Sunday 18 January 2015

Sketching in Sydney

I have had such a lovely start to the year with ten days exploring Sydney. I stayed with an artist friend and it was so good to re-connect after a number of years. Ages ago we worked together on illustrations for school readers published by Juta & Co. one of the oldest publishing houses in South Africa.

My previous experience of Sydney had been limited to a few fly-overs and the airport so everything was new and exciting. One of our first activities was a visit to MCA - the Museum of Contemporary Art to see the exhibition of work by Chuck Close - that visit is a post all on its own coming soon.

On making contact with the sketchers from USK Sydney, I was warmly welcomed. 
Jane Blundell, a talented watercolour artist, kindly took me on an expedition to Cockatoo Island for the day. Since the sun was really fierce we found refuge inside a large warehouse to paint sections of the interior. 

After a coffee break, I opted to stay at the Café since I had a perfect view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and an old crane.

Sydney Harbour Bridge from Cockatoo Island ink and watercolour

A planned trip to draw Balmoral beach, which was crowded with holiday makers, became a visit to Chowder Bay and the East Coast Lounge, a picturesque refuge complete with comfort and good coffee. (At heart I think I am really a comfort sketcher.) If you scroll through the photos on their website you’ll get the idea.

Jetty at Chowder Bay and view from the East Coast Lounge - ink and watercolour

A side trip up to the Northern Beaches was equally enjoyable. I stayed at a charming airbnb - Collaroy Beach House. It was very comfortable and my host was so hospitable. She went out of her way to make my stay pleasant. I highly recommend her home if you visit the area.

On Saturday I met up with sketchers from Sydney. We had fun capturing the 1938 Art Deco Collaroy Cinema, shared a good laugh over lunch, and then I enjoyed a lovely time with Suzi - Vignettes de la Vie - talking art and life. Please do have a look at her blog and her photos on Instagram too.

Collaroy Cinema ink and watercolour 

The Incinerator in Willoughby, was originally a working refuse incinerator now converted Café and Gallery was designed by Walter Burley Griffin in the 1930s. He designed a number of houses in Castle Crag utilizing the plentiful stone in the area and incorporating the native bushland into his designs.

 Looking out - The Incinerator lunch - ink and watercolour

  Lunch at The Incinerator was one of the highlights of my trip as Dee and I were joined by a very special sketcher - Liz Steel. We had a great time, chatting about all things art. Of course we sketched, drank tea and enjoyed cake too. Liz, magically, with her usual speed and well-practised skill produced three sketches in record time. You can read her account here: Lunch in an incinerator

Sadly all good times come to an end. I had such a wonderful time and look forward to a return visit sometime soon.

You can view my Sydney sketches here on Flickr.

I think the sketchbook used for this trip will become a favourite - love the square format. my only concern is that the light linen cover marks quite easily when out on location.

All Sydney sketches were done in a Hand*Book watercolour Journal 8.25" x 8.25" 200gsm

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