It’s a long road ahead

In between the chaos of packing clothes, art gear, food, camping stuffs, checking if things work, replacing things that don’t…. And all that pre trip activity, I have been playing at school projects. Just like my school projects when I was a child they are a bit dodgy but they do get the information across.

We are going to drive across Australia and since announcing our trip plans over on I have had a few emails indicating that many people outside Australia don’t really have a sense of how big the place is. So I went looking for maps of Australia overlapping USA and Europe. I tried to find one that was open source so I was legally able to share it. But I could not find one so I decided to start my travel journal and sketch out a pair.

Map of Australia overlapping USA

The first image is a map of Australia that overlaps USA. The red line is the route we will take across the country, starting in Canberra and driving to Fremantle just south of Perth.

Map of Australia overlapping Europe

Here is a map of Australia overlapping Europe. As readers can see this little tootle down the road is actually quite a road trip.

If you want to confirm my maps just google “map of Australia overlapping USA” or “Map of Australia overlapping Europe”.

Anyway as we travel I plan to keep in touch here, perhaps share some sketches from my travel journal, photos and stuff. I am going to try a few different things in my travel journal – so it should be fun and perhaps it might spark a few ideas for your next travel journal too.

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Urban sketching in Canberra City

Urban sketching in Canberra City May 2016The local Urban Sketchers group decided to do some urban sketching in Canberra City and as usual we all had a great day. We met in the middle of the city which Canberrans call Civic.

Urban sketching in Canberra City May 2016 groupThe day was very blustery, with leaves and dust blowing everywhere so sitting outside was a bit of challenge but that did not deter people. They were soon in the spirit of it and sketchers could seen dotted all over the place.

Urban sketching in Canberra City May 2016I sketched the 4 Icarus statues by Jan Brown that are in the pedestrian mall. I am still experimenting a bit with media. Today you would have found in my hands 2 watercolour pencils each a different shade of sepia/brown a hero ink pen loaded with brown De Atramentis ink  but having fun. A smidgen of burnt umber, burnt siena watercolour paint to which I smooshed a bit of Paynes grey. I am currently using a Stillman and Birn Mixed media Alpha series sketchbook.

If you are interested in Urban sketching, the Canberra Urban Sketchers group meet on the first Sunday of the month and everyone is welcome. It is fun informal group. You can see what is happening on the groups Facebook page

After my Sydney trip I have been reviewing my personal goals and have decided that I am going to do the 100 day project challenge and apply it to sketching

What is the 100 day project? The 100 Days Project is open to anyone who wants to develop their creative skills. The full details are at but the idea is to repeat a creative exercise every day for 100 days. In my case I have decided to define that task as activity in my sketchbook. I imagine most days that activity will be sketching but I am leaving the definition open so if I want to add collage or want to experiment I can do so.

This is my Day 1 of my 100 Days Project challenge. I plan to post every few days my progress – hopefully there is some!

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2016 Sydney Urban Sketchers sketch meet

Over the ANZAC weekend I attended the Urban Sketchers weekend sketchmeet held in Sydney.  So as is in the Urban sketchers tradition I am sharing some of sketches.

People came from all over Australia meeting chatting and learning from each other. I learnt a lot as I watched people who are far more proficient than I am at capturing the location they are in. As I review the experience of the weekend, I am also reviewing my sketching goals and habits.It is one of the advantages of attending such events as you get to ask yourself a whole lot of questions and dig over time at the answers.

This weekend I was trying out different paper in a different format (a Stillman and Brin Mixed media Alpha series landscape format sketch book) using different media, and of course there was the stimulation of sketching in a different city with people who were fast becoming sketching buddies.

customs house from 2016 USK Sydney sketch meet upThe front of the Customs house worked quickly in pencil.

Cockatoo island 2016 USK Sydney sketch meet upSaturday we went to the world heritage listed site of Cockatoo Island. It was wet most of the day but everyone got into the spirit of things and hung in there, sketched and enjoyed themselves regardless of the elements. This is worked in water colour – in drizzled rain which added a bit more ’texture’to the piece!

Barracks 2016 USK Sydney sketch meet upSunday the group met at the Hyde Park Barracks designed by convict architect Francis Greenway. This I used a sepia ink, raw siena and raw umber water colour paints and some watercolor pencils in tones that matched.

It was a wonderful event to bringing together sketchers from all over Australia. A big thank you to everyone who was involved in the organisation Chris Haldane, Chantal Vincent, the team leaders and everyone who helped with the event as it ran like clockwork, was warm and friendly and definitely a wonderful experience for everyone.

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