Plans & ideas

January 4, 2011


Back at work today after a week away for Christmas/New Year. The commute was okay because of school holidays. This return to work after an absence very often spells the end of a bout of Inner Work relating to sketching/drawing. After a dozen or two pages, Life Intervenes, normally – after delving Inside, I need to go Outside. My sketchbooks are thus full of huge gaps; thus, I have no ‘record’ of the intervening months (though I strongly suspect what has happened). So it will be interesting to see if and how long the current ‘phase’ continues. Normally by now I am starting to propose to myself Grand Plans, moving behind Sketching to Drawing. But with the help of other sketchers out there on the Net, who unbeknownst to them are fast becoming mentors of a sort, we’ll see how far I can go. I tend too to love my sketches, I don’t want to leave them by exploring new subjects and creating new ones.  I have no idea how I’m going to fit in sketching/drawing with my univesity studies, which resume in six weeks’ time, but I’m Living in the Moment. I came home from work tonight and jumped on the Net to look at USK and the work of other Sydney sketchers; I like the details given of materials used, of approaches to sketchbooks. I realise I’m not fitting into stereotypical categories: I’m not a bookbinder/papermaker/scrapbooker, nor an architect nor a visual arts studio artist nor someone using drawing as a vehicle for creativity or as part of an imposed drawing-a-day routine. Someone mentioned the difference between sketching and drawing today which I’m taking on board. Someone also mentioned they learn more about themselves through images than text.


Today’s lunchtime sketch in the All Russian Orthodox section of Rookwood Cemetery. New gravestones, ones I’ve not seen or looked at before. I suppose technically the genre is Landscape. The clean lines of this blue-black marble grave, with the contrasting white marble of the cross(es), appealed. I eliminated the ‘decoration’ of urns and flowers, mainly because this is only a 5×8 sketch and it’s in monochrome. It turned into an exercise in perspective of sorts. I ‘sketched’ some gestural/impressional lines on site, from direct observation, with a 4H pencil, but ‘drew’ stronger contours in bed before going to sleep in 4B, partly with digital scanning/repro in mind. But I can justify the heavy lines also in terms of moving away from tonal to contour, and thus gaining a new-found respect for contour.  Of course, away from the site, I’d forgotten the ‘purpose’ of some of the lines in the background, e.g. vegetation, so as part of the artistic selective process, I eliminated them. There is also the strong influence of a Peter Booth drawing (Drawing, 1971) in a published collection of AGNSW drawings, of the contours of tins/bottles/packets a la Morandi, which I like at the moment. There is also a churchyard cemetery drawn in either Moira Huntly or Doreen Roberts’ books, two books I’m forever going back to; I can’t lay my hands on it immediately.


Another sketcher here on wordpress has just drawn a children’s playground installation. He’s pushing the envelope with daily drawings/uploads like me at the moment. There is children’s playground near where I work with similar plastic furniture, so I might have go at it soon: it would go nicely next to the gravestones as a beginning/end ‘spread’. In which case, I can see the useful application of watercolour washes. An earlier drawing he did of a mosque gave me the idea of travelling out to Sydney’s Gallipoli Mosque at Lidcombe. I normally see it see from the train nearby, more elevated than at street level. It would be worth experiencing/seeing it at ground level. There are other nearby mosques at Arncliffe and Tempe worth doing alongside the ‘usual suspects’ such as cathedrals and churches.

Plans too for my ‘Big Day Out’ for the 30th SketchCrawl: some sketches of 19th century buildings at my local train station, Customs House from the south platform of Circular Quay subway (as opposed to sketching it from ground level) and the harbour panorama (Harbour Bridge to Opera House) from the elevated north platform at Circular Quay, followed by the thirty-minute ferry ride to Manly Beach.  I like the idea of a sketch crawl (like a traditional “pub crawl”) and the idea of stopping periodically for 15-20min sketches…


Huntly, Moira. The Artist’s Drawing Book. Devon, David & Charles, 1994

Kolenberg, Hendrik. Australian Drawings from the Gallery’s Collection. Sydney, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1997.

Roberts, Doreen. Drawing Workshop: Learn to Draw with Confidence. London, Guild Publishing, 1991.


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