Earlwood NSW 2206 – Adora Handmade Chocolates

September 8, 2012

Day 1. Encouraged by Ruth Rosengarten’s writing on ‘deep topography’ or sketching really intently very close to home, I’m lugging around my local area a very full sketching kit, including coloured pencils, rather than the slimmed-down one for ‘normal’ sketching in town. 

It’s very unusual to find a retail shop in the middle of suburbia, but Sydney’s older suburbs used to have a corner shop. This old one, early 20th-century, if not slightly earlier, is miles away from anything commercial but has found a new lease of life as a specialty chocolate shop. It’s a favourite staging post for cyclists; the nearby cycleway often has “traffic jams” on the weekends when dogs, walkers, cyclists and baby carriages merge at various points. It forms the mid-point in my daily 10,000-step constitutional. I’ve never been inside: a culinary “den of iniquity” with XXX-rated ‘food porn’ to be sure!

Contextually, it doesn’t read easily. What also doesn’t read at all well are the white plastic chairs out front. And this is before I tackle the building in what I call my “dangerous” three-quarter view.  I keep finding myself attracted to this perspective of interesting buildings but always coming undone. The 5×8″ sketchbook page was way too small for the architectural detail I wanted, and also for a superb view of outdoor diners. I used watercolour on the spot – goodness knows why. I had an A4 sketchbook and coloured pencils to hand which would have been a far better choice. The colourwork associated with the walls and especially the chimneys was wonderful, let alone a superb pure cobalt sky – none of which I captured today.  I will return!




Day 2 and 3. Went back at the same time on the two days following, starting always with the people sitting out the front. Still enormously unhappy with the results.



Day 4. A final attempt, this time from below street level beside the cycleway. I laid down some watercolour and went back with pencil. Grossly unhappy: the content is beyond my capabilities at this time, or rather, I’m trying to indicate architectural detail which is incompatible with watercolour; watercolour is far better suited to broad areas of colour. I repaired the emotional damage by retracing my steps to have an another go at the Sewage Aqueduct, a second sketch from scratch.


Rosengarten, Ruth. Passando, Parando, Caminhando: Desenho urbano em contexto (Passing by, Stopping, Walking on: Urban Sketching in Context) in Urban Sketchers em Lisboa desenhando a cidade. Lisbon: Quimera, 2012: 24-51.


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