Drawing waves

I saw some drawings on Instagram made by a friend @richardbriggs_artist , of the movement of a car over a bumpy road in Bolivia. It prompted me to pull out my own drawings made just over a year ago recording waves lapping my feet on a rising and a falling tide on the south coast of New South Wales.

I steadily drew a line back and forth across the page and if a wave washed over my feet I drew it as a peak, for the duration of it’s ebb and flow.

Falling tide, 10.30 am to 11.05 am, 13 March 2018, ink on recycled ledger

Rising tide, 3.49pm to 4.19 pm, 15 March 2018, ink on recycled ledger

This is a continuous line drawing at the same location.

Glacial erratics on the rock platform between Depot and Pebbly Beach, 13 March 2018

PS lest you think that I am even more of a tide nerd than I am, the details on the page were copied from a tide guide at the Ranger station at our campground.

Taking two lines for a walk

When I was at the library yesterday I found two drawing books that looked interesting. The one I want to touch on today is Drawing Projects: an exploration of the language of drawing, by Mick Maslen and Jack Southern (Black Dog Publishing 2011).

Drawing Projects by Mick Maslen and Jack Southern

Drawing Projects by Mick Maslen and Jack Southern

A quick first look through the book had me very excited. The book covers a wide range of drawing styles and suggests a variety of approaches to developing your own drawing techniques. Between reading the introductory sections, looking at the artist profiles and trying out the suggested projects I know that I won’t be able to take it all in within the loan period, so I’ve ordered a copy of my own.

I was immediately inspired to try the first project, drawing with two pens. The idea is to bind two pencils (of different hardness) together and with them draw a single object/person/self-portrait.  I admit that I went pretty much to my own version of the project rather than following the method precisely. This meant that I missed out on one of the prime aims of this project which is to get you making marks on the inside of the form and break the habit of “using line to draw the outer contour line first.”  I did at least manage the other purpose of the exercise, to wit, making interesting and varied marks. My first drawing was made with my Lamy Safari pen and a ballpoint pen that was just lying around, bound together.

My Cat, pen and ink and ball point pen, 18cm x 14 cm, 19 January 2014

My Cat, pen and ink and ball point pen, bound together, 18cm x 14 cm, 19 January 2014

I’m mentioning the size of the drawings because the book suggests that you limit this project to something no bigger than 30 cm. My initial reaction is that I would like to use this technique on a much larger scale where I think that the lines would be very beautiful, while the technique would be less obvious from a distance away. At this smaller scale it seems to easy to lose sight of your subject.

I had so much fun with the first drawing that I decided to use the same approach when I was at the cafe this morning. This time I used my Copic Multiliner and a Pitt Artist pen (Sanguine 188), held together in my hand as I had nothing to bind them with.

Van,  Copic Multiliner and Pitt artist pen, held together, 21 cm x 28 cm, 20 January 2015

Van, Copic Multiliner and Pitt artist pen, held together, 21 cm x 28 cm, 20 January 2015

What stands out for me in this drawing are the lovely loose lines in the body of the van. While I’ve achieved a good contrast between the van and the background, the background marks are all a bit same-y. It may have been a more interesting drawing if I varied those marks a bit more.

I couldn’t resist yet another drawing when, on my way home, I saw nearby Mt Tennant, with a cap of low cloud over it’s peak and the scar from the landslide in 2012, still visible. I chose to use two watercolour pencils held together. I varied the colours, between Faber-Castell Cold Grey V-234 and Cool Grey VI-235 with Derwent Watercolour Prussian Blue 35, Blue Grey 68 and Rexel Cumberland Derwent watercolour 17.

Mt Tennant under low cloud, watercolour pencils, held together, 24 cm x 32 cm on Canson Montval, 200gsm, watercolour block, 20 January 2015

Mt Tennant under low cloud, watercolour pencils, held together, 24 cm x 32 cm on Canson Montval, 200gsm, watercolour block, 20 January 2015

I think this last drawing is the least successful of the three, perhaps because the marks I made were too similar in style and lacked the contrast of the previous drawings, where I used two different types of pens. See I’m learning already.

 

Cafe catch-up

As I’ve been trying out my new sketchbook over the past few weeks, I’d forgotten I also had several cafe drawings in the book I always carry in my bag. Here they are.

A bulldog waiting for its owner, ballpoint pen, 23 August 2014

A bulldog waiting for its owner, ballpoint pen, 23 August 2014

The construction site opposite the cafe offered an unusual subject by way of a cement mixer.

Cement mixer, pen, ink and acrylic paint marker, 30 August 2014

Cement mixer, pen, ink and acrylic paint marker, 30 August 2014

The Loading Dock Cafe, is exactly that, a cafe in the rear lane of West Row, in the centre of Canberra. Thankfully some very solid concrete bollards separate the cafe-goers from reversing vehicles.

View onto the lane from the Loading Dock Cafe, pen, ink and watercolour, 10 September 2013

View onto the lane from the Loading Dock Cafe, pen, ink and watercolour, 10 September 2013

3 Cafes in 3 Days

Three cafes in three days, a bit more than my usual quota of coffee for the week. I started off with drawing a grandmother and granddaughter, having a break together. The girl developed a somewhat ‘cubist’ head as she kept moving quite quickly. A few of my strokes ended up in unintended places (well that’s my excuse).

Grandmother and granddaughter at the coffee shop, ball point pen, 3 June 2014.

Grandmother and granddaughter at the coffee shop, 3 June 2014.

The next day found us having lunch at the National Museum of Australia, after having seen the Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists (more of that in a future post).

Umbrella and a view back towards the city from the National Museum of Australia, pen and ink, ball point pen4 June 2014.

Umbrella and a view back towards the city from the National Museum of Australia, 4 June 2014.

Lastly back to our regular place for a coffee today. The sun encouraged us to go for a walk before more clouds blew in. I particularly liked the way the fluting on the glass reminded me of colonnades and arches.

A glass architecture, pen and ink, 5 June 2014.

A glass architecture, pen and ink, 5 June 2014.

Images of Koyasan, Part 2

The town of Koyasan can be roughly divided into two main areas. To the east is the Okunoin, a large cemetery and temple complex where thousands of grave markers and memorials are located. Perhaps the most dominant style of memorial marker is the Gorinto (Five-tiered stupa). The shapes of the tiers represent the five elements, from the bottom up earth, water, fire, wind and space.

A set of 3 gorintos in the Okunoin, Koyasan, Japan.

A set of 3 gorintos in the Okunoin, Koyasan, Japan.

At the other end of the town is the Dai Garan where the main temple complex is located along with many other temples and monuments.

The centre of the main temple complex is the Konpon Daito or Great Pagoda. I sat painting a section of this temple in the chilly morning air, accompanied once more by the sounds of chanting coming from the Kondo or Main Hall.

Part of the dome of the Konpon Daito, Great Pagoda, Koyasan, Japan

Part of the dome of the Konpon Daito, Great Pagoda, Koyasan, Japan

This area of the town is also the home of other major buildings such as the Kongobugi Temple. The rooms of this temple are decorated, in a variety of styles, illustrating the life of Kobo Daishi (the founder of the Shingon sect). Not only were you not allowed to take photos, the signs also specifically forbade sketching. This is what I recall of one room in a series that illustrated the four seasons. This room depicted autumn; yellow and orange maple leaves fell down against a backdrop of gold leaf, a striking deep blue stream ran through the background (this is not included in my version).

Recollections of the 'Autumn' room in the Betsuden, Kongobuji Temple, Koyasan, Japan

Recollections of the ‘Autumn’ room in the Betsuden, Kongobuji Temple, Koyasan, Japan

We also visited the Mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Tokugawa Hidetada, the first and second Japanese Shoguns. From what I understand this mausoleum contains the ‘spirits’ rather than the physical remains of the shoguns. Here visitors have to content themselves with admiring the elaborate wooden carvings that grace the exteriors of the two small buildings. Views of the gold-painted interiors are restricted to glimpses in the official brochure. I enjoyed the late afternoon quiet and drew this view of the torii gate at the entrance to the mausoleums. The stamps are available at many tourist attractions, so I’ve incorporated them into my page.

Torii gate at the entrance to the Tokugawa Mausoleum, Koyasan, Japan

Torii gate at the entrance to the Tokugawa Mausoleum, Koyasan, Japan

 

Images of Koyasan, Part 1

Well I’m back from a great trip to Japan so I can now upload some of the sketches I made while I was there. For the most part I managed to keep to my challenge of drawing something everyday, whether in my diary/sketchbook or an e-drawing on my phablet. I’ll bring you the drawings in several chunks.

Today I’m starting with images from the mountain town of Koyasan. This town is a religious centre for the Buddhist Shingon sect.  The main form of accommodation in town is at hostels run by the various monastic temples. The main drawcard to this type of accommodation is the vegetarian cooking that is prepared for guests. Believe me when I say that this food is not a form of abstinence (well apart from not eating meat). Here is a sample of one evening meal, for one person.

Dinner for one at the Jimyoin monastery, Koyasan, Japan

Dinner for one at the Jimyoin monastery, Koyasan, Japan

Guests, whether Buddhists or not, are invited to attend morning prayers in the temple. Prayers are led by the head priest, who is supported by other ordained priests. It was half an hour of chanting in a darkened space, lit only by candles, a time of focus and being present.

I thought it was also a perfect opportunity to practice fixing an image in my mind. This drawing was made after I returned to my room for breakfast. The first morning I was seated directly behind the head priest. The priest is marking the prayers with the ringing of a bronze bowl.

The head priest at the the Jimyoin Monastery, Koyasan, Japan

The head priest at the the Jimyoin Monastery, Koyasan, Japan

Two days later I drew another part of the temple furniture, in this case a cabinet containing images of the Buddha.

A cabinet containing images of the Buddha, Jimyoin Monastery, Koyasan, Japan

A cabinet containing images of the Buddha,
Jimyoin Monastery, Koyasan, Japan

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.