SketchingNow Adventure: Manly Cafes and Dobroyd Point

January 29, 2015 | 3 Comments

Last Wednesday I headed to Manly for the last SketchingNow adventure for my Foundations online course. The theme for my demonstration was Spontaneous Cafe Sketching and the lovely staff at Foundry FiftyThree were kind enough to let me sit in the corner (in a comfy chair) and film me sketching. I had hoped to sit straight on to the main counter so this view with strong perspective lines was a little more challenging. But it was a great exercise, especially for me to improve my ability to concentrate on my sketch at the same time as thinking about the filming. I was working completely unplanned this week – putting my spontaneous sketching strategies to the test!

Once again a huge thank you to Chantal who was doing all the camera work and is becoming extremely creative with the contextual footage. The emphasis in my class is on providing the full picture of what sketching on location is all about – it is not just the end result – it is the full experience of sketching somewhere with the world going on around you. So these “B-roll” shots are very important as a way of sharing this with my class – the aspect I love most about sketching on location! I also provide unedited versions of the demo which focus on the image creation alone and I believe both are important teaching tools. I am planning to put some highlights together of my videos to share with you all publicly, once Foundations is over and I have had a little break – a break? really?

The visit to Foundary Fiftythree took most of the morning so Chantal and I headed to another cafe for lunch – this time it was Showbox! We sat directly opposite their counter and as it was an easier view, I was able to work even more spontaneously. Great food and coffee and lovely staff here too. AND Ovvio Tea!

Here is the final double page spread in my A4 moleskine watercolour sketchbook.

My time was running out (I had an appointment at 3pm!) so in a snap decision, I decided to head to Dobroyd Point and sketch the view! What a view!

However I went to the wrong spot first and ended up doing a little walk in the bush before realising that I wasn’t going to see a view from this lookout. I want to do the spit to Manly walk again as it is years and years since I have done it – a 9km walk would do me a lot of good!

Then when I got to the right spot, I got distracted filming the Manly ferry heading one direction and then one heading the other!

When I finally started sketching I knew I didn’t have much time, so the plan was very quick watercolour pencil setup and then splash on some big watery washes and be done. 10 minutes max!

However when I paused to take a progress photo I realised that I had a friend! A few photos and an attempt to get close and film him took away the few precious minutes I had remaining before needing to rush off.

So I simply added a few more details and left it at that. Now I could have added some paint from memory (or photos) later but when I got home I realised that these simple lines captured the essence of what I wanted my scene to record. Yes, it was a beautiful day and the colours were gorgeous (though somewhat too bright and flat lighting-wise for a painter) but, you know, I see these colours often. This is what living in Sydney is all about – experiencing so many beautiful days and stunning harbour view. What is rare about my location at Dobroyd was the view out the heads and how the various landforms define the harbour. This was described in the linework – so I was very happy to leave it as is. (For those doing Foundations this is another example of Lesson 10 in action!)

It is a bit sad to think that my online class is coming to an end – but I will be starting up my weekly adventures in late Feb. Ironically yesterday I got a new piece of equipment – A Manfrotto Monopod (with tripod feet) – and I can’t wait to put this to the test! It will be interesting to see whether it will be stable enough for what I want from it.

This is a very black object put you can see I had fun making the black object as lively as I can!

And I had fun writing all kinds of crazy notes around it using De Atramentis Document Black and Document Fog Grey. A few cricket references managed to sneak onto the page! One of the benefits of working at home is that I can have cricket on in the background all the time. It makes me feel like I am on summer holidays even though I am working past 11pm most nights! If only I could manage some sewing while the cricket is on – I would then be transported back to my 20s when that is how I spent a lot of my long uni holidays. 

Just for the record, although I live in Sydney, my favourite team is the Scorchers so I was pleased with the result. I am the type of person who likes a good game but doesn’t care too much about ‘my’ team or country winning as long as there is a good contest and the best team wins. The BBL04 final was a great game with a last over we will all remember!

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