30th SketchCrawl SYDNEY Manly Beach – Preparation II

January 20, 2011

Spread 1:  breakfast coffee plus pomegranites and mobile phone on a street directory map of Manly; my local railway station.

Spread 2: studies of both the AMP Building and Customs House, viewed from the southern platform of Circular Quay railway station (Sydney’s underground railway). I am actually a couple of years older than the Circular Quay above-ground railway station. I remember as a youngster being taken to the observation platform on top of the AMP Buidling; it was the first modern skyscraper of Sydney, built in 1962 and the first to exceed the planning height of the time of 150 feet; it was awesome to travel in a lift up a whole twenty storeys – unheard of before in Australia. I will like this: the support of a ledge and out of direct sunlight.

Spread 3: panorama of Circular Quay from the Harbour Bridge to the Opera House. I remember being taken into Sydney to watch the building of the Opera House as a youngster; I’ve sung in the Concert Hall (on a Christmas tree singing carols) and I’m an habitue of the Opera Hall. I can’t say I’ve ever drawn the OH. This will involve drawing with the support of a ledge.

Spread 4: some ferries at Circular Quay and Manly. If Oprah and every other visitor to Sydney can take a tour of the Harbour, the least I should be able to do is draw a decent ferry.

Spread 5: building facades in The Corso, Manly Beach, perhaps leading on to the famous Norfolk Island pine trees. The 1930s saw a boom in Australian beachside suburbs. Will there be any Art Deco facades still standing? This will allow me my preoccupation with blocky, overlapping/repeated forms. And I may use the idea of vertical guidelines as proposed by Scratchyas.

With USK (Urban Sketchers) and the work of colleagues in the Sydney Sketch Club uppermost in my mind lately, I’m coming to grips with my long-held prejudices against illustrationism and Charm School, those pejoratives used by art students of my generation and those in the art world locally. Of course the greats of Australian art regularly pushed out the odd sketch for commercial purposes (and the tradition of early 20th century is a noble one): my father who worked in advertising in Sydney in the 1950s and 1960s regularly made the rounds of famous artists’ studios, picking up watercolour originals for the likes of oil company trading cards. Sketching, drawing and related forays into different media (watercolour, pen & ink) have long been associated by me as Steps Towards Painting. Only recently have they been accommodated by curators in the retrospective exhibitions of the great – I’m thinking of the big Donald Friend retrospective a while back.

Suddenly I see journalling and sketching as an art form in its own right, validated by the Internet and digital reproduction and dissemination. I’ve been brought up with the traditional genres of Still Life, Landscape, Seascape, the Built Environment; suddenly I’m faced with a range of contemporary genres: subway, cemetery, mosque, cars…

 

Where photographers have gone before

I have learned a lot from the free online guide for NSW Photographers and am impressed by Little Manly Cove. Unfortunately low tide does not correspond to the SketchCrawl timeframes, but is on my backburner.

 

Planning spreads

Here are the railway station platforms which might frame my spreads next Saturday. In the style of other SketchCrawlers, I’ve found myself in the unusual position of Planning for the event by designing two-page sketchbook spreads prior to the day. I’m thoroughly uncertain about all this! Who’d have thought? I’m coming to grips with sketches which are “finished” After The Event – something I differentiated as a Sketch followed by a Drawing. Apparently some watercolour (and/or colour in general) and text is added ‘after the fact’, while the central principle of drawing ‘from Nature’ remains intact.

Materials

I’m definitely ‘going simple’ on this plein air excursion: a small sketchbook (it may well be the new smooth 200gm paper one) with just pencils and something to keep them sharp with: no backpack (except for water and sunblock). A really radical approach  would be to simply take a ballpoint pen. I’m disappointed I used up the point on my Micron 0.3 pen on a single drawing on 100gm cartridge paper recently; the 0.8 pen mark is way too thick. And I’m quietly appalled by the sterility and coldness of work done in pen/marker in general!

References

http://knol.google.com/k/a-photographer-s-guide-to-manly – Photographer’s guide to Manly. Low tide will be 5.22pm at Little Manly Cove (and way too much western shadows?)

http://scratchyas.wordpress.com

Rose, Bernice. Drawing Now. Museum of Modern Art, New York.1976.

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