Panorama of Circular Quay East

September 4, 2012

Sketching colleagues checked out the Biennale but I really wanted to go straight to Level 4 and check out what sort of view was possible. This is the view from the outdoor area of the Level 4 Cafe of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Mordant Wing; the onlydistration was people wanting to be photographed with the Opera House behind them. The full view is probably 120 degrees, but I did this in ‘one go’ (rather than standing in more than one position); it’s possible to move more to the left to include the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but today I limited myself to a pencil-length, at arm’s length, equalling about 5cm on the page. I stood towards the “front”, in front of the Harry Armanius sculpture, in order to take in the Circular Quay railway line and tunnel. A higher vantage point would be the lookout from the southern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for $10; today’s was free. I wondered later if I’d made the Opera House too high compared to 1 Macquarie Street (“The Toaster”), but went back again the next day and decided it wasn’t. I tried to ‘situate’ the panorama by including the palm trees outside the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

While I did one vertical measurement (based on the horizontal), I should have done more checking of the horizontals from one chief landmark to the next. Particularly attractive are those spots where the Botanic Gardens shows through and around the buildings in Macquarie Street, details lost in this small sketch. Done between 10am-11am; the lighting would be dramatically different in the afternoon, but panoramas as sketched by overseas urban sketchers don’t appear to make too strong a feature of shadow, the essence being largely getting correct proportion and measurement associated with contour.

The whole measures about 20x30cm across a double-spread of the 150g 5×8″ Daler-Rowney. A sketching colleague on the day urged me to add more washes to these architectural sketches, so felt motivated; it is also vital to contextualise the Opera House with being surrounded by water.

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