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.

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 AñA 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.

From arts to ants

It was an unusual combination of activities that we went to this Sunday afternoon. Firstly there was ‘Drawn In’, the monthly drawing activity held at the National Portrait Gallery. Today Leila and Michael from The Night Cafe performed a range of latin, gypsy and jazz music on guitar, flute and voice.

Michael and Leila at Drawn In, pen and ink, ball point pen, 22 February 2015

Michael and Leila at Drawn In, pen and ink, ball point pen, 22 February 2015

It’s great to be able to draw people in action. Michael’s guitar playing provided an interesting pose.

Michael on guitar, pen and ink and ball point pen, 22 February 2015

Michael on guitar, pen and ink and ball point pen, 22 February 2015

Leila proved to be more of a challenge to draw as she moved between her flute and vocals. I found her hand positions on the flute fun to try and capture.

Leila on flute, pen and ink and ball point pen, 22 February 2015

Leila on flute, pen and ink and ball point pen, 22 February 2015

Thanks to both musicians for allowing themselves to be scrutinised by so many interested pairs of eyes.

If an afternoon of drawing wasn’t enough we had a second outing to attend. Over on the slopes of Black Mountain we joined the Friends of Black Mountain and Ajay Narendra to look at the local ant fauna. There are over 120 species of ants on the mountain so before long we were examining ants, subterranean and arboreal, biting and non-biting. Ajay shared all sorts of interesting information about ant behaviour and identification. I was most impressed by his ability to gently hold an ant by its legs, between his fingers, before releasing her gently back to where she was picked up (most ants you see are sterile females).

Ajay and interested onlookers at the Black Mountain ant walk, ball point pen, 22 February 2015

Ajay and interested onlookers at the Black Mountain ant walk, ball point pen, 22 February 2015

Of course it was slow progress as there were so many different types of ants just in the short part of the path we walked along, so I had time for a sketch in between ant species.

Drawn in – November

Its been quite a while since I went to one of the National Portrait Gallery’s Drawn In sessions. A friend suggested we go and so we joined lots of other people for an afternoon session of sketching and listening to some beautiful singing.

I managed 3 sketches in various styles and media. First a blind drawing in pencil of a floral arrangement in the area we were drawing.

Blind drawing, floral arrangement, National Portrait Gallery Canberra, 30 November 2014, pencil

Blind drawing, floral arrangement, National Portrait Gallery Canberra, 30 November 2014, pencil

A view to the display of portraits by Rick Amor in the gallery entrance.

Rick Amor, Gallery 1, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, 30 November 2014, pencil, ink and watercolour.

Rick Amor, Gallery 1, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, 30 November 2014, pencil, ink and watercolour.

The last was a still life and partial figure of the woman sitting in front of me.

Bags and partial figure, National Portrait Gallery, pen and ink, 30 November 2014

Bags and partial figure, National Portrait Gallery, pen and ink, 30 November 2014

After I’d finished drawing I went over to look more closely at the Rick Amor portraits which vaguely appear in my sketch. I was particularly interested in the preparatory drawings for Amor’s 1994 portrait of Gary Catalano.

Gary Catalano

Gary Catalano , 1994 by Rick Amor Gary Catalano, 1994 by Rick Amor pencil and watercolour on yellow paper (56.5 x 76.0 cm) Collection of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia

I was impressed by the economy of the drawings with no need for extensive explanatory detail.

Gary Catalano, 1994 by Rick Amor

Gary Catalano, 1994 by Rick Amor, oil on canvas (57.0 x 57.0 cm) , private collection.

 

Their adaptation to the final painting doesn’t lose the spareness conveyed by the drawings. There’s quite a lesson in that approach.

 

 

This week’s cafe drawings

It has been fairly quiet this week. I’ve been working on exhibition applications of my own and also with friends so there hasn’t been too much going out and about.

I did have a quick coffee at the National Portrait Gallery, one of the newest national institutions in Canberra. They have a very welcoming attitude and encourage drawing and community participation.

Napkin and condiment box at the National Portrait Gallery of Australia, 24 march 2014.

Napkin and condiment box at the National Portrait Gallery of Australia, 24 march 2014.

I had my red paint marker in my bag so the red box and table number just begged to be drawn.

Back to the Bakery the next day, looking up the street in the opposite direction to my last Bakery drawing.

View from the Italian Bakery, Mawson, 25 March 2014.

View from the Italian Bakery, Mawson, 25 March 2014.

I bravely decided that I didn’t have to use my red paint marker in all my drawings.