Chinese New Year 2016

cny2016009_LR
Waiting around to start

I’m part of Jin Wu Koon Liondancing and Chinese New Year is a massive month long celebration in Sydney where the whole city joins in. It also means there a constant and intense schedule of lion dance performances for us that can range from morning till midnight and take us to all regions of Sydney and further.

cny2016002_LR

Its a very physical thing and the long hours and minimal hours of sleep can take its toll – I didn’t go to all of them and I was exhausted! I think what compacts it more is all the time in-between waiting to do each performance – standing around on the street or in front of a restaurant. I find that quite tedious as its not necessarily enough time to really chill out but not short enough to keep your momentum going.

That’s why a few years back I decided to bring my sketchbook with me. Originally I wanted to capture what we do, click here to see. The second time it was to kill time, click here. This year it was a bit of both.

You also can’t carry much around with you – a small handbag or pack is about it, so that restricts what I can carry with me. I also need something that is also going to give me instant results as well.

So I used disposable Japanese felt brush tip pens.

cny2016003_LR

cny2016013_LR
“Behind” the scenes

Up on high

JWK have a team who also perform lion dancing on poles – normal lion dance takes some practice and experience, but this – this takes a huge year round commitment and you need something of a fearless character to do it. Below is footage from last year.

Its always hard to draw and capture fast moving objects, especially in this case where its a 360˚ performance. As I’ve seen them perform a few times before I had already worked out the moments I wanted to capture. Still not an easy thing but it helps you block out the temptation or natural tendency to want to capture everything.

cny2016008_LR

cny2016001_LR cny2016004_LR cny2016010_LR cny2016011_LR cny2016012_LRIts always a good opportunity to draw the crowds who watch with great anticipation.

cny2016021_LR

Lion? Dragon?

For those of you who thought it was a dragon, no it’s not. These next  few drawings are of a dragon dance, thanks to the Chinese Youth League.

cny2016005_LR cny2016006_LR cny2016007_LR

aaaaanndd if you still can’t tell what that is, here is some footage of them in action.

And when I’m not drawing the “entertainment” I look for inspiration elsewhere.

cny2016014_LR
Dixon Street
cny2016015_LR
Chinese New Year display

Lion dancing can have you performing at all sorts of events and venues. This was a wedding held on a restaurant boat. These couple of sketches are us waiting for our water taxi so we could head off to our next performance.

cny2016016_LR cny2016017_LR cny2016018_LR

Possibly someone’s dinner – a lobster waiting its fate at a restaurant in a shopping centre.
cny2016019_LR

The aftermath of a late afternoon yum cha.cny2016020_LR Hanging out at the gym and watching the Legacy Brazilian Ju-Jitsu students practice tumbles and moves.
cny2016022_LR

I ended up finishing off my sketchbook, so I went and bought the cheapest pad and pens I could find.

materials_LRIt was tiny, bigger than a business card. I also bought a thick marker which probably wasn’t the greatest of choices too, but I’m always up for a challenge. I did also buy a thin one to get some balanced detail in.

cny2016023_LR cny2016024_LR cny2016025_LR cny2016026_LR

Some scenes around Chinatown, as we waited for the State MP to rock up.cny2016027_LR cny2016028_LR cny2016029_LR

We also have the largest lion head in the country, again, probably not the best sized notepad for him, hee, hee.
cny2016030_LR cny2016031_LR cny2016032_LR cny2016033_LR cny2016034_LR
cny2016036_LR cny2016037_LR cny2016038_LR

Amazingly my last performance with them this season was at the Art Gallery. Sadly it was just for some sportscar promotional event, so I doubt many would have given a fig about the art around them. But at least it gave me a chance to visit.
cny2016039_LR cny2016040_LR cny2016041_LR

I think I broke my record on the number of drawings for Chinese New Year. Question is, how will I approach it next year…

Cheers, Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Advertisements

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

 

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.

South of the border

I spent a week in August with my sketching friends down in Melbourne. A few had other objectives that week other than sketching,  but for me that was my main focus. After a very personal ordeal, I needed to get back on track and remember what it is like to sketch out and about again. There was also a touring exhibition at the gallery that I wanted to see as well, so that was another incentive to get out of town for a bit.

There’s not much I want to detail about the trip. I wasn’t aiming to achieve any artistic breakthrough this time round so I stuck with my regular mediums and just enjoyed the opportunity. So hope you like.

Vic Markets

First full day in Melbourne and it was pretty cold, even the local produce workers were complaining about the weather. Luckily there were a few benches, undercover, situated midway between the aisles that made it easy to set up for a few hours.

melbourne2014_vicmarkets1 LR
Watercolours and brush, followed by colour inks and dip pen
melbourne2014_vicmarkets2 LR
Watercolours and brush, followed by colour inks and dip pen
melbourne2014_vicmarkets3 LR
Watercolours and brush, followed by colour inks and dip pen
melbourne2014_vicmarkets4 LR
Colour ink and dip pen

The Old Treasury

We met up with a couple of local Urban Sketchers at The Old Treasury building. Although Melbourne is known for its buildings (old and new) I’m not a huge fan of drawing buildings as I don’t always feels they capture the “soul” of the place. It was a weekday so not much was happening outdoors, so I decided to draw the fountain as it had the  most “life” in it.

melbourne-govhouse fountainA technique which I have started to employ (when I remember) is applying water to the paper first then throw on the colour. This is to get a cool blurry blended feel which adds dimension to any finished picture.

fountain LR

melbourne2014_govhouse1 LR
Watercolours and brush, followed by colour inks and dip pen

Koko Black

To warm ourselves up we went for coffee and chocolate. The interior had a nice rococo influenced style so sketched a bit of that. For some reason I folded by paper into three panels. I don’t know why, it was irrelevant in the end. I think it was because we had such small tables but lots of plates and cups I didn’t think I would have had the space to lay out an entire sheet.

melbourne2014_koko1 LR
Watercolours and brush, followed by Micron pigma pen.
melbourne2014_koko2 LR
Watercolours and brush, followed by Micron pigma pen.

The Rest of Melbourne

melbourne2014_southbank1 LR
Southbank – Watercolours and brush, followed by colour ink and dip pen.

stansbridge bridge LR

melbourne2014_southbank2 LR
Southbank – Watercolours and brush, followed by colour ink and dip pen.
melbourne2014_fedsquare LR
Flinders St Station – artline pen and water brush pen
melbourne2014_fitzroy LR
Fitzroy – artline pen and water brush pen
melbourne2014_blockdress LR
The Block Arcade – wedding dress display. Drawn with Black calligraphic brush pen and watercolours.
melbourne2014_blocktailor LR
The Block Arcade – a tailor’s front window. Drawn with blue biro and watercolours.

Bushido exhibition

At the National Gallery of Victoria they had an exhibition of Bushido artifacts. Always never enough time, I focussed on the armour that was on display. And only had time for one katana. I did plan on doing an “eraser/graphite pencil” technique for this, but I couldn’t find my eraser so just attacked it with my 4B pencil. I ended up finding it in my pocket!!! but I had already gotten into it, so will save that technique for another time.melbourne2014_bushido1 LR melbourne2014_bushido2 LR melbourne2014_bushido3 LR melbourne2014_bushido4 LR

Toko and Band of Skulls

TOKO&BOSKULLS_1_LR
The Lounge Bar at Toko

A rare night out these days, a friend and I headed out to see UK act Band of Skulls. Beforehand we went to dinner at Toko in Surry Hills. Only at the last minute I decided to take a sketchbook and pens. I have drawn quite a few bands lately and felt not much more could be discovered in that kind of environment. And I am always self-conscious of delaying my friends to eat the food we order because they allow me time to draw it.

TOKO&BOSKULLS_2_LR

Thankfully I did as we sat at the bar. Toko is an izakaya style of restaurant, which I think is a casual seating environment where diners share dishes and the food is usually prepared in view. We were given seats right in front of the “sushi” chefs (I’m sure there is a better word for them as they do more than just prepare sushi) so it was with immediate glee when I realised I could draw them in action.

TOKO&BOSKULLS_7_LR

We got there early and the three chefs in front of us were just hanging round wiping their knives and boards. I was thinking I would get very little opportunity to draw their skilled hands at work, but about ten minutes later they were flying. In fact the entire kitchen was like a busy intersection at peak hour.

TOKO&BOSKULLS_6_LR TOKO&BOSKULLS_5_LR TOKO&BOSKULLS_4_LR TOKO&BOSKULLS_3_LR

 

I only drew a couple of sketches at the gig. I could see very little, as you can tell in my drawings, and it can get a little dull not only not being able to see the main attraction in view, but that you are drawing so little of it and in darknesstoo. Not a great combination to advance your drawing skills.

TOKO&BOSKULLS_9_LR TOKO&BOSKULLS_8_LR TOKO&BOSKULLS_10_LR

 

Anyway, hope you enjoy. Oh, and all the drawings were done using disposable brush pens.
Thanks for stopping by,
Meegan

A Day at the Museum

Echidna - drawn with a blue biro
Echidna – drawn with a blue biro

I spent the day at the Australian Museum, firstly to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. A yearly event that I always check out. But it was also an opportune time to do a bit of sketching as well. With only an afternoon left up our sleeves, my friend and I headed to the Search and Discover room. I’ve always thought it was an area just for school groups, but it is open to all visitors.

Tasmanian Devil - drawn with a micron pigma pen and painted with watercolours
Tasmanian Devil – drawn with a micron pigma pen and painted with watercolours

What’s great about this room is that they have live and um… less live (?) animals you can get a bit closer too. Well, all natural history museums are essentially a collection of dead stuffed animals I suppose. I dont know how old some of these specimens were but when you can sit less than a foot from one and they dont move at all!!! it’s perfect sketching matter.

Ring tail possum - drawn with micron pigma pen
Ring tail possum – drawn with micron pigma pen

I’ve been here before to sketch (click here), and every time I leave it fills me with the urge to draw more animals. It might be because sketching short-haired animals totally compliments cross-hatching techniques so perfectly making it easier to come up with good drawings.

Cheers,
Meegan

Chinese New Year, Part II

A week after the first lot of drawings, the lion dancing performances intensified but I still fitted in some sketches in between all the rushing around. If you would like a larger view of the sketch, just click on the image

This is a shop entrance that sells Chinese ornaments and decorative hangings. If you think the doorway is jam packed you should see the inside.

cny2014_5LR

Usually around 3pm we get to have something to eat, usually…

cny2014_6LR

This is a pole jumping performance, where the lion jumps, runs, swings, bounds, cavorts ;P across a series of 4-10ft poles with very little cushioning below. As you can see in the tree it was a bit windy that day, not great conditions for jumping.

cny2014_7LR

While waiting for our next orders,  I sat on the footpath opposite Market City (a shopping centre) and started to sketch the old features of the building. I didnt get far as I bumped into an old family friend I hadn’t seen in a while.
cny2014_8LR

Our next performance I tried to capture the firecrackers going off behind the lion, but it just looks like a christmas tree. Ha, ha!cny2014_14LRThe school also does dragon dances, which I dont have the muscle for (you have to hold it up with a pole, run and move it from side to side). This was drawn at our gym where everything was stored for the new year.
cny2014_9LR

Again waiting for the lion dance to start. This was out at Flemington in front of the local bbq shop. A queue started to form which wasn’t there when I first started.cny2014_10LR

Back in Chinatown for another peformance. The Sydney mayor and other politicians were doing the rounds with us, but I think the crowds were more excited by seeing about five lions together. It looks like a paparazzi moment.cny2014_11LR

Getting one of the vehicles ready to head out for a performance.There is an art (or science) to packing a vehicle full of lion dance equipment.

cny2014_12LR One of the last venues on my schedule was the Randwick racecourse for a corporate function. Unfortunately we couldn’t wait around outside where the horses were, but hidden away from the approaching guests until we had to perform. I would have much rather drawn them than a boring race track.cny2014_13LR

Cheers,
Meegan

Chinese New Year

All sketches drawn with a black Artline pen and coloured with a waterbrush
All sketches drawn with a black Artline pen and coloured with a waterbrush

I’m a member of a kung fu school in Sydney (although to be more accurate, a lapsed student for a few years now) but when I can I help out at Chinese New Year with lion dancing duties. For those unaware of what lion dancing is please check out this link to my school, Jin Wu Koon‘s website. Admittedly I haven’t been to this in a couple of years too and limited myself to just playing cymbals.

The three lion heads waiting patiently for the festivities to begin.

As there is always a lot of waiting time to start I took my sketch book along. And Chinatown in Sydney is always quite interesting to draw any ordinary day of the week.

Another patient onlooker waiting for the "show" to start
Another patient onlooker waiting for the “show” to start
…okay, he wasn’t that patient. He moved around every ten seconds.

Enjoy!
Meegan

Cockatoo Island revisited

Big outing out with the Sydney Sketch Club on Saturday and the venue was Cockatoo Island which has become a bit of a happy hunting ground for me in terms of successful art exploration (see my first visit here). I think it’s primarily due to it being this huge industrial site where you can use any materials, spread out and not worry about making a mess. Plus… there are all the rockin’ cranes and machinery left behind. I also had a few new art supplies (thanks to some friends)so I was hoping to test them out as well.

The first one was drawn with a permanent white Sharpie, and I drew on the back of a breakfast cereal pack. I’m not use to drawing on tonal backgrounds so kept forgetting to NOT colour in the dark areas but instead to use the tone of the card to represent that.

SSC CockatooIsland LR 1
White sharpie on a cereal pack

The sketch below I wetted the paper before applying the watercolour background so the colours would blend in more and not have so many hard edges. Then once it dried I got out my trusty dip pen and drew in the crane with indian ink. I’ve drawn in this “jaggedy” free-flowing style before but for some reason it was really different this time. I think I applied more restraint to my linework – trying not to make it too busy and overwork it. For instance, normally I would finish the rest of that wheel you see in the bottom left hand corner, but instinctively I stopped myself from doing it. I was so happy with this, which doesn’t happen all the time. In my brain what makes a good piece of art is when you can keep looking at it and get lost in it, always finding something interesting or aesthetically pleasing to study.

Watercolours and dip pen  with ink
Watercolours and dip pen with ink

How do I choose what to use and in what style? A lot of the times it’s inspired by the subject matter. It can still be quite fuzzy in my head but you just have to go with your gut feeling. But… sometimes it just doesn’t happen. And that can be a gut feeling too. It’s not that the below drawing would have been bad or wrong if I continued to finish it, but as I started to ink in the line it didn’t feel like it was gelling together with the background. It felt like I was trying to merge two completely pictures together, so I decided to scrap it.

watercolour and dip pen with ink
Unfinished – watercolour and dip pen with ink

This one was drawn again on a cereal pack but with one of those kids multi-coloured pencils. I love this medium, it’s so exciting, but probably not best on a coloured background. Only some of the colours are showing through.

Multi-coloured pencil
Multi-coloured pencil

This next one was using those Japanese disposable felt pens where the nibs are shaped like brushes. This drawing was just a filler till we had to meet up at lunchtime. It didn’t take me as long as I thought. They look like prototypes for Daleks.

Coloured brush pens
Coloured brush pens

After lunch I explored another part of the island and I took a break from drawing cranes. These towers had a large brick pattern across it so I thought I’d play around with that.

Watercolours and coloured ink with dip pen
Watercolours and coloured ink with dip pen

This next one I absolutely love. I know its in my style, but I can’t believe I did this. Again I wetted the paper first then threw on watercolour and I love those areas where it has bled and gone fuzzy. But the greatest achievement in my opinion is that I have made a very complicated subject matter look like a complete unit. As if all my lines are connected and complement each other. There’s balance, interest, movement and unity. So it was worth sitting through this despite all the freakin’ ants biting me as I sat on the ground, and the gale force wind that was brewing up towards the end.

SSC CockatooIsland LR 6
Watercolour with dip pen and indian ink

Hopefully this breakthrough will transfer into my other drawings and at other locations, and it’s not something that only seems to happen in what I feel is like a spiritual ground for me.

Till next time, thanks for stopping by.
Meegan

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: