Up, Up and away (soon…)

aeroplane in hobart 2Some people hate flying! Not me, I like it soooo much I don’t usually sleep on long hauls. I don’t want to miss anything. even just sitting there with my block out headphones listening to the comedy audio station when I cant keep my eyes open.

aeroplane cabin 1

The meals, I love the little packets, I’m lucky if I don’t drool when they are being dished out. And if the family don’t finish something, I will! This trip I’m on my own so better not ask the person next to me if they are finished or not!

And waiting at the airport is no longer a problem, I can sketch the scene around me. Although drawing the other people is a little more difficult as they are often tired and testy and wondering why i keep looking at them. This is easier on public transport as there are more distractions for them but in the airport they tend to keep looking in the same direction!aeroplane cabin 3

And then there’s the plane on the Tarmac. some airport vantage points are better than others.

flight plane to GC

The vehicles are a little harder to sketch as they tend to move off just as I get warmed up.

IMG_0357

I haven’t drawn an a380 so I hope I get a good vantage spot.

Origins of Chicago

Like Melbourne, Chicago was swapped from the first peoples. Not only did they both lose their “rights” they were moved off by the newcomers……..

It appears the Native Americans called the area ‘shikaakwa’ which may have meant smelly skunk, or smelly onion (which they now call ramps?). And the French explorer Robert de La Salle  translated to Checagou.

We have “onion weed” here, I wonder if it is the same thing?

chicago sb3

Twinkies are not a huge thing over her. Sure I have heard of them and even tasted one and thought, “gee how did this survive the trip and still be ‘edible’?”.

I found it interesting the original filling was banana flavoured!

 

Chicago Symposium part 2

I have booked a few things in Chicago to do first up, dot he tilt on The 360″ view . I’m not so worried about the wind of the windy city. I have also learnt  it was called the Windy City because the people  from other states of the US felt Chicago bragged about itself so much. Seems fair enough that they bragged about their city.

The way it grew, then aftet he city destroying fire grew up again. But I was going to put string on my hat to keep it on when the wind came from the prairies.

But the bragging worked, they got the Columbian Exposition, where the first successful zipper was released, even if poorly drawn. 

More wind would alos have been produced through blowing bubbles in Chewing gum. Didn’t everyone start chewy with juicy fruit (or as I drew juicy frutt!)? Then you grow up and try PK.  I nearly forgot the And I am also looking forward to going to watch the baseball at Wrigley stadium. I nearly forgot about the spearmint sticks wrapped in alfoil. and then the kids who tried to trick you with the fake chewy packs with the mouse trap like contraption that hit your finger when you pulled it out…….


Although I could have drawn Walt Disney, but the first animated film was Gertie the dinosaur, by Winsor McCay a silent film you can see on the internet, and compare my drawing… although it looks dated you have to remember it was revolutionary and is highly regarded by the people who came afterwards.

Also Chicago was the place of the first McDonalds franchise. NOT the first store….
McDonalds was a treat place when it first came to the suburbs here. The store I went to as a kid is still in the same place, but changed building completely. Don’t remember muchat 15c. Since then I have had McDonalds in every State of Australia, Singapore, USA, Thailand, my son was a very picky eater….(well that’s my excuse..)

Version 4

I grew up with only 5 TV stations, Donald O’Connor (from Chicago) was always on (OK…often…) when the movies were showing, on weekends or during the week when I was sick at home as a kid or no school was on etc. I loved his humour, non offensive, he wasnt the lead good looking guy but I still related to him. Another TV icon from Chicago was Raquel Welch. My dad loved her so if she was on , we saw her…..He also loved the Lone Ranger……..

Bob Newhart was also a comedian I related to, he didnt have to be rude, oftne he didnt need another actor. His driving instructor sketch is one his more famous.

Harrison Ford is also from Chicago. I am a huge fan, Star wars, Indianna Jones, Blade Runner and I can’t read a Tom Clancy “Jack Ryan” book without seeing Harrison in the role.

Down the bottom left of the above page I drew quickly the “Raising of the City”.  Now I think of it as Reblocking but instead of reblocking your house they raised WHOLE buildings, at times with people in it ……They had hundreds of workers helping to slowly rise feet off ground (below water ) level, while they tried to reorganise the cities drainage, sewrage etc. in 1857!!!!!

And as someone said, I put the weiner mobile in as well. I am looking forward to trying my Chicago Hot Dog- WITHOUT sauce/Ketchup!!!! and it makes sense why they don’t add it. NOt sure why? Apparently suace is a combination of all the flavours they already put on their hotdog so why spoil it……

2 months 7 days……..until I fly in.

Chicago symposium 

Later in the year I am off to Chicago & New York for the Urban sketchers Symposium. I knew very little about Chicago.

I knew there was a major fire, they have an elevated rail, they are on a lake….. and the music scene, autos etc. 

so I have been reading Donald L Mille’s book city of the century, the making of Chicago, first 100 years.  


Certainly a go getter place with many firsts, with a bevy of people who came and made their mark on a frontier town which grew into the symposium hosts (and a lot more). It’s a grid city just like Melbourne, so it’s nice to compare the layout to my capital.


I have sketched a few of the personalites, the grid city and a few other things that have tickled my fancy about Chicago.

 I am going to mark the map where I have been during my trip, although I will still get a few maps when I’m there. It looks like I’ll be around the “loop” for most of the time. 

But what of chicago have I noted. Quite a few firsts, including sky scrapers and the use of concrete over metal to strengthen it . The Pullman carriages, I thought were whole trains but they only built carriages…and strangely a town. Sounds like George Pullman was bit of a control freak, I think he meant well but….. so here’s a quick sketch of him from a photo.
Burnham & Root were involved in building the first skyscrapers and then Burnham ran the Columbian exposition, and then died I quickly after…. it was called the Columbian for the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery. 

Here’s Burnham and Root.


The elevator was shown to be safe at the expo by Mr Otis. and sales took off allowing skyscrapers to be built as they were now scalable. Root and Burnham considered the first skyscraper architects. Looking forward to seeing the buildings of theirs that are still there.

The first Ferris wheel was built for the expo. And melted down later…….each car held 60 people. Still the worlds largest Ferris wheel ever built!

The first ever Ferris wheel, built by a young Ferris, to rival the Eiffel Tower, made with similar amount of metal.


Many women were involved in the development of Chicago ( later in the 1800s), as business women and philanthropists. I loved this pic and had to draw it of Bertha who some called the socialite queen of the expo. She also had the first ever “brownies” made for her to entertain guests.

In her husbands will, he was leaving a fair amount of money to whoever her next husband was going to be…….”because he will need it!”

Bertha Palmer

The Pullman sleeping carriage was a first which went from Chicago to the world. Melbourne had 3 Pullman carriages for the southern aurora, but they were too heavy and were kept at Newport workshop in storage for years. 


There is a heck of a lot more so more later.

Smuggling? Love. Racism ? In Melbourne 1878? Sketching in 2017 resurfaces it

Sketching an old building that I admired in 1983 when I worked around the corner, made me look further into its history. 112 Little Burke st in Chinatown looks a little unloved now, but holds a lot of history around it. Now the dumpling village the building was completed February 8 1887. Designed by the architect DeLacy Evans who designed Melbournes Parliament House!  It’s called the Sum Kum Lee building and was built for Lowe Kong Meng who at the time was a wealthy businessman, ship owner and philanthropist. 

The Argus newspaper of 1882 wrote a story of smuggled goods (including 250,000 cigars, spirits &Amore) being found on the property of the first Sum Kum Lee building, goods stamped with SKL on them. But no one owned up to them so no charges were brought about……..it was the times of the gold rush, and the north eastern end of Melbourne was ” well known for its criminal elements “! Squizzy Taylor was based in this area at later dates

I don’t know why Lowe Kong Meng named his buildings Sum Kum Lee… but he had the £ to have the best known architect design his second building for his wife that he married in Tasmania, (he got around), Mary Anne Prussia. The SKL building was “first class” with thought regarding shade and lighting. ” a beautiful building in an unfortunate location” one newspaper said. 


It is supposed be a western interpretation of Chinese style. It took me a lot to see the Chinese influence…..

Before SKL building was completed Lowe Kong Meng was already influential, and was co author of a pamphlet regardng “The Chinese Question in Australia “. Upon reading today I can see ripples of the present! 

He later became board member of the Commercial bank of Australia. Research on Lowe Kong Meng
But now I am puzzled Lowe Kong Meng died 1888 yet this building finished 1887, yet he brought his wife here in 1860 and was said to have brought her to SKL building…. and he died at his Malvern home in 1888  which was two homes after SKL….?…I think the heritage base may be wrong….Ballarat times mention the house/building in 1863

Examples of Work thus far

Architecture

Although some sketching, in fact quite a bit is done inside, I like to get out and use my own outdoor experiences at least to get the sketch down. And see the poeple walking past. Or like the guy in the red shirt below, sitting and having a drink (can of alcohol at 0800am)

img_0001

Brisbane Old treasury building, Now a casino, no irony in that??? June 16

img_0306

Errol St North Melbourne, not so lively at this time of the morning, the characters were looking at my shoulder asking me,  “is this some sort of art class?” May 16

 

img_1096

Or sketching where we have been from a photo, I dont think I am losing my hair but in this sketch I appear to be??? August 16

Version 2

Flinders St station Maybe its about capturing Icons, such as FLinders st, whilst there is a wedding going on in the church behind me. Well, it was about to go on, but Grandpa hadnt arrived yet. It was very entertaining trying to sketch whilst evesdropping on phone conversations about where grandpa was. He was only 10 minutes kater than the bride. Apprently it was a bathroom malfunction…..need I say more.  Feb 2015

IMG_4029

I drew the central part of the theatre on site and realised I should have gone smaller. Jan 15

Outside scenes

vietnam-bikes

I couldnt draw this one live, I’m also on the back of a vespa but there is my wife red helmet and son orange helmet, heads swivelling like tourists do. Feb 16

hoi-anh

Wife and daughter on the quiet street(?) of Hoi Anh Nov 15

img_1198

Food stall HoChi Minh Drawn feb 16

Cars

img_1942

Model T at Penlink. Some people put a lot of money into their vehicles. Me? I am attracted by the shiny bits, perhaps I was a magpie in a former life? Jul 16

img_0774

Drawn on the ferry , wedged against the ships rail, but I wanted to capture it. Feb 16

img_1197

Drawn Easter 2016 at Pakenham car display for RCH

Cafes

The Winey Cow MorningtonThe Winey Cow Mornington. Sometimes its the happy waitering staff who eventually cotton on to what I am doing and want to be in the picture Dec 15

Laneway Espresso Dromana

The Laneway Espresso, and the Barfly, a fellow I see usually on the stool. Do all barristas ghave beards??? June 16 

Beechworth- mining ones talents over a week

Taking a break camping in Pearl (our caravan) in the town of Beechworth. Its origins as a town are based on the great gold rush in Victoria, when gold was found here in  1852. The new towns location made it a central area for government as it was a few hundred kilometres from Melbourne. As a central hub it built up post office, hotels, police station, hospital, jail and more .

Beechworth post office day 1

We walked for about 2 Hours going into town along the creek which was mined for gold. Along the path there are warnings of mine shafts on both sides. You think to yourself oh yeah! But as you walk, watching for snakes you cross strong wire grates and look down and see you are standing over a big black hole. Just like Bruce Wayne fell down…then you stop and look and there are more holes, less protected two metres away, some just have old trees shoved down them….seriously we did not wander off the path.

Beechworth Albert st

In town I drew from the positions of shade, as it’s quite warm up here at the moment.
I seemed to focus on the corner of Ford st & Albert Rd. First the post office, actually twice, (both above) then, the old gold office/bank  (below) and is now mostly a jewellery shop. These two I have not completed but I wanted to record what I had done when I returned home.

Bank of Victoria, gold, now jewellery

Then the Honey discovery centre which was also a bank. The green edging is actually an olive colour. ,which I noticed in the different light than when I commenced it.

Beechworth honey discovery shop


On the roundabout of this road is an old light(modernised now). It still has the old chain for lighting it (now welded on). Now it’s a fashionable thing for youth to place things on, when we first arrived it had a tiny rubber truck on top, over the weekend a couple of pairs of boys underpants! I omitted these!

Beechworth lamp roundabout

On Saturday night we went and watched Rachel Johnston and Andrew Clermont at the Nicholas hotel in Beechworth. Rachel sure could make the cello do some marvellous things and Andrew played guitar, mandolins x2 and banjo. I couldn’t keep up my sketching the instruments. Check them out an their tour- https://www.facebook.com/soaringmusic/

Rosebud rock fest 

The clouds rolled in.

The rain held then sprinkled.

Still, I was able to sketch. I started off with this 57 Ford customline named after its owner Keala. She’s in the middle of the three ladies on the left. Plenty of room in these old cars, no wonder they were beauties for the drive in. I remeber my dads old cars where you could slide across the whole seat with no gears or handbrake in the way.


Then the rain did start to come down , just spitting but annoying enough to make my waterproof ink run…..I was about to move and it stopped raining. Ain’t it always the way? Corvettte, gorgeous looking car that I wanted to draw another one.

One of the people walking by told me I should draw the Volkswgon further along. Mmmm. Ok I am easily led.

The owner of this one told me it was a 56 beetle and people told me it was a fully imported, because of the castle badge.it didn’t have a name but found it cute anyway. Of course ther was coffee and people walk around sipping and looking.


My wife came down since this was a local event and she photographed me without me knowing. I was in the way a little but the car club people kept coming up and admiring my work. When cars came off the line they even directed cars around me. Felt like a celebrity with my own bodyguards…

Just draw

Sometimes life gets hectic, nice hectic but hectic, and sketching can take a little bit of a break. So rather than try and do serious bits, practicing and studying other people’s art can take the pressure of self creation off and allow free sketching. Trying a zebra brush marker as well as other brush pens.


Dromana art show- I won a prize

I entered my first art show, one held every year locally. Dromana Art Show.

My kids went to school there and many years ago I did calligraphy prize certificates for them, so I chose this one to be my first “Just do it” entry. 

Up until now I have only done art in my sketchbooks, so actually working on watercolour paper was an eerie feeling. I wasn’t entering to win any prizes, I just wanted the experience. I chose a local cafe sketch I had done in my sketchbook – The Alley, flinders st station, and a hottted up model t ford I liked doing in my sketchbook.


I had to decide what size to enter. I had been doing a few A4 size sketchbook and the entry fee for A4 and under was $10 each, so I told myself I could do 4 in under 2 months. I did 3. So paid my $40 and ended up ‘donating’10.

Then I had to say how much each was worth. If one sold the art show earned 1/4 for local charities and the school.

I had no idea so I said $160. It wasn’t about the money…

 I worked on all 4 at the same time, all with a little pencil of basic shapes, looking at Flinders st now I should have raised it up and a little off centre…..

When I painted this the sky on the right “ran” and lead to the blue line so I had to give the whole sky this happy mistake look…..

I used a brush pen for the hot rod to push myself to get a bit intricate with it. I debated really hard whether to add more background and in the end just stayed plain. At this stage I abandoned the 4th picture.

All three had 4 stages, pencil outline, ink lines, grisaille (shade) then watercolour.
Each phase has its own enjoyment, getting those bricks in, choosing which music to play whilst working, drawing little dogs…


Then they needed framing. Never done that before so off I toddled down to the local Dromana man who charged me $75 per frame =$225.

I gave myself two and half weekss for framing, 2 were done in a week and Flinders a week later 4 days before the show, but I was not panicking (much).

Line work on left, grisaille on the right , and of course completed below.

Dropping the art at the show was an experience in itself. Some of my “fellow” artists were quite rude, wanting to drop off and run, not reading the instructions properly and blaming the system for their errors. I found it straight forward but entertaining whilst I waited my turn. The workers were volunteers trying to raise money for charity, they were very patient.

I was fortunate enough to win Best piece under $500 and was very chuffed I can tell you. I was rung in the afternoon.

 I couldn’t get to the opening night as I had agreed to run a trivia night for a work colleague who had cancer ( and actually unbeknownst to us passed away that night, a blessing in some ways)….

The Alley also sold! I am told the owner of the alley bought it, so I understand why it sold , but am pleased it went to a happy home. My wife wants me to do another!