On the weekend was National Tree Day. Lots of local councils organised tree planting events and a friend of mine is a member of the Wolli Creek Preservation Society (WCPS). They are a group of volunteers dedicated to protecting a rarity – native bushland in inner Sydney. It would be like finding a natural woodland in Notting Hill or the Bronx. Sadly it is threatened into having a freeway extended right through the middle of it, and that is the WCPS’s fight.
They held an event called “Inspired by Wolli” and my friend asked me if I would like to participate. They had musicians, photographers, poets, etc joining in. Initially I was asked to run drawing workshops but I felt that was out of my comfort zone. Plus the event was only a few hours long so it would have been too formal a structure.
I ended up sketching in 2 different locations and we had extra material if people wanted to join me. And I was there to assist if necessary. It’s amazing how adults were very reluctant to participate but kids needed no encouragement at all. Where did we go wrong growing up? When did we become so intimidated by a blank piece of paper?
So my skills weren’t needed except to hand out paper and crayons. That gave me some time to sketch for myself and join my fellow Sydney Sketch Club (SSC) members who came out for the day. I did the below as a warm up before everyone arrived.
Then one of the organisers brought some scrap cardboard and I used it with a charcoal pencil. I was very impressed by the results. Honestly, this drawing was dictated by the coarseness of the fluted card, and by its length and the qualities of the pencil. It was very easy going and now I aim to do a bit more cardboard sketches.
I did my usual colour inks one and I tried to bring in other colours than just typical “tree” colours.
I caught up with the SSC. It’s been awhile since I last joined them. Apart from our inspired organiser, Jenn, I didnt know a single soul. I drew this clump of trees near me (see left – that’s not me by the way) as they reminded me of a bunch of celery. I love the texture and how they are huddled together. I wanted to created some depth even amongst all that woody thickness, so decided to draw the foreground trees in a different colour. I didnt particularly like the Winsor & Newton greens. They were too dark or “rich” in intensity. Not very in sync with Australian natural colours. So I mixed my sunny green* with some cadmium yellow* and created a more Aussie sap green.
Initially I didnt think there was any depth but looking at it now it does. I think its also become one of my favourite drawings, the best I’ve done in awhile.
Below are a mix of sketches I did on previous visits or from photos I took. I couldn’t be bothered sorting through them.
Anyway, enjoy and go hug a tree!
*These are the names I have given to the W&N inks as their real names were totally misleading as to what colour they really were.