Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Day 31
Last day of May, already. I set off on my bike along the bike path on the southern side of the Lake. This is the view looking across to the city. The long, low building in the foreground, with peculiar huge loop, is the National Museum of Australia. There is a commercial building boom at the moment hence all the cranes. Commonwealth Bridge is on the right. Yachts can just pass underneath if they tip over a little at the highest point. There is a policy of not building up the hillsides so there is very little evidence of housing - it's all hidden by trees, in the foothills only. Today, there was more evidence of cockatoos than people. 5 km

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Day 30
I cycled to Woden to go to the library, seeing nothing to draw along the way. After the library, I thought it was too cold to stop and draw on the way home so I went into the Mall and enjoyed a hot chocolate while I looked down and across to the escalator. These enormous pencils were hanging from the ceiling. At first sight, my heart soared as I thought they must be advertising National Sketch Day - sadly not - 'shop for your school' instead! 10 km

Monday, May 29, 2006

Day 29
I walked to the neighbouring suburb of Deakin to find a change of scene and do some shopping. On the way home, I crossed under the main road leading to Woden and 'saw' this scene - which, of course, I have seen hundreds of times but never as a landscape composition. I was going to add paint at home but decided to do it in situ and so caught the sudden sunset which the eucalypt tree-tops reflected as a beautiful coppery glow. 4 km

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Day 28
I walked to Hermione's bench and back, having already decided I would try to catch these amazing flowers that neighbours down the road have in their garden. Approximately 2" across, they are flowers of Hakea Laurina, a tall, multi-stemmed, strap-leafed bush. I couldn't think how to draw its delicate, pale-pink bristles (petals?) on my white sketchbook page and anyway it was getting too dark - so I came home and did a simple collage while Ralph cooked sausage and chips with salad for dinner. 5 km

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Day 27
I wandered around Yarralumla again and came across another household with a lot of stuff lying around outside - including this delightful little trailer made from the back half of a mini or similar. I would like to have it for a touring studio, though it would need to have fly screens and tea making facilities. 4 km

Friday, May 26, 2006

Day 26
This household (not us) doesn't bother to take their winter fire-wood in from the nature strip, put it under cover (perhaps not necessary these days as it no longer rains) or stack it. It provides a welcome touch of variety (element of squalor) that slows the suburb's rush to up-marketdom. Actually, the pile was five times this size but darkness fell and I had to go and pick my sister up from the airport. We heat exclusively with wood, in a slow combustion stove (not used for cooking) but most people now are switching to gas for convenience.
4 km

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Day 25
Japanese drummers - I cycled into town to meet Finnian for lunch (just a 'lemon juice' we had, of course). Afterwards, I was about to cycle off when these drummers started up. What I most enjoy about these sort of events is the creation of the 'artwork' before one's eyes - people working to make it happen/speak and you can see the energy, soul, spark that is poured in. Such input is also required for the visual arts and is evident in successful works but you don't see it happening - just the 'trace' of it after the fact - I find it very exciting and inspiring, regardless of whether I like the work or not.
The bald man in the middle was huge and wore his sunnies on the back of his head. The rhythm was controlled in the beginning but became wilder and wilder. 12 km

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Day 24
I cycled to the National Gallery to get some exercise and see an exhibition of South East Asian art before it finishes this weekend. There was a glorious embroidered umbrella which looked suitable for a sultan sitting on an elephant - I was going to draw it, but on the way to get a drink first, I spotted this group and a convenient bench to sit on while I drew. They are discussing Blue Poles by Jackson Pollock, a controversial purchase for $1,000,000 in the 70's (any child could do it -and many primary classes were set to work) but now generally accepted as Art.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Day 23
Another meandering through Yarralumla, this time with rain threatening but only the occasional drop, including one on my sketchbook. I passed the house which has an indoor, upstairs swimming pool with a see-through side - I have never seen anyone swimming in it. 4km

Monday, May 22, 2006

Day 22
I thought today I was too tired to 'see' anything but no, there's always something to draw! I wandered through the suburb down to the lake, wondering when in the year the pelicans come - not now, anyway. And then back home past the shops, where I saw these objects swinging in the back of the Halal butcher's - I don't know what they are - smoked shoulders of lamb, maybe? 4 km

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Day 21
I'd arranged to walk around the lake, over the two bridges, with Robin today so I arrived a little early to do a drawing before we set off. There were several pairs of swans hoping for a treat - I couldn't oblige but they hung around long enough for me to catch the shape of them. 5 km

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Day 20
I set off just after dusk today, wondering what I could draw in the dark. I meandered around the suburb - lots of people hadn't yet closed their curtains - so I noted a few window shapes and did this when I got home - in the process, covering up an even worse page of kangaroos than that published below. 4km

Friday, May 19, 2006

Day 19
Well, you can all laugh - I am, my dear son has. Today I walked 'the loop', my favourite walk, along with Hermione's bench. (I am getting around to doing a map) - through the woods, down the Governer General's drive and alongside the lake and the golf course. The kangaroos were having a last evening feed on the golf course. I did take 3 photos but without my glasses, I thought I had them in the screen - but no - turned out I was aiming at the tree tops! :) I also sat down to draw them - they were fairly still so the fault is all mine - I just have no experience drawing animals - never mind - have to start somewhere. Anyway - I do often see roos around my suburb, just 5 minutes from the national Parliament. Sometime soon I will go and sketch the politicians. That will certainly ruin the page. 5 km

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Day 18
I had to cycle to Woden again. As I set off, I realized there was a huge rain cloud and I didn't have my rain coat. Never mind, I thought, it's more likely to rain if I don't have it and I can do a drawing about testing Julie's theory that you hold out a sketchbook under a cloud and it will rain. But by the time I had done my errands, the cloud had gone (Lesson:always sketch it now) so I painted this long view of the smoke from burning-off somewhere towards the Cotter. I'm quite pleased with it, even though there's not much there - it's the first time I have painted directly onto paper. I am going to stitch myself a watercolour sketchbook soon. 8km

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Day 17
I cycled to the shopping mall at Woden to buy Ralph a birthday present. It was closed all yesterday due to a bomb scare and there was lots of grumbling about it - especially from the food vendors who had to throw away lots of prepared food. All of this exercise is making me very hungry so I went to the food mall and enjoyed a small falafel/salad wrap. There were so many people gobbling - all except the baby. 8km return

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Day 16
I cycled around the Lake and over the bridge to do some business in the 'city' but forgot to take my bike lock so had to return home. It's a glorious day and I sat down on a bank overlooking the lake and Black Mountain to watch a sail boat sit on the glass-like water. So peaceful - then all of a sudden, a lot of shouting and a dragon boat without the head speeds across my view - "C'mon you guys, this is where it hurts, BURN IT 1,2,3...10,9,8. Ten more - ready, go -,move - build up the agro." GRUNT, GRUNT. "Move. Stay with it. Make Power."
I'd rather ride my bike - though 20 years ago I was part of a foreigners' dragon boat team that beat the Taiwan Women's Physical Education Students on a murky river in Taipei. 12 km

Monday, May 15, 2006

Day 15
A mixture of cycling and walking today. I walked round to the back of the old brickworks, thinking I might draw the kilns or chimney but then realized I had just 10 minutes before I had to be at my mother's place, not enough time to do them justice. I was struck by the sense of being locked out of the interesting historical site and loved the texture of the tumbledown wire fence - which I finished drawing while I waited to collect Finnian from uni. having arrived a half hour early by mistake.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Day 14
I feel my landscapes are very primitive and have to remind myself that they are only a sketch of where I walked - exercise being the main aim. Ralph and I set off a little late for Hermione's bench and were caught by dusk. I saw this brief view where it looked as if the trees between the hills on the other side of the lake were holding up the blackness. Ralph continued on the 100 metres to Hermione's bench while I took a few mintues to draw, without my glasses, before it was quite dark. 6 km

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Day 13
A very busy day and come 9.30pm, after our bath, Ralph and I had still not gone for a walk. So we put on our coats over our pyjamas and set off under the beautiful starry, full-moon sky. It was a warm 10 degrees.
Here is the Southern Cross, featured on our flag. The two pointer stars on the left are very bright and can be used to find the five stars of the proper Southern Cross. Imagine a line linking the pointer stars and a line perpendicular to that - where it hits another imaginary line joining the two end stars of the Cross - drop a line vertically down to the horizon and that direction will be south. This navigation method was know to the ancient peoples of Australia and the pacific mariners. 4 km

Friday, May 12, 2006

Day 12
I have been 'leafing' all day and am 'buggered' as they say here - too tired to do a special walk but definately well exercised already. We have enormous eucalypts in our street which drop whole branches from time to time but not much in the way of compost material so at this time of year I get the trailer which we have a part share in and find the streets which are planted with oaks or claret ash. (All Canberra streets have street trees planted on 'nature strips' which are about 3-4 metres wide and may or may not have a footpath) It's clear who doesn't want 'their' leaves as they have pushed them into the gutters. Now I have to go and unload the trailer.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Day 11
Despite being determined to look carefully at all the angles, I still got it very wrong - but it was worth trying to fix up and adding paint helped. This is the Yarralumla Woolshed, a particularly grand example of a not uncommon farm structure - now used for bush dances and other functions as it has great character and a wonderful wooden dance floor, as well as a sheepy smell. The ramp for the sheep to run up is still there and, on the far right a drainage channel. The poo fell underneath and was regularly shovelled out by scout groups in latter years and sold as garden fertilizer. The pine trees are some of the few left in this area - only helicopter water bombing saved this historic (by Australian standards) building during the 2002 and 2003 bushfires. 3km return

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Day 10
Walked over the two bridges. Canberra, as the capital of Australia, has many national buildings located here. Most of them are in the middle of the city, around Lake Burley Griffin. On the left of this sketch, on the other side of the Lake, is the War Memorial at the top of the red gravel Anzac Parade, with Mount Ainslie behind. On the right is Old Parliament House with the tall triangular flagpole of New Parliament House rising behind. That flag is the size of a double-decker bus. In the middle is the long-standing but unofficial Aboriginal Tent Embassy with its sacred fire, tents protected from the rain by blue plastic sheeting and the embassy itself, a converted shipping container. To try to persuade the tent embassy to go away, the Government built Reconciliation Place which includes the grey corridor on the left and the bright European Green grass. Needless to say, it doesn't say much about reconciliation and the Tent Embassy will not be tidied away. 5km

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Day 9
Now all the men and their trucks have gone from this patch of waste ground, I suddenly notice what it is they were doing - installing new telegraph poles. They are unweathered and so strikingly green.
I saw a group of male kangaroos today, sunning themselves on their favourite corner of the golf course but they bounded away before I had a chance to even get my camera out. Next time I go that way, I'll have my camera ready. 6 km

Monday, May 08, 2006

Day 8
It was sunny and warm when I stepped outside the front door so I didn't take my coat - big mistake. Soon there was a biting wind from the mountains. I found this lovely variety of spikinesses and thought they could represent the cold trying to claw through my jumper.
6 km.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Day 7
Sunday - Ralph and I wanted to go for a walk together. We left it a bit late, having a roast dinner to prepare and it was drizzling. Ralph wouldn't want to stand around while I draw! Then I thought we could walk up to our nearest commercial art gallery where there is an exhibition of illustrator John Winch's drawings for a children's book on Leonardo da Vinci's ideas for human flight. I'd seen them but Ralph had not. I sat on the covered verandah and drew the garden sculptures. The copper ' net' is surely inspired by aboriginal fish traps. Night, Horn and Woman are made from laminated plywood though they look like pottery. 3km.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Day 6
I had a fun time doing these letter boxes that everyone has at the end of their drive or front path so the postie can speed along the pavement on their motorbike and quickly deliver the mail . One man came out and suspiciously quizzed me over why I was sitting on his driveway staring at his letter box. He was very interested to see my sketchbook pages, especially the rusting car. 4km return

Friday, May 05, 2006

Day 5
I returned to Hermione's bench today hoping to find the burnt- out car that I spotted on Wednesday, still there. Yes! Amazing colours and texture - I think it was white originally but rust has quickly set in. This subject would probably lend itself to conte crayons but I haven't used mine for 15 years! Ink-pen and watercolour. 6 km return

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Day 4
I walked through the wood and down Dunrossill Drive, where the Governer General (the Queen's representative in Australia) lives. There seemed to be nothing to draw! Beautiful blue sky though, and I looked up at the tremendously tall Monterey Pines and thought I would draw them from the ground, looking up. I tried to find the best place, then came across another sort of pine tree, nearly dead, with this fantastic pattern to its branches. As I drew, I was was reminded of my caligraphy classes in Taiwan, 20 years ago - the old teacher thought I was hopeless and did his best to ignore me. So, I wrote my notes in Chinese. It says - 'Every day I go for a walk, looking for something to draw. Today I found a very interesting tree.' Brush and ink, fineline pen. (4 km return)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Day 3
I walked to Hermione's bench opposite her island ('Hermione's Island' - privately named after our daughter whose ashes are buried there, under the right-hand tree), 4 - 5 km return. Very windy and cold. I thought I would be drenched on the way home but it has all blown over without a drop. Sigh. I have done three days in a row - first tree, first house and first landscape! :) Here, I used a fat 20B pencil to cover the page quickly, before I was blown away.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Day 2
There is a lot of redevelopment going on in my suburb. Much of it is very mundane or ridiculously over the top. I really like this house - its design is inspired by the traditional Australian bush cottage with tin roof and wrap-around verandah, brought into the contemporary with curves and colour.

Day One - I've started - 364 days to go by which time I will surely be addicted if I'm not already.
I cycled to Maxine's - about 10 km return in the drizzle. The wet enhances the colours of these Blue Gums. The bark peels off all the time and large sulphur-crested cockatoos sit in the branches and tear off pieces too, exposing the coloured, smooth bark underneath.