Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sketches: Battle Hill Market

I went to the first meetup of Wellington Sketchers, which was at the Eat, Drink, and Be Crafty market at Battle Hill, about 25 minutes north of Wellington.

It was a great place to sketch - lots of shady spots to sit in, and lots of things happening: a band, bouncy castles and sack races for the kids. Great food and great stalls.

Initially I sat in the shade in the food area and sketched one of the stalls. There were many more people in the area than I drew here, but I found that after a while the area had become more of a thoroughfare, and that people were moving too fast to sketch easily. For the people I used my usual technique of basically just drawing on A4 paper, and sketching people as fast as I could.


I realised that this probably wasn't the easiest way to sketch people very fast. So I started drawing at a much smaller scale, using my favourite 0.05 technical pen. I also tried sketching the person's head reaslitically, but then drawing the rest of the stance as a stick figure, marking the shoulders and hips with a horizontal line. This worked much better, and was very quick. I got the stances more correct, and was able to check that I was drawing the weight bearing lines more convincingly. I could remember what the person was wearing, and finish the sketch more easily, even if they moved off.  This is the sketch below that I did using this technique - you can still see some of the stick figure lines - and I think it worked out much better. Also, by this time, I moved over to the craft stalls, where people tended to stop and look for longer. I did the watercolour work at home.

Battle Hill was the site of one of the last battles between Maori and early colonial forces in the region. Now it is Battle Hill Farm Forest Park, which is a 500 ha working farm with a camping site, great views, lots of streams and many tracks to walk or ride on.

Sketch: Cafe Vella in Plimmerton

Another beautiful summer day, and we headed off to the beach again. Plimmerton is one of those many areas in the Wellington region where only one or two roads goes in and out of the area. So it has a very strong sense of community and identity. When you drive into Plimmerton, with glimpses of the sea and beach beside you, one of the the first things you see are the bright cafes, like Cafe Vella. While everyone swam I took half an hour to do a quick sketch of Cafe Vella, which I painted at home.

Here it is unpainted:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sketches: beach day

When a perfect summer's day comes along, we all hop in the car and head off to Plimmerton Beach, usually stopping for an icecream at Pauatahanui Inlet on the way.

I've often wanted to stop and sketch at Pauatahanui, and I've already done the RD1 Trading Post store. This is definitely the site for a future sketching outing.

This time I just sketched someone sitting outside the Ground Up Cafe, while everyone else in our family ate an icecream outside the old General Store (one day I am going to sketch that too).

I did the watercolour work at home later. The paper buckled a bit. Here is a pic of the sketch before I painted it.

At the beach, I had a few false starts sketching people who walked away. But one I did manage to finish, was a toddler asleep on his father's lap. It was one of those "all is right in the world¨ scenes. I'm so glad I managed to capture this scene.

Pauatahanui Boathouses, North Island, New Zealand

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Market people

These are from a magazine, not from real life. I've been practising quick pen and ink sketches again. I've been trying different ways to sketch a person very quickly, while trying for the best possible likeness. I've found that when working in pen, things work out best if I do the eyebrows first, then the forehead, and a quick outline of the hair, before moving onto the eyes and the rest of the face.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sketch: Mayfair cafe

I stopped off at one of my favourite cafes, Mayfair Cafe, on the way home from swimming this morning. The cafe is on Main Street, Upper Hutt, north of Wellington. I thought I would do bit of sketching (Staedler 0.1 pigment liner). Like alot of Wellington cafes, the decor is half the experience, and there is a lot to sketch at this one. I liked the telegraph pole and its road signs. I wonder whether the father in the sketch remembered the building back from when it was a cinema?

Otaki Beach, sunset, North Island, New Zealand

My Noodler's Flex Pen has landed!

I decided to finally leap in and buy a Noodler's Flex Pen from the Goulet Pen Company, after having seen so much about it on the internet. I have wanted to buy one for such a long time, but hesitated with dealing with a company so far away. Well, I shouldn't  have worried. It arrived here within a week, all safe and sound, with a few extra goodies packed in.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Faces #21

Another pencil sketch, with the face about 10cm high. Lots of blending, 6B graphite pencil. Although if I could find my HB pencil, I think it would have been good for the lines around the eyes. Not a quick sketch - this one took some time - and was done from a photo. The actual woman was about 10-15 years older than she looks in this sketch. I always find that the moment a blending stick is used, it seems to make a person look slightly younger.

Lyttleton Harbour, South Island, New Zealand

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Faces #20

I am about halfway through reading the famous drawing book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. It really is quite amazing to read. I have just finished the negative space section, and thought I would try it out on a portrait. Sketching the spaces between the eyes etc, rather than trying to sketch eyes. It made quite a difference. I was able to sketch a good likeness, very quickly. I know that I can draw a good likeness in pencil, but it has usually been a long and labourious process, with lots of erasing. I'm quite excited to keep reading the book. Also, I have done heaps of pen and ink work lately, and thought I would return to pencil for little while.

A gratitous photo near Napier, North Island, New Zealand

Friday, January 4, 2013

Line drawings: three kids

I haven 't done much line/contour drawing, so I thought I would give it a go. It is a quick sketch of three kids sitting on the pavement, with a more minimalist style, without too much focus on tone. I'm really happy with how it turned out.

A gratuitous photo of Abel Tasman National Park, South Island, New Zealand

Sketchcrawl: Matui Somes Island

On Friday, we visited Matui Somes Island, which is the middle of Wellington Harbour. We caught the ferry across from Days Bay, which is always a great day trip. My super-husband volunteered to look after the kids on the island for a while so I could do some sketching! He's a keeper, that one.

View from the island looking towards Eastbourne

The island was named Matui by the Polynesian explorer Kupe, after one of his daughters. The europeans named it Somes Island, and nowadays the island is called by both names.

Sheep on the island

In recent history, the island has been a quarantine station, an internment camp, a military base with gun emplacements and a degaussing station (that is where the WRENS demagnitised the hulls of boats), and most recently, a wildlife sanctuary.

The Matui Somes Island lighthouse. I sketched this from the hill behind it, near the gun emplacements. There is a large seagull population on the island, but they left me alone while I sketched!

The wind really picked up by now, and I realised that the seagulls were soaring in the wind very close to me. So they were almost stationary in the wind, which was a great chance to sketch them. I practised using a medium tipped grey pen again. Although I think a finer tip would have been better.

This is the sheep shed, which is one of the many old buildings on the island. By now it was so windy, I was actually being buffeted by the wind. So I turned my sketchbook upside down, so the wind would not whip the pages - worked a treat. But I think if I had been using a free-flowing ink pen, the wind would have actually blown the ink across the page, it was so strong. Medium tip Staedler grey pen.

We played on the beach on the lee side of the island for while, waiting for the return ferry. We could actually see starfish in the rockpools, and the fastest moving shellfish I have ever watched. It was like watching a slow-motion dodgem cars. My three-year old and I were transfixed for abou 10 minutes just observing them. Then I sketched the wharf above, although the ferry came before I could put the wharf crane in. Still, although it took longer, I prefer this style of sketching with a finer 0.05 black pen, than the bigger medium tip grey pen.

A map of our day.

A gratuious photo of somewhere completely different, a church in Northland, New Zealand.

Faces # 19

Some more goes at portraits, but trying for really quick sketches.

Gratuitous photo of a beach near Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand