Monday, October 20, 2014

Road Trip

One of my absolutely blissiest things  is setting off on a solo road trip and on Friday I did it. I hired a car so I wouldn't be anxious about bits falling off mine. I packed drawing stuff, audio books and all the usual sleeping, eating, sartorial and abluttionary supplies. I drove north, allowing seven hours for a five hour drive - not as much as I'd like but there was a hiccup at the hire car place and I got away late. The plan: drive, stopping whenever I saw things I'd like to sketch. Sketch, get in the car and keep driving. You'd think it would be easy, but it wasn't.

It seemed that whenever the scenery looked great, there would be a car right on my tail and that, combined with the highway's narrow and often steeply graded shoulders makes it tricky to stop where you want.

Still, there were plenty of opportunities. I made my first sketch from the lookout at Guilderton where the Moore River almost reaches the Indian Ocean. Only a narrow sand bar separates them.

I stopped again for coffee at a cafe in Jurien Bay. It seemed silly, somehow, to draw my coffee when I could do that anywhere, so I sketched the people as they huddled in groups, sat at tables or waited for take aways.

Further along, I stopped to draw a field of wheat:

And a little further, one of the many white sand dunes dotted with green vegetation:

On the drive home I discovered a narrow sandy road that took me to the edge of some low, sandstone cliffs with a fantastic view of rocks and ocean. I sketched it in pen and did the colouring from memory at home. On the same page there is a little drawing of the view from  the jetty at Jurien Bay.

I'd love to get a group of friends together some time and do a road trip sketch crawl, each of us documenting the journey in our own way. A few days...a week....longer.....

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Same River Twice

I live just a hop skip and a jump from the Canning River. It flows on under the Canning Bridge, meets the Swan River and the two of them, having become inseparable, continue as one all the way to Fremantle and the Indian Ocean.

It is a fine thing to sit by a river, watching it flow; to be firmly planted on one shore, daydreaming about the other. The river flows. Time passes. Thoughts sparkle and play in the dancing light, then, as if inexorably drawn by the currents, flow, drift, float on by.

The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, saw the world as ever-changing, always in a state of flux. It was he who said you can't step into the same river twice - or, more correctly:

'Everything changes and nothing remains cannot step twice into the same stream.'

Each time I sit beside it - in a riverside cafe, on the end of a jetty, on a grassy or rocky bank - the river is new.  It is a different river, always changing, never still. Strange, then, that here,  making the coloured marks that paint a picture on my page, a kind of stillness settles and in it, there is an echo, a memory, a reflection of eternity.

I am reminded of William Blake's poem, 'Auguries of Innocence':

'To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.'

Some river sketches, a small collection - same river, different river.
Same difference.