Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas afternoon: down by the river

We put our folding chairs in a dense patch of tree shade and looked out across the river.
There was hot water in a thermos for tea or coffee, spectacular home made nut and cacao and coconut confections, leftover homemade ravioli, a bag of chips and some cherry tomatoes. In other bags we had sketching supplies.

At first one of those delicious afternoon-shady-spot-hot-day-well-fed lethargies settled around us and I thought a nap might be a better choice than dragging out the sketching gear. But, pleasant as it was to sit there in a dreamy daze, the itch to make marks was strong.

I am between sketchbooks at the moment, still waiting for my new one to arrive. I had a small watercolour pad with me and decided to play with watercolours. No pen today.

At first I used the watercolours as I usually do - just as a way to add colour, mixing the colours I want and slopping them down.

Then I tried working very wet, letting the colours run around and visit each other:

Finally, in the third sketch, I put down washes, let them dry and layered other colours over them:

All in all, a lovely Christmas afternoon!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chancing it Again: micro travel #2

Sunshine, a pleasant breeze, blue skies - a perfect day for micro-travelling.The plan for today involved dice (again) and cards ( white cards the size of business cards). I could have used bits of paper, but fanning out a hand of cards has a je ne sais quoi that wrinkly bits of paper absolutely lack.
So what do you do with the cards apart from fanning them out in a je ne sais quoi kind of way?
Take a look.

Each card has, written on it, precise instructions of something to observe, notice, and draw. Here is the whole spread:

With dice, cards, sketchbook, the usual drawing kit and my $2 K-Mart folding stool, I left my car in South Fremantle and walked to the nearest bus stop to wait for the CAT bus. This is a free bus that does a loop around Fremantle. There's a bus every 10 minutes. While I waited I rolled a die. Five dots looked up at me. According to my plan...

that meant I had to get off the bus after five stops then pick a card at random and follow the instructions.

What I hadn't counted on was zoning out on the bus and losing track of how many stops we passed. I think I may have gone one stop too many. Never mind. Micro travel is not an exacting discipline, but a cheerful embrace of the unexpected as well as the ordinary.

There were a lot of Spanish and Italian passengers on the bus. When they got off they left clouds of Ciao's and Hasta la vistas and Muchas Graciases in their wake, the way some people leave a fragrance or little bubbles of happiness. At my stop, once I had added my own farewells and thanks to the atmosphere, I stepped onto a sun drenched pavement and took out my pack of cards. Fanning them out ( with that certain je ne sais quoi ) I selected one and turned it over. It said:

Notice Foliage

There was a big Plane tree just around the corner casting deep shade onto the footpath. I unfolded my stool, parked it against an old limestone wall and looked across the street at a group of small trees. Different coloured foliage, different shaped leaves, different textures. Two of the trees had red flowers. Behind them another large Plane tree and in the distance a Norfolk Island Pine. As I drew, a group of children inched their way towards me. When I looked down at my sketchbook they took tiny steps closer. When I looked up, they stopped. They didn't speak to me at all until I asked where they were from. Then in a chorus they all said 'KL'. They watched me silently until a parent hustled them away. I drew and coloured the foliage 

and by the time I'd finished I was ready for a coffee. 

Blink Cafe is a tiny hole in the wall. I sat on a wooden cube at a table on the pavement  sipping a long black out of a glass. Justin, the barista, brought me a flourless sweet thing on a really pretty plate.  As I drew it a young woman glided in wearing an academic gown. She'd escaped from her graduation ceremony with her brother and wanted him to take photos of her in the cafe, since that's where she'd spent so much of her time as a student. 

Back to the bus stop, back on the bus, a quick stop at the station for the loo and a roll of the die that told me to get off after six stops. La la la... bus ride through Freo.  The card I picked said:

Draw your fellow humans.

but when we reached the sixth stop there were no humans to be found. Just blank walled buildings and blue blue sky. Not even a bit of foliage!! So I cheated and went one more stop to a place where there are cafes and shops and plethoras of people. There, at Ootong and Lincoln, I occupied a large table, ate a salad of sweet potato, green beans and a whole glorious gallimaufry of  salady things and drew some of the humans around me. 

How quickly the time passed, but how utterly delightful to explore in this way. Here's the complete page from today's micro-travels:

If you are in the area and feel like joining me next week, let me know. If you are far away you might like to try something like this in your own neck of the woods. Keep me posted, I'd love to hear about your adventures!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Marking Time: 3 Calendars

Around this time each year I gather together drawings or photos and make them into calendars on Redbubble to give out as Christmas gifts.

This year, I have made three calendars. Here are the links to Redbubble and the cover images to give you an idea of what's inside!!

1. A collection of drawings made in cafes, mostly featuring cups of tea or coffee, sometimes with cake.

2. Drawings of landscapes, ocean views and scenes along the rivers in Perth.
It's called Land, River, Sea

3. Assorted sketches - some cafe drawings, some land and riverscapes, some random objects.
It's simply called Sketchbook Drawings