Great Garden Sketchabout #10: Sydney Harbour view

March 18, 2011


Friday 18 March; overcast with rain threatening, around 5pm. Pavilion and view to Lady Macquarie’s Chair, yachts on the harbour at sunset. 4B Graphite pencil.

I wanted to retain the integrity of the negative space of the harbour water, across to dots of people taking flash photos at Lady Macquarie’s Chair and the sandy edge of the northern foreshore. Yachts and boats passed and clouds darkened. I got caught up in the architecture and perspective of the pavillion (which takes the eye out of the picture plane), and increasingly the dark shadows forming. Unfortunately the foreground was entirely without interest (idfficult to lead the eye in effectively) and the trees of the background were extremely complicated (conveying banks of trees will come in time).

I could not resist the contemporary recycling bins by the pavillion. I’m very keen to add watercolour pencil as a record of the colour effects, but am very reticent about adding any contours in pen. Before adding colour or penwork, I feel I need to immediately take a close look at some Lloyd Rees drawings. The olde worlde character of the 1920s pavillion comes across in the pencil work. I’m concerned that if I add a dark green between the arches of the pavillion, that there will be a domino effect requiring me to colour the pavillion roof and then on to the landscape. I’m tempted to leave it entirely and simply start from scratch with a second visit.

Sketching is suddenly become the drawing and ‘art’ I’ve always wanted in terms of a personal direction or journey; I am perfectly content with the idea of going back again and again to locations; sketching is no longer just a series of rapid impressions with my constantly moving to new sites.


With news of water pumps being revived at nuclear reactors, an earthquake relief contribution to my sensei in Tokyo, who is raising money for the Red Cross by asking for a donation for some of her specially-prepared kumihimo patterns:


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