1 Comment

Blue Lining

ballsheadpoint&coalloader_01 LR I headed out with a friend to sketch at the Coal Loader and Balls Head Point on the north side of Sydney. Usually when its a planned day of sketching I decide the night before what mediums to take. Sometimes it’s everything – inks, watercolours, inktense pencils, graphites etc. but I end up not using them all. This time I couldn’t decide so I used an old faithful – the blue biro.

ballsheadpoint&coalloader_pens

It’s one of my favourite tools and probably one I’m most comfortable with as I used it quite a lot as a child. I may have mentioned before that having used permanent pens instead of pencils to draw with helped discipline my drawing skills throughout those early years. Not having that back up of being able to erase a mistake forced you to be more thoughtful with every line as well as more confident.
ballsheadpoint&coalloader_02 LR
Biros are cheap, available to buy anywhere, durable and don’t need to be prepared, packed or pampered. They’re consistent in distribution of ink, they dry quickly and despite its hard point you can get so much tonal range and dimension as seen with all the different applications I used on the day. The blue pens also have such a unique finish that makes them more interesting than black ones too.

ballsheadpoint&coalloader_03 LR

Some people like using gel pens but I don’t, at least not to draw with anyway. Its nature is to glide over the page smoothly and effortlessly, great for writing, but I like the traction you get with biros. They’re grittier and there’s more of an interaction with you and the pen, and the pen with the paper.
ballsheadpoint&coalloader_04 LRSo give it a go, there’s probably one sitting right next to you. Take that doodle to the next level!

Cheers,
Meegan

More info:
The Coal Loader in Waverton, Sydney, NSW was an industrial site used in the last century to transfer coal for large vessel use. Now it has been reinvented as a learning and display centre for domestic eco-sustainability, including a community veggie garden and chook run. Even more impressive is that way before any of this it was (or still is) a cultural and spiritual place for the local indigenous people, the Cammeraygal. Thankfully somewhere down the line an effort was made to preserve this amazing whale stone carving found at the Coal Loader that is thousands of years old.

Going mad in March

How did we get so far into the year already? I’ve had so much on this year with home rennovations and a new job that I never find any down time to post to this blog. However, I feel a bit of a routine returning to my life …even though I should be in bed by now (not use to being back into full time work!!).

Anyway, I did manage to do some sketching over the last month, how? I don’t know.

Ministry mayhem

ministry_01 LROn impulse I bought tickets to see American industrial metal rock gods Ministry. I do have one of their albums but hadn’t followed them intensely, though from previous experience I know bands like this are really good live. They were puh-lenty awesome, releasing the closet metal head in me, however its music not for the timid or pure of heart.

ministry_02 LRThe venue was the Metro – my favourite live music venue. It’s intimate, the sound is good and doesn’t matter where you stand as everyone can see. Perfect not just for headbanging but for sketching. I took a black Artline 0.8mm pen possibly inspired by their sound and look, and I tried a scribbly drawing technique which is as soon as the pen hits the paper you scribble like mad, a motion similar to tapping your fore-finger really faster – just short jabs across the page and never lifting the pen off. It’s a very free flowing style and creates wonderful texture.

ministry_03 LR

ministry facebook image

Photo credit: Christhian Ferenc visit his flickr site for more cool images

I was told it might have been the farewell tour, I hope not. But glad I managed to see them. I feel its important to include an image of the band here just to validate my drawings of Al Jourgensen (singer) as not a figment of my imagination but that he actually looks like that. A band like this is so much fun to draw – their look is very graphic and physical input on stage is ferociously animated.

ministry_04 LRNow to go and update my Ministry cd collection…

Sunnyboys and Riptides

About a week later I saw two Australian bands that I have so longed to see since I was a teenager. I was too young to see them in the 80s during their primo years but thankfully they have started to play reunion gigs and I managed to see them at the Enmore Theatre. Admittedly this time round I was having too much fun dancing and singing along so didn’t get any decent sketches done.

That and being compressed in by loud and drunk 50-somethings who obviously got the night off from their kids and were going hell for leather to have a great night, to my amusement some of them were wiped out by 10pm. When the Sunnyboys came on I was further away from the stage I couldn’t pick up much detail so I tried some blind contour drawings and shade only sketches.

sunnyboys_02 LR

sunnyboys_01 LR

The Sunnyboys

Hope you enjoy, like I did! ;D
Meegan

 

 

1 Comment

Coogee Beach

coogee beach 4 LR

Pencil and Intense colour pencils

I made a promised myself to join my sketch club or urban sketchers group at least once a month. Life just gets busier and busier and I’m afraid my outings with them are becoming less and less. I’ve mentioned before how important they are to me as I use them get out of my comfort zone and experiment with techniques or materials I might not otherwise make time for, or I use them to practice the rudimentary skills of drawing.

Still inspired by my trip to Canberra and seeing the black & white works of Daumier and Degas I kept to my 3B pencil for most of this excursion.

Pencil

Pencil

It was around 9am and already the sun was quite intense. As beaches are almost devoid of shade I scrambled to the slither of coolness on the far side of the beach where I was fortunate in that there were some wonderful rock formations to sketch.

coogee bw LU 1 LR

With no hurry to leave this baby-sized oasis I decided to allow myself some moments to study it. When I set myself up for these types of sketches I take a few minutes to study what I’m about to draw. I look at it and ask myself what is it that really attract me to this scene that I want to draw it? Even though its cool by anybody’s standards, I’ve singled this out amongst other possibilities to sketch, so what makes it more enticing as a drawing exercise? Is it the shapes, the textures, the heaviness of the rocks, the shadows..? Whatever it is I use that as my objective for my drawing. This will “drive” my sketch and in particular my thoughts as it starts to take shape. It’s even useful when you get a bit lost in all the detail of your subject matter as it helps you re-focus, and I believe you get a more unified drawing as well.

In this case I liked the weather eroded shapes with their rounded edges and the way the shadows heightened their mass. Hopefully this animated gif file below works so you can see the step by step stages.

coogee-bw-LU-layers-LR

 

And here is the finished result.

coogee beach 2 LRI also did an inktense pencil version too.

coogee beach 3 LRI have two photos of the lead up for this.coogee col LU 1 LRcoogee col LU 2 LRThen when it was time to meet up with the others fortunately my slither of shade had turned into a whisker, so I had no other choice but to take on the sun. By that stage the number of beach goers had increased considerably so I did a few gestural drawings while I was waiting. Although they were lying around sunbathing they still do move a lot. Because I was up high it was also a great exercise in foreshortening.

Arline felt pen and water brush pen

Arline felt pen and water brush pen

Arline felt pen and water brush pen

Arline felt pen and water brush pen

Arline felt pen and water brush pen

Arline felt pen and water brush pen

Well I hope you enjoyed my trip to the beach. Now to deal with the sunburn…

Cheers,
Meegan

 

2 Comments

Daumier and flight delays

From Sydney to Canberra

I spent a weekend in Canberra, in what is beginning to feel like my annual art pilgrimage. The first stop was breakfast at NewActon. A bit of hipster action near the university. They had wonderful sculptures dotted around in the area too and the food was good too at Mocán & Green Grout.

canberra2015_colour LR

The National Galley’s major exhibition this season was “Impressions of Paris” – a wonderful exhibition displaying three French artist – Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas and Daumier, who have been very influential on me.

Daumier

Daumier

I was introduced to the works by the first two artists when I was in high school, at a time when I was developing my drawing skills and breaking out of my comic book self-education. Because they both used drawing tools rather than paints, brushes and canvases I related to them more.

Daumier I only came across in books about the history of western art etc. one of his oil paintings would usually sit next to a Corot or Courbet. They were painters from the Realist period in the late 1800s. ‘Realism’ was not about painting subjects as photo-real as possible, but about revealing the truth about life, and in particular the class differences that existed in France at the time.

DaumierHoopSkirts

Daumier

And it wasn’t until a trip to Europe back in the 1990s did I realise Daumier was known more for his caricatures and satirical drawings than his fine art paintings. For all of us sketchers out there the opportunity to see a master’s sketches and drawings, more than they’re finished pieces, is a thrilling opportunity. Lead up drawings are uninhibited and they leave their notes or mistakes in so you can learn quite a lot from them. But this artist is  known for his drawings, full stop! So it was imperative I went to Canberra to see some.

l

Another wonderful angle to this exhibition was that the bulk of work on show were lithographs and monographs, basically prints. Some were reworked by the artists while others were the prints from original newspapers or posters that were on display. It was very exciting to see these fine artists produce artwork specifically designed for reproduction. Many were very clean in style and were always, more often than not, designed as black & white works. I appreciate work of any kind that uses black as more than just a means of outlining or shading a picture, but as a dynamic element in a composition.

Daumier

Daumier

And print work is not always as revered in galleries like their painted partners (which is probably why this exhibition was free to enter compared the previous years exhibitions) but i think they have more relevance in our world than oil paintings. Daumier’s work was designed to be topical and relevant to everyman. The biting humour in his work created in the late 1800s and aimed directly at the French aristocracy can still make someone in the 21st Century on the other side of the world laugh out loud.
R-20100716-0019.jpg
And he wasn’t just a cartoonist or caricaturist whipping up little sketches of topical content, his illustrations have wonderful tonal balance, fantastic compositional direction and an intuitive sense of anatomy. If ever there is a Daumier exhibition near you I highly recommend seeing it. Even if you can’t draw or aren’t interested in art his work will entertain and impress you.

From Canberra to Sydney

As most of this trip was gallery hopping it didn’t leave much time for sketching. So I don’t know whether this was a good thing or not (probably not coz I didn’t get home till 9.30pm) but my plane home was delayed by more than 2hrs so I used that time to sketch. And I kept it purely monotone in inspiration of the French masters. However, I didn’t have my pencil sharpener so I kept having to pick at the wood on my pencil with my fingers!
canberra2015_3 LR

I tried drawing the above with these cheap kids multi-coloured or marbled pencils, but as you can see they hardly made an impression. So I resorted to my 3B pencil to capture some serious cloud action that was happening on the horizon.canberra2015_5LR

It was a very sparse terminal and little to draw in terms of texture and complexity. I saw this little truck…thing?But my brain switched into trying to replicate the artwork that i saw and it felt disjointed.
canberra2015_4LR

So I tried again and just let my natural style kick in. It’s like a scribble technique. I let the pencil fly across the page and draw what I see and, especially, feel. It’s not so much about getting any kind of accuracy but more about allowing myself the joy of putting in the shapes and lines, like waving a sparkler in the air until it burns out. If there is any accuracy or tonal balance created  I guess that comes from experience and having spent a lot of time drawing more precisely and always practicing the foundations of drawing.
canberra2015_6LR

Another cute little truck – I reckon it could have fit in my pocket!

canberra2015_7LR

Forty minutes into my delay I went to get a drink and lost my seat next to the window, so sat in another position. I used my hotel biro. It was hard to get this right (for me) because that girl thought I kept staring at her (which I was) but probably not for reasons she might have thought (whatever that was).
canberra2015_8LR

They had these large flat ottomans I thought were great for a tonal picture. I tried the multi-coloured pencil again which hardly made a dent, then I tried the hotel pen but it kept cutting out on me, so resorted to my then blunt graphite pencils.canberra2015_LR9

Finally in the air, halfway through the flight we saw some more crazy cloud coverage. Just really big and fluffy but ranging in different depths of perspective, like the multiple backdrop scenes in an opera. One day I will do a serious study on clouds, they’re impossible to do as you fly past them.

canberra2015_10LR

Even after the pilot said we are now preparing for our descent into Sydney, it still took long enough for me to sketch these two. Impromptu sketching does help one deal with the anxiety of wanting to just get home.canberra2015_11LRAnyway, hope you enjoyed my flight!

Cheers,
Meegan

(NB: I cannot find the original ownership of the Daumier prints, so post thanks for allowing me to reproduce them in my post)

4 Comments

Socceroos meltdown in Brisbane

The safety demo on board our flight to Brisbane. Media - Japanese brush felt pen and watercolours.

The safety demo on board our flight to Brisbane. Media – Japanese brush felt pen and watercolours.

I received free tickets to the Asia Cup (Soccer/Football tournament, like a mini world cup but only encompasses countries from the Asiatic region).  I couldn’t get tickets for the Sydney game, and as I do like watching South Korea play too I opted to head up to Brisbane to watch them play the Aussies. Both teams are very strong in this region and in this particular tournament both had won their group matches so far…

View from our hotel on Roma St overlooking Southbank. Media - Japanese brush felt pen.

View from our hotel on Roma St overlooking Southbank. Media – Japanese brush felt pen.

It was only an overnight weekender and took one of my nephews with me. We had plenty of time to do and see other stuff around Brisbane but the heat was exceptionally intense. I don’t think it was even in the early 30s (Celsius) but god damn it was hot! The air was so thick and humid and the sun was just relentless. It didn’t let up, even after the sun had gone down the air was heavy and warm.

A quick bite to it at the Media - Japanese brush felt pen and watercolours

A quick bite to it at Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall. Media – Japanese brush felt pen and watercolours

So one distraction for me anyway was my sketchbook. I don’t like drawing when I’m travelling with others who don’t, but we were so lethargic because of the heat we didn’t get up to too much. Anyway, hope you like. And hope Aussies make their way to the finals! Fingers crossed!

The Press at Suncorp Stadium. Media - Japanese brush felt pen and watercolours

The Press at Suncorp Stadium. Media – Japanese brush felt pen and watercolours

The night at the game was almost overtaken with swarms(?) of moths EVERYWHERE. It was like some 1960s horror movie, “Invasion of the Moths”. They moved as frantically as all the press and media did on the sidelines. Sadly the home team lost, which was quite frustrating, but we’re still in contention once we hit the knock out stages.

The Socceroos (Australia) and Taeguk Warriors (Sth Korea) warming up pre-game. Media - Japanese brush felt pen and watercolours.

The Socceroos (Australia) and Taeguk Warriors (Sth Korea) warming up pre-game. Media – Japanese brush felt pen and watercolours.

Although we had a few hours to kill in the city before heading home, it was so damn hot to be walking around we decided to head to the airport. We had so much time I killed it by drawing this plane heading to Melbourne. While we were sitting there the South Korean team sat near us. I wish I had the guts to ask them to sign my book, but their captain, who sat closest, looked like he was dealing with a cold. And after seeing some Korean fans sheepishly approach them for an autograph – that was painful enough to watch it unfold.

Hours to kill at Brisbane Airport. Media - Japanese brush felt pen and watercolours.

Hours to kill at Brisbane Airport. Media – Japanese brush felt pen and watercolours.

2 Comments

My rant for the year

I didn’t create this blog to talk about daily life and such but today I feel I need to share this. Not only because it has totally p#$^d me off and continues to do so but there may be others out there who, like me, were searching in vain for answers but kept hitting brick walls.

Nothing gets my hackles up more than IT issues. I cant stand it when people drool over the latest software, os systems, whatever, whatever, WHATEVER! Whatever they are meant to do, you know, say make your life easier? create a more streamlined working space? be more efficient? THEY’RE NOT! THEY NEVER ARE! and… THEY NEVER WILL!!

Not only did I inadvertently have to download the latest MAC OS X system (Yosemite) to open up a new app, just to open up a file someone sent me. But the upgrade was so freakin’ slow and cumbersome, It was hellish! Not only did the upgrade adventure did not work and I couldn’t open the file in the end, but now I’m stuck with an OS operating system that is excruciatingly haphazard in its efficiency.

And what f**^ks me off is that all online articles acknowledge their are glitches with this upgrade. Why? If it is new and improved, why are there issues? There should never be issues with an upgrade – the whole point of them is that they are better! It makes me wonder how intensely they trial these things when the simplest commands cause the most infuriating problems.

For instance, I couldn’t open my Indesign software that I could before I upgraded. I kept getting these messages, based on which version of indesign I was attempting to open.rant2 rant1

So I look online trying to find this Java 6 download (why doesn’t Adobe supply it on cloud control if it is essential to opening their software?) and i can only find version 8, so like a fool i download. Takes about 20mins, install another 10, restart and woohoo it doesn’t work.

I look again online, apparently 8 doesn’t work with macs and i need 6. Every link or forum I tried had way too many options to try without feeling like this is exactly what I need or the link ended with a “doesn’t exist anymore” window. About half an hour later I find one, and download, another 10-15 mins, install another 10mins, restart and… “Application not responding”

With better things to do and feeling quite mentally exhausted – because might i add, everytime I want to search or click on a link my mac takes 32 seconds to action it. Two hours later I thought, I might just try this…

I opened up my Applications folder, clicked on the Indesign app icon and hit Command I (for “Get Info”).
rant3And I looked at the little padlock shown in the bottom right hand corner. Just out of sheer lack of IT knowledge I clicked it to unlock.

rant4

rant5

And lo and behold – it worked!! That took me a whole of half a second.

I mean ok, I don’t know if it that was the entire problem in the end, but not one of these support forums and websites suggested this. It was all download this, type in this, read this 70 page doc for this or “your files are corrupt and you need to reinstall your software.”

So if anyone out there has done an online search for “i’m really sick of these f%^*king upgrades and instalments that never freakin work” or “indesign, mac, yosemite, unable to launch indesign as you do not have sufficient permission to access the preference folders” try this, it might help.

Happy New Year everyone, let’s hope it gets better than this!
Meegan

Hidden in Rookwood

Sydney Sketch Club organised a meet up for the annual Hidden Walk art exhibition at Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney. Thankfully it was only in a small section of the grounds as it is one large mother of a cemetery. This is my third or fourth sketching venture to a cemetery so won’t bore you with the reasons why I enjoy them so much. But if you would like to see and read some of my past trips to them please click on this link.

melbourne2014_bushido4 LR

Katana, Bushido Exhibition, National Gallery of Victoria

One thing I did aim to do this time was to work solely with graphite pencils and a rubber/eraser. I liked the results of my Bushido series (shown above)  drawn when I went to Melbourne a few months ago (click here for link) and wanted to revisit that technique. So I took the below equipment with me. I’m not sure how I ended up with so many of the same pencil and pencil grade but it proved quite useful.SSC Rookwood Hidden equip LR

They were mostly 3B and 4B pencils which meant that only after a few seconds of sketching the sharpness of the soft lead point would disappear, and you can lose your momentum having to re-sharpen the same pencil over and over again. What I do is sharpen them all before I start and lay them out next to me. As soon as one goes blunt I pick up a sharp one and continue.

SSC Rookwood Hidden1LR

Mind you my first drawing of the day is always the least successful (image above). It’s like what they say about making pancakes – the first one is always the “throw away” and the rest get better after that. The next three drawings show artwork installation from the exhibition.

SSC Rookwood Hidden2 LR SSC Rookwood Hidden3 LR SSC Rookwood Hidden5 LR

The rest are just wandering around the older parts of Rookwood. Its early spring in Australia so all the overgrowth is in full bloom.
SSC Rookwood Hidden4 LRSSC Rookwood Hidden6 LR

 

This next one I attempted to use some of my inktense pencils. I’m not sure if I like it or not. I don’t know if it adds anything extra being there. I will have to make a few more attempts next time.SSC Rookwood Hidden7 LR

This last one is my favourite of the day because I treated it more as a completed composition rather than just sketching what I see and then “finishing” it off. So I was very conscious of it working as a whole from start to finish.SSC Rookwood Hidden8LR

Thanks for stopping by.
Meegan

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 199 other followers

%d bloggers like this: