Slow days on the river

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus, watercolour and graphite pencil, 14 April 2015

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus), watercolour and graphite pencil, 14 April 2015

Part of the birthday celebrations, just past, included four days on a house boat on the lower portion of the Murray River, part of the largest river system in the country.
There was lots to draw including a wide range of bird life. The most obvious were the pelicans (Pelecanus conspicillatus), calmly paddling along the river and getting a very good feed, it seemed, at every turn. I made a variety of sketches during our trip trying to capture some of the variety of the bird’s actions I observed.

Pelicans, water soluble graphite, 15 April 2015

Pelicans, water soluble graphite, 15 April 2015

Welcome Swallows (Hirundo neoxena) flew around the boat continuously capturing insects disturbed by our passing and cheekily roosting on the rails of the boat. We also saw lots of Australian Darters (Anhinga melanogaster) sitting, drying their wings, on convenient branches on the river margins. The darters lived up to their name with their necks twisting and swiveling to see what was happening in their vicinity.

A pelican, some welcome swallows and some darters, graphite and watercolour, 14 & 15 April 2015

A pelican, some welcome swallows and some darters, graphite and watercolour, 14 & 15 April 2015

Next post I’ll share with you some of the river scenery.

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.