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 TheGreatDiscontent.com 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!

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.


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