I started off Every Day in May this year, but I knew I couldn’t keep it up. I have had tradesmen here and been camping in the spare bedroom. I had some medical appointments and even more important, I am going travelling.
First trip, starting in less than a month. I am going to Bali. I decided to sketch this frame as I wanted to get my hand in, sketching Balinese patterns and textures. this is a raw wooden frame, one of many I bought a lot of years ago. Most of them I have painted and then gilded.
I bravely went straight in with the pen, even knowing that the pattern should be reproduced on each side, and as for the perspective…. So my solution, after being comparatively satisfied with what I had done was just to swoosh watercolour onto the back corner. I think I have learnt a useful trick for when I’m actually in Bali.
First I am going to Kalibukbuk and the place I am staying has enough to sketch without leaving the garden, so I am looking forward to a nice relax (and the cooking course.)
Well I thought I wasn’t going to be blogging for a month. Now it seems plans have changed. I am not sure if they are going to change again so I’m blogging today and every chance I get. With a bit of luck we’ll reach the 500th post before too long and the giveaway. I will photograph the book as soon as we get a nice bright day. It has toned papers of all colours and if you win it you’ll be drawing across the spread from one colour to another. Won’t that be fun! I saw a picture of Danny Gregory drawing across a spread – maybe it was only white and cream – but it looked great. And there are some nice bright colours like this and this .
These are my shoes that I use to exercise. Munro American. I really wanted to go to the pool and draw the architecture that day but something prevented me – can’t remember what. Watercolour pencils.
King Street Newtown is an extremely long shopping street and full of cafes and restaurants. The day I drew this, I’d hurt my back and had to have some treatment at the physio. I’ve been in most of the cafes, but as I walked back down the road I felt sure that eventually I’d find a cafe I had not been in before. Eventually I found Fringe Cafe. I think it hasn’t been there long – these places keep changing. I sketched out a bit of an interior view, but then decided it was too time consuming and I didn’t feel up to it. All along the window ledges were these very small buckets with herbs. I liked the way the light fell on them, and how the plant was lit from behind, so I rubbed out my previous pencil lines and did this instead.
This is my 2nd last EDiM. (I didn’t do 31st as the subject didn’t inspire me and I was already running a day late).
Yesterday for the 2nd day in a row, it bucketed with rain. I haven’t poked my nose outside the door for two days now. The time was well spent, because I cut the cover boards for two books, and the cover paper. The covers for my giveaway book are completely finished, so there’s only the punching of the holes and the stitching to do. It has paste paper covers (pulled style) of golden yellow with a little olive green.
For some reason this sketch looks rural to me, though it is in the middle of Newtown – that’s 4km from the centre of Sydney. I’ve drawn it twice before sitting on the steps at the side of the Post Office. This time I’d taught a class in the morning and still had to do my EDiM. I was hoping to sit in the window of the little coffee shop opposite (I’ve never been lucky to get a seat there) but a man was already sitting there reading. It was too cold to stay outside, so I took a photo and came home and did it.
The sun was very bright and catching the side of the mailbox and in the photo it was a deep yellow/orange colour. I wonder if I would have painted it that colour if I’d done it on site.
Today is the Sunday of a public holiday weekend (Queen’s Birthday) and I’m going to stay home all day and do exactly as I please. I think it might involve some sketching. I watched a little bit of the Queen’s jubilee celebrations on tv. The bit that brought a lump to my throat were the singers – singing their hearts out in the rain. Cornish fishermen singing a sea shanty, then classical girl singers with the London Symphony Orchestra in their black dresses with their long hair wet with rain, singing Land of Hope and Glory.
This one I drew from my kitchen window on a Sunday morning. I had to get on with it as I was going out. There was only a tiny band of cloud low in the sky, so I enhanced it, then soon noticed it had gone completely. The building in the foreground is my neighbour’s house and the one in the background is Royal Prince Alfred Hospital away in the distance. Don’t be misled by the palm tree -it’s winter and it’s cold.
That afternoon three of us went to a talk and workshop at the National Maritime Museum. They currently have an exhibition about the Fish in Australian Art. The talk and workshop was with Roger Swainston. So interesting. Roger draws coral reefs while under water. He uses pencil on architects drafting film. He sets up a grid of ropes so that he can find his place again. If you take this link and click on the top small image you will see what I mean.
In the workshop we drew fish using Roger’s method. We first pinned out the fish so that the fins were displayed to advantage, then we pinned a cord across fish to mark the centre line. After that it was all measuring with callipers. We were sharing a fish between four or five of us, so we took turns in the measuring. Quite soon we got very confused with where we’d just measured and what it related to with our drawing. It was fun though and Roger is a good teacher. I didn’t finish mine, but if I want to do it at home, I’ve got the skills.
Alissa was with me and she got to take the fish home. You can see her fish drawings here.
Another thing that came out of the day was that we had a talk to Roger about solar plate etchings. When we make solar plates, we put our drawings onto architects drafting film to expose the plate to the sun. We asked Roger if he ever did any printmaking & he said no. We explained how easy it would be to expose his existing drawings, and he said he had hundreds of them. He’d brought some of them along, and there was a large one of a lobster that I was just itching to make a plate of and print with sanguine ink. He is from Western Australia so I do hope he finds a printmaker over there, who knows solar, and hooks up with them.
This one was to draw the ingredients for a recipe. I don’t use recipes very often, so I thought ‘what’s in the fridge’. I’d made a stir-fry the previous evening and I’d bought this baby buk choy (bok choy?) for it. I put it on some white paper on the kitchen table and started to sketch it with the tip of a size 16 round brush. I got the shadows in first, because they move so fast, especially if you multi-task as I do.
This was the day that I realised I’d almost stopped using my pen. Because the Every Day in May objects were mostly done at home, I was in a position to ask myself, ‘what media suits this object best?’ I’ve been trying to use a variety of media, but more often than not its been straight watercolour with a large-ish brush, or else I’ve used a dip pen. I plan to get the conte pastels out soon, but before I do I want to put some transparent gesso down on the page as a ground.
Now June is here I’m not sketching in my sketchbook every day, but I certainly have art projects happening. Someone should start watching his mailbox after this Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend. I’ve had the Gelli plate out and I’ll show you that soon.
Last night I went to VIVID, a festival of lights. (To see the full extent of it, when you take that link, roll your cursor over the blue spiral between the two chandeliers and click on ‘expand the mashup.’) The Museum of Contemporary Art light display was amazing, and of the smaller installations, my favourite was the digital wattle.
EDiM25 was to draw some flowers. I was out grocery shopping that day and I hoped to find something to bring home to sketch. We’re in the depths of winter here and the shops I went to had nothing I wanted to draw. I ended up working from a photo of some poppies I bought a photographed a long time ago. Watercolour.
It’s getting closer to my 500th post and my giveaway. I’ve decided what it is going to be. I was dividing paper to make myself a new special-purpose sketchbook the other day and I decided to make TWO – one to give away. At the moment only the pages are done, but this weekend I hope to choose some papers for the covers and get them ready for binding, if not actually bind them. Depends on the weather for this Queen’s Birthday weekend. I’ll be using some of my hand decorated papers. There are still more than 20 posts to go, so I have a little time.
If you want to learn some techniques for decorating papers I’m demonstrating at The Art Scene at North Ryde from 12-2 next Thursday. The following Thursday it will be hands-on at Leichhardt Library.