We drove up to Lake Taupo in the centre of NZ's North Island for the annual Round Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. We've been coming for years for the road biking, since well before we had kids. Now I mind the kids while my husband does the new mountain bike course of the challenge.
Lake Taupo, southern shores
A sketch which I did at the Helicopter Cafe, one of the first points where we could reliably see my husband cycling past before he disappears into the next mountain bike track of the course. I have sketched this from a platform, next to an enormous Sikorsky (I think) helicopter which is mounted next to the cafe. You can go in, and the kids can sit in the cockpit and pretend to be pilots. I've just drawn a tiny bit of the front of the helicopter. The thing at the bottom of the helicopter is measuring equipment, not landing gear. The helicopter is so huge the blades don't even come into the sketch.
I sketched the Hilton Hotel next door to the campground while my kids bounced on the trampoline. There has to be some pathos to drawing a Hilton Hotel while you stay in a tent next door. But the truth is, that accommodation prices are tripled or even quadrupled over the Round Lake Taupo event, and we probably could have stayed in the Hilton on any other weekend for the amount we were paying for our tent site. (Well, maybe not quite, but almost!).
A high speed sketch of Mount Ruapehu as we drove back home along the Desert Road. I could have drawn my husband's nose on the right hand edge, as I was looking past him sitting in the driver's seat, but thought the sketch looked better as is.
We stopped at the Army Museum at Waiouru (or if you have ever been past here on your way to the skifields in winter, Wai-oooo-oooo-r-uuuu, through chattering teeth). I tried out some marker pens I had, but I didn't really like this technique. Still, had to try. Mount Ruapehu is in the background.
Horowhenua countryside, again at 100 kph.
Traffic at the Otaki roundabout. We moved on before I could draw the car in front. There is a certain camaraderie on the road to and from the event, as hundreds of cars travel along with you with bikes on the back. We are always trying to spot race numbers and people we know.
Trees on the hillside at Waikanae, again at 100kph.
More Waikanae countryside, in the late afternoon sun.
If I did more speed pencil sketches en route, I would definitely bring a blending stump along. You can cover large areas quickly with it, and I think it would do a far better job at clouds and skies.