Sydney NSW 2000 – Frazer drinking fountains

October 30, 2012

These work as an Introduction to Architecture because they are similar to stand-alone sculptures. Like buildings, they are built in building-like materials such as sandstone and their three-dimensionality calls for some basic perspective work.

Today I went to the first of Frazer’s donated drinking fountains to the people of Sydney in Hyde Park. It overlooks College Street, Sydney Grammar School and ‘The Horizon’ off William Street, next to SCEGS Darlinghurst, looms large in the horizon. Today’s was largely an exercise in rendering sandstone in sunlight and in shade, plus the black patina of over a hundred years of oxidation. Where the sandstone has been chipped, it shows as grey-white, the original colour when first hewn from the quarry at Pyrmont. My adding pink was a sign of desperation – a complete fantasy!

These days, the Hyde Park fountain is surrounded by a low buxus hedge, which can block the view of the beautiful lower, worn steps unless you get very close. I bumped in foundation lines in Derwent grey Coloured Pencil (impossible to make any dark lines which will later show) followed by Derwent Graphitint and patches of Prsimacolour Coloured Pencils. I never succeeded in getting the sandstone and shadows as well as I observed them, but there’s always next time!

150gm 5×8″ double spread Daler-Rowney sketchbook

I don’t know where the time went, but this (right) took about two hours. I wandered over to Prince Albert Road to re-sketch the second of the fountains, this time taking only 15 mins by comparison. What I must resist doing is overlaying graphite pencil on top of washed Graphitint or especially Tinted Charcoal.

I recommend using Tinted Charcoal or Graphitint on larger formats, e.g. A4: this way, you get the full effect of the medium, including the flocculation when the charcoal separates out. Rendering the purity of the all-0ver blue of Sydney summer sky is weakened by using charcoal or graphite: a continuous all-over wash in cobalt watercolour is the only way to go!

These water-soluble pencils are better suited to Misty Tonalism than my focus on capturing detail and getting perspective right.


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