Whiteley on Water

I think it is the perfect summer juxteposition.  Having my first swim of the season at Nobbys Beach in the centre of the city of Newcastle and within half an hour being in the Newcastle Art Gallery seeing the Brett Whiteley exhibition, Whiteley on Water.

Brett Whiteley, Wategoes Beach II, 1989, watercolour, gouache, collage on white wove paper. Brett Whiteley Studio.

Brett Whiteley, Wategoes Beach II, 1989, watercolour, gouache, collage on white wove paper. Brett Whiteley Studio.

Whiteley was a tremendously talented artist with very fluid painting and drawing skills. This show includes some powerful ink paintings of waves, vigorous sculptures from his early career and some quietly beautiful paintings.

I decided to draw one of his pair of Shark sculptures, ‘Shark (Male)’ of 1966, which stood in front of his ‘Unfinished Beach polytypch’, undated. Both works are owned by the Brett Whiteley Studio.

Drawing of Brett Whiteley's Shark (male), 1966, in front of Unfinished beach poltypch, not dated. 15 december 2013.

Drawing of Brett Whiteley’s Shark (male), 1966, in front of Unfinished beach poltypch, not dated. 15 december 2013.

I also scanned and then coloured a version of this drawing.

Coloured version of Shark (male) and Unfinished beach polytypch, 15 December 2013

Coloured version of Shark (male) and Unfinished beach polytypch, 15 December 2013

Cafe Wednesday – Turtles

The reptile shop next to our regular cafe has placed a large tank containing Eastern Longnecked Turtles (Chelodina longicollis) where they can be observed from outside the shop. These turtles are quite common in the waterways of eastern Australia and are one of the few native animals often kept as pets.

We sat next to this window today so I spent quite a bit of time enjoying watching the turtles paddle languidly around their tank. These turtles shells are about the size of a bread and butter plate – although they do get up to dinner plate size as they get older.

An Eastern Longnecked Turtle floats by. 11 December 2013.

An Eastern Longnecked Turtle floats by. 11 December 2013.

It was easy to observe the undersides of these animals with their ochre and black patterned shell. Unlike my drawing, the turtles shells are fairly oval in shape. It appeared that each animal had a different pattern on the underside of its shell.

When the turtles surface for air they ‘hang’ in the water with just their nostrils above the water’s surface. No doubt a sensible strategy to reduce the possibility of being grabbed by a bird of prey.

One of the smaller turtles taking in a few breaths of air, 11 December 2013.

One of the smaller turtles taking in a few breaths of air, 11 December 2013.

Mt Taylor

For the first time since April 2012 I’ve climbed Mt Taylor. This is a major achievement for me post knee replacement. I knew I would have some places to stop and rest along the track so I took my small sketchbook to make some drawings on the way.

Lake Tuggeranong from the middle slopes of Mt Taylor, trees in the foreground, 6 December 2013.

Lake Tuggeranong from the middle slopes of Mt Taylor, trees in the foreground, 6 December 2013.

To my surprise and delight I made it up to the top of the mountain. There are wonderful views over most of Canberra from this spot.

Woden town centre foreground with Black Mountain and the Black Mountain tower in the distance, 6 December 2013.

Woden town centre foreground with Black Mountain and the Black Mountain tower in the distance, 6 December 2013.

What I was most interested in was the change of perspective from this height. Looking across to major landmarks with a very different horizon line from that at the bottom of the mountain.

The horizon line skimming Black Mountain, distant hills more prominent from this position, 6 December 2013.

The horizon line skimming Black Mountain, distant hills more prominent from this position, 6 December 2013.

It was a great walk. I found going back down was far harder on my knees than climbing up, but I was happy that I had made the effort.