At Easter, Paul Wang from USK Singapore was in town and also Helen Chan from USK Hong Kong, so the Sydney Urban Sketchers got together on Good Friday to sketch with them. We had hoped to go to Luna Park, with views of the Harbour Bridge etc, but it rained. Luckily we had a wet weather plan. We met at the National Maritime Museum, hoping against hope that the rain would stop and we could sketch outside where there are a lot of old ships.
The rain continued, however we were able to sketch ships after all, albeit from a short distance. Along the side of the museum there are steps up to a terrace. It has a partial roof and long tables and benches. Perfect for us. a little rain drifted in and added ‘interest’ to our sketches.
I sketched this small boat, MB172, that interested me because of the four red ‘antennae’ sticking up. As you see, we were sitting right above it, so the perspective was quite different to that from the dock, where we would have been on a fine day.
The place on the terrace was great in many ways, as we were sitting together near the tables, and there was some chatting as we sketched (though long silences in concentration also). For once I remembered to get up and stretch, so I wandered around and had some great conversation with the other sketchers.
This photo was taken after a number of sketchers had had to leave, but there were 15 or more in all. A great turnout for a wet Good Friday. I hardly slept that night. My head was buzzing with ideas.
An Urban Sketchers ‘event’ at the National Maritime Museum today. Perfect weather …23 degrees….for what is still the middle of winter. I was prepared with scarf and gloves for being cold down by the water. Not at all! I had to take my coat off.
I love to draw this ship. It is the brightest vermilion when the sun is on it. I have sketched it before. I turned one of those sketches into a solar plate and have printed only two from it so far. Both of them have gone into the collection of the State Library of NSW.
The Carpentaria was used as a beacon on rocks where it was not possible to construct a lighthouse, and it operated out of Cairns in Queensland. One of the Urban Sketchers there today had actually seen it in situ. I commented on its strange shape, and he said it had to be tough to be out there. There is something about it that reminds me of a bobbing barrel, though it wasn’t bobbing today on the calm waters of Darling Harbour.
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.
Oh boy it is difficult when Every Day in May is on to keep up with the sketching, the posting, the commenting and the blogging. Several sketches backed up ready to blog, but no time.
Saturday was a day planned over a month ahead. We had arranged for three of us to sketch on board the James Craig. That is the tall ship I went out on just before Christmas. It was a beautiful day, lucky for us, though a bit on the cool side after a while. For a sailing ship, it is amazingly large once you get on board. The thing that is really noticeable is the sheer quantity of rope, and the variety of ways it is used and the different bits of hardware associated with it.
Before we went on board we met at the cafe (Yots) to sketch ‘something sweet’ for EDiM5. I got this small but colourful cupcake, which turned out to be a mud cake consistency. Yum.
I sketched the lifebelt first. We needed somewhere to perch and also be out of the way of people who were touring the ship. We started out near the ship’s wheel and I now know (now you tell me!) that it is a difficult ship to steer because it is long and it takes 16 turns of the wheel. Not sure if that is from hard- a- port to hard-a-starboard, or whether it is from the straight ahead position.
My second sketch was a quick one started in pen & watercolour and finished with my blue-grey watercolour pencil. When I got home, I realised that the white thingy-o needed to stand out more against the city buildings so I darkened them. It was either that or darken the thingy-o.
It gave the sketch a totally different look. The buildings, which are across Darling Harbour, look much closer and it looks like a rainy day. It’s only a sketch. The first one is much more indicative of the day though.
Filed under drawing, watercolour, watercolour pencils, Pitt Pens, Copic Multiliner, EDiM, Maritime Museum, boats, National Maritime Museum, coffee shops, ships, Heritage Fleet
Because the Duyfken is leaving so soon, I felt the necessity to go on board, so two days after my previous visit I was at the Maritime Museum again. This time we got a Big Ticket pass to take us on board all the ships, however we only visited the sailing ships, Duyfken and James Craig. Annie did the James Craig tour (which I’ve done before) so I sat and sketched a lifeboat.
We got some lunch and sat in the shade opposite Duyfken again, and this time I bravely drew the whole ship except for the tops of the masts and the lantern at the bow. Even so, I felt I was drawing awfully small. I prefer to zoom in.
My third sketch of the day was the Tu Do, which means ‘freedom’. It is a vessel from 1977 that Vietnamese people arrived on. You can read the story of the To Do here.
Last Saturday the sketching class went to the National Maritime Museum. They are very friendly and helpful there. We were organised to sketch inside if it rained but after a foul week it was a beautiful day. We had to find a patch of shade to sit in and sketch. Luckily there were seats along a wall in the shade with a great view.
We sat opposite the Duyfken, a beautiful little ship I’ve drawn before. It is a replica. It is beautiful because of all the wood, I think, offset by some fairly intricate painted areas. I drew the bow last time. This is the stern. Watch this space, I go back and bravely draw the whole thing.
The flags in the middle of the page spell out DUYFKEN. The Maritime Museum has quite a few things spelt out in flags. Once when we drew inside the museum I put the whole alphabet on my page, but now I’m more likely to spell out my heading that way. The lower drawing is a part of the HMAS Vampire. For some reason it has the flying kangaroo on the funnel. I’ll have to ask them about that next time I do down there. Some deal with Qantas? Perhaps they are a sponsor of the museum.
I love to go back to the Maritime Museum. It’s so beautiful down there & so much to see and draw. I was delighted for the class that we had such a good day to sketch there. Tomorrow it is Hyde Park Barracks and Macquarie Street. If it is wet we’ll be in the museum.
Last weekend I went to the Australian National Maritime Museum with Alissa. I wanted to draw the engine room telegraph, and now I’ve put it on the title page of my new sketchbook.
We then sat in a small alcove and drew some naval artifacts from the past. Today, posting this, it reminds me of the uniforms on tv as part of the royal wedding in the past 24 hours. I enjoyed drawing all the blue and gold. I’ve always loved ships and things related, ever since I was a small child.