Martin Place NSW 2000

December 10, 2011


Two views of Martin Place from Macquarie Street, as part of a Sydney Sketch Club Meetup – Sadami, Margaret, Kaz, Meegan, Alissa, Liz, Jennifer, Annie, Wendy, among so many others. Very impressed with the tonality possible using Derwent Inktense pencils; conversations about speed of line and the reflexive aspiration towards a new or different medium to resolve issues about personal sketching style. 

The first is a “panorama” in the sense that I worked above and below a “horizon” line (where the plaza steps down towards the distance). I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but I realise in hindsight there was talk/tuition about panoramas at the last Urban Sketchers Conference, but I haven’t found those ideas articulated yet. The second was done with watercolour wash, more in deference to my colleagues’ strong use of colour, but it’s obvious I’ve been sketching architecture with 8B and 9B pencils for the darks (sometimes passing over linework altogether).

I stuck with the day’s theme of the Christmas Tree in the first, but was obviously drawn by the political/economic subtext for a second sketch (coincidentally it was International Human Rights Day today): a busy retail Saturday two weeks out from Christmas, with a Reserve Bank building (and other bank buildings) framing the Occupy Sydney site, the ‘politics’ framed by corporate art (Margel Hinder’s black steel sculpture and Anne Graham’s ‘Passages’ water installation evoking our Georgian past), right through to the Far Left (symbolically and on-the-page) to the latte set outside Lindt and the City of Sydney Christmas banners, stars and tree.

Sketching Occupy Sydney, I came to understand the concept of ‘tent dresses’ – women and children were exploring the medium while a pair of men played chess on the ground. A lot of passers stopped to talk to those behind the counter; their numbers increased as the sun came out.  The Federal Leader of the Opposition, wiry and suntanned, happened to pass through the plaza and policemen were on guard protecting not the Reserve Bank but the MLC Centre down towards the General Post Office, given a vigil of South Asians quietly protesting attacks on our allies, arranged like a choir in a semi-circle.

Towards the end of my four-hour stint, two architectural details and figures, watching a street show of children dancing in tutus and denim jackets. As usual, all my energy went in to the first sketch. Later, while searching for The Paper Mill, I was able to take in the installation of bird cages suspended high in the air above Angel Place – not exactly how to draw them, but the recorded bird calls were refreshing in their urban crevasse.



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