found coffee and food as well. It was interesting sitting in there having our lunch and watching the over-the-top fifties gear. Many of them had little chiffon scarves tied around their heads with a knot in front. Maybe that was an American thing. I remember seeing pictures like that, but in my part of the world it would have definitely meant ‘working class’.
After lunch, out in the car park, there was a bunch of girls with little straw hats. I guess they looked as if they were going to the races. But my parents went to the races all the time, and I don’t remember those hats. The dresses, yes. We went back to sit in the sun and I sketched the entrance to the faculty of medicine. I was intending to continue up the page, but suddenly it was ‘show and tell’ time.
This weekend, spring was here! I have been longing to get out sketching but there have been so many days with chilly breezes. Now at last it is warm.
We wanted to sketch ‘the pink building‘, but at this time of the year there is no light on it at 10 a.m. With my obsession with tone, I am not eager to sketch anything without the light falling on it in an interesting way. We wandered around a few streets, looking at the way the light fell and looking to find something to sketch. In Wilson Street, we struck it lucky and found a group of attractive houses. This house was a pale blue, towards the violet rather than the green, so I added a bit of alizarin crimson to liven it up. It is a large drawing (15″ by 7 1/2″) across the two pages of my sketchbook. This house is a lot less elaborate than this previous one and its ‘bookend‘ at the other end of the block. However they are only a few streets apart.
A neighbour talked to us and told us this house is about to have a big renovation out the back. I enjoyed sketching this. I liked the palm tree taller than the house. We will no doubt go back to this street to sketch because there are other houses nearby that are quite different. And there is a coffee shop nearby.
This Volterra sketch is done on pale grey paper. The choice of colour was inspired by the colour of the building. It was partly grey, partly ochre. So I got out my Prismacolours to add some yellow ochre, partly to make this sketch fit in with the rest of the group, partly because the grey is a little pale for a mid-tone.
Something completely different coming up in my next blog post.
So far in this new Volterra series on toned paper, I am sticking to earth tones. Maybe when I get further down the track I may surprise us all with something entirely different. Strangley, I have found, now that I have three of the new series on toned paper done, that two of the earlier series can also be included, as they are predominantly ochre in colour. See below; I have included them again so you can see what I mean.
I am enjoying working on the toned paper again. However this Posca pen
has inspired me to buy a few more, and when I get off the toned paper I will be experimenting with them.
A number of other people are doing Volterra drawings from Google Maps travelling a particular route, which can be seen here.
Our drawings are due on 20th August and are slowly being published on the Facebook group SW Games.
This is my strategy for my new Volterra series. Some time recently I saw a sketch I really liked on toned paper. It occurred to me that I had a sketchbook of toned papers, half full. This is the first of my new Volterra series, aiming for streetscapes, and the ‘look’ of a series.
Another reason for this strategy is that on Saturday I bought a white Posca pen to try it out. That’s what I am using for the whites here.
I had forgotten about this sketchbook. I don’t like the cover. Now I have decided to make a new cover. The problem was that the itajime paper I had used for the cover was semi transparent, so when I glued it to the grey bookboard, it didn’t look so good. I shellacked it all over, but was never thrilled with the result. I think I will use itajime paper again, but put some plain white paper underneath. Then I will be more inclined to pull out the book and use it.