Barangaroo Day and People Sketching

June 20, 2015 | 5 Comments

It is hard to believe that it is nearly a year since I first sketched the construction site of Barangaroo…and back then I was so determined to sketch it regularly since it is such a significant change to the centre of Sydney. It has especially been on my mind for the last 2 months, but a number times I have intended to sketch it, I have been thwarted.

I have been enjoying the wonderful sketches that my great friend Chris Haldane has been doing, and coupled with my reading of the Public Sydney book (Thalis and Cantrill) this week, and my desire to get out sketching more people, and wanting to test some solo filming for my upcoming new SketchingNow course…and one other project that popped up during the week… I decided to make a special trip into town to do a little sketching today. (sigh! sounds like I was trying to do too much today wasn’t it – oh! I also had a family afternoon tea as well)

So here are my sketches from today. The top image was the 5th sketch that I did – it best describes the scale of the southern end of this project. Oh, BTW, this is a very contentious project, and I am not going to make any comments on the design. Right at the moment, I am just LOVING the abstract complexity of the buildings under construction.

Earlier in the morning I had tried to sketch the development from the ferry. But as I was also sketching people, and it was cold this morning, I was inside and often unable to see clearly out the windows. This one shows the International towers in the context of the skyline….but I don’t think it is very accurate!

And here is a quick second sketch from the ferry.

Once on land, I sat in the verandah of the Palisade Hotel, Millers Point and sketched the overall view. This site is massive and I couldn’t manage to get everything in on my page.

I was also testing how I would go filming myself with 2 cameras, and it worked well – I just need a selfie stick so I can take a better photo of my two cameras with my iphone! I just have to include these two silly photos when I emptied my dirty paint water and then realised that I had recorded it on camera (with a paint brush in my mouth too!) Oops! I just have to laugh at myself at times – it is the only option.

I moved up to a sunny spot and then wanted to work out what I was sketching ie. to understand the design and construction of the building. So this sketch was very exploratory, working from one part to the next.
Wow! I am so loving sketching this site. Although there are less cranes and in some ways it is less interesting than 12 months ago, I really like the contrast of the finished glazed facades of the first towers and the core of the third one. Lots of colour and texture!

Time to hit the road (or the harbour) via a quick, very quick, visit to the Tea Cosy – which included more double camera solo filming!

One final sketch of Barangaroo from the moving ferry using my Paynes Grey W&N watercolour marker, a brown ochre watercolour pencil, my sailor pen with fog grey ink and my waterbrush. I am liking this combo!

AND finally, I managed to sketch the boys a few times over afternoon tea and hit my 100 target of people sketching – see here for the first half.

Today’s sketches overall, weren’t as successful as the other two days as it wasn’t my focus, I was working in a secondary book and there are a lot fewer ‘iphone people’ on the ferries on a weekend! Everyone was talking to friends and looking out the windows left then right!

So in the end, I drew 100 people in 3 sketching days – and yes someone can’t add up…it was 34 today! They are not consecutive days (as I didn’t leave the house a few days this week) but every time I was around people I was sketching.

What a great challenge – thanks Marc Holmes – it has done me a lot of good! I am looking forward to sneaking some time next week to write up my thoughts from attempting this challenge (what my rules were) and also generally my recent adventures getting people into the front of my sketchbook (it has been a long and much thought about process).

Oh! big day…and I didn’t get to go around to Darling Harbour to sketch the view from there.


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  • Lawrence Goldfarb says:

    Liz, I participated in the first Sketching Now course, and I am aware that I can access the lessons
    and do it again; however will the upcoming version be significantly different so that I might want to do it again?

  • Lawrence Goldfarb says:

    My message is not clear: Should I consider enrolling for the new SN course?
    I know that's an unfair question, so just how different will it be?

  • May I ask what sort of cameras you use to film?

  • Liz Steel says:

    Hi Larry- yes the new course is quite different and building on the foundations that we have laid. Lots of advanced concepts!

  • Liz Steel says:

    sony rx 100 mk 3

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