See my work over summer

To those of you living on the east coast of Australia, there are two opportunities to see my work during December and January.

Firstly I am exhibiting my textile work at the Gosford Regional Gallery, along with two artists from my home town of Newcastle (NSW) Eleanor Jane Robinson and Mandy Robinson. If you can make it to the opening on Friday 4 December at 6.00pm I may see you there.

Well Worn
4 December 2015 – 13 January 2016

Leonie Andrews, Eleanor Jane Robinson
and Mandy Robinson

GOSFORD REGIONAL GALLERY, FOYER

36 Webb St, East Gosford NSW

Otherwise you can see one of my textile works that was selected into the Gold Coast Art Prize. The opening is on 5 December also at 6.00pm, but sadly I won’t be able to make the event.

Gold Coast Art Prize
5 December 2015 – 31 January 2016

THE ARTS CENTRE GOLD COAST

135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise

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An imagination of Nasturtiums

Some weeks back I was chatting with Drawing Connections about nasturtiums. We were talking about memories of seeing these plants in the Himalayas. I have since pulled out my photos that I took of the nasturtiums twining up wires at the Kumbun in Gyantse, in Tibet.

Nasturtiums in Gyantse

Nasturtiums in Gyantse

Now I haven’t quite got around to making a painting of that scene, but I did get inspired to drag out my Japanese paints, which sit in their box from year to year – too good to use, you know – and make this picture of nasturtiums, using all the colours in my paint box.

Spoiler alert, nasturtiums don’t naturally occur in all these colours.

Nasturtiums, Japanese watercolour paints

Nasturtiums, Japanese watercolour paints

Fun, fun, fun

I was at the Beach Boys concert Friday night, I’ve turned into such a rabid sketcher that I even took my small sketchbook along. Before the show started I drew some backgrounds in so I only had to add the figures when the time came.

I managed this sketch, from the side of the theatre. The watercolour was added afterwards.

The Beach Boys on stage, pen and ink and added watercolour,13 November 2015

The Beach Boys on stage, pen and ink and added watercolour,13 November 2015

I even managed a second drawing of two of the band, Jeffrey Foskett a band regular and Bruce Johnson, who joined the Beach Boys in 1965.

Beach Boys concert, pen and ink and added watercolour, 13 November 2015

Beach Boys concert, pen and ink and added watercolour, 13 November 2015

So my figures are turned out more ‘stick’ than realistic but hey its hard to dance and draw at the same time.

My biggest regret was that this version of the band doesn’t include Brian Wilson or Alan Jardine – but we had fun nonetheless. The music was great and the musicians were all really good. John Cowsill (of the ’60’s pop group, yes those Cowsills) was a total crazy man on the drums and he’s nearly 60! No time for further drawing I just had to dance for the rest of the concert!

Coffee Wednesday – new grounds

It’s been quite wet over the past few days so rather than go to our usual coffee shop, which has largely outdoor seating, we opted for a drier setting.

From Chris’s cafe in Weston Creek you get a view of the carpark and rear entrance to the Cooleman Court shopping centre. Nothing shattering, but something to draw at least. All the drawing was done on site, the colour was added later.

Cooleman Court, brush pen and watercolour, 11 November 2015

Cooleman Court, brush pen and watercolour, 11 November 2015

The Big Draw at the NGA

Today was the annual Big Draw event held at the National Gallery of Australia. Several members of Urban Sketchers Canberra met up for the event and joined the crowds. Just inside the front door patrons were serenaded by the Ukelele Republic of Canberra band, singing and playing their way through a wide ranging repertoire.

The Ukulele Republic of Canberra at the National Gallery of Australia, pen and ink, 8 November 2015

The Ukulele Republic of Canberra (most of them), at the National Gallery of Australia, pen and ink, 8 November 2015

There were eight activities on offer and per usual it was impossible to get around them all in the three hour timeframe. First stop for me was Garden Country, in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art section. Here the work of Gertie Huddlestone was used as a starting point for a group work on the floor, or for some of us some individual inspiration.

Sketch after Gertie Huddlestone, We all share water, 2001, coloured pencil

Sketch after Gertie Huddlestone, We all share water, 2001, coloured pencil

I started to walk through to some other areas of the gallery, stopping to talk to the staff members overseeing other areas such as House and Garden, where some urban houses were being put together.

House and Garden, in the Australian Art section of the Gallery

House and Garden, in the Australian Art section of the Gallery

I only managed to get to one other activity before the agreed meet-up time. At Is your face a mask, people were given an I-pad to sketch themselves over a ‘selfie’. This proved to be popular with everyone as you could get a print-out of your efforts at the end.

Self-portrait with masks, I-pad

Self-portrait with masks, I-pad

Our group decided to get together for lunch over at the National Portrait Gallery where the crowds were not so busy. Here are our collective efforts from the morning.

USk Canberra sketches from the Big Draw

USk Canberra sketches from the Big Draw

 

Portraits of the Famous and Infamous

What a great title for a book – it was used by Rex Nan Kivell (1898-1977), for his self-published encyclopaedia of portraits of those people from the 15th to the 20th century, who had links with Australasia and the Pacific.  A colourful character himself, Nan Kivell collected the portraits that went into the book. He was a major contributor to the collections of the National Library of Australia. At present an exhibition of works related to Nan Kivell’s book is on display in the NLA’s  ‘Treasures’ Gallery.

I took the time while attending a lunchtime talk on the exhibition to practice a bit of portraiture myself, along with capturing some of the faces that appeared on the screen during the talk.

Faces real and projected, pen and ink, 4 November 2015

Faces real and projected, pen and ink, 4 November 2015

Up in the top right-hand corner is Nat Williams, the curator of the exhibition. Below him are Abraham Ortelius, the map maker; Betsey Broughton, survivor of a Maori revenge attack, who lived into her 80’s and is buried about an hour and a half’s drive from Canberra at the charmingly named Bong Bong cemetery. Sydney Spence a close friend of Nan Kivell’s and co-producer of the book and a partially finished sketch of Kalaimanokaho’owaha, a Hawaiian Chief.

Among the anecdotes that Nat shared was, that on being shown a map of Melbourne, Robert-Louis Stevenson said “When I think of Melbourne I vomit”. I can only hope for Melbournians sake that this may be inaccurate. I’ve only just been disabused of the idea that the quote, long attributed to Mark Twain, that “Newcastle [in New South Wales] consists of a long street with a graveyard at one end with no bodies in it, and a gentleman’s club at the other with no gentlemen in it” has neither primary or early secondary sources to attribute it to Twain.

Unfortunately I ran out of time and couldn’t make it to see the exhibition, but it’s on for another month so it will go on the ‘must see’ list.

Urban Sketchers Canberra at the National Library of Australia

On Sunday we had our first official outing as Urban Sketchers Canberra, a goal we have been working towards since our sketching group started meeting in February this year. We had 15 people come along, including two people joining us for the first time.

With a bad weather forecast we had to do a last minute change from our planned outside venue to one that offered indoor drawing opportunities. So it was off to the National Library of Australia (NLA). As luck would have it the rain held off for a bit so many of us took the opportunity to draw outside the building.

Spot the non-sketcher, USk Canberra takes to the National Library of Australia

Spot the non-sketcher, USk Canberra takes to the National Library of Australia

I decided to tackle a part of the building that I must say I haven’t paid much attention to before, the large sculpture above the entrance to the library. The work is called Knowledge and was designed by Tom Bass, who is probably better known to most Canberrans as the designer of the sculpture of Ethos in Civic Square. Commissioned in 1966 the work was installed on the building in 1968. At just over 21 metres in length, 2 metres in height and projecting nearly 2 metres from the wall this is a complex piece of work. Indeed I didn’t really consider how complex until I tried to sketch the projecting elements of the work.

Part of the sculpture, Knowledge, at the National Library of Australia, watercolour and brush pen, 1 November 2015

Part of the sculpture, Knowledge, at the National Library of Australia, watercolour and brush pen, 1 November 2015

I managed to get through to the start of the watercolour when it began to rain. I retreated to the portico along with most of the other sketchers to complete adding the colour to my sketch.

As is traditional we met up at the end of our two hours of sketching to compare our efforts. As always the  subjects and approaches were quite varied.

Some of our final works on the day

Some of our final works on the day

Discussions of the day’s work continued over coffee and lunch in the Library’s cafe. Some of us also looked at the exhibition of work of William Strutt currently on display in the Library. Strutt’s ability as a draftsman really stood out and we were in awe of his fine pencil sketches.

Studies of two male figures and a woman's head, William Strutt, c. 1860, pencil (PIC R3339 LOC1132/F), collection of the National Library of Australia

Studies of two male figures and a woman’s head, William Strutt, c. 1860, pencil (PIC R3339 LOC1132/F), collection of the National Library of Australia

The next meeting of Urban Sketchers Canberra will be on 5 December, at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. You can find details of events and more pictures on the group’s Facebook page, or contact us directly at urbansketcherscanberra@gmail.com