MY “Steve Irwin” Sea Shepherd – Circular Quay, Sydney

August 31, 2012


5×8″ pges, 150g Daler-Rowney sketchbook of yellow-cream paper, Derwent graphite pencils and W&N watercolour highlights.

High up on the pedestrian walkway of the Cahill Expressway, Circular Quay, yesterday and up pops the MY “Steve Irwin” Sea Shepherd “backing out” of Sydney Cove. I scrambled some thumbnails because I had no idea where it was going, but after 10am it settled into docking at the former Overseas Passenger Terminal so I could settle on more of the detail. Because of its own particular line of work, it doesn’t look like the usual type of ‘boat’. The extensive camouflage and giant logo also makes it unusual visually. And yes I didn’t forget to make reference to the shadows it made in the water, as part of its context.

After a trip to Manly and back to see the Warringah Prints exhibition, I settled down outside an eatery (complete with nautical theme imitating the ships docked outside) and managed a double-spread. Unfortunately the scan makes the work look unfinished; I am banning my F and H pencils from my sketching kit from now on. I will go back to the same spot and “finish” the sketch. Towards the end of it, I decided that a true Urban Sketcher would situate the ship in Sydney, so included the Cahill Expressway (a self-referential joke) and skyscrapers including the iconic AMP building. Watercolour blacks really wouldn’t be able to do justice to the camouflage black streaks, nor the prominent grey. There were crowds of people both going onboard and photographing themselves against the boat, so managed to Include People. I worked on context, according to my new regimen, with lead-in restaurant potted plants and 19th-century fence ironwork.

Will probably take coloured pencils to finish the job, and take my camera as well.

Not a bad day’s efforts considering I almost never get around to Drawing Boats.


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