Sketching at home and around town

March 21, 2015 | 7 Comments


March, which is supposed to be my ‘break month’, is turning out to be very busy. But it is a nice busy-ness. I have lots of outing scheduled – catching up with visiting and local art friends, who in many ways are work colleagues. When we get together it is not just social, we often talk about art concepts and projects and work related challenges. I know that my ‘work’ looks very much like ‘play’ at times but I rarely have a switch off time in my 6 day week. (Sunday is my day of rest and workshop – a complete recharge of the full me!)

Getting out and about more lately, rather than being chained to my computer at home has been a lot of fun but after the buzz of a few sketching days out in the past week, I am feeling very restless in the evening if I hadn’t sketched that day. Working at home has its advantages but I do miss being out and about on a daily basis.

On Thursday evening I did a couple ‘object sketches’ to record a few things of trivial significance during the week (including a plastic bucket with a pair of rubber gloves!) which was fun, but I wasn’t satisfied. So sitting in my thinking and writing chair, I sketched the view. Ah! that hit the spot! I am really enjoying sketching complex scenes at the moment.

This is done with a new mixed warm grey DeAtramentis ink in my Green Sailor pen with a 55 degree Fude nib. I have been using a hero 578 (very similar nib) with Super5 Frankfurt but the pen is really to heavy for my hand at the moment…so I replaced the Black in my sailor with a similar colour and this will work better – much better for me.


And yesterday I had another outing… starting with lunch with Jane Blundell. While waiting for her, I managed to sneak in a quick coffee at Workshop Espresso and a quick sketch of the view. It is a hole-in-the-wall cafe with only a few seats so I was sharing the front table with a nice guy who I included in my sketch.


After lunch (which I didn’t sketch!) we went to the Tea Parlour in QVB for a cuppa before a scheduled meeting time of 4pm – I had organised a little ‘adhoc’ Urban Sketchers get together as Paul Wang is still in town. I realised that I had left my paint tin at home but did have my extra palette (a pocket palette)  and always know that Jane will have a colour that I need – in this case it was quin gold that I desperately needed! But not having my normal paint tin was very disorientating.


A small group assembled at Town Hall, we started our sketches and after only a few minutes it started pouring. This is as far as I got…

We moved back to QVB and to the pen shop on the top level – believe it or not, I have never been in this shop before! Jane and I had been talking about fountain pens at lunch and this visit was the result of our discussion. A lot of people have the Namiki Falcon pen with a flex nib – it seems to be the ‘best’ option on the market. I was testing Jane’s and we were discussing whether I should bother getting one… I have been considering it. Jane confirmed my half formed thoughts, that although it would be nice to have a pen that changes thickness with pressure, the Fude bent nib of my Green Sailor pen (or the Hero pen) IS working very well for me. The variation with this type of pen is greater than a flex nib and I AM more interested in having the option of really thick lines for blocking in colour. The Falcon is more for people who want some variation in their lines. Of course any of my readers opinion on this matter will b much appreciated… I am just stating my personal opinion at the moment and I really don’t claim to be a fountain pen expert!

Jane mentioned a fancy Sailor nib in the Pen Shop that she thought I would like… so I was curious. Fancy was an understatement!


Here are photos of the two Sailor ‘king of pens’ that I was playing with yesterday in the QVB pen shop. The over the counter prices we were told include the fancy pen body as well (expensive Australian prices from a fancy pen shop on the top floor of a fancy shopping ‘arcade’). Things are very expensive in Australia generally!

I wish I had taken more photos… but didn’t want to push the friendship too much! But I am very happy with the photos I managed to take with my beloved Sony Rx100 Mk3. These were just casual ‘snaps’ of the pen while we were talking  – no more iphone photos for me!

Pen 1 – quoted as $1500 AUD. It was a broad very variable nib.
Pen 2 – quoted as $3600 AUD. It was extra broad and had an exquisite pen body — I think it is the King Eagle – double broad nib….but please let me know if you have more details about exactly what the nib is.


I just can’t imagine who would pay that amount for a pen… but Pen 2 was truly incredible to make marks with! It was three gold nibs joined together, handcrafted only 15 are made a year. It made the most incredible line. Extremely broad to ultra fine with amazing flow and so easy to get this variation. The gold sailor fude nib was nice too – can’t remember the price if that. But sticking with my $20 green plastic bodied sailor for the time being.


After our little play time in the pen shop we headed to a nice Thai grocer/ cafe – Boon Cafe – a great suggestion of Paul’s. Don’t you love it when the visitors have the best suggestions!?! Hmm, to be honest I don ‘t really know Sydney that well! A few quick sketches of our late afternoon tea….


…and then a half heartened attempt at sketching the view from my seat. As my notes say, some days I just am not up to putting a lot of effort into my sketching, but it is such a part of me now, that even when I am tired I still produce – it just happens.


I didn’t attempt sketching my yummy Pad Thai too!


And here is a group photo of the small gang that joined a very relaxed USK meeting.

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