At last, again, sketching at my local cafe on a Wednesday. It’s been a long time.
I had quite some trouble sketching this morning as everyone I started to sketch got up and left. The foreground figure is a composite of several people. Thankfully the guy in the background hung around for two cups of coffee.
It only took one look to decide what the subject of this week’s drawing would be. Strong light was delineating the rather dashing hat being worn by a man at a nearby table.
The light also cast a dramatic diagonal across his face.
Same name but different location. Our local cafe has contracts for coffee shops at the university. Today, as we were in the area, we decided to try one of these venues.
It was a completely different atmosphere and demographic from our nearby place, which is a ‘hole in the wall’ with a few outdoor tables. This other version was crammed full of students, with obligatory laptops, in the still under construction, College of Business and Economics. It is a lively scene that I plan to go back to again.
The renovation work is continuing at our local shops, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping anyone from dropping by for a coffee.
The last two weeks I’ve been drawing the machinery on site. Unfortunately no good figure sketching opportunities have arisen since my previous post on this subject. Two weeks ago I drew the bobcat, which was parked up at a pretty uninteresting angle to where we were sitting.
I’m not very excited by this drawing, I could have used the coloured pencils more effectively, rather than just ‘colouring in’.
Last week we found a better seat to observe what was going on. Thankfully the small digger that was being used to work on the replacement of the drainage system was parked at a good angle to our table.
This time I thought a lot more about how I was going to use my colour, which was probably helped by using the pen for the initial drawing. I kept my drawing loose, which is how I prefer to work. However there was one glaring mistake. I didn’t look carefully enough at the angle of the digger before I started. Had I done so I would have seen that the bucket was actually well below the level of the tractor treads. So now I have a more interesting composition instead, with the bucket tucked in the middle of the sketch.
I had so much fun with last week’s panorama that I decided to go with the same format again this week.
The weather was vile with a cutting icy wind so instead of our regular cafe which has very little by way of wind-free tables we decided to try somewhere else with indoor seating. Our choice was A Bite to Eat at the Chifley shops. In Canberra most of the good and quirky cafes are hidden in otherwise unremarkable suburban shopping precincts. The Bite has a retro vibe with lots of anodised food molds on the wall and large laminex topped tables I could easily spread my book and paints out on. And the Persian Spice cake was really yummy too!
Post overseas travel and we are finally getting back to our routines. This week we have made it back to our regular Wednesday cafe. To hang onto that holiday magic just a bit longer I decided to use the Derwent Panoramic book which I won in the final raffle at the Urban Sketchers International Symposium in Singapore. The paper format is 420x 180 mms and weighs in at 165 GSM. This paper is designed for pencil and light watercolour wash.
I wanted to use the extended panorama format to bring a more interesting compositional approach to this very familiar subject. I had in mind the workshop I did on Day 1 with Inma Serrano and Miguel Herranz where we were working on capturing a complex scenes in a series of images on the one page.
I knew I was pushing the paper’s limits with the amount of water I added to the paper, but it seems to have held up quite well to the watercolour, although there was buckling. The elastic strap on the book has helped tame the ‘buckle’ factor. I also intend using this book for pen and ink and brush pen sketches and plan to take it along to some of the other events we attend such as Drawn In and Dr Sketchy where I feel the large format will enable me to make a montage of images. We will see.
PS I’m not sure what the current availability of this book is. I have seen it on offer at various websites, but I couldn’t find it on Derwent’s home page product list. If you want to try this format you might need to get one sooner rather than later.