Saturday, 16 May 2020

15 Rutland Street Revisited

This will be my last sketches of the front of the ramshackle house at 15 Rutland Street, Berwick. The mosquitoes are getting too bad and it’s getting ever more spooky as the vegetation shields me from the road.

For more on this project see my Blog post: Berwick Hoddle Grid Project.

#Sailorfude pen, watercolour, homemade concertina sketchbook, 7 1/2" x 21".
#berwickhoddlegrid #15rutlandstreet

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Sketching along the Bass Coast

Here are sketches from a short break along the rugged Bass Coast (in the Gippsland region east of Melbourne city). 

It was Monday, a public holiday for Labour Day. Going by the line of cars returning to the city, we expected things to be quiet along the coast. 

Lunch at the seaside township of  San Remo?  TOO CROWDED! On to the next town of Wonthaggi – EVERYTHING SHUT (it's inland and dull). On to Inverloch (a very popular seaside town on the coast). BUSY but we found a parking spot...and a pie shop.

Here's a typical Gippsland country scene – a view of a barn on farmland. The sun was going down and the vegetation was just silhouettes.  I had a lot of time here. Hatching can be meditative and just about used up my marker pen!

Snakes brought a bit of excitement to my trip. While I was sketching the scenery, swimmers still wrapped in their towels had to make a detour outside the restaurant I was eating at. Here's the sketch done "in the moment". 

A snake catcher came and caught one to cheers from the diners in the restaurant. Next morning I met and sketched the snake catcher who had come back to look for more snakes. They are Copperheads and venomous!

The snake catcher looked like a Crocodile Dundee with his leather hat, thick gloves in a back pocket, special pole contraption with pincers at the end and a long net.

The next few sketchers were done along the rugged Bass Coast from Inverloch heading back to San Remo. 

Looking back towards Inverloch. 

Bright daisy-like flowers growing near the beach.

Sketching from the car. A rock formation called Eagles Nest.

Looking back to Eagles Nest.

Having lunch in the park back in San Remo. This is the bridge that takes you across to the popular Phillip Island. 

These sketches were done in my Moleskine Sketchbook. I'd only ever used dry media for this sketchbook in the past. This time I added watercolour to the first sketch above as an experiment and was surprised that I liked the effect. No buckling and no seeping through to the next page. The colours appear pale though, they seep into the buff coloured paper very quickly so it's not so good for wet-on-wet effects, quite a different feel to my usual Moleskine Watercolour Journal. 

These sketches were all done on location but colour was added some on location, some later.

#FaberCastellPittPen, watercolour, #Moleskine Sketchbook, 3.5" x 5.5” 
#Basscoast #Inverloch

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Sketch of The Hive at NTU

I'm feeling rather pleased that an old sketch I did in 2016 while living on campus at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore has been featured in the online version of the university's Hey! magazine. 

It is a sketch of an unusual building on campus called The Hive. 

Click here to read the magazine article. (Keep scrolling down in the article to get to my sketch).

Here's the link to read the original post on my blog from 2016:

#NTU #Heymagazine #TheHive #TheHiveNTU

Monday, 24 February 2020

The Berwick Show 2020

This is my third visit to this yearly agricultural show at Akoonah Park in the outer Melbourne suburb of Berwick.

Here's a hasty sketch as we headed into the showgrounds and watercolour was added when I managed to find somewhere quiet to sit by myself within view of the rides. 

I find adding paint to a sketch while standing just a bit demanding when being rushed along.

Bulls are good animals to sketch as they don't move around too much. Herefords seem very friendly. This Hereford bull took great interest in me. 

So polite too, he waited till I finished sketching him to lie down and go to sleep. 

#Sailorfude pen, watercolour, #MoleskineWatercolourAlbum, 5x8” 

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Berwick Hoddle Grid

A new project for 2020 and beyond.

Robert Hoddle was the surveyor who designed the layout of the streets in the Australian city of Melbourne in 1837. It is known as the Hoddle Grid. (He also did the first blocks of the towns of Williamstown and Geelong west of Melbourne). The old area of the outer Melbourne suburb of Berwick (called Olde Berwick) also has an area called the "Hoddle Grid". I've not been able to ascertain if Robert Hoddle himself had anything to do with the layout of this area. 

Old houses are being demolished all too rapidly with new developments coming up. In 2017, Casey Council moved to protect the character of this area bounded by Princes Highway, Brisbane Street and Cardinia Street. New developments are restricted to two storey and nine metre height limits. Old trees have to be protected and there is a mandatory garden requirement. This is a move I highly approve of. 

I have always had an interest in an old ramshackle house in Berwick's Hoddle Grid – 15 Rutland Street (previously heritage listed). It has been for sale for some time and the house has become barely visible from the street because of overgrown vegetation. My aim is to document it in sketches, (especially it's overgrown garden) before it is demolished. I have been lucky to gain permission to enter the garden to sketch.

Here's the front entrance and the driveway leading to the deck. 

Here's the little gate under the deck leading to the even more overgrown back yard. 

Sketching at 15 Rutland St has been a spooky experience as it's so overgrown, hidden from the road and the house in disrepair. Irritating insects have been constant companions. 

The previous owners must have been keen gardeners as the garden is full of interesting plants (among them many unusual geraniums). The main art challenge has been sketching large clumps of overgrown vegetation. I found the best way to achieve this was to alternate pen (for details) and watercolour (for large areas).

Hopefully this house will be the first of many properties in this neighbourhood that I will be able to document before they are lost.

For an earlier post and the architectural significance of 15 Rutland St, click here

#Sailorfude pen, watercolour, homemade concertina sketchbook, 7 1/2" x 21".
#berwickhoddlegrid #15rutlandstreet

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Wilson Street Project – a Year in the Life of a Street

A time to reflect on my main project for this past year  (2019).

I said I'd give myself one year to do a project on Wilson Street which is one of the oldest streets in Berwick (an outer suburb of Melbourne). The year was up in September 2019. My project was to sketch whatever took my interest walking up one side of Wilson Street (east of Wheeler Street) and back down the other side. The aim was to sketch and collect stories about the street from my own experience and from the people who live on it. It is also in essence the story of one year in the life of a street. 

As it's turned out I've sketched every building on the street and have collected stories from several occupants who have come out to speak to me. (I've only coloured in the houses to which I've been able to attach a story). 

The sketches were done on location. Colour and embellishments were added later with help from photo references. 

I feel my project is incomplete...the stories rather lame. Enough sketches I think, story collecting will have to continue.

#Sailorfude pen, watercolour, homemade concertina sketchbook, 7 1/2" x 21" (folded into 6 panels).

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Personal Spaces

I really love documentary drawing and recently had the opportunity to document the home of some family members. After living there for 23 years, their apartment was soon to be pulled down for re-development. 

I chose to do the project in a home-made concertina fold sketchbook (working on both sides). This way images could flow from one to the next (more or less moving through the apartment) and telling the story of a very personal space. 

The sketches and addition of watercolour were all done on location. I worked directly on the paper with ink with no preliminary pencil drawings. Embellishments and text were added later. 

I did little planning for this project and this resulted unfortunately with not enough space to achieve a nicer design on the last flap. I'd forgotten that this last flap forms the front page when the sketchbook is closed. Lesson learnt! 

I could have filled many more pages had there been more time. It was a nostalgic challenge as I knew this home well. 

#Fabriano hot press watercolour paper 5.5" x 30", #Sailorfude pen, De Artramentis document (waterproof) ink, watercolour.