Saturday, 27 June 2015

Sketching in Newtown


What a day!!! Went sketching in Newtown today ALL day.  First stop was Newtown courthouse, built in 1885.  We sat in front of the Black Star cafe drinking coffee, dreaming of their watermelon cake and working away in sketch books.   People were lining up outside to get their excellent coffee and most wonderful desserts.


After lunch we went to the grounds of St Stephens Church on Church St, Newtown.  The church and adjoining historic cemetery are very picturesque.  I particularly enjoyed this house which is called Cemetary Lodge.  There is a community garden within this property and there were some locals tending that while we were there.


After a very satisfying lunch and trip to the art shop I did this sketch of folk studying the menu or their newspaper.
It has been a big day out and now a cuppa and rest are in order.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Corella Pears


Corella pears are such a pretty fruit and are much redder than other  types of this fruit.  I made a nice pear muffin the other day using ordinary pear but a person could use corella too.

Pear Muffins

2 cups self raising flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 egg
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 cups chopped firm pear

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.  Place flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and mix to combine.  Add butter milk, oil,egg and maple syrup and mix well.  Gently fold pear through mixture.
Grease 12 normal muffin tins or use the papers.  Bake for 25-30 min or until cooked.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Old Plaza Theatre


Sketch club met on George st in Sydney this rainy Sunday.  I sat opposite this beautiful and intricate building, the Plaza Theatre, 600 George st.  This is one of the few original picture theatres left, built in the golden age of this type of entertainment, in 1930. It is Spanish Mission style and is now Heritage listed.
The company Hoyts had planned on building a 4000 seat cinema but the stock market crash in 1929 cause a change of plan and 2000 seats were built.  It was famous in it's day and had an English built theatre organ and a full orchestra on an elevated platform.  
Many big films opened here but by 1950 the cinema  audience was declining.  It became even less popular in 1956 when TV was introduced.
In 1977 the Plaza theatre closed and the foyer was converted to a MacDonalds restaurant and the auditorium converted to a skating rink, concert venue and restaurant.  There have been different businesses since then but the fanciest MacDonalds remains.

 Foyer now a MacDonalds

I sat not far from a young man who is homeless.  He has been  sleeping outside and the weather has been very cold and wet here.  He said the cheapest cost for a night's accomodation is $32. a night.  I attended an education afternoon about homelessness recently and only twenty percent of the homeless have support from services. Poor fellow.
He was very sweet commenting favourably on my sketch.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Clifton School of Arts

                                     Clifton School of Arts

My friend and I went for a road trip on Sunday down the coast to Wollongong.  It was beautiful driving through the National Park, the vegetation was quite tropical.


We stopped at an old mining town on the coast called Clifton, near Scarborough, which you can see on the map above, and spent some time at the School of Arts art gallery.
Coal was discovered at Clifton in 1797 and the first mine opened in 1878 with 73 miners.  By 1884 there were 150 miners and they and their families all lived in Clifton.
Fairly early on in 1880 the original School of Arts was established.  It burned down unfortunately, so in 1910 the current building (above sketch) was built.  The miners were on strike at that time and they provided the labour, the mining company provided the land and £100 was raised by public subscription.  This building has four rooms over two stories and included a library, a reading room, a billiard room and a store.  They had planned on having a large hall built behind this building but that didn't happen.
The School of Arts had different occupants and uses over time.  At the end of the 20th century there was worry it would be torn down, as it had deteriorated.  A committee was formed and fund raising and lobbying for restoration began.  It looks great now and the exhibition we saw there in Sunday was terrific.


It was fun sketching this but my pen line was even more jiggly than usual in the car roaring down the hills.

Friday, 12 June 2015



The sketch group met at Redfern today.  This is an inner city suburb which until recently was less desireable and a bit rough.  It is becoming trendy and expensive now.  The building above is run down and has been sold for redevelopment. Our sketch club leader, quite rightly, decided we should record this building before it is gone.
The building below is in good shape and hopefully will remain.  It is empty and ready for leasing.


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

John Brack-Racecourse series

Steeplechase, 1956, watercolour, pen and ink

John Brack is a favourite Australian artist of mine. He was born in 1920 in Melbourne and died in 1999.  In the 1950's and 60's he often drew and painted life around him, his family, the city and his friends.  

The Racecourse series was done in 1956 and contains about twenty five drawings, watercolours and etchings. It documents a day in the life at the track.  

It doesn't seem to be a happy, fun filled day at the racetrack though.  The owners, trainers and book makers seem rather menacing. Everybody's faces are lined and serious.
They drawings all tell a story and a person could elaborate greatly to what is first seen.  I love the sketchiness of the work.

When this series was exhibited in 1956 a good number sold which allowed Brack to afford to pay a model and did a number of figure paintings after this.

Weighing 1956, watercolour, pen and ink
The Falling jockey, 1956, watercolour, pen and ink

                                              The Stipendiary Stewart's 1956

The Conference 1956, watercolour, pen and ink

Spectators, 1956 dry point


The Bookmaker, 1956, watercolour, pen and ink


Saturday, 6 June 2015

China Town Sydney


Urban Sketchers met at China Town in Sydney this morning.  This is one of the gates to Dixon st where there are many Chinese restaurants and shops.  The sign at the top has an English sign and a Chinese one.  The English one says "Within the four seas all men are equal".  A Chinese man asked me if I would like him to write the Chinese letters on the lower sign. He very kindly did so.


This restaurant is called the Live Crafts Centre Tea house.  We got there early and the doors were closed.  Before finishing there were tables, plants and signs between the building and myself.  Managed to finish though.

This is Masterken's Seafood restaurant.  There are big aquarium windows with huge fish, crabs and lobsters on each side of the front door.
It was a big day in China Town including a yummy lunch of dumplings and noodles with other sketchers.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Pitt St Mall


There is a wonderful light show in Sydney right now called Vivid. Google Vivid Sydney to have a look.
was meeting a friend to see Vivid  one night last week and had some time to sketch before hand.  I sat on the ground to sketch this 1903 building in the Pitt St Mall.  
Pitt st is a shopping precinct  downtown and this building's facade is one of many with a shopping centre and eateries inside.