Surfside life-sketching

We continue to head down the coast for our weekly swim while the weather and the east-coast current are warm. We have a decent sized beach shelter so between bouts of swimming and boogie-boarding we can sit comfortably inside out of the sun and sketch.

Like a life-drawing class the length of the poses changes. Some people stand still for some time looking out to sea,

others, bend or lift a board so quickly that the stance lasts only for seconds.

I am often surprised at the variety of subjects matter that present themselves.

If there is one thing I need to remind myself, it’s that I need to bring bigger sheets of paper with me to capture all the action.

Littoral translations

If our last beach outing was overcast and damp then yesterday’s visit was the complete opposite. Clear sunny skies with a stiff breeze and plenty more people on the beach. We put the Sand Palace up and sitting in its shade, used our lunch break to do some sketching (myself, my partner and another friend) – that is of course after we scoffed our fish and chips.

My partner spotted this entertaining sight further up the beach. This man was getting shade from an umbrella that he clearly had given up trying to keep the the right way out.

C'est la vie! enjoying the beach anyway, double pen drawing, ink and Copic marker, 17 February 2015

C’est la vie! enjoying the beach anyway, double pen drawing, ink and Copic marker, 17 February 2015

Things closer to hand were a pair of thongs

Blue thongs, double pen drawing, 17 February 2015, Surf Beach

Blue thongs, double pen drawing, 17 February 2015, Surf Beach

and some seagulls (Silver Gulls if I’m being correct).

Silver gulls, double pen drawing ink and Copic marker, 17 February 2015

Silver gulls, double pen drawing ink and Copic marker, 17 February 2015

Last but not least I just squeeked out two quick watercolour sketches of people standing on the water’s edge, just before we headed back into the water for another swim.

Watching, Surf Beach, 17 February 2015, watercolour and graphite

Watching, Surf Beach, 17 February 2015, watercolour and graphite

Back to the beach

Well it wasn’t quite like our last trip to the beach. There was virtually no one on the beach for a start. School has been back for a week and the weather was less than perfect. But the East Coast current has finally pushed the warm water down to the south coast so despite lashings of misty rain we did get into the water and have a good swim. Most importantly we also took our sketchbooks with us.

The southern point past Surf and Wimbie beaches, watersoluble graphite, pen and ink and pencil, 9 February 2015

The southern point past Surf and Wimbie beaches, watersoluble graphite, pen and ink and pencil, 9 February 2015

I had fun playing with my water soluble graphite, using my fountain pen to draw into it while it was still wet. Those fuzzy lines will, I think, prove very useful to depict all sorts of indeterminate tree-strewn backgrounds.

We did move back off the beach to have our obligatory fish and chip lunch sitting at one of the picnic tables. We had a great view of this sign which came with its own ornamental seagull mascot, no doubt hoping for a bit of our lunch to come it’s way. I was struck by the ‘Dogs Bite’ sign, particularly as all the other signs had the more usual ‘Dogs Prohibited’ on them.

9Feb2015a

Beach signs, Surf Beach, 9 February 2015, watersoluble graphite, pen and ink, watercolour pencil

We’ll be looking to make some more beach excursions before the Autumn weather sets in.

 

By the sea, by the sea …

We spent yesterday at at Surf Beach near Bateman’s Bay, on the NSW South Coast, just under two hours drive from Canberra. It was our first official swim of the summer and we plan to make a few more trips over the coming weeks.

Because we like to maximise the amount of time we spend on the beach we always take our beach shelter/tent thingy, otherwise known as the ‘Sand Palace’. This allows us plenty of shade to retreat to between swims and, as I discovered, makes an excellent place from which to sketch your fellow beach-goers without being too obvious about it. Luckily for me I’d recently re-read Lynne Chapman’s post on some of the classes she’d done at the 2013 USk symposium in Barcelona which included some great suggestions for quickly capturing people (in a drawing that is). To quote from Lynne

“… if you want to catch someone’s brief pose, you can use watercolour, just one colour, to quickly capture the main shape, then use a watercolour pencil to add just enough line to pick out details, while the paint is still wet.”

It all sounded so easy until I put my brush to the page. My first few attempts were dodgy to say the least, but I did like the umbrella, fluttering in the breeze.

First attempts at capturing quick sketches of people and an umbrella, watercolour and pencil, 8 January 2015

First attempts at capturing quick sketches of people and an umbrella, watercolour and pencil, 8 January 2015

OK moving right along, I started my second page. I seemed to be getting the hang of it. This time I quite like some of the figures. I have however, cropped the page, thereby sparing you from one of the most heinous landscapes I’ve painted in recent times.

Second page, some better results. Watercolour and pencil, 8 January 2015

Second page, some better results. Watercolour and pencil, 8 January 2015

By my third page I felt I was starting to get the hang of the process. I’ll keep working on this approach as it yields good results.

Some fun images including people carrying inner tubes and the beach flags, watercolour and pencil, 8 January 2015

Some fun images including people carrying inner tubes and the beach flags, watercolour and pencil, 8 January 2015