Just because

I am currently working through some fairly tedious passages of mark making on one of my pieces, so yesterday I decided to give myself a break and have a play.

Stitching on a piece of bubble-wrap envelope presented itself. Apart from using different colours of thread, the other change I made between the two pieces was to have one that was stitched in a fairly regular pattern and one which was stitched as randomly as I could manage.

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Canberra on a winter’s day

Our Urban Sketchers group met today four our first ‘official’ winter sketch of the year. The complete lack of sun didn’t deter our group, 24 hardy souls turned out.

As I am recovering from a really nasty cold I was happy to find a spot inside a coffee shop with a bench seat looking out the window to a collection of umbrellas. 

Eventually the sun broke through the fog so I made a second quick sketch of one of the shop windows.

Drawing the exhibition, Rodel Tapaya

Earlier this year we went to a talk at the National Gallery of Australia by Philippine artist Rodel Tapaya.  His work is an exuberant mix of the contemporary, political and the mythic. 

Modern Manananggals, 2013, wood, brass, silver, fibreglass, epoxy and oil paint

The sculptural work I sketched, above, of suspended figures holding suitcases comments on the impact on the children of parents forced to work overseas. He uses the image of the manananggal, the Philippines equivalent of the vampire. These creatures leave the lower half of their body behind, as they fly off nightly to drink the blood of pregnant women. The contention of this work is that Philippino parents earn an income by leaving their own children behind to work as carers for other people’s children.

Drawing the exhibitions, Singapore

I only had limited opportunity to sketch while I was in Singapore  in May. Travelling with non-drawers meant that sketching was more of a challenge.

We did make it to the National Gallery of Singapore which is interesting not only for the art it contains, but also for its new architectural structure that joins and transforms two historic buildings, the former Supreme Court and City Hall.

The joy for me is finding artists whose work I haven’t seen before. I’m a bit of a modernist so it’s no big surprise that Dora Gordine’s sculptures caught my eye. Because the gallery had quite a number of Gordine’s sculptures I assumed there must be a strong link to Singapore. However I haven’t been able to find a link other than that she was commissioned to make sculptures for the Singapore City Hall in 1935. Gordine worked mainly in London. The work below was made in 1949.

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Serene Jade, Dora Gordine, 1949, Bronze

I can’t leave the NGS without mentioning the paintings of Georgette Chen. This striking self portrait was but one of her works in the collection.

Self Portrait, Georgette Chen

Not all the artwork in the city is in the galleries. I saw several statues by the sculptor Fernando Botero, whose work often exaggerates it’s subject, in this case a bird.

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Fernando Botero’s The Bird, (view from the rear)

At the Museum of Asian Civilizations I saw the exhibition  Joseon Korea, which was full of engaging and colourful works. This wooden sculpture was in the section on religious practice.

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Boy Attendant, 19th or 20th century, painted wood, National Museum of Korea

The Empress Place building  (1867), which houses the main part of the museum,  was originally government offices. Now it houses a range of historic  exhibitions which I only managed to fly around quickly in the time I had. However I did manage a sketch of this contemporary work by Eng Tow inspired by grains of rice. The grains are several metres in length and were hung suspended in the gallery space.

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‘Grains of Thought, Eng Tow, 2015, acrylic paint on carbon fibre forms

One last sketch from the waterfront with a storm passing in the background.

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Singapore skyline, ArtScience Museum (left) and Marina Bay Sands hotel (right)