Snowing

It has been a thoroughly miserable day here weatherwise. My partner suggested that we get out to have a closer look at the snow falling on the nearby ranges. We drove out to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, from where we could see the snow clouds sweeping across the tops of the range. Where we were, on the valley floor, a flock of swallows swooped around our car. I could hardly believe how beautiful it all was.

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Snow falling on Tidbinbilla, coloured pencil on toned tan paper

I’m saying  that because my drawing was done completely from inside the warmth of our car!

Canberra Nara Candle Festival

Today was the13th annual Candle Festival day, held in conjunction with our sister-city Nara in Japan. We got there a bit early because we were working on the Australia Japan Society food stall, raising money for the orphans of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
This is the quick sketch I made in my Leuchtturm 1917 Whitelines link book with pen and ink.

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In the end we were so busy that our three hours working flew by. Although some of my toes went numb from standing for so long. After we sold out of food there was just time to look at the ‘stream’ of candles in the Japanese garden.
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Stromlo and surrounds

A week ago we took advantage of the fine weather to go out and get some sketching done. First we started at the new subdivisions of Wright and Coombs, currently being built below Mt Stromlo. The fires of 2003 burnt through pine plantations in this area paving the way for new subdivisions for our expanding city. I was attracted to capture the pattern of shadows cast by the pipes.

Sewerage pipes above the new subdivisions, watercolour, Mt Stromlo appears in the background, 25 September 2015

Sewerage pipes above the new subdivisions, watercolour, Mt Stromlo appears in the background, 25 September 2015

Later the same week we met up with friends and went up to Mt Stromlo, where the Australian National University has its Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Like the land surrounding it, Mt Stromlo sustained terrible damage in the firestorm of 2003 that swept into the city of Canberra killing 4 people and destroying some 500 houses. All the telescopes, workshops and library on the mountain were destroyed.

One of the major losses at Mt Stromlo was the 74 inch telescope. This building contains its remains.

The 74 inch telescope building, Mt Stromlo, 28 September 2015, watercolour

The 74 inch telescope building, Mt Stromlo, 28 September 2015, watercolour

The building is sealed to contain remaining hazardous materials, but you can peer in through the windows to see what’s left of the telescope. I think my friend took a photo of me straining to draw what’s left of the telescope. You will be spared that sight, but the texture of the burnt and corroded telescope mount just begged to be drawn.

Remains of the 74" telescope, sketched through the window, graphite, 28 September 2015

Remains of the 74″ telescope, sketched through the window, graphite, 28 September 2015

My final subject of the day was the remains of the Oddie telescope building, built in 1911, the first telescope on the mountain. Since our previous visit this building has been fenced off to save it from vandalism. At least I could see past the fence to paint the building.

Remains of the Oddie telescope building, watercolour, 28 September 2015

Remains of the Oddie telescope building, watercolour, 28 September 2015

It was a great day and hopefully as the fine spring weather continues I’ll get a lot more outdoor sketching done.

Canberra Sketchers Group in Braddon

The first few meetings of the Canberra Sketchers Group were focused on Canberra landmarks, such as the National Gallery of Australia and Lanyon Homestead, but this time we decided to hit the city streets – or more specifically Lonsdale Street in Braddon. In the perfect autumn sunshine of a Canberra Sunday morning, the street was jumping. Cafes full of patrons, people cramming the footpath and more traffic than a busy weekday lunchtime!

The group was pretty unanimous in heading to ‘The Hamlet’ where a whole pack of food vans are ready to supply hungry people and provide a subject for our group to sketch. There were various food vans to draw which occupied many of the group for the whole of our time on location.

Chasing Mr Morris, food van in Braddon, pen and ink and watercolours, 3 May 2015

Chasing Mr Morris food van in Braddon, pen and ink and watercolours, 3 May 2015

Food Vans in The Hamlet, Braddon 3 May 2015

Food Vans in The Hamlet, Braddon 3 May 2015

While the food vans and cafes represent the new face of Lonsdale St, I decided to focus on what was rapidly being knocked down and bulldozed away. Prior to it’s rejuvenation, this part of Braddon was home to car yards and mechanics workshops. This sign is about all that’s left of that era now.

Old Sign, Lonsdale St Braddon, graphite and watercolour, 3 May 2015

Old Sign, Lonsdale St Braddon, graphite and watercolour, 3 May 2015

While I’m not sad to see the car yards go, I am sad to see that local landmarks such as the Cornucopia Bakery and The Electric Shadows bookshop have ceased to exist. At least I know I’m not quite alone in missing that local history.

Grafitti, Lonsdale St, Braddon, watercolour and graphite

Grafitti, Lonsdale St, Braddon, watercolour and graphite

Here are some of the day’s efforts.

Some of the groups drawings, 3 May 2015

Some of the groups drawings, 3 May 2015