Today, I met up with a couple of friends to do some urban sketching on Napoleon Street, Battery Point, in Tasmania.
Battery Point was originally settled in 1804. In 1811, land grants were given to free settlers and farms were established. By 1814, several farms were located in the area. In 1818, a battery of guns, called the Mulgrave Battery, were placed on the southern side of the point as part of the coastal defences on the deep water port established at Hobart Town. Battery Point derived its name from the installations of guns at this site https://www.ourtasmania.com.au/hobart/battery-pt.html
I get my art prints printed on 310gsm A-2 sized watercolour print-paper. When I trim my prints, I often have offcuts and this pile is getting quite tall. I thought I would see if it could be used for urban sketching. It worked quite well but I will have to adjust my painting technique because it is absorbent and the paper bleeds when you apply extra watery paint, as I discovered when I painted the chimney.
I then felt forced to add blue sky to try to disguise the chimney-bleeding.
The couple hours flew by and it was time to pack up the paints, move the cars from their two-hour parking limit and enjoy a hot cuppa.
The paper has potential, so I will keep experimenting with it.
After arriving on Friday, we wandered around and settled for a bite to eat in one of the laneways in the city. This was our view from our eating spot.
The next day started by a visit to the South Melbourne Market and then exploring St Kilda, including this cool community garden.
The visit to St. Kilda ended with sketching a duplex that caught my eye on Park Street. I love the roofline decorative tiles so many of the older houses have in this area. On Park Street itself, there were quite a few raised garden beds in front of houses.
Two of Picasso’s paintings of his first wife, Olga Khokhlova. Despite the Spanish flavour of the 1917 painting, Olga is from Russia, a ballet dancer, with Ukrainian origins. I find it interesting that she is depicted with quite big hands and feet in the first painting. From 1919 to 1929, Olga received over 500 letters from her mother and sister, whom she didn’t see.
These are only a fraction of the paintings on display. After the exhibition, we found a spot to sketch the renowned Flinders Station. I was settling nicely into the zone, then the rain disturbed my happy space.
My weekend in Melbourne finished with the fairy tale magic of Cinderella.
Trust that your week is is travelling along magically.
I felt so inspired and motivated when I left the house but once I arrived at our monthly Hobart urban sketch meet, the inspiration had exited somewhere along the way. I wandered around looking and discounting buildings: too complicated, will take too long, too exposed to the wind, too cold, no where to sit and more excuses were applied to the various sites under consideration.
I finally settled on drawing the entrance of the newly opened hotel on Murray Street, in the city. I drew it standing up with my book awkwardly balancing on my open left hand. The unsteadiness of the book contributed to looseness and wobbliness of the lines. Usually I avoid including cars, but because this one was blocking part of the view of the entrance, I felt compelled to attempt drawing it.
It is winter, so it’s not surprising that the few days I spent in Canberra were wet and wintery. As a consequence, I didn’t do as many sketches as I had hoped.
The highlight of my trip was visiting the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of Australia. I attempted to sketch the geometrical sculptures of the museum.
The roofline includes some silver looking tiles with braille. It is a curious sight because nobody is tall enough to be able to read as braille is designed to be read.
My friend and I wondered what was written. We googled it and found quite the story behind these braille tiles!
“Sorry” was written in braille several times as well as “Resurrection city”, a reference to a 1968 civil rights protest in Washington DC. Other messages were: “God knows”, “She’ll be right”, “Mate”, “Who is my neighbour?”, “Time will tell”, “Good as gold” and “Love is blind”.
Howard Raggatt, the architect, said that he chose the politically provocative word, “sorry”, as a personal protest against the Howard government’s unwillingness to apologise to the aboriginal Stolen Generations of Australia.
Not even the museum director knew what the braille characters were. Raggatt nearly got away with it, until an eagle-eyed engineer decoded the writing on the wall just before the building was due to open in March 2001.
The reaction was explosive, he said. “Ballistic is an understatement — they were just beside themselves with anger,” he said. The Howard government was livid and insisted that the braille panels were removed. But he refused, instead offering up a compromise. He suggested installing metal discs across the panels. He got the last laugh though as some of the ‘sorry’ panels survived the purge, and have been there all along, for 20 years. “We censored enough for people to be happy with it,” he said. “I don’t know that anyone checked up on us, and we may not have been as thorough as we should’ve been.”
I sketched the interior of the apartment we stayed at. I drew this standing up and drew it all with an Artline pen, with no initial pencil lines, and then added watercolour paint.
We tried a few of the cafe’s around the apartment. This was the view from one of the cafe’s that I tried to sketch.
I didn’t finish the sketch because it just about did my head in.
We had a short wander through the botanical garden.
The Queensland slogan “beautiful one day, perfect the next” did not hold true when we visited Mooloolaba, a coastal suburb of Maroochydore in the Sunshine Coast Region, Queensland, Australia. We found ourselves some protection from the wind and rain at the Mooloolaba Wharf.
Mooloolaba derives from the Aboriginal word mulu, meaning snapper fish, or mulla meaning Red-bellied Black Snake. I would have liked to have had a photo with this friendly Mooloolaba character but the wet bench and blustery weather wasn’t enticing enough.
Hastings Street, Noosa, in Queensland, is lined with shops, cafes, restaurants and galleries, with trees wrapped in fairy lights in the centre boulevards. This tree dwarfed the shops behind it. The leafy cover is wider than it is tall.
This tree came complete with some Australian Brushturkeys scratching and foraging around its base.
On my first day in Noosa, Queensland, I walked the neighbourhood in search of a house to sketch. Most houses in this area are hidden behind tall fences! It took a while to find this house, which I sketched on location and partly inked (using the beautiful Fude pen Kim gifted me) before it started showering. Nothing like the threat of rain to help you develop speed-drawing! 🙂
Living in these uncertain times, I treasure being able to go out, sketch and enjoy nature. I hope that the population in Ukraine, and everywhere around the world, will soon be able too.