Boxing Day

The National Portrait Gallery of Australia, held it’s regular drawing session on Boxing Day which gave us a good excuse to get out of the house. We were pleasantly surprised to run into several other members of our Urban Sketchers Canberra group who also had the same idea.

I wasn’t overwhelmed by my sketch of the group ‘Humbug’, who were the musicians playing that day. Lots of mistakes and abandoned as the group stopped playing part way through my sketch.

I was much happier with my second lot of sketches where I ditched the pencils and leapt in with the watercolour. It was easier to sketch the onlookers who tended not to move so much.

Everyday practice

Here are some sketches from my current ‘handbag’ sketchbook. I am trying to use up one of the myriad sketchbooks that seem to spontaneously generate in my spare room. This book isn’t too good with wet media so I mainly try and sketch in pencil. The pencils I am using are a Palomino Blackwing 530 and my el cheapo multicolour pencil I got in Japan at Sekkaido.

In rough date order …

Trying to get some more interesting perspectives into these ‘regular’ events.

From the car in a roof top carpark.

Sketching graffiti from a roof top carpark.

This is a work in progress. I do a bit more every time I stop here to collect the mail.

Again, trying to enliven a cafe sketch. It gets very busy at our local cafe on Saturday morning. There are lots of parents and kids relaxing after the kids football matches.

Art practice, not Art perfect

I was reminded earlier today that the phrase is ‘meditation practice’ not ‘meditation perfect’*, so I’m nicking that idea to apply to my art. I don’t know many artists who think their work is ‘perfect’, but¬†sometimes I¬†seem to operate as if that should be the¬†default. So in the spirit of it being Friday I’m cutting myself some slack and having fun with my art ‘practice’.

Returning from interstate last week I was making this rather stiff drawing of 4 people who appeared to be related …

2Aug2016a

Waiting at the airport, 3 related women and one girl, coloured pencil

… when this bloke stuck himself right in front of my subjects.

2Aug2016

What gets in the way of art, becomes the art!

The pen I was using¬†wasn’t running smoothly as the cap is a bit loose and the ink dries and causes blockages. I sort-of revived it a bit by putting water from my brush pen onto it, so while the sketch is a bit pale, I think it’s way more interesting than my first effort.

The next day the pen¬†wasn’t much better, but I couldn’t resist sketching this cheeky magpie, hanging around the cafe for a feed. The first parts of the sketch were pale and then with help from my partner we managed to get the ink¬†flowing a bit better . Once that was done I realised that I had made a much more interesting range of marks than if the ink¬†had been flowing properly.

3Aug2016

Necessity becomes virtue as the paler initial marks allow for more interest in the feathers and offer a contrast to the background

I picked up that pen again today, but not before actually checking and re-filling it. This morning I didn’t find my¬†fellow cafe-goers very exciting subjects, so¬†I decided to include some of the graphics from the nearby reptile shop to make things more interesting. I decided the whole could be improved if I¬†added¬†some paint when I got home.

12Aug2016a

Cafe habitues with green paint

I then decided, in short order, that the result¬†wasn’t quite what I was after. So I resorted to even more paint.

12Aug2016b

My fix

I’m feeling much happier about this version.

Sadly I have to report that since the big make-over of the small precinct where we go for coffee, that our dinosaur has ‘left the building’. It has been replaced by two trees some ground-cover plants and a lot of wood-chips. Making my sketches ‘interesting’ will become more of a challenge with the dinosaur.

*Phrase thanks to Headspace

National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

The weather was truly awful yesterday, but nineteen brave souls made it to the June sketchmeet of Urban Sketchers Canberra at the National Portrait Gallery. We also had four new people make it for first time, which was just fantastic on such a rainy day.

After brief introductions and such we split up to sketch the gallery. My first stop was to sketch the ceramic sculpture of Dr John Yu, by the artist Ah Xian. As is appropriate for a retired paediatrician, Dr Yu’s bust includes small children scrabling over it. The bust itself is made with a celedon glaze, which is apparently a favourite of the sitter.

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Dr John Yu by Ah Xian, National Portrait Gallery, my sketch coloured pencil on paper

It was very pleasant to be inside the gallery looking out onto the rainy weather. My second sketch was of such a view down one of the cross corridors of the gallery.

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I was walking back to join the group for our sketchbook throw down when I decided I had just enough time to draw one of the interesting double views that gallery architecture facilitates.

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Two portraits, coloured pencil. On the left, partial image of Charles Teo by Adam Chang, 2011; and in the foreground, Acacias (stigmata), Tony Carden, by A√ĪA Wojak, 1995

As always our group welcomes new members and visitors to join us. Our next sketchmeet will be on Sunday 3 July, 10.15 am at (New) Parliament House.

Cafe Wednesday – the hat

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.

25May2016

Magic pencils and white pencil on toned tan Strathmore paper

The light also cast a dramatic diagonal across his face.

Cafe Wednesday – same same, but …

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.

Biginelli's @ the College of Business and Economics, the Australian National University, 11 My 2016, Koh-i-Noor magic pencil white chalk and gel pen

Biginelli’s @ the College of Business and Economics, the Australian National University, 11 My 2016, Koh-i-Noor magic pencil white chalk and gel pen

Penciled in

Some recent sketches using coloured pencil and my new toned tan Strathmore sketchbook.

In the coffee shop Saturday morning, coloured pencil on toned tan paper

In the coffee shop Saturday morning, coloured pencil on toned tan paper

Today’s effort from the window of the National Gallery of Australia’ cafe window. This section of the garden has recently been cleaned out and re-planted with grass trees.

Garden at the National Gallery of Australia, coloured pencil on toned tan paper, 9 May 2016

Garden at the National Gallery of Australia, coloured pencil on toned tan paper, 9 May 2016

I’m trying not to resort to ‘colouring in’, hence the vigorous strokes, which I’m enjoying making.

One more from the archive, a sketch in my toned-grey book, a spool of twine at a building site.

A spool of builders twine, coloured pencil on toned grey paper, 11 April 2016.

A spool of builders twine, coloured pencil on toned grey paper, 11 April 2016.