Tag Archives: working harbour

More monster machines

machine_10226Sydney Sketch Club met at Cockatoo Island on Saturday. It has been hot, hot, hot and I haven’t been sleeping. But I never miss an opportunity to go to Cockatoo Island so we decided to catch an early ferry and try to beat the heat. A few others had the same idea. We had a chat and a coffee first, then off to the shade of the Turbine Hall.

I have drawn a lot of the machines now, but you change the angle and the machine is totally different. The lime green machine is a detail of this one I did a lmachine_821ittle while ago when I first starting drawing machines as monsters. I used a green Copic Multiliner for this one.

The yellow one was previously drawn on toned paper here. This time I used a wine Copic Multiliner. Don’t they look different? There is a world of material to sketch  just right there in the Turbine Hall.

I used a half-inch flat brush, and only took a small round brush. A large round would have been more useful for the shapes of the shadows in this case. I will have to find a new way to carry extra brushes without wrecking them while not adding to the weight of my sketching kit.  This is becoming more important because of a major sketching trip coming up. I am going this time with a friend who is a sketcher and printmaker, and some of the time I will be travelling alone, so more sketching this time (touch wood).


Filed under Cockatoo Island, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour

Angelina Jolie has left the island

cockatoo_angelinaSaturday was an Urban Sketchers event. I nagged for Cockatoo Island (again) and they humoured me because it was my birthday. My nephew Geoff came down from Brisbane with a friend and we caught the ferry to the island on a perfect morning.

As the interstate visitors hadn’t been to the island before, we set off to walk around the lower island. All blocked off. We were directed in a different direction, but on the west side of the island you could only get to the cafe. Why? Angelina Jolie has been there filming. All celebrities had left the island, but the barriers had not yet been removed (and won’t be gone until 20th).

cockatoo_is_tapThat left us a little less choice of sketching spots out of the sun, and it was hot. I went to a place that has a conglomeration of pipes, where I have sketched before. You might be able to see that the previous one has this same metal box from a different angle.  This time there was a tiny piece of shade so I had very little choice for composition if I wanted to stay cool. I wasn’t so happy with my result. Our aborted walk around the island seemed to have put me off my stride.

So I went for a chat with a friend who was still sketching and decided to do a quick sketch of this little tap. I like it a lot better.

Delicious hamburger for lunch. A long time since I had a hamburger.


Filed under Cockatoo Island, Copic Multiliner, Urban Sketchers Event, watercolour, working harbour

Cockatoo Island with collage


Yesterday was Anzac Day, a public holiday in Australia and New Zealand. There is a huge parade through the city, but instead we went to Cockatoo Island again. Any opportunity……

These pages in my Stillman & Birn sketchbook have been pre-prepared with collage for ages. Even since I came back from Huskisson, and so long that I can’t quite remember if I used Matt Medium of Matt Gel Medium. I used a variety of torn pieces of Japanese papers. They were all cream or white, some with metallic bits through them, others plain or with various other bits through them. When I had stuck them down and they were dry, I threw some watercolour on them.

cockatoo_sandstoneI was always planning to use them at Cockatoo Island, so I used the yellow ochre on them both, thinking of the sandstone there. One I used a dusky pink as well, and the other I mixed a grey blue from ultramarine and burnt umber.

It was a perfect autumn day. Chilly at 9:45 when I arrived, but by mid afternoon we were looking for a patch of shade. Another glorious day on Sydney Harbour.

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Filed under Cockatoo Island, collage, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, Stillman & Birn, watercolour, working harbour

The Pipes Book – a work in progress

pipes_p1Some time ago I began a book especially for sketches of pipes.  The book is here along with the sketches I did a year or so ago. I have moved away from my plan to do all the pipes grey except for where there was paintwork.  At Cockatoo Island on Easter Saturday I noticed that mostly the pipes were rusty, and though I don’t intend to always follow that, I have introduced that colour.

I layered some of the rusty pipes along behind the original ones to pull the whole thing together and carry the sketches from page to page in my concertina book. One pipe  below the yellowish one that hasn’t had colour yet. The concertina has ten pages, and this is five of them, so I am half-way there. The trick will be to leave the right amount of white space.


We just had time before catching the ferry back to Circular Quay to go into the Industrial Precinct and sketch another machine. This one reminded me of a sewing machine but I’m sure its not.

Cockatoo Island was more crowded than I’ve ever seen it before with people everywhere, and many many campers and more tents than I have ever seen before. Sadly, one of the campers never made it back to the mainland, after falling from a cliff overnight.


Filed under Cockatoo Island, Copic Multiliner, drawing, Prismacolour pencils, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour, working harbour

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

The shipyard that has gone…

loading_logsAs I said yesterday, one shipyard at the end of Rozelle Bay has gone, another seems to be on the way out. Sydney’s maritime history is disappearing before our eyes. When I took these photos there was still work going on, but clearing away had started also. Prime real estate, dontcher know.

shipyard_cabinThis next image is the cabin/wheelhouse of an old ship.

The whole area was full of wonderful old rusted pieces of machinery. A skskip_shadowsshipyard_greenetcher’s paradise.





We paid two visits there. One was early in the morning to catch the cast shadows. pink_1




I have lots of photos. I’ve already used some to make solar plate etchings. I plan to do some paintings also. But now it has all gone, I know however many photos I took, it wasn’t enough.


Filed under boats, working harbour

Darling Harbour on Saturday

Darling Harbour Hydrant It’s so long since I blogged that I’ve almost forgotten how. WordPress has changed (for the better) and I’m finding my way around.

Finally on Saturday I was able to go out sketching with friends again. It was hot, but a cloudy day. which was for the best. It meant that we could sit where otherwise it would have been full sun and impossible. We wandered around aimlessly for quite a while trying to decide what to sketch. We tried to get down near to some of the boats, but it proved to be a floating pontoon that was heaving about on the choppy water. In the end we just sat down right where we were standing. There were plenty of boats about, and some naval ships, but machinery of any sort always attracts me so I decided to draw this.


Filed under Copic Multiliner, Darling Harbour, drawing, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour, working harbour