An Eventful Train Ride

My ride from Vancouver to Edmonds, USA (a suburb in Seattle) was quite memorable.  The train was scheduled to leave Vancouver at 5:30pm.  When it got closer to 6pm, it was announced that the brand new locomotive wasn’t communicating to the older control system, so the train was going to be turned around and they will drive the train to Seattle using the back locomotive.  So, we travelled to Seattle backwards.  All our seats were facing forward but now they were backwards, which didn’t matter much because it wasn’t long before it was dark and you couldn’t see the passing scenic views.  The seats were comfortable and spacious.  Heaps of leg room compared to flying!

When travelling, the cars on the tracks do sway quite a bit and I found it difficult for painting or drawing, but I did this quick sketch of the passenger sitting across from me.


When we arrived at the US/Canadian border, at the Peace Arch, the American border guards came on board to collect train passengers’ Declaration documents and sight passports.  When a border guard collected the man’s, sitting across from me, Declaration card, they asked him what kind of meat is he bringing into the country?  He answered, “what do you mean?”  The border guard answered, “you’ve ticked meat on your Declaration card.”  He replied, “oh, that was my meat sandwich! I ate it.”  That was rather funny.

About an hour out from Edmonds, the train came to a screeching halt.  An announcement was made reporting that “we have a situation”.  I immediately thought that there might have been a person on the tracks.  Many train drivers suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from this type of extremely distressing situation.  Thankfully, after a while, they announced that there was somebody on the track but they were able to stop in time and he was not injured in any way.  We waited for the police to come and safely remove him, did a brake check and then we were on our way again.  I was really amazed that we were able to stop in time, with presumably one less braking system when travelling with one non-functioning locomotive, and with the diminished visibility with the darkness.

The train arrived in Edmonds, without further incidences, an hour late.  Despite the delays, I prefer travelling from Vancouver to Seattle by train than plane.



Needle in the Sky

Although Seattle’s Space Needle was being refurbished, some sections, including the restaurant were closed to the public, it was still worth going up and seeing the view.  I can’t say that the views were spectacular on the day I went but they were impressive. They’ll  be more impressive when viewing from the ceiling-to-floor, and floor, glass observation deck, which is currently under construction.


The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair.  It is approximately 184 metres (600 feet) tall, can withstand winds of up to 320 km/h winds and earthquakes of up to 9.1 magnitude and it has 25 lightning rods.  It is a Seattle icon.

While waiting in the queue for the lift down, I started sketching the view below.  I didn’t get too far with the sketch before being escorted into the lift.

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This is the view that I started to sketch.  A bit ambitious!  🙂



Another view from the Space Needle

I took this photo of the reflection of the Space Needle in one of Dale Chihuly’s large glass marbles.  His art gallery, with garden, is next door to the Needle and it is quite memorable.


While waiting for the bus to go home, I started sketching the building on the corner.  I got a bit further with this drawing, but still have a row of windows and paint to add.  Macy’s is one of the main department stores in US.

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Thanks for stopping by and take care.



Green Lake


Across the street from Green Lake in Seattle, are these cute houses. So many houses here have nicely contrasted trimmed windows.

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I decided to leave the tree on my side of the street unpainted.  Do you think that works or that I should have painted it?

Cheers, enjoy your day.


Kingston in Washington (not Tasmania)

On a semi-rainy day we hopped on the ferry at Edmonds, a suburb of Seattle, and sailed into Kingston to explore.


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Leaving Edmonds, Washington behind


The gangway was decorated with great art made from local beach findings.Kingstonferry terminalPNG

I sketched this cute boy in his puffer jacket drawing at a table on the ferry.


We passed by this large quilt displayed in a shop window.  I only captured a small portion of it.  I’ve never seen one like this where in between the petals it is just left open (fabric-less).  I think it is quite original and creative.  I’m sure many a quilter may be uncomfortable with this being declared as the finished state.


We had lunch here.  I am surprised to see quite a heavy French influence and presence in Seattle.

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We walked along the water…

and then took the ferry trip back to Edmonds, Washington, USA for more Seattle sights and day trips.

Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time, take care. 🙂

Sydney & Vancouver Airports

… and the journey commences … with lining up at the Hobart airport in Tasmania with tall netball players, from Wales, and breakfast near a bunch of Australian men’s water polo players, both on their way to the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia.
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Players from Australia’s water polo team breakfasting
I liked this café’s visual and educational display of herbs at the Sydney airport, while waiting for your coffee, you can increase your herb-knowledge.
I didn’t have much time to sketch at the Sydney airport but I decided that the lines in this scene created enough interest to try to quickly draw.
There was a lot of turbulence on the flight. Each time the drinks cart was two or three rows away, hot drinks was cancelled due to turbulence. A cup of tea finally arrived 10 hours into the flight!
I used two different lavatories on the plane and found it intriguing that both had ashtrays, considering that smoking was banned on all Air Canada flights in 1990!  Were we really on a 28, or more, year old plane??! Nostalgia? Recycled? Maybe it’s a policy to re-use parts to reduce throwing things into landfill. Very worthy of applause, if this is the case.
Art is as unique as an individual’s fingerprint.  Countries have a unique art fingerprint too. When you pass through the Vancouver airport, there’s no mistaking that you’ve entered Canada because of the wonderful art on display everywhere.
Artwork in the arrivals area in the Vancouver airport


Totem poles outside the terminal
Art is so special, on so many levels.
Thanks for stopping by and take care.

18 + 33 + 10 = 61 People

Day three of the OneWeek100People2018 challenge.  This morning I had to head into the city for errands, appointment and to pick up prints for this week’s market.  I did a grand total of ten very quick people sketches today.  I’m going to have ramp up my effort tomorrow if I’m going to reach the goal of 100.

I stopped at a cafe to do some sketching (I ordered a coffee to look less conspicuous :-)).

This lady was reading.  Her posture was unusual.  Maybe she forgot her eye glasses and was struggling to see the print??
A few more faces at the cafe
A couple more faces.  The man was doing some work on his laptop.  He had quite a protruding Adam’s apple. 
Relaxing with a girlfriend, whose back was to me.
I like this one because I saw this hairdresser through the window and captured her movement in this approximately 5 second sketch

On my way back to the car, I saw four men sitting on stools at a small round table on the sidewalk.  They were all leaning inwards.  It was such a good composition and sketching subject but with my bags, carton of prints and parking meter getting close to expiring, I reluctantly gave it a miss.

I hope I have heaps of sketches to show you tomorrow.  Thanks for visiting and have an awesome evening/day.

18 + 33 = 51 People

Hello.  Here’s an update on how my day two went with the OneWeek100People2018 Challenge.  Today was easier than yesterday because I went to a Life Drawing class.  There were plenty of people to draw in one place and I didn’t feel like anyone would take offence when I sketched them.

I drew 33 people today, mind some were only 30 second poses, but I’m counting them towards my goal of 100!  Thirty three sketches is too many to show, so I’ve pruned it back to about ten.

Before the life drawing class commenced….  I used a 3B pencil today.

We started the life drawing class with quick 30 second and then one minute poses.

Then we drew some 10 minute poses.

Ten minute pose

Then I sketched a few people during the morning tea break.

After morning tea we had two 20 minute poses.


I have one more sketch that I did but I want to finish it before I reveal it.  I am really loving it so far.

Thanks for stopping by.  🙂

18 People

Hello.  Well, I embarked on my first day of the OneWeek100People2018 challenge.   As I had strategically planned, I went to the public library early, hoping to catch a group of people congregating by the entrance waiting for the library doors to open.  I got there and there was nobody!  Now wouldn’t you too think a public library would open at 9 am??!  Well, not the Rosny Library in Tasmania.  It opens at 9:30 am.

So, I went to Banjos, ordered a coffee and tried to discreetly start my people-sketching.  This man was reading a newspaper on a very low coffee table. I used a new ink pen for the first time today and found out the ink bleeds quite a lot when you add watercolour paint.  With some sketches it works, with others, not so good.

Reading a distant paper

Then I sketched this group of three.  I thought they were having a business meeting, but at one point, the lady in the red, said at a much louder volume, “I will tell them I am a slow learner.”  I think they were getting some job interviewing coaching.

Interview skills coaching at Banjos

Then suddenly, I was the only one in Banjos.  I didn’t feel comfortable drawing the staff so I thought I would try the library again.  On my way, I sketched this person leaning on a railing but he abruptly left the scene about 10 seconds after I started drawing him.

March5 council

Then as a bus was pulling up, I started sketching this guy as he was waiting to get on the bus.  I’m surprised in how much I captured in probably under a minute.

March 5 busstop
starting his bus ride to somewhere

At the library, I sketched this woman (the paint has seriously blurred her glasses).  I think she sensed I was drawing her because she kept looking up from her book at me, so I moved and found this gentleman perched in front of a computer.

The library was quite empty so I went to the shopping centre with the thought there might be people sitting on some of the benches or couches.  There were three teen aged boys sitting on a bench, all looking at their phones.  Their postures were great, teenagery slouched positions, but I wasn’t game to try just in case they looked up and took offence to me drawing them.  So, I decided to try another cafe.  I had better luck here, with subjects to draw, not better drawings.  Here are some of the faces.


While waiting for his take away coffee, this man ran his fingers through his beard continuously.

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decision, decisions

I finished my second coffee and decided to head home, even though I hadn’t achieved my goal of sketching 20 people.  I stepped out of the cafe and saw this bloke having a smoke.  I liked his posture so I motivated myself to give him a go.  No sooner had I started, he butted out his cigarette and left.  That’s the main problem with sketching people – they move, and they move a lot!  Tomorrow should be easier because I will be attending a life drawing class.  I’ll sketch the model and the people sketching the model.  I should be able to reach my quota!

butting out

Thanks for reading and all the best with whatever is challenging you.

Drawing 100 People

The OneWeek100People challenge is on again, actually it is five days. It commences March 5-10.

The rules are quite straight forward:  you can use any medium to draw or paint 100 people in 5 days. They can be really loose quick sketches where you are just trying to capture movement or gestures.  Drawing from real life is best but drawing from photos or doing self-portraits are allowed.

Mofo 2017
Quartet playing at MONA, Tasmania, 2017

I’ve attempted this challenge twice, in 2016 and 2017, and both times I didn’t reach 100. The first challenge I drew about five people and last year around twenty. This year, I hope to meet the challenge and draw 100 people, at the bare minimum 50. The trick is going to places where people are and remembering to “see” and acting on opportunities as they arise. I sketched this while sitting in the waiting room at the doctors.

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Too bad I mucked up his nose but I like that I quite accurately captured his posture.

Many times while I’m standing in a queue, I remember too late that I could have been doing my heel raises exercises or sketching.  This is an extremely quick sketch I did while waiting in line.

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It was my turn before I hardly got started drawing

You need to be prepared to take advantage of drawing opportunities when you think “I should be drawing this”. I have a good supply of sketchbooks.  I have some that are coat pocket size, handbag size and so on.  There is a notebook in all my different coats’ pockets and handbags so that I am never caught out without a sketchbook (and a supply of a few pencils, Artline pens and/or coloured pencils).

A breakfast sketch

Sketches of two friends that I ate dinner with.

I am very comfortable sitting on the sidewalk/footpath drawing a building. People walk by and take no interest. I find it less comfortable sketching people so I’ve armed myself with a few strategies:

  1. Draw the backs of people (then they won’t know you’re drawing them)
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    Music festival 2017
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    Music festival 2017


  2. Draw sleeping or book-reading people (for the same reason, they won’t know you’re drawing them. Airport lounges are a good place to find these kinds of people).

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    Somebody reading a book in a park, 2017
  3. Have a rehearsed response ready. My planned response for anybody taking objection to me drawing them is, “I’m such a poor people drawer (only stating the truth) I doubt you’d be able to recognise yourself or whoever I’ve drawn” and then I’d confirm this by showing them the drawing. Or saying, if you like the drawing, you can have it.

Last year, I was sketching people at a music festival.  A man came up to me and said, “you’re drawing people”.  I was freaking out thinking, oh no, here we go but then he asked me if I could draw his baby.  I thought, you’re kidding!  I can’t draw well enough to draw a baby and have it look like a baby but I said I’d give it a go.  I hardly started and he walked away with the baby.  I didn’t see him the rest of the evening.  That is my one-and-only encounter while drawing people, thankfully.

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The start of baby drawing

Another strategy is to plan ahead.  There are about 20 people that show up for the life drawing session, and half a dozen for another art group, I attend. During the Draw 100 people challenge, I’ll do a very quick sketch of the model and then try to sketch each person of the group drawing the model.  I’ll try to do several sketches of each person at my art group.  This should help me with efficiency, producing many people-drawings in one location and block of time.

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Quick drawing at the Sydney airport, 2017

Well, words are one thing, action is what is now needed.  Will you be doing this challenge?  The hashtag is: #OneWeek100People2018

Happy drawing!

Derby, the little town that could

A few years ago, Derby, Tasmania, was a typical dying town with few job opportunities, a declining population and bargain basement real estate. Derby was an old mining town.  The mines closed in the late 1990s and there was a downturn in the forestry industry.  The unemployment rate more than doubled between 2006 and 2013, and residents and investment left.  Shops along the main street closed up and real estate prices plummeted.

Funded by a Federal Government grant, Derby has carved into the surrounding hills 40 km of bike trails with 40 more to come.  Some are calling it the mountain bike capital of Australia.  One local teenager said that, “it’s exceptional just to know I live in what once felt like a ghost town to me, now is a booming town where people come from New Zealand, Canada, all around the world just to ride our tracks.”

The many bike trails of Derby

An essential component of the mountain biking trails being able to come into existence, is Farmer Derek Hayes. He has lived in Derby for 60 years and reluctantly sold his land, “I thought it would be better for Derby to have the land than me. That is why I did let it go in the end… I don’t know what to make of it.  Just let it go and hope the mountain bikers make a good show of it,” he said.

A track that leads to a hub of bike trails
A bike washing bay

Since the bike tracks started going in, Derby has transformed and continues to transform.  Stacks of people come from everywhere to ride (speaking of stacks, I had a go on very tame tracks and had a few tumbles).  There are tracks for different skill levels, including seriously very, very good riders.  The world’s best mountain bikers have heaped praise on Tasmania’s Blue Derby trails at last year’s Enduro World Series, where thousands packed into the small town of Derby to cheer on professionals and enthusiasts tackle the harrowing trails snaking through the hinterland.

a part of a bike trail that weaves over and around a creek

I visited Derby during a week day, when there was no event or public holiday, and the campsites were full and the trails hosted bike riders all day long.  As trails are one way traffic, there are vans to shuttle bikers.


Mountain bikes have become part of Derby’s DNA.  Bikes decorate everything, including fences, Derby’s Post Office and more.  I had a go at drawing the post office.

In my wandering around the town, I saw that the old Methodist Church is being inhabited, judging from the view of the backyard, by bike enthusiasts.


A rider from Queensland, who came to Derby in its earlier days, found that there was nowhere to eat dinner, so he bought the old butchers shop and turned it into a woodfire pizza place called The Hub.  A lovely young couple run it now and their bike injury stories are not for the faint-hearted!


And there are new businesses and buildings being established along side the locals.


If you are a mountain bike enthusiast, I suggest you that you put Derby on your bucket list because it will not disappoint you.

Thanks for visiting and take care.