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Friday, November 28, 2014

Eastern Suburbs on a Glorious Day



Summary of my SketchingNow adventure today - to Rushcutters Cafe, South Head, Camp Cove and Watsons Bay. Sadly Dunbar House was closed due to a big function - so instead of high tea I had Doyles fish and chips - hmm… that doesn't sound like a suitable alternative?

Ah! Sydney Harbour was SO stunning today!

Full details next week.

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Foundations - 12 week course. Essential Concepts for Spontaneous Sketching

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

SketchingNow Adventure: Blue Mountains

Last Friday I headed west - to the Blue Mountains for a day of exploring and sketching. It was a scorching day of 40C in Sydney but thankfully it was only a bearable 32C up in 'the mountains'. The Blue Mountains are not technically mountains. they are a 'dissected plateau' with the settlement on the narrow ridge bounded by sandstone cliffs on either side. It is famous for the very strong blue colour caused by the eucalypts haze.


 I have grown up with day visits and week long trips to the region with a big emphasis on 'bushwalks' (Australian for hikes - or easy hikes). I haven't been on a proper bushwalk for years but it is always nice to see some bush.

My adventures on this day included
  • Morning cafe visit at Leura
  • Echo Point and The Three Sisters at Katoomba
  • Cahills Lookout
  • High Tea at the Hydro Majestic
  • Pulpit Rock
This is a long post… so I better get cracking!


First stop Leura - I wanted to visit a well known cafe called Leura Garage but sadly they were not open till 12 noon.


So I headed down the street and re-visited The Red Door Cafe. We are looking at shapes this week in my Foundations course, so I started my Mushroom and Polenta with a shape.

And here is the finished spread. I think I am starting a trend for brunch on these SketchingNow Adventures.  I did a quick wander of the shops before moving on the my next destination!
 Next stop: Echo Point. I really dislike what they have done to the lookout... so this photo was taken as a protest to the unbearably uninviting expanse of pavement. I have no doubt that the insane number of tour buses are part of the reason for it. No matter how many times you have seem them, The Three Sisters always look good.

And... I always enjoy sketching them - even in the midday sun. It was hot!

I was a little worried about the weather forecast as only last week there was a bushfire (maybe more than one fire?) in this area but it seemed all clear at that moment. I haven't fully planned my day but I thought I would re-visit another rock formation which doesn't get much exposure as these three girls do. I am referring to Boar's Head which you can see from Cahills Lookout.


The usual drive along Cliff Drive suddenly changed. Oh! this is where the bush fire was last week.


A quick sketch from the comfort of my car with the air conditioning on....


 So barren and bare and still with a smell of ash. Hmm, I might not be able to do that walk...


 Indeed...there was no way I could make it down to the lookout...

 But I still got to see 'the pig' (as I call Boar's Head) from the road.


I suddenly looked across the road - yes the fire had crossed the road - but what about those houses?
Sadly one of the houses here had been lost. I don't like to be 'nosy' but I couldn't help taking a quick photo of the house and the melted garbage bin! Oh! so sorry for these people. The neighbours on either side were fine.

 Just when I was about to head off I noticed the ground. The only thing that had survived the fire were cans and bottles - obviously many people drink at this spot and discard their waste into the bush.
Although only a week past the first new growth had already appeared. I don't know what this plant is - does anyone know? All kinds of amazing lush growth and wild flowers appear on the bush floor within weeks (or even days) of a fire.


It was getting hotter and hotter so time to go somewhere cooler... how about the new renovated Hydro Majestic? Wow! they have painted it white.

It has been very tastefully renovated but somehow my old associations were still strong - run-down, tacky colours, the feeling that its glory days were past. I sat in the foyer and sketched in ink and watercolour pencil. I probably could have risked using watercolour but I didn't feel like moving... so I stuck to dry media.


I then decided it was time for afternoon tea - I didn't actually want high tea but stupidly forgot that most fancy hotels ONLY offer the full thing. I afterwards discovered there is a cafe attached to the hotel - that would have suited me better.


The High Tea was lovely - the staff were too - but I just find high tea too much food and way too sweet. Oh I need to do a walk now...
But before I left - a crazy quick sketch of the building. The heavy handed colour could be a sign of two things 1. too much heavy sweet food  or 2. just so out of character to have a pure white Hydro - my mind is thinking about it in pink or orange or... what was the colour before?

Ok...time for the big ticket item of the day - My favourite spot in the Blue Mountains. Pulpit Rock.
Not many people know of this place!
  But first I had to drive on a dirt track (thankfully not too many pot holes, though it is SO hard to see with all that spotty shadow on the road) and then a walk in the bush. Ah! I love the sight of the sunlit gum trees with the deep blue in the background. I really need to get out in the bush more.

And here it is... a dramatic viewing spot.
 
Totally deserted with the whole valley to myself! What a treat!


I have once timed my visit here so that the afternoon sun was still on the rock but the whole valley was in shadow causing it to look like you were walking down into an abyss. I was a little early for that this time, but oh! still so dramatic.


Time for a sketch... it was blowing a gale (a very warm gale) so I worked quickly on this one (why do I need to say that?...when do I ever work slowly??)


And then an even quicker sketch as I started my climb back up to the carpark - ok, fatigue has hit.


It was a VERY hot walk back to my car... I have forgotten how hot one gets bushwalking in summer climbing a mountain. Ok, this was not a mountain - just a short stroll - and I didn't really feel that puffed at the top...but for those of you that read my notes my face stayed red for 30 minutes.

And then the drive back... ah! cricket on the radio! What a great day.

Can anyone guess where I will be headed this week - or at least what direction?
So far I have been south, then north, then west. Ooops! stealing my own thunder!

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I hope you can join me SketchingNow from November 12 - the course has started but it is not to late to register
Foundations - 12 week course. Essential Concepts for Spontaneous Sketching

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mega book and shapes

We were having a conversation about 'high ceilings' on the weekend and I said that I loved the low ceilings of Mid Century Modern houses - the sense of cosiness and expansion at the same time, connection with the outside, the clean lines. Why do we HAVE to have high ceilings?
Anyway, that reminded me of a special but totally impractical book I bought a number of years ago. A mega book on the Case Study Houses. So I dug it out from the bottom shelf and took it out of its protective cardboard box… and in my quiet moments this week will be enjoying flicking through the age…hmm, no 'flicking' with this book.

I am VERY excited about my Foundations Lesson 3 which goes live tomorrow. We will be Abstracting Shapes. I am SO obsessed with shapes at the moment. I love starting with them and then working with line afterwards. This sketch was done in that way in a free and easy way… a nice way to wind down after two 'full-on' days. Lots of difficulties crossed my path in the last 48 hours - but so thankful that I am back on track (just!)

BTW those that are enrolled in my course - keep an eye out for the 'cardboard box' backdrop in the video demos… yes, you guessed it, it was this CSH book in its box.
BTW2 a new exciting ink colour... more later in the week (I hope!)
BTW3 Does anyone else own this book - do you ever look at it???? And do you have the Neutra one with the timber covers (I am surprised I didn't buy that one at the time because I would love it too!)

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I hope you can join me SketchingNow from November 12 - the course has started but it is not to late to register
Foundations - 12 week course. Essential Concepts for Spontaneous Sketching

Subscribe to my mailing list for my monthly newsletters 



Monday, November 24, 2014

Crazy crazy crazy

The title says it all… my life is crazy at the moment and I have no time to blog and precious time to sketch.

But I can always squeeze in a little time for a cuppa sketch after dinner…. it IS appropriate it is my week on Sketchbook Skool again this week. I am SO much enjoying seeing everyone's tea cup (or other patterned objects) and building sketches.

In case I have new blog followers who missed it in August, here is a link to a PDF download
"How to draw a teacup"

And just for the record this teacup sketch today is a rather loose interpretation of these instructions and tips - ha ha!



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I hope you can join me SketchingNow from November 12 - the course has started but it is not to late to register
Foundations - 12 week course. Essential Concepts for Spontaneous Sketching

Subscribe to my mailing list for my monthly newsletters 


Friday, November 21, 2014

Day in the Blue Mountains

Highlights of a great day in the Blue Mountains - full report next week.

Sketching the iconic rocks, a fancy high tea at the newly re-opened Hydro Majestic, the aftermath from last weeks bushfire and my favourite spot - Pulpit Rock -  having the valley all to myself.



-------------------
I hope you can join me SketchingNow from November 12 - the course has started but it is not to late to register
Foundations - 12 week course. Essential Concepts for Spontaneous Sketching

Subscribe to my mailing list for my monthly newsletters 


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