Sydney sketching : sketching Sydney. Postcode 2044. Marrickville, Alex Trevallion Plaza.

September 5, 2011

This small square is bordered by half-a-dozen cafes, including the Post Office cafe (far right) and is the meeting place for Greek men of a certain age every morning. Vietnamese men of a certain age meet opposite Illawarra Plaza in nearby Illawarra Road, frequenting the cafes there. By 9.45am on weekdays, the ‘philosophers’ are in session and discussing events of the day.

It is impossible for anyone sketching or painting (or doing anything else for that matter) not to be noticed – it is a very ‘public’ space and unlike the ‘anonymous’ footpaths round about, anyone entering this area is heavily scrutinized, in that familiar, earnest European way. It is wildly busy on weekends; I stopped by on a recent Sunday afternoon and it was simply too hectic to take out pen-and-pencil: far too conspicuous working solo.

Quick pencil sketch with colour (Winsor & Newton watercolour) and pen (Artline200 Fine 0.4 non-waterproof, for experimenting with washes, where the pen line runs) added later. I was aiming for something of a panorama after reading about Urban Sketching colleagues attempting fish-eye perspectives when sketching on aeroplanes. I started small, but not sufficiently small to get anywhere near the cafes on either side.

Regarding the Greek gentleman in the centre, he joined his ‘philosopher’ friends late and since he couldn’t sit with them, chose to sit on the empty bench right in front of me by himself.  Sketching in public seemed not to be of any consequence to the square’s patrons today, so I’m likely to return for more sketching. A full 180-degree panorama may eventuate.

Here’s where the Plaza fronts on to Marrickville Road:


August 2011. Marrickville Road. Marrickville Post Office (far left); Royal Exchange Hotel (centre – grey building above white car). 

1899. Watercolour (detail). Marrickville Road. Marrickville Post Office (far right); Royal Exchange Hotel (centre, with flags), in readiness for a vice-regal visit.

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