Location sketching #1: Regent Street Station (Sydney Mortuary Station)

December 21, 2014


sydney mortuary station 1

Location sketching and plein air painting is something I’m trying to keep on the back-burner at the moment. Summer weather can be difficult, but I’m trying to take advantage of social sketching opportunities as they arise.

This building is one I’ve had my eye on for a while, even though it’s closed to the public. There’s a lot of “guessing” involved because it’s hidden behind a lot of vegetation.

Often with a particular architectural destination in mind, I try to do my research online beforehand. There are so many pics taken by  amateur photographs (90% of the time they will match where a potential sketcher will sit) and historic photographs (often taken just after the building’s completion and before any landscaping has gone in). Having pre-visualised the location takes off that initial layer of wondering what location to pick and the time and effort in sizing up the architecture and streetscape.

Alas, I spent three hours merely coming to grips with the building’s structure instead and the first sketch here was done in the last twenty minutes. I was sitting next to a building site entrance with a lot of trucks coming and going – the truck drivers were not happy about someone sitting so close to ‘their’ kerb. You’ll note the heavy shadows – it probably looks a lot better in the afternoon when the facade is hit by the western sun. For the record, the three sketches below were the warm-ups.

I really came along today to capture the gesture of the building, its main volumes or “blocks”. I want to return to take in its Venetian Gothic characteristics, a style I’m not familiar with. What I particularly enjoyed about the morning was the intricate geometrical shapes of the interior – the stand-alone sandstone Ticket Office under the vaulted ceiling of the main tower.

These were done on A4 photocopy paper in graphite 3H, with detailed picked out in 4B. Everything I’m doing during the current 10-week summer break from Art School is being done on loose A4 photocopy paper, which I’ll later hand-bind into a ‘vacation sketchbook’ of sorts. It’ll be submitted for student assessment, as secondary material done outside class, on 19 June 2015.

My next post will be about its 13th-century Venetian Gothic features in more detail.

mortuary 1mortuary 2mortuary 3



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