It’s hard to believe that it’s over 11 years since I was last in Canberra. It’s only a few hours’ drive from Sydney but I just haven’t been able to make it down there. So I was really excited to be finally returning. I love Canberra – both the incredible layout of the city and a few of its iconic buildings. It’s such a unique city and it was a huge change from the other towns/cities I had visited on this trip.
It included a video explaining the design of the city (showing the main axes) and an animation of one of her drawings – it had a pencil-on-paper soundtrack which was a little funny for the watercolour sections.
The last sketch I did during my 2010 visit to Canberra was of the Carillon, Lake Burley Griffin and Black Mountain Tower. This time, it was my first sketch!
I sketched from the same spot but at a different time in the day. Hmm, my work has changed a lot in the past decade.
The sun was going down quickly, so I went to check into my AirBnB in the new area of Kingston Foreshore. Just a little bit different from the neighbourhoods I’d been staying in recently (such as the Grain House in Albury seen here and the Studio in the vineyard here.)
I went out to the street and was picked up by my friend, local sketcher Sally Black, who had organised a USK Canberra meet.
Note: I’m partly joking about the Canberra air! I did a bit of Canberra-teasing while I was there – but not only in good fun. Some people say it is a dull place but personally, I love it! And I enjoyed talking to Sally about why she loves living there.
I managed to sketch the exterior of the library during the sketchmeet.
I had a little over 30 minutes until the sketchbook ‘throwdown’ so I wandered off to do a sketch of the High Court Building. I love this building – it’s so grand and monumental, and has lots of interesting shapes and details. And, well, I just love a good brutalist building and some serious concrete! 🙂
But it had a new and special meaning for me after all the regional courthouses I have sketched this trip!
After lunch, Sally and I went to the lake side of the High Court building (the more interesting facade) as I wanted to sketch it again! The 2010 version is here.
It’s a very tricky building to sketch… and once I had finished this, I wanted to have another go as I had worked out the best method for tackling it. Hmm, will I be able to remember it for my next visit to Canberra?
Of course, I teased her about Canberra’s version of ‘happening’ – it was deserted. But it was busy inside the Nishi where we went for a late afternoon cup of tea and some hot chips. It was seriously ‘happening’ in there!
The day ended with a lovely dinner with Sally and Charles, and Leonie and Steve. Sketching 5 out of the 7 dishes at a group dinner such as this is pretty good going don’t you think?
And then we went back to the museum precinct (is that what it’s called?) because I had to sketch the National Art Gallery. Designed by the same architect as the High Court, it’s another Brutalist Beauty.
And I overworked my sketch… those long and thin blade columns are hard to sketch loosely. You would think that after all the verandah buildings I have sketched this trip that I would find it easy now. No, not at all! Each building is its own challenge!
We then had a quick lunch and tried to find a good view of the War Memorial. It was getting very very cold but now with strong gusts. So I was really pleased with my first sketch of it.
Another map which I will need to finish, but it’s a good summary of my adventures and the plan of the main part of Canberra.
Finally, a huge thanks to Sally for looking after me so well and sharing lots of laughs. Sally has a fun wonky approach to sketching buildings (see here and here) and it is nice to know that I’m not the only person who talks to themselves while sketching. We had so much fun – thanks Sally!
I had such a great time in Canberra and it definitely added something different to my trip. Next, I was off to Goulburn and then home… so only one more of these articles to go!