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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The last two days

my sketch from yesterday... I must have been exhausted to have missed a day posting! This is the most hilarious extension I have seen for a long time. The roof caught my eye and in usual style I just started drawing it (as a way to explore it) I then realised while drawing the front gable that there were different owners on either side - one went up the other didn't. But why does this half extension go just beyond the ridge line??? And why is the attraction of the tokenistic (is there such a word) round 'feature' window. Is it over a stair? I sat pondering these questions while I was sketching....

Food for thought...
half hearted attempt at a food diary doesn't work... so tomorrow back on track.

As my sideways notes say- I re-borrowed my BCN books from the library and in doing so a book on the shelf jumped out of me crying "read me". It just looked a great book ( the table of contents was exciting!) and it is not totally irrelevant as trip pre-reading. John Ruskin did have a huge impact on the architects in London and he did have impact on Gaudi. All part of the gothic revivalism and the role of ornamentation. The books I have on BCN seem to be heavy reading... but this book, although more a theory book is a much better read. Maybe that is it theory is easier to read than history!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A day in town on a glorious April day

It was so great to get to a Sydney Sketch Club event today in the Sydney Botanic Gardens on the MOST glorious late April day. All week has been stunning!
A huge turnout of great sketchers - it has been so long since I have managed to go along that I hardly knew any of the people there- a really happening group.

For old times sake (Garden sketchabout this time 2 years ago)  I walked the quay to the Rocks and ended up at The Tea Cosy tearoom and then couldn't resist a sketch of the Opera House!

Sydney on a day like today is hard to beat (imho!)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Food Diary - Day 2

My food diary- Day 2.... lots of fun food today and so colourful! Looks like I am eating well, but I have just had my dinner and am hungry!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sketching and losing weight!

Back to the sketchers diet!

For those of you that don't know in June 2008 I spent a month sketching everything I ate as part of a maintenance phase of a big weight loss diet I was on.I needed to keep a food diary but thought it would be more fun to draw instead of just write it down. It proved to be a brilliant plan as 1. slowed me right down while I was eating 2. helped my watercolouring and ability to be able to sketch fast 3. made me very accountable.

Since I am not in a 9-5 office job at the moment but working from home, I have been eating too much (too much food in the house) - so time to bring back the sketching diet!

Already today I have felt a change in my mental attitude. I will try to keep this up for a week and see how it goes. Unlike 2008 when I was on a VERY strict diet and the food I ate was very much the same, this time I am having a week or two of Lite n Easy. I am not at all convinced that LnE is a good diet as it is too enjoyable- they give you lots of yummy things- double chocolate cake this afternoon! It is really designed for you to stay on it for life I think. Crazy - but I decided to do it for a few weeks primarily because it is easy and will be fun to draw. Need to get a better feel for a more accurate scale… didn't even have room for my orange on the page.

An late afternoon sketch- really have to watch the shortening of the days now if I want to get out for a sketch.... anyway time for some more serious sketchercise! On days that I don't go to the gym, I will go for a walk..and do a sketch of course!

Manly architecture

There are lots of lovely buildings to sketch in Manly … I am not up on every nuance of architectural styles in Australia but there is a great range in Manly and a lot of variety in scale as well. There are some lovely tiny cottages and terrace houses as well as new big modern high rise apartments… here are some houses that are across the road from Erin Hill's studio - lovely view from the nearby bus stop bench.
I am really looking forward to sharing LOTS of tips and tricks for sketching buildings during my upcoming sketching classes- and Manly is a great suburb to provide us lots of interesting subjects. Although I normally try to establish a very basic perspective setup I didn't bother this was just drawing the shapes of the roofs as I saw them.

Also want to remind you all that my classes are available on a casual basis per week - so if you can't make it for the full 8 weeks we would still love to see you any Wednesday morning that you are free. Email me at lizsteel {at} gmail {dot} com for more details.

For those not in Sydney - why not consider a last minute quick trip to Sydney during May or June and join the class for the week that you are in town??? 

Manly does make a great place to stay if visiting Sydney (some lovely B&Bs in the area) or if staying in the city the ferry ride across to Manly is spectacular.

I am also offering private sketching lessons which will be available on Thursday or Friday during May and June. This would be a great way to have an intensive session, tailored to exactly your needs, and catch up on what has been covered in the other weeks of the class. I also offer 'travel sketching' private classes. If you are a 'tourist' to Sydney, I can show you the sights and share many tips for travel sketching. I will be posting more details on my blog very soon!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Why do you sketch so fast?"


I just thought I would expand a little on something that I mentioned in my review of James Richard's book... and that has to do with sketching fast.... warning this blog post is long!

I know that I do sketch a lot and that I do sketch fast, at times very fast... but it is not my goal to sketch fast - in fact I do want to slow down but it just seems that when I am out on location, my creative juices start pumping and I just can't stop! I am not in any way advocating my approach for others but simply explaining that that is the way I am, the way I sketch... that I am not trying to create finished or perfect pieces and that I most of all have an incredible amount of fun sketching non stop!

A huge part of this is my foundational sketching as an architect. I know that I have mentioned this before...but the more I think about it myself, the more significant I realise it is. Firstly, I have never really had any art training - I have never sat in an art studio and laboured over making the perfect pencil sketch. BUT I have used up reams and reams of butter paper over the years sketching as part of my work as an architect.

Sketching is the way that I think, that I resolve issues, design and create solutions for imagined worlds and spaces. When I am designing, my approach is to draw non stop - often testing out ideas rapidly- trying to draw as fast as I can think - having an incredibly dynamic and stimilating dialogue  between hand eye and mind. The hand moves, the eye sees the imperfect linework and the mind asks "what if?"

It is the imperfection of the ability of the hand to depict what is in the mind that often leads to new ideas. And when through the copious scribblings, a solution appears on the page, the excitement and creative thrill of that moment is something really special. What keeps me doing architecture!

There is also a lovely freedom in my sketches, my linework and shading (often cross hatching is a reflex action while concentrating on a problem, more recently watercolor pencil) that comes when I am focussing on the design problem and not thinking about my sketching. Often these sketches done while I am designing are far stronger than the neat ones I prepare for the client once the design is more finalised.

Although the notes in this sketch is  more about process vs product, the thoughts are running along the same lines and another example of my work thinking sketches.

When I started sketching from observation I found it really hard work - I had to set up perspective lines and train my eye hand coordination. But for some reason when I started sketching out on location things started to change- there was so many other things to worry about other than just doing a good sketch - comfort, distraction, moving light and weather changing. Fundamentally I am a very responsive person - I respond to things around me- and these external conditions made my work a little less in control and I started taking risks. I just can't be neat when I am uncomfortable or hungry - it shows in my lines!  In many ways this was like my design sketching.

I then realised that what I really wanted to achieve was the freedom, spontaneity and creative buzz that I got from my design sketching. I started working on achieving this.... and naturally the speed has come as a secondary aspect to that. An example is my pencil setup lines- I do just enough to compose the image on the page and then sketch in ink as if there was no setup lines.

I often tell people that my sketching is all about capturing the moment but it is in fact the moment of discovery that is the key. I see something, I study and discover and then I have the urge to record that - regardless of whether it is really practical in the time that I have... I just go for it.

I am an obsessive recorder and therefore I have to strategise how to record this discovery in the time that I have. Having a strong focus of what I initially responded to is key(here it was the roof) . So it is trying to record the discovery - not to sketch fast for the sake of going fast - that sets the agenda!

I am not trying to make beautiful works of art in my sketchbooks - I am trying to record my creative journey and I do that through recording my life through my sketches. Although there is a certain element of design to my pages (and yes I am a bit obsessive about writing neatly) I do see my sketchbook more as a working book, a journal that an art book. I do create more careful works at home including commissions for architectural illustrations (there will be more details of this work on my blog soon!) but my sketchbook is my space to record and to test and to experiment. In many ways I view my work in my sketchbook as glorified thumbnails.

Also, this joy in the moment of discovery does not need to always mean fast sketches. This sketch was done when I was in a very chilled mood but I was experimenting and got an incredible buzz through the act of discovering these new tools and techniques for the first time.

I also got an unbelievable creative thrill in January when I was up at Port Macquarie and sitting on the beach watching the waves, observing them carefully and then progressively over a number of morning visits working out the best way to paint them. But sadly, finding slow time in a busy life can be hard - when I go out I always seem to be rushing from one place to another  (and when at home sometimes lack inspiration)

And one final comment, which I have mentioned previously. In recent months I have been unable to sit on a sketching stool, to sit out on the streets in the one location for any length of time due to some treatment to my neck and shoulders. I have been limited to a maximum of 20 minutes for any particular sketch and have found that using markers last year, water colour pencils this year have helped me work within this timeframe.

It was really nice that I was able to sketch so much in Melbourne the other week - I wasn't sure how much I would do but those creative juices started pumping again!

I am very much in awe of the people who do elaborate sketches /paintings/drawings which take them hours of time - but even if I wanted to, I am physically unable at the present time to do that. I do want to encourage people who have similar physical restrictions that it is possible to sketch in shorter periods of time.

Writing a LOT tonight... but I do hope that this explains a little more about me. Every single person is a unique individual and your approach to sketching, and your mark making, and your goals will be uniquely YOURS.

What I love about the online art community is how rich is the experience of seeing everyone's personal style ... and especially for those of you that I have been privileged to meet in real life. Meeting and knowing you adds so much more meaning to just seeing your work.

And finally (really and truly finally!) the big message of my blog/flickr/facebook is not to be like me...but that I hope to inspire others to start or continue on their own creative journey - to be themselves!!!! And I hope that they have as much fun as I do!

Manly Catch up.. and pigment talk

Today I had a coffee with Erin Hill - a local wonderful artist and teacher. I will be using her studio as a base for my upcoming sketching class. And just to let you know.... that I am offering casual classes if you are unable to do the full 8 week course.
I am really enjoying using water soluble pencil for my outlines when I draw cups of tea and food these days. The softness and variable pressure and potential to loose the lines just seems to sit well with my reflex cafe table sketches.

I also attempted to draw the building across the road- this wasn't a focused sketch but just another opportunity to experiment further with combining watercolour pencils and paint. It is really fun for me to sketch architecture with fuzzy lines - quite contrary to my 'architect-ness'.
I went to my local art store - the first time for a while. Last weeks review of my palette made me realise I was down on supply. Anyway, I got into an amazing chat with Daniel who works there talking pigments! Well, I only remember the numbers of a few pigments, but this guy knew his stuff and we had a fun conversation about a number of pigments including PR101 - one of the pigments that I do know a lot about since I went on a search for a more interesting version that the W&N one (burnt sienna). I am just so much taken with the way the different pigments react in water, with other pigments and then how they it was a real pleasure to hear someone go on about it as well!

one more sketch from today… I shouldn;t admit this… but these were done from the drivers seat. I was stopped in very bad traffic this morning.
I am thankful that I managed to blindly grab my Indian ink intense pencil- the other two colours were random. I am keeping my eye on the traffic at all times and only sketch when there is a red light ahead of me. Tough new laws here about the use of mobile phones while driving… but none regarding sketching that I am aware of!
Thankfully the traffic improved and I only got to do two cars….I will finish this page off with some notes… lots of things happening at the moment and lots of ideas and thoughts buzzing around in my head. I love the compositional freedom with a page like this… where can I put some text to best balance the sketch????

Monday, April 22, 2013

A wonderful new book!

Finally I have managed to finish a bit of a review (mainly my personal takwaways) from a wonderful wonderful book by James Richards. Pop on over to my Sketching Architecture blog to read it in full.

The reason why I am so excited about this book is that combines the two important aspects of my sketching - being an architect and an compulsive urban sketcher. It explains how the two are inter-related and support each other and also why I work so fast! The creative thrill that I get when I am 'design sketching' (the moment when a solution appears on the page) that has greatly influenced the speed at which I do my 'urban sketching'. I am trying to work at a pace out on the streets that generates the spontaneity, freedom and excitement I get when 'design sketching'.

I feel honoured beyond words to be included in this book along with a number of other friends and USKers in the book (Gabi Campanario, Luis Ruiz, Asnee Tasna, Paul Wang, Bernadetta Dossi)…. here is a glimpse of my contribution.

Some of my words from the book which is the key for me...

There are so many reasons why sketching is invaluable to my design process, but the most important is that it is so immediate and responsive. Not only can I explore many options simultaneously, drawing almost as fast as I am thinking, but in some mysterious way, solutions seem to emerge from my open-ended scribbles on the page. That moment of inspiration is instantly recorded in a sketch which often powerfully depicts the very heart of the design idea. It is this excitement and the inspiring dialogue which occurs between eye, hand, and mind that keeps me going!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My version of a basic Palette - UPDATED!

This post has been updated 20 June 2014. I have tweaked the colours slightly but the principles are the same. Lots of people come to this post so I thought it best to amend the original.

You might also be interested in my recommendations for a  Minimal Palette or 3, 4 or 6 colours in Daniel Smith or Winsor&Newton or Schmincke which I posted 23 Oct 2014

This the palette that I use for my sketching classes (12 half pans in a small folding metal tin made by Art Basics and available at my local art store Artscene.

A couple of general comments first:
- When I started painting in Jan 2007 I bought the small cotman sketchers box and started using it. I got rid of the white and add cerulean blue (as a blue to use of the sky) and had no idea how complex watercolours were …but I was aware of making many muddy mixes! (refer below to my comment about Cotmans)
- A book that influenced me strongly in the early days was "transparent Watercolour Wheel" and ever since then I have eliminated very opaque colours (like the cads) from my palette. I probably have too many staining colours but do manage to control them and rarely have a problem with their staining properties.
- Also HUGELY influential is the handprint website- I have spend hours and hours reading and comparing pigments. It is the most comprehensive resource for watercolours!
- I also found the blogs of Cathy (Kate) Johnson and Roz Stendahl when they talked about their palettes extremely helpful!
- I am totally indebted to the advice of my great friend Jane Blundell - 'color Jane' (sometimes we agree sometimes we differ!) Her site is a MUST VISIT!
- I try not to make brand generalisations but focus on the pigments (I compare pigments not colour names) Some pigments are best in one brand rather than another brand.
- For many years I was using a certain brand because it is readily available. Winsor and Newton is available in every art store in Australia but I have to go into the city to buy Daniel Smith over the counter or save up and make a big online purchase. Schmincke is not as easily to be found…  etc etc... but in recent years it is nearly all Daniel Smith. I find them so much more vibrant than WN.
- Choosing colours that go in your palette is a very PERSONAL choice. You will find some pigments work better for you.
- I LOVE colour!!!! There are some pigments that I just fall in love with and I just want them to be around- so reducing my colours to 12 for this palette was a big exercise.
- I love vibrant colour and so am looking for colours that are intense and easy to give me 'juicy' washes
- Some of my choices have been influenced by the way that I work (ie. fast spontaneous watercolour) I need to ensure that I can mix a colour quickly and also recover a mix if I accidentally mix the wrong colour in (ie. transparent colours are more tolerant of mixing 3 colours together than opaque which are more likely to give you mud with more than 2) and I have convenience colours to make my mixing easier.
- I try to use single pigment paints always (sepia is an exception) so that my colours are brighten and clearer.
- I LOVE granulating colours!!!!
- You just have to get to know your paints!!! How do they mix with other colours and react in different situations. How versatile are they, what mixes you will typically use them for. I will post below all my working pages that I did to decide on the best colours for this set… I keep revisiting mixes!
- My palette is designed for the bright light of the harsh Australian light so might not be the best selection for people that live closer to the poles.

This basic palette follows more or less a standard approach of a warm and cool version of the primaries, and a few earth tones...but with a few personal quirks.

All colours Daniel Smith unless noted otherwise.
1. Cool Yellow. Hansa Yellow Medium. Rather than a Lemon Yellow I have a middle yellow. It is hard to get a transparent  yellow and this is a truly beautiful all-rounder.A beautiful bright transparent mid yellow that mixes beautiful greens as well as oranges and just stunning on its own.
2. Warm Yellow. DS Quinacridone Gold. I l love New Gamboge PY158 in this spot but I just can't fit it into a set of 12. Quin Gold is a lot more versatile. Combined with HYM above it makes New Gamboge. Very much needed for the gold around teacups but mostly for mixing beautiful greens- Australian greens!
3. Warm Red.  DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange. A colour that I really love (I say this about a lot of colours!) and it is more of a dark orange than a warm red but works the same. Makes lovely primary reds with Quni Rose.
4. Cool Red. My favourite is DS Quinacridone Rose. Makes a great mixed orange with my cool yellow. Also makes a great pink and purple..and add to a neutral to add some warmth. Really this is one of the most important and versatile colour in the palette so essential to get it right.
5. Warm Blue - can't go past a French Ultramarine...but in fact I prefer DS Ultamarine Blue over the French version(this is another thing I discovered thanks to Jane)  I find the Ultramarine makes better greens and a more neutral grey with Burnt Sienna than the slightly cooler French Ultramarine. Mix for purples, greens AND all my warm greys and browns, blue greys! Total addiction!
6. Cool Blue 1 - Cerulean Blue (Chronium) Great for skies, and lovely neutrals!I use the Chronium version as it is brighter and more suitable for Australian skies.
7. "Green" - In a standard palette this would be a green…but I don't feel like I need a green as prefer to mix them. So another blue - Pthalo Blue Red shade - it is not as staining as a green shade and it makes lovely bright but natural greens when mixed with Quin Gold.
8. Earth Yellow 'Raw Sienna '- I prefer Raw Sienna to a yellow ochre as it is more transparent and the colour of Sydney sandstone. I use DS Monte Amiata Natural SiennaPBR7  
9. Earth red Burnt Sienna - Can't live without this colour- browns and neutrals mixed with Ultramarine. (Please note: My class palette includes Burnt Sienna but in my personal palette I use Transparent Red Oxide. It is more transparent but highly reactive pigment and very crazy - not a good option if you are beginning.)
10  Earth Brown - DS Raw Umber is a lovely dark cool colour. Quite different from other brand's version of raw umber.
11. Personal Colour 1 - I just love Cobalt Teal Blue (or the WN version Cobalt Turquoise light)No other real justification for it except I love it and it makes me happy
12. Personal Colour 2 Potter Pink (I use WN as the DS one runs too much!) It makes lovely muted colours and great for cream (as in scones, jam and cream)…

These last two colours are VERY personal... the idea is that you can substitute them for any particular colour that you feel you NEED to have.

Now the reality is that I rarely use a 12 colour palette. My standard palette has a few more (16) and changes slightly from time to time. I find that it is good to have a few more choices when you are working quickly on location.... but these 12 colours are the foundation.

Final word:
Start using the paint that you have...there is no other way .... you have to get to know your paints like friends... and have LOTS of fun doing it!

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Watersoluble tools I used in Melbourne

Recently I have been using more and more various water soluble pencils and pens. And I found using them incredibly versatile last week in Melbourne. I love especially painting over outlines made in by watersoluble tool and fading or losing the line- this is something I picked up during my Singapore trip (one of the many things I learnt from Paul Wang- thanks Paul!)

So here are the tools that I used (and bought!) last week. Plus an additonal one (graphitint warm grey) that I was handed to try when I did this page.

And following is a little commentary on which I used when and why in my Melbourne sketchbook. I hope you don't mind the long post.
Using water soluble pens and pencils is something that we will be looking at in my upcoming sketching classes in Manly - starting in a few weeks. There are still places available - click here for more details.

In the plane - I used the Derwent Sketching pencil initially but added the Albrecht Durer Indigo water colour pencil(ADWCP) over the top.It was a little stronger than I intended so I started trying to dissolve the lines.

  I am finding that I am enjoying sketching my food and cups of tea with pencil more than ink these days. Here is an example... It just feels nicer when I am 'feeling' the lines - especially early morning ellipses. Using the Derwent Sketching 4B pencil here. I am finding its lines don't dissolve away as much as I would like...but then again, looking at this sketch I have hardly touched the lines with my water/paint.

Flinders St Station - as per previous post this was done with about 4 or 5 different coloured water coloured pencil (hmmmm, I probably need to show you my coloured pencil set of colours too!) I found sketching in a dry media SO quick - water and more layering can be added later.

Here is another quick all watercolour pencil sketch using a waterbrush for apply water over the top. (Personally I prefer adding watercolour paint over the top and loosing the pencil strokes more)

 Helen Lovett (whose Sketchbooking class I visited on the Tuesday afternoon) showed me here Lyra watersoluble graphite stick so I had to get one!) This quick sketch of the town hall tower while waiting for the tram was done using that. I also used a raw umber ADWCP. I 'poured' water over the top using my waterbrush once on the tram (ie. I put a LOT of water on trying to dissolve the line) and you can see how lovely and dark the wash was!
 Another waiting sketch. Mainly Indigo ADWCP with the blacker parts being Inktense Indian Ink (LOVE that pencil!) and then I put some ink lines over the top using the Pilot V pen. I have so much fun layering random pens and pencils over the top!
I did the waves using that amazing Indian Ink Inktense - outline and shading and the background outlines with the cretacolour watersoluble graphistick and then added paint over the top. Don't you love that ink black paint created by the inktense?
Another combination of different water soluble pencils and paint. I am really loving this technique. I use the pencils for the more linear elements or if I need texture and then paint the big areas.
 I am most interested in losing the lines so this one I tried sketching with the warm grey ADWCP and the more paint I added the more the lines disappear... you are going to see me use this again!
 Sketching on a damp page with that warm grey ADWCP -  misty rain was falling on my page and it created a lovely hit and miss line!
 Finally... the town hall tower again from the tram stop. This time with the aquamarker- a water soluble version of the Promarkers- it doesn't bleed through the page. Very interesting! I want to try a tombow pen which Brenda Swanson mentioned in her interview with Danny Gregory.

Ok...long post but I hope it has inspired you to get your sketchbook out and try something different! It is heaps of fun!

Friday, April 19, 2013

A week in Melbourne in a single image

As usual... here is my sketchbook in a single image! very pleased with this sketchbook as in many ways it was a lot more experimental than normal.

I was certainly more focused on trying out a few new techniques than my typical approach which is to sketch as consistently as I can and create travel journal pages. I still managed to do the later (as I can't help myself) but I had a lot less homework! I was using the A4 Moleskine watercolour book and just love have the larger page size to spread out, add lots of notes and add collage. I have also been addicted to various water soluble line making tools- pens and pencils and found that I was able to quickly sketch scenes while waiting for public transport and then add water once on board. I am also enjoying mixing techniques up even on the one page- alternating between using my ink pen and using pencil lines.

As for Melbourne…
I spend lots of great time with special friends and also managed to meet a number of sketchers in the city. We are working together to establish Urban Sketchers events in Melbourne in the near future .... very exciting!

I have done lots of architectural work in Melbourne over the last decade but rarely see anything of it other than what I can see in the taxi (most of my time in Melbourne is spent in meetings or walking around construction sites!) So it was just so wonderful to be able to spend a week sketching in this city that I really really love.

For me Melbourne is all about
-grand Victorian buildings,
-crazy contemporary architecture (stuff we could never get approval to do in Sydney)
-amazing food places and coffee.
I think that my sketchbook captures those elements.

I know that somewhere other than home always looks more interesting and sketchable but I do think that Melbourne excites me more as a city. The buildings are grander and more interesting. I love the trams and their presence means that the streets are wider, giving more space in front of buildings. Also there are great views from many of the tram stops… I just couldn't stop sketching (hmm, not that unusual I know!) And did I mention the cafes were great???? Oh! and there are very cool lanes as well- something I left for sketching on my next visit.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Flinders St Station sketches

As I have already said on a number of occasions, I fell in love with Flinders St Station and got somewhat addicted to sketching it.
I have labelled it the "SOH of Melbourne for me" (SOH = Sydney Opera House) By that I mean the iconic building, one that is located in a position that you pass by often, one that always makes you notice it and something that is just SO much fun to sketch.

So here is my collection of sketches - each one I tried a different technique.

No. 1 Tuesday. This first sketch was done in about 5 minutes standing up waiting for a train to arrive. I was so excited that there was such a great view of it from the platform and as I knew I only had minutes, I grabbed a few watercolour pencils and just went for it. The dome is obviously the focus of the sketch so I outlined that first and then as I was travelling ok with time started on the base. I had got the basics done when the train arrived, so jumped on the train and got my water brush out. I only had 2 stops to travel, so with water brush and a a little more detail I had finished the sketch by the time I had arrived at South Yarra.

No. 2: Tuesday. On the same platform going 'home' (I was staying with friends about 20 minutes train ride out from the centre) This time I used my ink pen and sketched the clock tower on the left, once again was in control in regard to time so then looked to my right and sketched the dome again. As I was sitting down I grabbed my paint tin and my water brush (one of the rare occasions that I use it) Blocked the main colours of both sketches and then drew with the paint brush for the smaller dome. My book was quite wet when I jumped on the train - a little more work on the way home.
Both No. 1 and 2. sketches were examples of making the most of a fleeting opportunity to sketch.

No. 3: Friday.This was my morning to myself so I could take it slowly. I really wanted to capture the majesty of  building and how it addresses the main intersection of Flinders and Swanston. I set up my eyeline and a few perspective lines but the main focus of this sketch is the main facade which crosses the corner at a 45 degrees splay. As I was sitting directly opposite this, the main part of the building was straight on for me. I carefully controlled the amount of linework particularly as the building moved down the street and as usual applied my paint very loosely. It was important for me to include the sides of the building which really express the nature of the building- a train station with platforms extending out on both directions. I could have drawn more of the busy intersection - but felt that that would be better for a different sketch in which the activity was the focus and the building the background (sadly I didn't get a chance to do this version!)

No. 4: Saturday. The view of the city skyline from Southbank was a good chance to do another one! The extravagant dome and the horizontal nature of the station building and platforms really dominate this view and are balanced by the verticality of St Pauls. The rest of the city buildings are secondary…..  Doing just a bit of talking while I was doing this one - so I resorted to my old pen and wash technique.

No 5. Monday. While doing version 3 I was really longing to get my teeth into the wonderful details of this building but that was a context sketch so not really the time or place. I had 20 minutes to fill in before meeting some local architects for a coffee… so guess who went a little nuts. Having 40 minutes would have been a much better amount of time …but anyway I had fun! Cold gray morning! As  my time was limited and I also wanted to capture the architectural details, I grabbed my ink pen for this one. There is no doubt that doing ink lines to define the form enable me to work looser and quicker with my paint.

No. 6: Monday. I wanted to do another sketch of Fed Square so after the coffee came back to the area… but Flinders St station was still calling me to sketch it! So sitting on the Fed Square side I drew an angled version using a water colour grey pencil for the line work. As I had more time was experimenting with loosing my line. The side view showing the major forms of the building meant that I was happy for the details to blur and it was a lot of fun to try a more painterly version (though still using lines I know…)

I do not feel like I have adequately captured this building on my page…but these are a start! I am really pleased with the way that each version is quite different, telling a different story and using different media depending on the time and purpose of the sketch.

These are some of the things that we will be looking at in my upcoming sketching classes in Manly - starting in a few weeks. There are still places available - click here for more details.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Slowing down am, crazy boys pm

Todays sketching- including an art session with my 2 nephews (school holiday baby-sitting) I showed G how to use crayon resist and then he wrote the longest word in English for me. As for drawing their portraits - teasing each other meant neither of them were still- the little one especially.