I’ve recently joined the Urban Sketchers, an online group of people from around the world that like to draw (in whatever medium). Their ‘mission’ is to “Show the world, one drawing at a time”. This week there is a theme to draw artificial light. Given it is Christmas there was only one choice for me – the ‘icicle’ lights on my house.
Blue ‘icicle’ lights, 29 December 2013.
There were several challenges to doing this drawing, not the least of which was re-setting the lights to ‘steady’, rather than a fit-inducing flashing sequence. The biggest problem was the colour of the light itself. Being such an intense blue (it gives a real disco fluorescent whiteness to any white clothing), it was a challenge to firstly see my page let alone get some realistic colour onto it.
So, a la Vincent, I put on my camping headlight so I actually had a white light to work on my page. Capturing the intensity of the individual lights and the backwash of colour has proved quite difficult. However I’m happy with this first attempt. I will try to develop a more intense version of this scene, using photographs I’ve taken as I’m not sure that I could take another half hour session sitting in this light. After finishing I got one of those ‘afterglow’ optical effects where everything I saw went ‘orange’. The only other time I have had such a strong effect was in experiencing James Turrell’s work Open Field, at the Chichu Museum on Naoshima Island in Japan.
Yesterday I drew the view looking out from the cafe. I always love a good umbrella, or several, to draw!
Looking out from the Italian bakery in Mawson, 28 December 2013.
While I was in Newcastle last week I took the opportunity to take my sketchbook to Merewether ocean baths. Built between 1934-35 these ocean baths have two pools, one for children and a deeper pool as well, both of which are the size of several Olympic swimming pools placed side by side. Filled with fresh seawater they are a very popular place for Novocastrians to swim.
To my dismay I realised I hadn’t packed my watercolours. I opted instead for pencil drawings. I did two drawings, one looking at one end of both pools and the second of the railings and path outside the nearby kiosk.
Blind drawing, Merewether ocean baths 18 December 2013.
Apologies for the quality, but I decided to add the ‘missing’ colour later and only took a photo of the drawing before I added the paint. Here is the painted version.
Merewether baths 18 December 2013 with watercolour added.
I was not really happy with this outcome and to add insult to injury I realised too late that the very wet paint I used had seeped through to the drawing on the next page.
Railings and pathway, Merewether Beach, 18 December 2013.
No doubt I have a few lessons to take away from this experience!
Stopped for a coffee this morning at the Italian bakery. I’d left my small sketchbook at home so I used my ‘phablet’ for some very quick sketches of other patrons.
Cafe patrons, 24 December 2013
Of course it’s not always easy to get drawing if the person is moving.
Coffee drinker, 24 December 2014.
Every year I take photos of the sheep sculptures of Matthew Harding that were made for the Kambah Village Shopping Centre in 2002. I do this because every year, so far without fail, someone comes along and decorates the sheep for Christmas. OK they decorate them in the most random manner and with whatever decorations they can find, but decorate them they do.
Today I drew the sheep for the first time. OK just two of them, there are more.
Kambah Village Sheep decorated for Christmas 23 December, 2013. Water colour pencil with found tinsel.