Saturday, 13 January 2018

From a Backdoor in Croydon

Here's the first couple of sketches for 2018! They were done from the back door of a house I was staying at in Croydon, NSW, Australia.

On the second morning I watched the neighbour next door feed wild birds in his backyard. Cockatoos and Lorikeets perched on his clothes hoist and helped themselves from a feeder he put out. What fun!

Here's another sketch looking the other way.

That's the Holy Innocents' Parish which also has a primary school. 

Marker pen, watercolour, #MoleskineWatercolourAlbum, 5x8” 

Friday, 12 January 2018

Sub-urban Sketching

You could say I like capturing the mundane. Here's a sketch looking down our street in Casey County. 

The weekly garbage collection for us is early Monday morning and everyone puts their wheelie bins (tall bins with wheels) out by the pavement the night before. Bins for garden waste and another for recycling are collected fortnightly. This red bin is the one for garden waste. 

Here's another sketch looking across my street. Agapanthus is a very popular plant with flowers in blue and white.

#LamyPen, #DeArtramentis Document Brown Ink, watercolour, #MoleskineWatercolourAlbum, 5x8” 

Thursday, 28 December 2017

MelbourneUSk Final Meet 2017

Melbourne Urban Sketchers had a successful full day event on the 9th of December in the Fitzroy Gardens area. 

On the way there on the train I got unexpectedly bussed from Dandenong to Caulfield Stations due to a train line disruption but it was a smooth express ride on the freeway so luckily no time was lost. 

The group met at Burston Reserve in the city at 9.30am where we picked up our goodie bags of art materials (courtesy of Senior Art Supplies for this special sketchmeet), our pre-ordered Melbourne Urban Sketchers T-shirts and handmade folding journals (made expertly by volunteer members of the group). 

I decided to use the new folding journal. 

There was lots to sketch around Burston Reserve like the Great Petition sculpture. It was unveiled in 2008 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote in the state of Victoria. The scroll-like sculpture was fun to draw with many sketchers seated inside the scrolls.

 St Paul's Cathedral was visible from my comfy seat among the palm trees. The cathedral is very impressive from its front but I was too lazy to walk over to the front so I settled for a view of the back

At the end of the morning there was the usual sharing of sketches. It's always amazing to see the range of different interpretations...followed by the always fun group photo. 

Kere Kere Cafe in the adjacent Fitzroy Gardens was the lunch venue and the eager group was then treated to a speedy 45 minute watercolour demonstration by MelbUSk member Jay Parappil. 

Much inspired, I spent the rest of the lazy afternoon sketching Captain Cook's Cottage in Fitzroy Gardens. 

The cottage was originally built in 1755 in Yorkshire, England, by the parents of Captain James Cook. (James Cook was the English explorer who made the first recorded European exploration of the Eastern coast of Australia in 1770). The cottage was dismantled, each brick numbered, shipped to Australia in 1934 and reassembled at the present site. It is a popular tourist attraction.

The perfect day ended with much laughter over the excellent lucky draw prizes, sharing of sketches and final group photo (unfortunately I didn't win anything). A couple of Captain Cook's Cottage guides dressed in their 18th century costumes were thrilled to recognize themselves in some sketches and stayed to have their photo taken with the group.

I made some new friends among the 40 sketchers at this meet and look forward to more sketchmeets in 2018.

Group photos courtesy of Melbourne USk.

Marker pen, #Moleskinesketchbook 3.5”x5.5”. Marker pens and watercolour on handmade folded journal.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

A talk and sketch at Monash University

I attended a stimulating talk at Monash University, Melbourne on Singapore being no longer a multilingual society. When I was growing up in Singapore, everyone spoke 4 or 5 languages (to varying competence). Now with English taught as the main language in all schools and the Government directed promotion of Mandarin at the expense of other Chinese dialects, the society has become bilingual – English and one other language (Mandarin, Malay or Tamil). Much can be said about this situation...

It was nice and cool in the shade of some trees outside the Robert Menzies building after the talk. Monash University is unrecognisable from what it was in the 1970s when I was a student there.

Marker pens, watercolour, #MoleskineWatercolourAlbum, 5x8”.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Old Berwick Post Office

I discovered a seat conveniently in front of the Old Post Office in Berwick, Victoria, so how could I pass up the opportunity to sketch this old building. (I didn’t have my paints with me so I added the colours after I got home). 

This historical landmark with what was the court house next door (and postmaster's residence behind) was built in 1884 and is one of a number of 19th century buildings preserved in Berwick’s High Street area.

#LamyPen, watercolour, #MoleskineWatercolourAlbum, 5x8” 

Sunday, 12 November 2017


On Saturday 11th November 2017, Urban Sketcher (USk) chapters from around the globe held sketchwalks in their cities to celebrate 10 years of Urban Sketchers. (There are more than 200 official chapters). Using GMT time, photos from each chapter were uploaded in turn at designated times to the USk Instagram account starting with the first chapter to see daylight (Auckland, New Zealand) to the last chapter to see the sunset (O’ahu, USA). The hashtag was #USkglobal24hrsketchwalk. 

I sketched on the train going to the Melbourne Urban Sketchers sketchwalk for the #USkglobal24hrsketchwalk. 

I only attended the morning session held at the Block Arcade in the Melbourne CBD (the afternoon session was held at Flinders Street Station). 

The Block Arcade, Melbourne. 

One of Melbourne’s most richly decorated interior spaces, it was erected in 1892, the design inspired by an arcade in Milan. There was a poignant start to the sketchwalk when the whole CBD observed a minute’s silence at 11am for Remembrance Day.

A rather daunting scene but here is my sketch finished in an hour, a rush job as I was expecting to be pounced upon by the manager of the arcade who was going around telling us sketchers to leave. 

Management later changed their minds, welcomed our presence and said we should come more often! The sketch group got a lot of attention from shoppers.

An unexpected bonus was entertainment by opera singer Sarah Lobegeiger. She caused a painting in a shop to fall and smash when she hit a high note!

I was chuffed that she shared my sketch on her Facebook page!

And here's the group photo (courtesy of Melbourne Urban Sketchers). 

How exciting to have been part of this USk event!

Marker pens, watercolour, #MoleskineWatercolourAlbum, 5x8” 

Berwick Artists' Society

Sketching the scene and people there was a good way to remember who I met at my first weekly meeting of the Berwick Artists' Society. It was held outdoors due to a power failure in the meeting room but what a nice day to be outside! Old Cheese Factory grounds, Berwick, Melbourne.

Marker pens, watercolour, #MoleskineWatercolourAlbum, 5x8”