Saturday was the 39th Worldwide Sketchcrawl.
I went to my first sketchcrawl, the 20th, in 2008. That was when I met Liz and Alissa, and we have been sketching together ever since. I have only missed two or three sketchcrawls because of sickness and a business commitment. I hate to miss the sketchcrawl.
We had decided to have an inside venue after being rained on at two recent Urban Sketchers events. As it was, the weather was perfect and we were stuck inside. In the Powerhouse Museum there is so much to sketch, and as usual I gravitate towards the machines.
One sketch down and we needed a coffee. We went to the new coffee shop by the entrance and had a look at our sketches in a good light. It’s dark in the museum.
Back inside, and being printmakers we wanted to sketch the printing press. Very complicated, looking up from below made it worse. Took a break in the middle of that sketch to catch up with all the sketchcrawl people and look at sketches. Probably the biggest sketchcrawl in Sydney yet….over 50 people. And we started with three of us in 2008.
Lunch in the courtyard cafe downstairs, talking about sketching and about Barcelona, then back to finish the press.
Saturday was the sketchcrawl, luckily on a cool day, after the previous day was 46.4C at the airport. That’s 115 and at the closest weather station to my house. Due to the hot day, the colour of the Gardens was looking a little more ochre than usual. That made my decision for me, as to whether to work consecutively in my new book of toned papers, or whether to choose the background for the sketch. Well, it seemed a little silly to go consecutive, just because I always do, when I’ve specially put some watercolour paper in there for when I need it.
In choosing the papers for my book, I used the lightest colours at the front and worked though to darker colours at the back. This was so, when I opened a page where two colours of paper created the spread, they wouldn’t be tonally very different. This is one of those spreads.
My first stop was the succulent garden, because usually you get baked in there on the concrete, and it was cool enough to tolerate it even though after 10a.m. Next stop was the statue so that I could draw something hard edged. Finally we found a stand of bamboo with shade as it was hotter by then. I like to draw bamboo from time to time, and I knew it would fit in to finish my spread quite well. I want to draw the black bamboo next. At this time of year its a matter of finding a place in the shade.
Last Saturday was the 34th worldwide sketchcrawl and we ended up at the Australian Museum. The original plan was to go to Hyde Park. We met there and by that time it was already sprinkling with rain. We hoped it would stop, but as we waited for latecomers, down came the rain. We had to put our wet weather plan into action right way because it was bucketing down. We only had to cross the road, but it was like wading through a creek. We were wet through. They put all our wet things into a room for us and we dispersed throughout the museum till lunchtime.
There is a reason I chose to sketch these two. I live 4km from the very centre of Sydney. Nearby there is a park and an old church. In the churchyard there are possums. Less than 5 times in the more than 25 years I’ve lived here, as I’ve walked along beside the churchyard, possums come to the fence, or low down on a tree. Just before Christmas a possum started coming to my courtyard. Then he’d go from my tree to the roof, and end up in a tree out the front. (Possum poo on the roof of the car.) At the beginning of January, one night I was sitting in my kitchen with a friend, quite late, having a glass of wine. Arabella, my cat, came near the screen door and started to hiss and hiss. I turned the outside light on, and here was a possum with its pink nose sniffing along the screen door. I put some rejected cat food in an old plate out on the table just outside the window. The possum retreated to the bottom of the tree while I was out there, but as soon as I was safely back inside, it climbed up on the table and had a leisurely meal for 10 minutes or so, with the two of us just sitting the other side of the glass, watching.
The plover is another story. I went to Cockatoo Island with a friend in the spring. As we walked along one particular path, a plover started to divebomb us. At first we ignored it. They’re bigger than, say, a pigeon, but not a huge bird. Obviously we were getting nearer its nest though, because it has quite a wingspread, and it got very scary. We retreated with our arms wrapped round our heads.
The second drawing is one started in Hyde Park as the rain was starting. I used a sanguine Pitt Pen, size M. I noticed the white reflections of the flagpoles on the wet ground as we ran off to seek shelter. The background was drawn in with watercolour pencils.