Lands Department and an inflatable tiger

February 4, 2022 | 2 Comments

Yesterday I had another fun sketching outing to the City and it was another occasion when I didn’t have a plan beforehand.

Now that school has started again for the year it was much harder to find a park near Greenwich Wharf and I could only find a 3-hour spot. So this meant yet another short sketching session (approx 2.5 hours).

The first thing that I saw as I exited Circular Station was this amazing inflatable tiger as part of the Sydney Luna Festival. It was sitting in front of Customs House – the building I sketched last time. But first I needed a coffee…


… and then I found myself looking at and then sketching one of James Barnet’s greatest works – the Land Department building. I have been putting it off for the last few weeks, so it was time.

I just did one section of it yesterday…

and I didn’t do a very accurate sketch! But this was a great way to begin the exploratory process and start to really appreciate its design.

I was very interested in one of the window designs and can’t recall ever seeing an arched window like this.

The forecast said that there was a chance of rain but it looked as if the clouds were starting to clear. I wanted to sit in some sun and so ended up doing another sketch of SOH (Sydney Opera House). It was very quiet while I was sitting here sketching.

I wanted to use some different colours (than last time) and so I picked up a lime green Coloursoft Colour Pencil for the first few lines. I didn’t achieve the result I was hoping for but I do really like the unexpected nature of painting over coloured pencils. I  want to explore this technique further.


Once I had finished the SOH sketch I looked up and saw Cadmans Cottage and had an urge to sketch it again. I sketched this building in early March last year and in Feb 2020. So maybe I’m starting a new tradition!

This week as part of the Foundations Group Run-through we’re looking at sight measuring and so I decided to do a little measuring for this.

But it was very minimal – all I measured was the height of the building and the length (twice the height) and then drew these lines with my paintbrush. A few other divisions and then went from there.

Here is the final version, the logo on my coffee cup (from earlier) and a map of my morning’s adventure


Hmm… I  needed another coffee and then only had about 15 minutes to sketch the tiger. I had a number of lovely chats with people walking past (one of the best things about urban sketching) and I’m thankful to John for taking this photo.

This is what I got done in the 15 minutes…

… and when I got home I decided to leave it as it was.

And then, just like that, it was time to catch the ferry back to Greenwich –  I never tire of this form of transport!

Another extremely fun and satisfying short sketching session. I’m really happy with my decision to keep visiting the City like this.


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