Urban Sketchers Canberra visit Old Parliament House

The Urban Sketchers Canberra regular meeting is the first Sunday of the month I was thrilled when we had a great turnout yesterday. I was quite prepared for handful of people to turn up as many families in Canberra are still on holidays as it is the summer school break. Many families take advantage of the holidays and make a quick trip to the coast. We met in the foyer of Old Parliament House and greeted some new faces to the group.
speakers chair - sketchI had not realised that the Old Parliament House was so accessible as this is a historic building where ideas about Australia was shaped. Although we could only use pencil (no wet media) I thought I was very lucky to be able to sit in the house of representatives and sketch the speakers chair.

sketching in the house of repsSitting at the desks various politicians had used for years the history of the place impressed itself on me. I am not sure I would be able to do this is such a historic building elsewhere. There are many places and items to sketch. For instance the press gallery is in tact, various offices and there is good exhibition about the Magna Carta.

house off reps sketchersAfter a couple of hours sketching the group shared their work over lunch at the Hoi Polloi cafe. Conversation was animated and enthusiastic – needless to say the dominating topics revolved around sketching.

urban sketchers CanberraIf you are interested in Urban sketching in Canberra come along and join us – we are a motley crew, but you can find out what is going on by visiting our facebook page of course people with all levels of skill are welcome.

Sketching at the botanical Gardens

Yesterday was the first Sunday of the month so it was my Urban Sketchers Day! It was a warm one too, at 31. I put on my hat and grabbed a water bottle and headed off to the Botanical Gardens in Canberra. After greeting some new people to the group headed out into the gardens to find something to sketch that was in the shade – or I should say something to sketch that enabled me to remain in the shade while doing it!

sketchingI ended up in Red Center Garden. I know heading for garden of desert plants on hot day does not make sense but that is where I ended up. There is a large sculpture of thorny devil lizard. I decided to give that a try.

thorny devil sketchI took a photo so you could see the scale of the sculpture but these lizards are not really very big about 15 cm or 6 inches long. Also for anyone reading this that has not seen central Australia that red is the colour of the dirt.

thorny devil sketchWhen I was a child I had pet one and loved to watch it change colour. You know the sort of thing – I would put it on my shoulder and it would change one colour then put it on my hat and it would change again. I think it was one of my favourite pets.The only thing you could not do is keep a thorny devil up your sleeve while in school. I am sure all school children keep pets up the sleeve of their jumper or shirt, I was the same. For instance my pet mice went to school with me all the time and lived up my sleeve. They were real wrigglers but fun. But a thorny devil is too prickly for that, and being a lizard in a warm environment he wriggled about too much. You are not allowed to keep them now but this was nearly 50 years ago when things were a little different. If you want to know more about thorny devils you can read about them here and there is a video from National Geographic here.

Urban Sketchers Canberra is growing steadily as we welcomed 4 new people.

Canberra Urban Sketchers group

Everyone was  productive even thought it was so warm.

sketches from the Canberra Urban SketchersAn aspect of Urban sketching that I have noticed is that I see my own home city with new eyes. Locations I had not thought of as sketching opportunities always reveal themselves to be more. I am going to return as the gardens provide all sorts of interesting sketching challenges.

The Canberra Urban Sketchers group meet on the first Sunday of the month and everyone is welcome. You can see what is happening on the groups Facebook page

At The National Gallery Big Draw

The Big draw is a world wide drawing festival for anyone who loves to draw, including those who think they “can’t draw”, or are “not good enough” or “just a beginner”. In other words it is for everyone and promotes drawing.

The National Gallery of Australia held drawing events today and some of the members of the Canberra Urban Sketchers group decided to go along, join in the activities and have some lunch afterwards.

This year’s Big Draw theme is “Every Drawing Tells A Story”. When I noticed that there was story telling in the Asian galleries I decided to take a look and do some sketching.

Sketch of GaneshaI had a very enjoyable hour or so tackling the task of representing a very complex sculpture. This is a 1000 year old sandstone sculpture of Ganesha . In the Hindu belief system Ganesha is revered as the God who removes obstacles. He is also the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom so Ganesha has a pretty large brief!

My sketch was done in a hand bound journal on Canson 180 gsm paper using a 2B and 6B graphite pencil because the Gallery here is totally neurotic about any wet media, so no ink pens allowed. That said it is nice just to keep it simple and work in pencil. The gallery has loosened its rules about taking photos so I thought I would share with you a photo of the statue as it is a highly decorated and complex piece to draw! Click on the image for a larger view

Sculpture of ganesha at the national gallery of Australia I am sure you will agree it is not the easiest of pieces to sketch and I found my concentration span lacking at times and towards the end of sketch my focus was definitely straying but I loved the challenge too! When I felt I had learnt what I could from the process,  I joined the rest of the group for coffee and lunch. Once again it was great fun to get together with a bunch of sketching buddies, share our work, talk about the event and generally chew the fat.

Urban Sketchers Canberra November meeting

The exciting news this month is that Canberra Sketchers is now an official urban sketching group so we are now called Urban Sketchers Canberra. It is quite wonderful being included in a world wide network of people who love to sketch the world around them and support each other in that endeavour. You can find out more about Urban Sketchers here

Urban Sketchers Canberra november 2015 meetingToday the Urban Sketchers Canberra had our monthly sketching get together at the National Library today. It was a bit wet by mid afternoon but we all had heaps of fun sketching then taking a look at what we all did while chatting about sketching over lunch.

Urban Sketchers Canberra sketchbooksSince we have been meeting as a group I can see people improving their sketches. Groups such as this help people establish a consistent habit. I hope to get back to sketching more soon. I really enjoyed today – even the rain!

sketching at the Urban Sketchers Canberra meetingIf you are interested in Urban Sketchers Canberra feel free to contact me via the contact tab above. People with all levels of skill are welcome to join us and we would be happy to see any interstate or overseas visitors to Canberra. We also have a small but growing Urban Sketchers Canberra facebook group that we use to keep in touch.