To divert my nervous energy from the exhibition opening last Friday my partner suggested we get on our bikes and ride to the nearby Lake Tuggeranong to do some drawing. The most difficult thing was to decide what to draw. The lake is wide and the view of the mountains and the town centre on the far side was far too broad a panorama to make a particularly good composition. So I plumped instead for the storm water diversion system at the northern end of the lake.
Alright not everyone’s first choice for subject matter but the complex system of drains, catchment basins and structures to slow the flow of water made it quite interesting from an artistic perspective. Not to mention the variety of waterbirds that were using the different depths of water to catch their food. Here is the initial section where the storm water flows into the first collection basin. I was looking towards the sun so there were lots of dramatic contrasts and back-lighting of the vegetation. I did some additional work on the grasses at home.
While I was letting the paint dry on my first painting I was able to turn my attention to do some quick sketches of a Great Egret (Ardea alba) which was fishing in the small creek running off the bottom of the system. As the egret’s plumage is pretty much all white it was an easy choice to paint it by using negative space. Here are two views.
I’m also pleased to report that while we were watching the egret actually caught a fish! We enjoyed watching it manouvre the fish around before swallowing it.
My final sketch, using watercolour pencils, is of the lowest level of the structure where large natural boulders have been placed to break up the flow of fast water in order to limit erosion to the banks of the lake.
There are still more sections of this structure to paint so I’m sure I’ll be back.