The Big Draw at the NGA

Today was the annual Big Draw event held at the National Gallery of Australia. Several members of Urban Sketchers Canberra met up for the event and joined the crowds. Just inside the front door patrons were serenaded by the Ukelele Republic of Canberra band, singing and playing their way through a wide ranging repertoire.

The Ukulele Republic of Canberra at the National Gallery of Australia, pen and ink, 8 November 2015

The Ukulele Republic of Canberra (most of them), at the National Gallery of Australia, pen and ink, 8 November 2015

There were eight activities on offer and per usual it was impossible to get around them all in the three hour timeframe. First stop for me was Garden Country, in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art section. Here the work of Gertie Huddlestone was used as a starting point for a group work on the floor, or for some of us some individual inspiration.

Sketch after Gertie Huddlestone, We all share water, 2001, coloured pencil

Sketch after Gertie Huddlestone, We all share water, 2001, coloured pencil

I started to walk through to some other areas of the gallery, stopping to talk to the staff members overseeing other areas such as House and Garden, where some urban houses were being put together.

House and Garden, in the Australian Art section of the Gallery

House and Garden, in the Australian Art section of the Gallery

I only managed to get to one other activity before the agreed meet-up time. At Is your face a mask, people were given an I-pad to sketch themselves over a ‘selfie’. This proved to be popular with everyone as you could get a print-out of your efforts at the end.

Self-portrait with masks, I-pad

Self-portrait with masks, I-pad

Our group decided to get together for lunch over at the National Portrait Gallery where the crowds were not so busy. Here are our collective efforts from the morning.

USk Canberra sketches from the Big Draw

USk Canberra sketches from the Big Draw

 

Sydney, for a day

My partner and I caught the bus up to Sydney yesterday, so we could see the Chuck Close: Prints, Process and Collaboration exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The weather was vile. Rainy with strong gusty winds so inside a gallery was just the place to be.

We were a bit stunned, when we arrived, to find out that it was a single entry ticket to the show, so our plans to take a look, retire for a restorative coffee and then re-enter the gallery for a second look were shot. Having decided that caffeine fortification was in order, prior to entry, we went to the 4th floor cafe, with its marvelous terrace with views to the Opera House, only to have to sit inside because yes, it was raining again. I took the opportunity to quickly sketch this sculpture of a ‘child’. When I finally dashed out to get a look at the title and artist’s credit I discovered that the head, turned away from me is that of an extinct and ancient fossil fish!

to be carried away in the current, to be dissolved in the Other, Sangeeta Sandrasegar, 2014, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.  Copic multiliner, 11 December 2014

‘to be carried away in the current, to be dissolved in the Other’, Sangeeta Sandrasegar, 2014, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Copic multiliner, 11 December 2014

I won’t say much about the exhibition, other than its great if you like Close’s work, as he is happy to not only reveal, but hang on the walls, examples of the processes he uses to make his work. This includes the actual woodblocks etching plates and forms he uses. I love seeing these objects as much as the finished work itself. There was so much to take in so I was thankful that the catalogue does provide lots of close up detail so you can examine the work again in your own time.

Given that we ended up spending less time at the gallery than anticipated we still had some time to expend before we headed back to return bus. My partner suggested finding somewhere to perch ourselves and draw. We walked to the eastern side of Circular Quay and found a bar on the Opera Walk where we had a good view of the Harbour Bridge, albeit from underneath the shelter of the bar’s umbrellas.

The Harbour Bridge from the Opera Walk, Circular Quay, Sydney. 11 December 2014, Copic Multiliner

The Harbour Bridge from the Opera Walk, Circular Quay, Sydney. 11 December 2014, Copic Multiliner

Back on the bus and through the rain to Canberra. I was jolted awake as a brilliant light shone onto my face – the sun had broken through the clouds. I spent the next half hour enjoying the special sunset effects. This is one I tried to capture on my phablet, an impression of the small scraps of cloud catching the last sunlight.

Cloud study, late afternoon, e-drawing (Photoshop Touch), 11 December 2014

Cloud study, late afternoon, e-drawing (Photoshop Touch), 11 December 2014

Drawn while waiting

Two e-drawings from the past few weeks.
The first drawn waiting for our friend to arrive at Canberra airport. Part of the drawing includes the sculpture ‘Feather’ by New Zealand artist Virginia King.
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King says she was inspired by a lyrebird’s feather.
Some what less inspirational was my wait at the physiotherapist’s. The outlook was out to the rather dour police station and the commercial buildings nearby. My eye was captured by the graphic sign for one of the building’s other occupants.
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E-drawing, the moon clouds and angels wings

This week I’m trying to get back into drawing mode. You wouldn’t think it would be difficult after my holiday when I drew virtually every day. However I seem to¬† find it very easy to be distracted by daily life.

Angel Wings, Phil Price, 2008, exploring the interaction of wind and the structure.

Angel Wings, Phil Price, 2008, exploring the interaction of wind and the structure.

I started with a challenge, to draw the kinetic sculpture, ‘Angel Wings’, 2008, by the New Zealand artist Phil Price. OK it was a a bit of an ask to draw a sculpture that was moving in the breeze. I had my phablet with me, so I drew in Photoshop Touch. The time I spent watching the sculpture move in dips and unexpected angles around it’s gimbels was quite mesmerising.

The next day also involved drawing movement, thankfully a bit slower. In the mid morning a half moon was sitting behind a foreground of high cloud and airplane contrails. Once again I used the Photoshop Touch program to do myo drawings.

Moon cloud and contrails, 22 May 2014.

Moon cloud and contrails, 22 May 2014.

I did a second drawing as the clouds moved and the contrail dipersed.

Moon, clouds and contrail, 22 May 2014.

Moon, clouds and contrail, 22 May 2014.

Tokyo sketches

I realised I hadn’t done any sketches recently, so today I managed several quick drawings. All were done on my ‘phablet’. I have also been drawing in my travel diary but I have no easy way of posting those images yet.
First up a view out of the window of the popular clothing shop Uniqlo, in Ginza, looking down to a construction site next door.

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Past the clothing display down to the construction site

The next was a man sitting across from us when we were having lunch. And as a random piece of trivia, Muhammed Ali ate at this same tiny restaurant in 1972.

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On the way back to our accommodation, something we see everyday, people asleep on the train.

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I will upload more of my holiday sketches when I get back home and can scan them properly.

Pots

On our last night in Kanazawa we had a fantastic dinner at the Uo-yaki Itaru izakaya (a type of small bar which also serves food). We had a range of yummy food including sashimi, octopus, duck and tempura. I even had to stop drawing so I could enjoy my dinner!
Here is a collection of pots that were sitting just in front of us.

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Pots on the counter

There was a stovepipe going across the back of the range, a bit of an odd arrangement.