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.

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.

12May2017

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.

13May2017a

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.

14May2017

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.

14May2017a

‘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.

13May2017b

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

 

 

Collage at cruising altitude

Hi, long time no see. I’ve been away in Singapore (more of that another time) and of course came down with the dreaded lurgy only days after returning home. So I am slowly catching up as my recovery allows.

One thing I have been looking forward to showing you is what I got up to on my return flight from Singapore to Oz. Not particularly long-haul as flights go, but with enough time to want to fill it in with something. Thankfully I remembered Nina Katchadourian’s wonderful work ‘Seat Assignment’, where she uses any means possible to create art while travelling by plane.

Checking my resources I discovered I had plenty of printed material, airline magazines, a freebie copy of Readers Digest Asian edition and thankfully a glue stick in the pocket of my day pack. No scissors of course. But I did have some inspiration – a set of room notes from the Ancient Religions room of the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore.

So here it is:

TZ12 Collage coverlr

Booklet Cover

 

Ancient Religionslr

 

Miraclelr

 

Because hairlr

Back cover

 

‘Good Bones’ with Stephanie Bowers

We recently took off to Melbourne for a few days with friends to take a workshop called ‘Good Bones’, with architectural illustrator and urban sketcher Stephanie Bowers. Obviously the desire to learn how to handle perspective and use of water colour for illustration appealed as folks came from as far afield as Brisbane and even Perth to attend the workshop. I’ll spare you the blow by blow description of the workshop because Stephanie teaches these techniques in her online classes.

Our base for the two days of the workshop was the ‘Old Quad’ at Melbourne University. The university was founded in 1853 and sought to impress with buildings based on the cloisters and quadrangles of older European institutions. The Quad, with its arcades and arched cloisters certainly was a challenge.

Day one focused on basic instruction and demonstration on single point perspective. Sketches were in pencil with watercolour to follow on Day 2.

24Mar2017a

The Old Arts Building, Cussonia Court, University of Melbourne

Sketching in this much detail in pencil is definitely not my usual approach!

24-25Mar2017b

My second sketch with watercolour added on the following day, the Old Quad, University of Melbourne

Focused practice is always difficult. Another study in pencil.

24Mar2017b

Finding the perspective lines was challenging and I doubt I would have gotten this far without Stephanie’s expert tuition

After a day of concentration Stephanie had us make two quick 10 minute sketches.

Day 2 was spent trying out colour combinations and practicing our watercolour technique.

Following the workshop we spent a final half day with Urban Sketchers Melbourne. We had the advantage as we stayed at the University. Without the previous two days tuition I would not have had the skills to successfully tackle the design buildings at the university.

26Mar2017

The dramatic extension of the Design Building with the Elisabeth Murdoch Building in the background

I would recommend taking a class with Stephanie, either on-line or in person.