Sydney sketching : sketching Sydney, Postcode 2044 – Sydenham Theatre & Sydenham Station Master’s Cottage II

July 3, 2011

3 July 2011. 10.30am, sunny Winter’s day. Derwent graphite pencil and Staedtler Fineliner pen; W&N watercolours and Reeves gouache.

More intensive observation today; identical weather to yesterday, but an hour later. Not many passers-by at this western side of the railway cutting looking east. I’m fortunate because a permanent fence has been taken out and temporarily replaced with one I can see through.  In the future, not only will all the trees present here be gone, but so will this view, accessible only via railway land. 

I’m keen on doing the entire panorama from the station overpass to the bottom of the street, but not only will these occupy two A4 pages but I should get the trees at the station master’s cottage right first!  I’m not introducing artistic licence, sticking to exactly what I see. the character and colouring of each of the many species of tree is making more of an impression on me. Colour, to assist with this differentation, was added from memory at home after the fact and is still not sufficiently accurate. With CityRail trackwork the street was again busy with commuters and buses, which, along with temporary signs, I’ve omitted.  Compositionally, I’m still wrestling with the horizontal of the trees (and the attraction of a full, heavy sky) and the verticality of the railway cutting down to the train lines.


The contrast between the natural and industrial aspects of the environment is an important one for me to capture. Much easier technically and aesthetically are the two large figs in nearby Memory Reserve, with the rich greens of the foliage and the black of the shade. I’m taking much more notice of the Art Deco motfis in most of the Sydenham shopfronts, which indicates a spate of building here in the 1930s. I’m noting a view looking west from the intersection outside the Vietnamese bread shop, busy with lots of street furniture, but because of the shadows, it’s probably best done well before 9am. 

Happily, local historian Chrys Meader has written a comprehensive article on this obscure, out-of-the way suburb. 

References    Chrys Meader on the history of Sydenham.


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