Tag Archives: Toned paper

Sydney University

twirly_chimneyI live not far from Sydney University. It is a collection of beautiful old sandstone buildings. I didn’t go there for my degree though. The art school is on different (equally nice) premises, a bit further away, but the ‘word on the street’ seemed to be that the University of New South Wales was the better art school.

On Sunday, there was a ‘rock and roll market’ at Sydney Uni, with some vintage cars outside and many young girls done up in extreme 50s clothing. Hideous, in my eyes. I remember those things from the 50s. I remember all the rules for women of all ages that have thankfully gone. So don’t expect me to get excited about the 50s.

faculty_medicineI went with the Sydney Sketch Club. Fun to go with a group and see what everyone else sketches. Many did the vintage cars. They were a temptation, but once I saw the twisty-twirly chimneys it was all over. I wanted to use my  book of toned papers now that it has a new lease of life.  The way the light fell on the sandstone was just the sort of thing I love to sketch.

It was a hot day. Gorgeous. We were sitting in the sun and after a while got very thirsty indeed. The only place we could get a coffee was inside the market, so we paid and went in. We found coffee and food as well.  It was interesting sitting in there having our lunch and watching the over-the-top fifties gear. Many of them had little chiffon scarves tied around their heads with a knot in front. Maybe that was an American thing. I remember seeing pictures like that, but in my part of the world it would have definitely meant ‘working class’.

After lunch, out in the car park, there was a bunch of girls with little straw hats.  I guess they looked as if they were going to the races. But my parents went to the races all the time, and I don’t remember those hats. The dresses, yes.  We went back to sit in the sun and I sketched the entrance to the faculty of medicine. I was intending to continue up the page, but suddenly it was ‘show and tell’ time.


Filed under Copic Multiliner, Prismacolour pencils, sketchbook, sketching, toned paper

Cockatoo Island Urban Sketchers Event

Saturday morning was another Urban Sketchers Event at Cockatoo Island. Remember we got rained out (well, rained in) last time, and I sketched the machines?

This time a cloudy day was forecast with strong winds. It can be cold there out on the island, and although the weather has been perfect, we are well on into the autumn. In the event, it was yet another perfect day and we were stripping off layers.

I wanted to sketch this hugely complicated crane that I haven’t tried before. It is always trickier than you think, sketching cranes. They are so very tall. You have to anchor them on the ground somehow, then you run out of page when you go upwards. This crane is just gorgeous where that rectangular thing is, and next time I shall attempt to draw a detail of that area. As it was I went off the page at the top, and across onto the other page once I got the rope-thing hanging down. So I continued to add more buildings coming closer to me, able only to fudge the perspective and the proportion because it was so unplanned. Nevertheless I quite like it.


Filed under Cockatoo Island, Copic Multiliner, Prismacolour pencils, sketchbook, sketching, Urban Sketchers Event, working harbour

39th Worldwide Sketchcrawl

20130414-081405.jpgSaturday 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.


Filed under Copic Multiliner, Powerhouse Museum, Prismacolour pencils, sketchbook, sketchcrawls, sketching

Cosmo, my new kitten – first sketch.

cosmo_sketchThis is the new family member, Cosmo, asleep on the back of the lounge. He is not asleep now. He’s helping. ……hgffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff09vvy G -/uuuucxvcdddddddddddddddddddCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCW////cosmo_first/////// >

if you see what I mean. Helping with the typing also.

He’s a seal point ragdoll kitten aged thirteen weeks. I have had him for three weeks. He is very confident and independent. A toe-biter in the night for a while, but improving now. The first photo is the day he came – aged ten weeks. vvvvIMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO


When he is asleep is the only time he stays still. The second photo is last week, making kitten stir-fry in my new little wok.

I sketched him with a dark brown and a white Prismacolour pencil on toned paper.


Filed under animals, cats, drawing, Prismacolour pencils, sketchbook, sketching

Cockatoo Island in the rain.

machine_brownSaturday was the ‘Crane Crawl’ at Cockatoo Island. The weather wasn’t promising but I wanted to go anyway. At Cockatoo Island the sky was dark, so rather than start to sketch and get rained on before I was finished, I went straight to the Industrial Precinct. I’ve only sketched inside there once before and was longing to do it again.

machine_redEven while I was doing my first sketch, the rain came down and was hammering on the tin roof. I love sketching these old machines. I wish I knew what they were for. The top one is a bit like the Beam Benders but not as big, and it has a wonky ‘bender,’ if that’s what it is.

For the next machine I chose a red background. I am jumping around in my book of toned paper.cupboard I chose a nice industrial brown for the first one, but then I wanted to keep the day’s sketches together as a group. What do you think this machine does? Maybe the wheel at the top lowers the head and it cuts metal between those two wheels. There is a bit of commonality between this and a sewing machine.

My last sketch of the day was this little grouping of a cupboard, some boxes and a thingy. I was running out of time, and chose something without a lot of ellipses.

We got soaked waiting to get on the ferry to go home (all those people disembarking at Cockatoo Island in the pouring rain!) But we had a great day sketching and I wouldn’t have missed it. Can’t wait to go back. All sketches with Lamy Safari pen, and Prismacolour pencil(s) on Canson paper.


Filed under Cockatoo Island, drawing, Lamy Safari, Prismacolour pencils, sketchbook, sketching, Urban Sketchers Event, working harbour

Deus ex Macchina

yamaha Deus ex Macchina is a coffee shop I’ve been to a few times before, but not for a while. This morning we were casting round for somewhere different to sketch and I half remembered a motorbike inside the coffee shop, so we went to check it out. In fact there were three motorcycles in different places around the room. The cafe is attached to a motorcycle showroom and workshop, and it is also known for good coffee and good food. It’s a bit famous, and close to where I live. It is going to be a great winter venue for sketching/lunch, but today it was hot and we had a relaxing morning drinking coffee in the air con.

I hadn’t sketched a motorbike before and it’s not easy. They are such complex machines, and it is very necessary to simplify them, but the proportions need to be right and the bits need to connect up to one another in the right place. Aaagh.

This machine is a Yamaha Scorpio Mousetrap (don’t you love the name!) from 2007, and you can’t afford it. I chose the colour paper to sketch on because it was very similar to the colour of the paintwork.


Filed under coffee shops, Copic Multiliner, drawing, motorcycle, Prismacolour pencils, sketchbook, sketching

Rozelle Bay

rozelle_bayFinally finally I have started a new sketchbook. I decided to use the one I made with toned paper. I still haven’t decided whether to go through the book consecutively, as I usually do, or whether to choose the colour according to the subject I’m sketching.

We went to Bicentennial Park at the end of Glebe Point Road. The main thing yesterday was to find a cool spot, and we found it under a huge Moreton Bay fig tree right on the point where a cool breeze was blowing. Whatever we sketched, it was going to be a panorama across the water. This area looks out over Rozelle Bay, across to a marina, with the heritage shipyard out of sight off to the left. The tall chimneys in the background are part of the White Bay Power Station. Here is a sketch I did of it from the other side, during an Open Day.

Because of the tall chimneys, I knew a lot of my page would be bare. That made it absolutely perfect for the title page of my new sketchbook, as I will write my name and contact details in the space. So that meant pale grey paper. For that reason I decided to use Prismacolour pencils, although for the major part of the book I plan to use only a black pen and a white Prismacolour pencil.

I included two watercolour paper folios (spreads, in sketching terms) when I made my book, in case I had a situation where I must use watercolours. So, really, it is probably unwise to work consecutively in this book. Let’s see what colour background I use next.


Filed under Copic Multiliner, drawing, Prismacolour pencils, Rozelle Bay, sketching, White Bay Power Station