Saturday 25 October 2014

Sketching people

Sketching people is often something I avoid. Recently I have been making a conscious effort to remedy this omission. 

In Pensive mood
Ink & Derwent watersolouble sketching pencil in a Strathmore Mixed Media 500 sketchbook

Here are some quick sketches. 

I took my granddaughter to have her hair trimmed. I skipped the gossip mags and sketched the hairdresser instead. She was too quick. No sooner had I got into the groove than she was finished.

At the Hairdresser - ink

At the Hairdresser - ink - Hero 812 calligraphy pen

This one was done in a cafĂ© while having a cup of coffee. I decided that instead of reading the newspaper - the news is really depressing anyway - I would try to draw people.. Since people move (a lot) of necessity many are unfinished. I think that's part of the charm, a rapid impression, trying to capture a gesture.

I have been working with pen - and using a Hero 812 calligraphy pen which has a bent nib. Used in the conventional way the line is thick and chunky, flip it upside down and the line is thin and delicate. It does take a while to change one’s hold on the pen for the different lines - good exercise for one’s fingers! 

Some drawings are with my usual Lamy Safari EF nib 

Monday 13 October 2014

BNE Open House 2014 day two

On day two of Brisbane Open House 2014 some of us from USK BNE gathered at the Treasury Hotel and Casino. We were able to join a tour of some of the rooms with a group of Instagrammers.

Originally the building was the Lands Administration Building so we were able to see some of the historic rooms including a secret stairway where the Premier could escape to George street!

We also toured the Commissariat Store Museum and National Trust House. These provided good photographic material.

Sketches during the day included this one of the Old State Library with a sketcher while waiting for the treasury tour to begin. All were done in ink using a Lamy Safari EF nib and/or a Hero 812 pen with some grey brush pen in places. Sketchbook - Stillman & Birn Alpha.

Then I did a quick drawing of an inner courtyard at the Treasury Hotel and Casino.

After the tour we had coffee at Ryan’s on the Park so captured some fellow sketchers.

Lunch stop at the Coffee Club.

I missed my bus by five minutes and was feeling tired and grumpy. Then I looked across the road and saw that the Albert Street Uniting Church was also part of Brisbane Open House 2014. 

I spent the hour waiting for my bus resting in a pew doing a drawing of the magnificent interior. Lovely to catch my breath and restore my mood.

The church celebrates 125 years with special services starting next Sunday.

Sunday 12 October 2014

Open House Brisbane 2014 - a visit to Toonarbin

Open House Brisbane is an annual event allowing the public a glimpse of Brisbane's historic and architectural treasures.

On Saturday afternoon I spent a most enjoyable hour visiting one of Brisbane's oldest houses - Toonarbin. The house was built around the mid 1860s by Benjamin Backhouse and sold to Captain Henry O'Reilly. Yes it's the same O'Reilly of the Bonded Stores in Margaret Street that were recently felled by the demolisher's wrecking ball.  

Those of us who won a place on the tour, were able to see inside. The owners generously led us on a tour of the whole house, telling the story of its original owners and the subsequent changes over the years.

Three generations of the O'Reilly family lived in the house, buying up the surrounding land down to the river and on either side until the property measured 24 acres. Subsequently, land was sold off and in 1926 the property was sold to the Catholic Church. 
Many alterations changed the house considerably, in fact the original house was hidden by the extensive verandas and the red brick cladding present today.  Countless partitions divided the interior to accommodate the Sisters of Mercy Convent to the extent that at one time there were 17 bedrooms - granted most were very small!

The best part of this story is that of the current owners.They have lovingly and painstakingly restored this historic building. They took down the partitions; stripped paint off cedar window frames; re-created ceiling roses and cornices. Craftsmen skilled in these almost forgotten trades have been employed to restore every room. Every care has been made to honour the heritage of this lovely house.   
Toonarbin Ink and watercolour S&B Beta sketchbook

I arrived about 40 minutes before the scheduled tour time and found a very convenient bus stop bench directly opposite Toonarbin. This position was ideally situated for me to do a sketch while waiting. Once the tour was over and we reluctantly made way for the next group, I crossed the road and added watercolour to my earlier sketch from the comfort of the bus stop bench.  

Tuesday 7 October 2014

A visit to Cedar Pocket

This last weekend I was fortunate enough to explore a new (for me) part of Queensland. About two hours north of Brisbane, inland from Noosa near Pomona is the picturesque Cedar Pocket. One of my Friday artists invited some of us to join her for the weekend. Their weekender home is an old Queenslander relocated from its original home in Mitchelton. These old houses are lifted intact off their stumps, loaded on to a low bed truck and moved to a new location.

A spacious deck has been added to the front and side of the house. The view from here is breathtaking - so beautiful that one doesn't need to move away - the inspiration you need is right there before your eyes.

I woke early on Saturday morning and was rewarded with a magnificent sunrise.

We decided to go down towards Cedar Pocket Dam which was visible from the deck to find somewhere to sketch. As we approached the dam we saw another Queenslander near the water. We crossed the bridge and from the other side we had a wonderful view of the dam and the lovely house nestled in the trees.

I had packed my Julian sketching easel which I have had for years but haven't used that much. Chief reason being that it's really heavy even without anything packed inside! I plan to do much more plein air painting so I'll have to find something more practical. This set up is fine if I paint right next to the car but that doesn't work more often than not.

If anyone has a good plein air set up to recommend I love you to let me know. 

I'd like the easel to be able to accommodate a reasonably sized canvas/panel with a tray to hold my bits and pieces. I think I would get frustrated after a while if I had to work on very small canvases.

Here's a progress shot with the beautiful view. 

Once back home I added some details to the veranda of the house and a few trees but the rest is pretty much as it was on the day. 

Cedar Pocket Queenslander oil on linen 16" x 20" © 2014 Carol Lee Beckx