Friday, 19 March 2021

New Outdoor Seating in Casey

This temporary concrete block seating (part of our new Covid normal lifestyle) is tacky! It's in the park area on the main road through the local shopping area. 

In the background is the Old Post Office, Berwick, Australia which opened in 1885 (municipality of Casey). 

The tree is a Bunya Pine, a very tall evergreen coniferous tree, the last surviving species of Bunya which was widespread during the Mesozoic period. 

I'm trying out toned paper for the first time. Mixed success but I think I like using it. #MelbUSKchallenge. Weekly sketchmeet with #CaseyU3A friends.

#Sailorfude pen, marker, #PoscaPen, #Stillman&BirnNova Sketchbook (beige toned) 5.5"x8.5".

Harkaway Cemetery

Harkaway Cemetery established in 1840 is one of Victoria's two oldest cemeteries. Buried here are many German settlers who came to the area in the mid 1800's. They include the Wanke family and if you live in the area you will know Ernst Wanke Road which comes off the M1. 

Peaceful rolling hills dotted with horse shelter boxes lie north west of the cemetery and pastureland to the south. 

Opposite the cemetery gates is the belfry of the former Lutheran Church. The bell came from Germany in 1869 but I didn't have time to sketch it. An unexpectedly peaceful and pleasant experience on a hot sunny afternoon, not at all creepy! Weekly sketchmeet with a few U3A friends.

#Sailorfude pen, watercolour, #Stillman&Birn Zeta Sketchbook, 7.5”x 7.5”.

#HarkawayCemetery #sketchingnowsketchbook

Monday, 8 March 2021

Olinda Tea House

Because of the sudden 5 day Covid lockdown all our plans were put on hold. It wasn't till we were released from lockdown that we met up with family for a celebratory Chinese New Year lunch at Olinda Tea House in the Dandenong Ranges. It's described as an asian-fusion restaurant – Chinese dishes and western High Tea. 

The purpose-built restaurant opened 2 years ago but no one in our party had been there. It has very tasteful Chinese inspired gardens around it and a couple of alpacas and a miniature pony for kids to pat. I was surprised by the number of Asians dining there.

Yes those statues were RED!

The food was good, but nothing to write home about. Helpings were small but nicely presented (not your usual run-of-the-mill Chinese restaurant). Other than the couple of spicy dishes we had, the other dishes were mild tasting (perhaps to cater for a western palate). There was a big selection of vegan dishes which suited our party. Service was slow but this was a sort of dining experience where one was not expected to rush through.

We saw western High Tea being brought to other tables and they looked scrumptious! Obviously a lot of thought has been put into the planning of this dining establishment and I wish them well. 

An added bonus was a lion dance troupe which came to perform. What a thrill for the kids! It was an expensive meal but the presentation of dishes, decor and location made it altogether a good experience and an occasion to remember.

Sketched on-location except for the uncoloured secondary sketch on the second page spread which was done from a photo later. Colour and embellishments added at home. Some ideas from Liz Steel's online Sketchbook Design course. 

#Sailorfude pen, watercolour, #Stillman&Birn Zeta Sketchbook, 7.5”x 7.5”

#olindateahouse #sketchingnowsketchbook

Berwick Brickworks Ruins

 I'd never noticed these Berwick Brickworks ruins (right on the edge of the road on the Princes Hwy, east of Melbourne city) before. They sit on the edge of a new housing area. The ruins are crumbling and presently being held up by metal bars. the area is surrounded with untidy fencing and tarps. 

Gold was discovered here in 1870 and clay was dug for the numerous brickworks. Timber was available from the surroundings. A Mr. Robert Officer campaigned for a railway siding to carry the timber to Melbourne and the siding was built here in what is now called Officer.  

I understand the Berwick Brickworks is heritage listed but privately owned. It would be nice if it was restored and fenced off properly for posterity. 

#Sailorfude pen, watercolour, #Stillman&Birn Zeta Sketchbook, 7.5”x 7.5”

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Birthday Lunch

Life seems to revolve around food! Here's a sketch done at a lunch to celebrate 3 birthdays (mine, daughter-in-law's and granddaughter's) – at Mossaros, a winery north of Warrandyte in the state of Victoria. 

I've incorporated a map to fill an empty space on the page (an idea from Liz Steel's Sketchbook Design online course). 

#Sailorfude pen, watercolour, #Stillman&Birn Zeta Sketchbook 7.5" x 7.5"


New Year's Day Lunch

A New Year's Day lunch with family. Our son loves to cook (and experiment) and we enjoy the fruits of his labour. Today it was an Asian Hot Pot, a long time favourite.  

Here I tried out some ideas from Liz Steel's online Sketchbook Design course. Adding a heading and a colour block to connect the food items is not something I've done before. It has certainly improved my page spread. Lots to learn in an enjoyable course.

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

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Plums, Birds and Seawhite Travel Journals

This is my last sketch of 2020 on a Seawhite Travel Journal (a Christmas present to myself).

Someone planted a plum tree on the unusually wide nature strip on my street. (The nature strip is a piece of publicly owned land between the front boundary of a house or other building and the street). 

The plums are popular with birds (mostly noisy Lorikeets and occasional Cockatoos) and passersby. 

The house shown has a bit of green tarp covering a hole in the roof and birds have made a nest under it, we can hear fledgelings!

My favourite sketchbook for paper is the Moleskine Watercolour Journal but I'm not so keen on the large journal's extra long landscape shape so I'm trialing the Seawhite Travel Journal. These come in different shapes including an A5 which is less elongated than the Moleskine. I decided to try a square format one (I have a soft spot for square sketchbooks). 

Where it comes to paper smoothness it's pretty close to the Moleskine which makes it nice for pen work. It takes water well but perhaps doesn't allow for as nice colour blending qualities as the Moleskine. The Seawhite paper is slightly whiter than the Moleskine (I prefer off-white). 

One plus point though is that it dries very fast, perhaps faster than the Moleskine.

It opens flat and the hard cover has a pocket inside the back cover and a bookmark. Both have 200gsm pages but the Seawhite only has 60 pages compared with the Moleskine's 72. This might in fact be a plus point if you are wanting to fill it on a on a holiday trip. Price-wise it will depend on what specials you can find when purchasing. 

All in all it's a good alternative to the Moleskine for me. 

#Sailorfude pen, watercolour, #SeawhiteTravelJournal 5.5 x 5.5".