On Saturday the Sydney Sketch Club held an event in the city. We started out near Hyde Park, and many of us went in to the park away from the traffic to sketch.
It is jacaranda time here, so I wanted to sketch a jacaranda tree again. Here is one I did in 2011. There were black clouds, so we sat out in the middle of the grass, but I still managed to get sunburnt on the back of the neck. Lamy Safari pen with brown ink, watercolour, and a little Sigma white pen on the fountain, just to get the droplets. Hyde Park always reminds me of Alex who used to be my hairdresser. The salon was opposite this park and his ashes were scattered there.
The group moved on to the next place which was further down William Street. I had the mood to draw something organic that I could scribble a lot, so I decided to draw these palms opposite the Australian Museum. I love these palms. They are so sculptural. I did them with my black Copic Multiliner.
The foliage was a very blue-green but there were touches of yellow and some of the tips were yellow ochre. The wind came up very strongly. Blew away someone’s paints and someone else’s full water container. Watercolour finished at home.We moved to the pub over the road for an extremely delicious lunch. (Thai Beef Salad).
From a photo from my travels. This window was in Ortigia, quite near to where we were living in Siracusa, Sicily.
Our apartment was a fast five minute walk from the Piazza del Duomo, one of my favourite squares in the world, but in an ‘ordinary’ street, rather than a tourist area. Everywhere there are little architectural gems. This window has lost its balcony, but still is beautiful. I have so many photos of architectural details like this.
I went to Sicily because I saw the baroque buildings in the backgrounds of the Inspector Montalbano series. It certainly exceeded expectations.Wonderful things to look at everywhere.
The ‘grand’ architecture of Sicily is even more amazing – the public buildings, palazzi and churches. Now I am home I have bought this enormous but wonderful book The Baroque Architecture of Sicily and am slowly reading all about it. This is much more my preferred way of understanding what I see than trailing around with a guide.
Camperdown Memorial Park is just at the end of my street. I took my sketching chair up there yesterday and sat in the shade to sketch this tree. I sketched it before…three years ago.
It was nearly removed by the council a couple of years ago…the story is here. It is not blossom. They are orchid-like flowers and some of the leaves tumble down from the bottom. A really beautiful tree and I always look forward to it flowering this time every year. It is a symbol of Hong Kong , which is very pertinent at the moment with the Umbrella Revolution happening there now.
Someone came and sat below it, just as I started to sketch. She was reading a book and moving around a lot. Behind her is the graffiti-covered wall of St Stephen’s Church.
Drawn in my brown ink with Lamy Safari and then watercolour. Wine and Green Copic Multiliner added to the tree.
A couple of weeks ago we were going sketching, but my friend had car troubles. Because of that, by the time we got to this little park, the light was off the beautiful houses at the top. Here is one that I sketched some time ago.
We settled down to sketch, then a big council truck came and parked right beside us. It stayed and stayed, both the truck and the workmen who got out, making a huge amount of noise. By mutual agreement we sped up our sketches to get out of the way. As we went up the main street, it followed us, still screeching and so on. We changed our lunch plans and went to get the car and go to Locantro for lunch and we knew it would be quiet there. Well, except for a large Italian family.
Last Friday was a filthy day and I was stuck in a small room for several hours with only a view of these rooftops to amuse myself. It was so dark and rainy that often I couldn’t see the edges of the buildings at all. I had only my Lamy pen, and a blue-grey watercolour pencil. The little extra colour was put on later.
I also had only one hand free, so had to keep my sketchbook steady with the hand I was sketching with. At one point the sun came through the clouds and I was able to see where the shadows would fall. A crowd of people were walking along in bright sunlight, and suddenly umbrellas were up, coats were pulled over their heads and any free object held above their heads. Pelting down, while the sun was shining.
St John’s College is a residential Catholic college attached to the University of Sydney. It has a number of well-known alumni including the prime minister and treasurer (enough said) and is a beautiful building. However I am in two minds about it, because this college was relatively recently involved in a scandal about bullying. You can read about it here. Privileged young people with an over-developed sense of entitlement. Beautiful building or not, I turn my nose up at it as I go by.
Finally I get a brown ink that suits me fine. It has been a long search. I have looked for inks, pens, whatever, for a few years now. The pens are either so light as to not give definition to a line, or so dark as to read as black. I bought some lovely brown ink in Florence, gorgeous colour, but not at all impermeabile (waterproof).
Cathy Johnson recommended this Noodlers Ink, Brown #41, to me a long time ago, but there are very few Noodlers colours available here. However recently my friend Peter had a holiday in New York, and asked me Do you want anything? Well!
I have the Noodlers Bulletproof Black and Lexington Grey for quite some time. They’re ok, but on the fine art papers I use in my handmade sketchbooks, they don’t dry quickly enough. This new brown ink seems to dry quickly and I LOVE the colour.
My sketch of a church for the test run, is from Buscemi in Sicily. I wrote about this when I was there in April – a small town that is a living museum. There were two quite wonderful churches, and as was usual (and very disappointing) with our tour, there was no free time to sketch. So now I sketch it from a photo.
My printer died last week and this is my first scan with the new one. It seems simpler than the old one and quicker, and there was no learning curve at this stage …. Until I start to customise it.
On Thursday I went out and about in Newtown with fellow Urban Sketcher Liz Steel. I was showing Liz some places around my local area where we might be able to have an Urban Sketchers event. King Street, the main shopping street in Newtown is too popular on the weekend with people lunching and brunching. Not much room for sketchers on the pavements and certainly not in the cafes.
I took Liz to my favourite building which has a little park opposite. I’ve sketched this building before here and here. I could spend a lifetime drawing this building in sections and with different media. The blue of the paper was similar to the blue of the steel, so that is why I chose to sketch this section. The scan is not really true to the colour.
I particularly like this sort of ‘industrial’ image on toned paper. Not working consecutively through the book is serving me well, but I will be glad when the book is fuller.
Here is the crazy building in all its glory. Liz sketched the whole building here.