Ingenuity is amazing. A friend, at the beginning of the COVID-19 isolation restrictions, was sitting in his house, looking at the picture ledge in his Federation House and decided it needed a train. In six weeks, he built a train track that takes a train from the front entrance, down the hall, into the lounge room, then dining room, into the kitchen, through two kitchen cupboards and back out down to the other side of the hallway. Apologies in advance for the poor quality photos.
It was a real treat to enjoy a delicious home cooked meal with friends and a train!
The most exciting thing happening at my place is the succulent that my son bought me for a Mother’s Day present years ago, is flowering.
I teach academic writing, normally in a classroom, face-to-face with students, but now, due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, I’m trying to do it via online, while developing content for the online platform. There’s a lot of sitting involved with the marking of assignments, phoning students, online development and delivery. Then for a break, I sit and paint.
Sometimes you just have to get out of the house and away from sitting, sitting, sitting. So, that’s what I did. I thought I might be able to squeeze a sketch in before it got dark. So, at around 4:30ish pm, I sketched this house while “sitting” in the car. (I went for a walk this morning to help combat the too-much-sitting problem). It’s in the Sandy Bay area, around the University of Tasmania. I forgot to take note of the street but I think it is Duke Street??
I used my usual approach to sketch this house. I firstly used a coloured water colour pencil, then ink and then painted it at home. I don’t usually do cars so I left them unfinished. I was noticing in the photo that there are a lot of overhead wires, I wonder if it would add interest or detract from the drawing?? What do you think??
I hope that you get a chance to get out and enjoy some nature.
After Friday’s inspirational walk in Lenah Valley, besotted by hedges, I wanted to re-visit a well-known hedge in my neighbourhood.
I got up early on Saturday morning and set out with my sketching gear. It was a balmy 4 degrees when I left the house and as I was making my way down to this house, I spotted a familiar friend, the Bridgewater Jerry.
During the winter, the Bridgewater Jerry occurs, on average, once or twice a week. Tasmanians like to think it is unique but in reality a lot of places around the world experience similar fogs, it is just that we have named ours. It is believed the term “jerry’’ came from London where it was thieves’ slang for mist or fog and the term was transported to Tasmania with the convicts.
This weekend’s fog had fuzzy edges but sometimes the edges are so sharp and crisp, giving it such an amazing 3-D appearance of a ribbon curving and winding its way in front of kunyani. It looks so incredible that I forget to take a photo of it each time!
At night, in the cooler months, cold air drains down the mountains and collects in the Derwent Valley. Fog will form if this air is moist and cool enough. Then Bridgewater Jerry drains out of the valley in the mornings. The fog mainly affects the Derwent, northern and western suburbs of Hobart, but occasionally it reaches the Eastern Shore. I have seen it once travel all the way across the river to Tranmere.
Some of the hedges I saw reminded me of the Crocodile Dundee knife scene, “You call that a hedge? This is a hedge!”
There is a house along the Esplanade and Derwent River in Bellerive that is referred to the “wave-hedge house’.
My fingers were numb so I sketched it as fast as I could and painted it when I got home.
I wanted to exaggerate the colour of the hedge, almost give it a bit of an abstract look and make the hedge the dominant feature of the painting. I wish I had drawn it from a more side on angle… another time.
Two days ago, my friend and I went for a walk in Lenah Valley, a suburb in Hobart, Tasmania. The sky was a brilliant cobalt blue, the sun was sparkling, the greens were singing and as we walked by houses, they were beckoning “sketch me!”, “sketch me!” but we were going for a coffee and a walk, so we tried to ignore them.
We came across this round-about, which started as a wool-bombing spot and has remained as a community sculptural/art-communication spot. The decorations and little driver is regularly changed.
And then we came across this house. There was something about this scene that made us pull out our sketch books. The angle, the leaning mailbox, the sheep and the juxtaposition of the tall tree behind the house.
I ran out of room to really show how small the house looked in front of the huge tree behind it.
Then we continued our walk and we were awe-struck by hedges. They seemed alive, moving, writhing green waves. They were entrancing.
There are so many gorgeous suburbs in Hobart with glorious houses to sketch. I hope that if you haven’t visited Hobart, that one day you will be able to.
Stay safe and take care.
Thanks for visiting and sharing the unfurling artist’s journaling and journeying.
Panic-buying and hording during pandemics, or times of uncertainty, is nothing new. During the Great Depression or the build-up to Y2K, people were looking for ways to build their self-reliance, whether it was baking their own bread, building emergency shelters or gardening. The Coronavirus pandemic has created a sense of urgency around chickens. Anxiety about the availability of eggs, boredom or just yearning for something to love and nurture have resulted in record numbers of people panic-buying little chicks. Chick purchases in United States have increased by 500% during this current pandemic.
My chicken ownership has increased 300%, from zero to three. I have a friend who moved in to spend the quarantine period with me, and along with her belongings, she brought her three chickens!: Fluffball (the white hen), Ginger (the ginger coloured hen) and Red Hen (the dark hen, which you can barely see). (Chicken names are quite often funny and funky.)
Fluffball, Ginger and Red Hen have been living here for 8 weeks now and have not produced ONE egg yet, not even one! I thought I might be able to sketch them but they are always ducking out of sight under bushes as soon as I come into the backyard, so they are not even being good models.
I had an appointment in Collinsvale, Tasmania. I thought it would take about an hour to get there, but it only took 27 minutes! Collinsvale feels like a whole different world, like you’re in the wilderness, but it’s so close to the city (closer than I remembered!).
The beauty about being an urban sketcher is that if you’re early, or if the person you’re meeting is late, you always have something productive to do with your time. I parked in front of this house, which is located on the main street, just after the primary school, and sketched it.
I approached sketching it in my usual manner by firstly drawing the big shapes with a water colour pencil, then inking it with a Fude ink pen and then adding the washes. Liz Steel has often said that drawing too much roof is a common error, one that I frustratingly find myself repeatedly doing. I have to try to keep this in the forefront of my mind. I think if you can nail the roof, then the rest of the structure more accurately reflects the real life building’s perspectives and sizes of the different sections. What is your urban sketching Achilles’ Heel?
I really couldn’t see what was happening with the front door. I think it had stained glass but I was too far away to be able to see.
It was lovely to re-visit Collinsvale. I hope that one day you are able to take the small detour from Hobart and visit this quaint suburb.
A walk around the neighbourhood, with the specific goal of photographing different coloured doors, delivered a surprising revelation. It is true that there are more conservatively coloured doors in my neighbourhood, predominantly cream or wood colour, but I was surprised at how many people have stepped out of the conservative door mind-frame and have dared to be a bit risqué.
I spotted yellow, dark grey, grey, cream and burgandy, lime green, red, orange-red and more coloured doors.
My door is a cream colour and I’ve always wanted a red door. Apparently in early America, red doors were a sign of welcome to passing horses and buggy travellers, and a sign of a safe house on the Underground Railroad. Also, it is said that vibrant red doors reflect vibrancy, liveliness and excitement inside the house.
The quarantine measures have spurred me into a clean-up and re-organising mode, like many people have been using this time to do long awaited jobs around the house, and while the momentum was still present…. Ta-da! I now have a red door!
Do you have a different coloured door? I’d love it if you would email me a photo of it (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will add it to this blog post. It can be a living and breathing door-photo collecting vessel!
I received three website orders for various prints with all the addresses in southern Tasmania. In this current isolation period due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, this presented itself as a great opportunity to be able to legitimately leave the house.
The first stop was Glen Huon. The country side was so beautiful and green.
I dropped off an A-2 sized “Meet Me at the Gate” print and an A-3 size print of “Orca”.
The next two drop offs were both “Bunk Beds” prints. The one delivered to Snug, was going to be hung up in the baby’s nursery and the other Bunk Beds was delivered to a house in Ranelagh.
In Ranelagh, there is a awesome bakery called Summer’s Kitchen. They was a queue, partially due to the only-one at a time allowed in the bakery rule and the bakery’s reputation. I ordered a coffee and a gluten free blueberry baked cheesecake. Yummo!
While I was taking my time, savouring each mouthful, I sketched the Ranelagh General Store, established in 1993. It’s about a block from Summer’s Kitchen. There were so many colours being reflected in the windows. This made the windows more challenging than windows already are.
It was lovely to be out after many days in quarantine.