Saturday 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.
Finally 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.
Just 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.
In 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.
So 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.
The 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.
Sad 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.
Woke up to rain on our last morning in Ubud. Stuck around the hotel waiting for it to stop. Packed the bag, then sat on the verandah to sketch the garden in the rain. Our flight was not leaving till midnight.
We decided to go back to Mumbul to have the same lunch again. Very friendly staff there. It is the main street of Ubud. It runs back from the street along the side of a huge ravine, with a terrace looking out over the ravine.
It was always a favourite in the past, due to Best Lemon Juice. We used to sit there and write postcards on hot mornings. Broni remembers going there on her first trip to Bali, twenty years ago. We sat under a huge tree and watched squirrels scamper about in the branches.
We mentioned to the waitress that it was a shame the tree had gone.. She said, yes, we had to get rid of it. We have accommodation at the back, and sometimes at night pit vipers would drop from the tree, because the ravine is full of them. We needed to stop that happening to our guests. Over the other side of the ravine, some quite tasteful development is going on. I don’t think I will visit those places. I will stick to Mumbul and have more of their delicious prawn crackers with peanuts.
It was getting close to when we would be going home, so I decided I couldn’t leave without sketching Bird. Situated on a corner between reception and the pool, though there are two other birds, this bird is the one in the most prominent position. He is also the one that talks the most. He has a piercing wolf whistle and an even more piercing screech. He can say selamat pagi (good morning) and apa kabar? (How are you?). Broni was trying to teach him to say “I’m a very silly bird” but I don’t think she had a lot of success. Everyone talks to Bird, but after close observation we realised that the gardener is the main tutor. Bird sleeps hidden in the top of his cage, but he will sometimes come down if you say goodnight to him.
After Broni was a little better we had started swimming before breakfast, and we did that also this morning. But we had to have a fairly early breakfast, because we had decided to go to Ibu Oka for lunch. I have been meaning to go to Ibu Oka for a very long time. It is famous for suckling pig. The thing is ,they say you must go at 11a.m. Eating suckling pig quite that early isn’t something for every day, but today we were determined. We had a slightly smaller breakfast too. Popped into the market for a little more panic shopping for friends then lunch.
Ibu Oka was a pleasant surprise. There were a number of menu options, but the choice was obvious. The menu option I chose gave a small amount of various things. It was delicious and not too large to face at 11 a.m. The restaurant is quite modern. It was more traditional for a long time and I am sorry I missed going there when it was like that.
Then back for a swim and it was time to draw Bird.