North to Newcastle

We’ve just had a quick visit to see my family in Newcastle (on the Hunter River in New South Wales, not the city in the UK). I managed a few sketches along the way.

On the drive north we stopped for a cup of coffee at the small town of Marulan, where I had a view of the beautifully restored Royal Hotel, which I think is now a private home.

The Royal Hotel, Marulan, NSW, pen and ink, 4 March 2015

The Royal Hotel, Marulan, NSW, pen and ink, 4 March 2015

In Newcastle we went into the city where we had dinner at a pub on the harbour. This place has been built inside, what I recall, as originally being one of the ‘sheds’ on the No. 4 Lee Wharf. This part of the harbour foreshore has been undergoing a major re-development in recent years. The view on the harbour-side of the building was over to the working side of the port, including the grain loader and the docks for the harbour’s tugs.

Tugs in Newcastle Harbour, NSW, ballpoint pen, 5 March 2015

Tugs in Newcastle Harbour, NSW, ballpoint pen, 5 March 2015

The beaches that line the coast are always a magnet when we visit. Unfortunately the seas were high and rough and the beaches were closed for swimming. That didn’t stop us and all the other beach-goers, walkers and coffee drinkers taking a seat and watching the local surfers riding the waves.

Surfers at Merewether Beach, NSW, pen and ink, ball point pen, 6 March 2015

Surfers at Merewether Beach, NSW, pen and ink, ball point pen, 6 March 2015

It was difficult to catch the moves the surfers were making as each position of their bodies was only held for seconds. I settled for making very quick sketches with my  pen. I was interested to note how often the surfers’ arms appeared to just ‘hang’ in the air, ready to follow the body as the surfers shifted their weight on the board to move across the face of the waves.

Catching the surfers, catching the waves, ball point pen, 6 March 2015

Catching the surfers, catching the waves, ball point pen, 6 March 2015

After a fun few days on the coast we headed up the Hunter Valley into the country for the weekend. It was great to be able to put my feet up and look out across the paddocks to the nearby mountains.

The view to the mountain, near Branxton, NSW, ball point pen, 7 March 2015point pen

The view to the mountain, near Branxton, NSW, ball point pen, 7 March 2015

It was also fun to try and capture the poses of the Welcome Swallows as they sat and preened on the pool fence in the early morning.

Welcome Swallows preening, pen and ink and watercolour, 8 March 2015

Welcome Swallows preening, pen and ink and watercolour, 8 March 2015

And last but not least I found a source of inspiration for a watercolour. Forget the rural idyll, stacked up near the stables were a pile of pre-cast concrete panels, with plenty of interesting passages to test my skills with depicting depth and placement. I was so busy focusing on the details of the panels that I didn’t really stop to look at the overall painting until it was finished.  I was really pleased with the way it came together.

Concrete panels, watercolour 8 March 2015

Concrete panels, watercolour 8 March 2015

 

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Night Noodle Markets

We braved the Night Noodle Markets last night, the main food event held as part of Canberra’s Enlighten Festival. Having arrived early and fortified ourselves with ‘meat on sticks’ we found a good spot next to the lantern display for drawing. The only drawback was the wind blowing off Lake Burley-Griffin, which was so strong that it blew my watercolour box off the table several times! It took me over an hour but I persisted with trying to capture those lanterns dancing on their wires. It was light when I started and dark by the time I’d finished. A great time was had by all.

The lantern display at the Night Noodle Markets, 2 March 2015, watercolour

The lantern display at the Night Noodle Markets, 2 March 2015, watercolour

Canberra Sketchers Group

The Canberra Sketchers Group met for the second time, last Sunday, for several hours of drawing at the National Gallery of Australia. Our visit coincided with Sculpture Garden Sunday so there was plenty of activity and people to capture as well as the art work itself. We were pleased to welcome some new people to the group. As always we managed to find a variety of things to draw around the gallery. Some braved the crowds in the Sculpture Garden, some used the pop-up restaurant as their base and others drew in the Asian galleries.

Collective efforts, some of the sketches from the Sunday sketch crawl at the NGA

Collective efforts, some of the sketches from the Sunday sketch crawl at the NGA

I started in the Sculpture Garden where I painted three of the slit drums from Vanuatu.

Slit drums for Vanuatu, in the Sculpture Garden, National Gallery of Australia

Slit drums for Vanuatu, in the Sculpture Garden, National Gallery of Australia, watercolour and graphite, 1 March 2015

I only had to turn my head to see the furious activity of the straw modelling activity nearby.

The straw figure making activity, National Gallery of Australia, watercolour, 1 March 2015

The straw figure making activity, National Gallery of Australia, watercolour, 1 March 2015

For my last sketch I tried to capture the people in the central lawn area of the Sculpture Garden. This proved to be quite a challenge as there must have been several hundred people in front of me. I decided to keep it fast and loose with pen and ink.

Families in the central lawn area on Sculpture Garden Sunday, National Gallery of Australia, 1 March 2015 pen and ink.

Families in the central lawn area on Sculpture Garden Sunday, National Gallery of Australia, 1 March 2015 pen and ink.

The Canberra Sketchers Group will meet again on 12 April at 10.30 am at the Lanyon Historic Homestead, Tharwa Drive, Tharwa (on the Canberra side of the Tharwa Bridge). Everyone is welcome.

Here is the link to our previous outing and you can also find another perspective on the days activities by heading over to Tones and Tints.