Sketching in the Park, Ashfield Council

June 9, 2013

st andrews church summer hillExif_JPEG_PICTURE

A cold Winter’s day with sporadic sunlight, I spent 30mins on a warm-up sketch of this, the western facade of St Andrew’s Church which dominates the inner Sydney suburb of Summer Hill. It’s an elaborate building, with contrasting sandstone and coloured brickwork, dating from 1881. An efficient way to gather my thoughts after the subway ride. This could have done with more careful measurement, but it was a warm-up after all!

darrell jackson gardens summer hillExif_JPEG_PICTURE

Some 22 sketchers participated in Sketching in the Park, an initiative of Ashfield Council, which promotes location sketching with meetings in the various  public parks within the local government area. Being an inner suburb of Sydney, open space is at a premium and the parks are busy on weekends. Half of us concentrated on the established trees; the other half concentrated on the people. Lots of family groups because it’s a Public Holiday tomorrow, Queen’s Birthday. It’s obligatory to have the family over on such weekends; some will make the five-hour car trip to the snow for a spot of skiing but since Sydney temperatures have not been below 20C, no-one’s talking about ‘the snow’.

Ellen Fielder arrived with materials and easels for 25 people, courtesy of the Council. It is the only location sketching event run by any local government council anywhere in Australia, giving the general public a chance to sketch in the great outdoors. She stressed the importance of laying down the large areas first before proceeding to breaking down the subject into manageable chunks; the importance of getting away from vignette drawing and putting the object in the middle of the page, of working up a thumbnail or two, of measuring to get proportion, of conscientiously creating a tonal bar on the side of the page given most of the paper and boards distributed were in fact beige toned paper, with some black paper for good measure. She stressed the importance of creating a contrast between Built Environment and the Natural World in a place like this public park, with an example of a cross-hatched engraving of a landscape (unusually) by Morandi.

At the last Sketching in the Park event, I worked on black paper, so went this time for graphite pencil H and 4B, deliberately seeking out the darkest darks I could in the park. I wasn’t unhappy with this 90min effort, but a second attempt has to include some of the contrasting color involved in the red and yellow buildings in amongst the tree trunks.

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2 Responses to “Sketching in the Park, Ashfield Council”


  1. I can certainly see that practice, practice, practice pays. Your sketches inspire.

  2. quirkyartist Says:

    Sketching in the Blue Mountains coming up. It was in the weekend paper but it is not till September. drawonthemountain.com.au
    I will be away.


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