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.

Christmas flowers

I thought I had better sketch my Christmas flowers before they were past their best. They are Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum) and Red Flowering gum (Corymbia ficifolia). The flowering gum is allready dropping it’s stamens at an alarming, though beautiful, rate.

Relaxing and sketching on Boxing Day.

Before the lunchtime devastation!

Urban Sketches – Madrid

I realised that I have a stack of sketches from my travels that I haven’t shared on my blog. My street sketches in Madrid came to a grand total of two. Mainly we spent most of our time in the museums, I will be sharing some sketching from of those visits in other posts.

Early evening, Calle de Zurita, Madrid, watercolour and pencil.

We painted in the Calle de Zurita the night of the first World Cup game between Spain and Portugal. Needless to say there were loud cheers and groans coming from the nearby bars. After sketching we went and joined the locals to watch the rest of the match.

My second sketch was of a building that I thought had an interesting roofline and I also liked the way the date palm appeared out of the courtyard. I was sketching, perched on a security block next to a bus-stop. An older couple stopped to explain that I was drawing the back end of the Cardinal’s Palace. They also mentioned that a famous painter was born there. When I walked up to look at the historic marker I could see that the artist was Claudio Coello, appointed to the court of Carlos II. Coello was born at the in 1642. I have no idea why he was born in the Cardinal’s Palace, but his dad was a sculptor so maybe he was working there at the time – this is purely speculation on my part.

The Cardinal’s Palace Madrid, from the Place Puerto de Cerrada, pencil and watercolour.

The Cardinal’s Palace, the plain end, watercolour and pencil.

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.

Testing #2

Back to the new sketchbook, but first I must make a correction. I’ve now realised that the paper in this book is actually 150 gsm, not 110 gsm as I’d previously written, so perhaps the results I’ve been getting are not so unexpected. However the best test of the paper quality is water colour. I have made two basic paintings using subjects close to hand. This is the first work and it has another water colour on the reverse side of the page.

Watercolour on the new sketchbook.

Watercolour on the new sketchbook.

You can see from the painting below that each work stands by itself and there is no bleed through from either side of the page. I used quite a bit of water on each side of the page, but I did allow the page did dry thoroughly between paintings. So I’m quite impressed with how this test has gone – I didn’t expect, even at the heavier weight of paper, that the result would be this good.

watercolour on the reverse side of the page above.

Watercolour on the reverse side of the page above.

I’m now working on testing my own skills. I have been trying to integrate the different pen and ink and acrylic paint markers I’ve been working with, into a more style. It’s not as easy as I had hoped. I’ve struggled with not letting the heavier acrylic paint markers dominate the finer pen and ink lines. I’ve also had problems getting carried away and ‘colouring in’ with the paint markers. Because it’s so easy to go over the top I’ve decided to limit my palette to my black markers and one colour only.

Today I think I have made some positive progress with my sketches in mixed media. Any ideas or thoughts from your experience on how to proceed would be welcome.

Path and trees, acrylic paint marker, pen and ink, 3 September 2014.

Path and trees, acrylic paint marker, pen and ink, 3 September 2014.