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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
March turned out to be the month that we finally returned to cafe sketching – so far. I must say that I am a little bit rusty and am having to re-learn some of that flow I had previously. The fact that we have drawn every week for a month is quite a development in itself.
It is always so easy to slip into the habit of drawing what you think you see, rather than drawing what you actually see.
This could be a correct perspective if I was sitting a good metre or so below this woman.
A perfectly reasonable sketch except when I came to add other people in I realised that they would, if drawn in correct perspective, be scraping the roof of this alley way of shops. The rule of thumb is all heads of people, near and far in a sketch, should be on the same level unless you are sitting way above or below you subject.
This is the second version of my sketch this morning after I realised the woman’s head was below the jars of honey, not above them.
Sitting at the same level as this woman this is the correct perspective as she is sitting at the same eye line as me.
Back sketching at our favourite coffee shop this morning.
So good to get back to our favourite cafe.
I spent some time thinking about what I wanted to sketch, which was one of the key points in the workshop I did with Richard Briggs last week.
Trying to leave out unnecessary details.
I was interested in the relationship between the hedge across the road and the small hedge close to me. But then I realised that I really wanted the focus to be on the cluster of small stools in front of the hedge.
A small table and stools.
While completing this sketch it dawned on me that the shadows of the stools were also fascinating. One set was being cast by the sun and the ones you see in the painting were cast from the light reflected from the plate glass windows of the cafe. Sadly time and a lack of paper meant that I didn’t make a third sketch, but perhaps I can work on that next time.