Wednesday, 30 April 2014



Reflections, me looking on

Sketching at the hairdressers while I was waiting made me feel a little voyeuristic and maybe I shouldn't been doing it.  It was fun though and I wish I would have had more time before my turn came up.
When I go to the hairdressers, I usually enter looking okay but then it all gets very bad before exiting looking  good..  To capture people looking at their worse, in fact,  quite horrible, was probably not very nice of me.
The hairdressers do not really look like how I have drawn them.  They were moving around continually and they were difficult to draw.  They are actually beautiful and very very lovely.

                                                                 Highlights happening

At the sink
me, happy with my cut. Sorry spilled some dark paint in the mouth area so it's looking like I have very poor dental hygiene.


Friday, 25 April 2014


Thirroul railway station-watercolour and charcoal

I met up with my old friend Chere this week in Thirroul and enjoyed the train trip to get there   Thirroul is a coastal town 69 km south of Sydney and is beautiful with it's backdrop of the Illawarra escarpment.  The name Thirroul is reported to be Aboriginal and mean Valley of Cabbage Tree Palms.
D.H Lawrence lived in Thirroul in 1922 and wrote much of his book "Kangaroo"  there. Artists  Garry Shead and Brett Whitely also have connections to this town.
Chere and I had trouble finding a spot in the shade that had a place to sit but ended up with a couple of sketches each.  These are my efforts.  I also had fun drawing a few fellow passengers on the train and those sketches are also below.

Thirroul with escarpment in the background -watercolour and charcoal

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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

that other Easter Show

Watercolour and charcoal
The Easter Show is an agricultural show that comes to Sydney each year, a way to celebrate all the country has to offer.  The prize cows, chickens, pigs, horses, dogs, cats and all domestic animals are all there .  There is wood cutting exhibitions, art, craft, cakes and much more on show.  Of course, side show alley and lots of rides are a big part of the show.  This used to be at Moore Park but a number of years ago moved to the Olympic park.  As an alternative to the real Easter show there is a smaller show at the  old site of Moore Park and the sketch group went there to draw. This watercolor is my result of our morning get together .

Saturday, 19 April 2014

more Cooks River Valley

Charcoal and watercolour, Bass St Earlwood

The weather has been so great this Easter weekend that I have been taking the opportunity to do quite a lot of sketching.  Here are two more from the river valley in Earlwood.  I did the bigger one on Friday afternoon and thought I would like a closer up sketch of the house and tree so did that today.
The Umbrella Tree, with the fronds of red flowers were being enjoyed by the parrots.

Watercolour and charcoal 20/4/14

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Along the Cooks River

Watercolour and charcoal
 I started the sketch above last weekend and got rained out twice.  I was so keen on working on it that I continued work in the rain, finally giving up and then returning when I thought the wet might hold off.  But, no, the rain came again so it got finished this morning.  The light was different today and tried to get it to today's conditions.  This scene is from along the river.  I was sitting on the park land between the houses and the water and the many people who walk, run and bike along the river track.  A number of people came across to see what I was doing which was kind of nice.
The second sketch is a closer up view of the tower.
The Cooks River is a wonderful asset to the life in Sydney's inner west.  Love it.  More sketches of this area to come.

Watercolour sketch

Friday, 11 April 2014

the neighbourhood

Watercolour and charcoal, view from the back of the house looking north

Watercolour and charcoal, view from balcony looking at Shirley's place and beyond
It has been raining in Sydney, for what seems like weeks and weeks.  Today is no different and I have a mission to sketch the neighbourhood.  I have plans of sketching scenes around the river but due to weather conditions I have painted from my balcony and from windows in the mornings before work  and today.  These are the results.
Earlwood is the suburb I live in and it was originally settled after WW1.  There are plenty of nice Federation houses on big blocks here as well as very fancy huge new homes.  The little streets where I live, however, have houses which are quite modest as they were for the workers from the quarry.

Watercolour and charcoal, view from front balcony looking north

Friday, 4 April 2014

St Peters

Watercolour and charcoal

St Peters is an urban area just past Newtown in Sydney's inner west.  It was named after St Peter's Anglican church, consecrated in 1839.  Before that the area was known as Cooks River.
Thomas Smyth was the first landowner of the area, he subdivided it for wealthy landowners and country houses were built along the river. 
St Peters was known for it's excellent clay and became an important brick making area in the 1870s.  With this industrial work, working class people came into the area.  Many of the estates were torn down, other industry came into the area and simple cottages were built.
The industry is now moving out to outer suburbs and St Peters is popular place to live, close the city and of course, Newtown.
Urban Sketchers went to St Peters today and we did fairly quick sketches of 30-40 min each.  These are my efforts.  It looked like rain all morning but luckily it held off.  You can see the skies are mainly grey with a little blue.

watercolour and charcoal, St Peter's street

Chimney from the pottery works in the background, rooftops in the foreground

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Kathleen Morris

Kathleen Morris

I am really enjoying meeting other like minded people in the sketch groups I belong to.  We live in the city and most of our meet ups involve sketching the urban environment.  Kathleen Morris (1893-1986) is a Montreal artist who also captured the city.
Kathleen, like many other members of her art group called Beaver Hall, was from a wealthy family.  She had a handicap which impaired her coordination and speech yet she had a wonderful sense of humour and was determined to live a life of joy despite her problems.

I love her winter scenes of the horses and carts waiting outside the church to take their owners home for lunch.
The bold colours and simplified forms make these paintings very charming.  No wonder Kathleen Morris paintings have been made into stamps and Christmas cards over the years.