Drawing Sydney (not all cafes)

Well it’s been a while since I posted, mainly because I have been busy finalising my first solo exhibition in Sydney, (more of that in another post). We had to drive up from Canberra for the installation so once we arrived we had some spare time to get some sketching done.

You probably won’t be surpised that this has meant sitting in cafes and sketching, although it’s also been about taking the opportunity to look out at the busy urban settings as much as drawing people. We are staying in the inner-ish suburb of Strathfield, close to the railway  station. It’s a lively area with plenty of activity all day.

Early morning coffee sketching at Maldini’s Espresso. The place across the road must have the good dumplings because there were always queues there at night.

The area also has a very strong Korean focus. You can’t go wrong with Korean barbecue restaurants and the style and content of the local grocery and specialty shops is a far cry from what we have in our local area. It makes a heady mix for us sketchers!

We also spent some time at the Art Gallery of New South Wales,  where I had just enough time to sketch some sculptures as fit in another cafe sketch.

Lyndon Dadswell, The Birth of Venus, 1944. One of a number of smaller sculptures displayed together.

I love the way these groupings of sculptures relate to each other and the art around them. It was a bit of a challenge to see enough detail in the Dadswell sculpture to draw it, as it was silhouetted against a bright window. The view of the back of the sculpture was much better lit. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to sketch that as well.

The rear view of the Birth of Venus by Lyndon Dadswell.
One final cafe sketch.

Walks, Cafes etc

We have been doing a lot of walking since the pandemic started, originally prompted by restricted exercise periods for months at a time. Now walking is a regular activity and each week we try and do a slightly longer walk. We often break this up with a coffee, in our Thermos, or at one of the pop-up coffee carts that seem to be proliferating along popular walking tracks around the city.

Covered with a nice paperbag from a local bookshop

I hate carrying too much on these walks so I now carry this home made 10×14 cm sketchbook made of paper offcuts. Here are some of my recent sketches.

The sketches are adding up!
Late afternoon around Lake Tuggeranong
Coffee at the pop-up coffee cart Mt Taylor. In reality the Golden Retreiver wasn’t quite that long in the body!😄
A Thermos of coffee when we walked around the base of Mt Taylor
Patrons at the local coffee shop, a stop on our walk around Lake Tuggeranong
Bonus Black Swans with an almost fully grown cygnet.

Drawing the exhibition: Pure Form

Pure form: Japanese sculptural ceramics*, is a new exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia showcasing Japanese ceramics from the 1950s to the present day.

Installation shot of work, (foreground to background), Object (nogata), saiseki zōgan, Kishi Eiko, 2005; Shell-shaped covered vessel (Kai futamono), Koike Shōko, 2009: No.3 Erosion, Shingu Sayaka, c. 2020; Untitled, Katsumata Chieko, 2021; and Box Batter-17, Mishima Kimiyo, 2017.

The exhibition spreads across several rooms and is breathtaking in it’s array of forms, textures and graphic presence. I had only a limited time to draw in the gallery today. The hardest thing was to decide what to sketch first.

I started with a darkly glazed vessel by Mihara Ken, whose concertina-shaped folds reminded me of Issey Miyake garments.

Sekki, Mihara Ken, c. 2010, Matsue, stoneware and glaze,
collection of Raphy Star. Sketch, graphite on paper.

Next to the work of Mihara Ken was a form by Misaki Mitsukuni. The surface, which I was unable to do justice to, is created by the artist rubbing slip into the surface, which he has described as ‘Rothkoing’.

Coloured stoneware vessel (saiyūdeki), Misaki Mitsukuni, 2017, Tomisato, stoneware. Sketch graphite on paper.

Turning my chair I could see another work by Mihara Ken, a form that appeared as if folded out of sheets of clay. The glazes were very subtle blue greys and deep brown.

Genesis (Kigen) no.1, Mihara Ken, 2013, stoneware, glaze,
National Gallery of Australia. Sketch graphite on paper.

Finaly, I did a very quick sketch, part contour drawing, of Kaneshige Kosuke’s work, Tall sculptural form, c. 2006.

Tall sculptural form, Kaneshige Kosuke, c. 2006, Bizen city, stoneware,
collection of Raphy Star. Sketch, graphite on paper.

*Pure form: Japanese sculptural ceramics is accompanied by an extensive catalogue (which I will be looking at for quite some time).

The exhibition and book are by Russell Kelty, Curator of Asian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia.

The exhibition runs until 6 November 2022 at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Get there if you want to see some amazing ceramics!