May 22, 2017

Port Taranaki


The other day I was biking around the port area, looking for something to draw. I noticed a road sign that said 'Port View Crescent'. I've never been there before but with a name like that I went up the road hoping for a good view. Not much yet so I turned off a side street and had a nice open vista over Port Taranaki. Actually, between the end of a driveway and the start of an open grassy strip there was a park bench. I'm not sure who's it was but it overlooked the port and was out of the sun and under a tree. So if someone's reading this and noticed, "Hey... that's my bench", I hope you don't mind and thanks for putting it there!

May 11, 2017

New Plymouth ANZAC Day 2017

I've been out sketching other things since it's actually been pretty dry lately, however here is my finished ANZAC Day dawn ceremony sketch. As you can see I've made most of it way darker. The areas that you had seen in my previous progress pic are sort of visual notes reminding me that these are the really dark areas. This allows me to do a reasonably detailed sketch of something that is only there for a short period of time. This is my third ANZAC sketch, three years in a row. I didn't plan on coming out to do another one this year, but my sketch from last year was chosen to be in an art show in New Plymouth (running from June to November). This sort of motivated me to try it again. I don't think I will do a fourth any year soon but I'm happy with three; they look good together.


May 2, 2017

Progress Pic: ANZAC 2017

Here's a sketch that I did at the Taranaki dawn service on ANZAC Day in New Plymouth. For those that aren't from down under, this is a very early morning Remembrance Day. (ANZAC stands for Australia & New Zealand Army Corps.) So it's very dark but there are also bright spotlights. It's hard to see the dark bits while blinded by bright lights. Still, I found a good view that didn't have a spotlight facing me, but still had enough light to see my page. I also had to keep in mind that when the people get there they might be casting a shadow on my book. In the end, I just started and hoped for the best!
At that time, most of the people weren't there yet. I started to draw the monument, trees and black foreground tree shapes. I keep doing that until the people show up and settle in the place that they will be. I have about 20 minutes the draw as much people as possible. By the time that's over, the suns coming up and everything looks quite a bit different. What you see here is about an hour of drawing. The people in the foreground will have very dark shadows, with highlights around the edges of each on, due to the spotlights. It's mostly like you see but darker. The monument the the mid ground people will also be darker, remembering that the main light is coming from the right. The trees could also barely be seen so I'll build up quite a bit of ink. Although they are white as you see now, they will blend into the sky. This seemed like something I could do later so I left it at the time.
That was about a week ago now and I've been chipping away at it a little at a time. I always think that I am taking notes, as in I draw enough of each part so that I remember what each part looked like. My next post will be the finished one and you can see how it turned out.

Apr 29, 2017

Making time for fries

I've been busy this month with lots of extra jobs. As a result, I haven't made time for sketching. One day, I did have some extra time when I was in town and saw a sign that said "Curly French Fries". Oh, aggressive marketing... you win again! So I sat at a table with a street view and did this one.
Other than this one, I have a few 'sets' of sketches but won't put them up here until each group of 2 or 3 is done. They just look better when they are together but with some of them, I'm waiting for things to happen, like construction. I was also at the ANZAC dawn service and did half a sketch. I thought I might put up a progress pic of that one before I finish it. I know some people are interested in seeing how I start.

Mar 16, 2017

Taranaki Multi-Ethnic Parade

I didn't plan on drawing the Taranaki Multi-Ethnic Parade. I came down to see it and was just going to draw the New Plymouth clock tower as I waited for it to start. When people started to wave the flags around though, I decided to include the crowd that was growing, just before the start of it.
When the parade was finished, I was still drawing and some of the groups were now walking back to the start area where, I guess, their cars were. On the sidewalk, there was a group of Irish kids together with some Chinese kids, both in national costume. Proud mums were taking photos of the multicultural bunch who was having a good ol' time. They were just having fun and not noticing that what they were doing was actually the whole point of the event.

Mar 2, 2017

Americarna 2017

The 10th year of the popular Americarna festival was still popular. After a very rainy Taranaki summer, the weather in New Plymouth was perfect for the multi-day event. I just sat in the shade and sketched the people looking at the classic cars.
Below is an Impala and a Belair from two years ago, and I've coloured last year's sketch too.

Feb 16, 2017

Bus Station Primping

On the left here is the New Plymouth Bus Station. While I was sketching, saw a bunch of people arrive on a bus. The last guy out seemed to be sorting out something in his bags for some time. After the bus and other passengers had gone, he stood up and adjusted his backwards-worn cap in a slightly reflective glass door. Front. Side. Tilt head up. No way. All wrong. Cap off. Get the knitted winter hat out. (It's summer.) Front. Side. Smiley head shake. Still no. Back to the cap. Still backwards. Maybe push it a bit forward though. Side. Point at yourself in the reflection. Yeah. Now it's doing it. Awesome. Where's that hostel?

Feb 2, 2017

Spitfire

I was at the Stratford Aero Club's Open Day in central Taranaki on the weekend. Just after we got there, a Spitfire arrived from just off the horizon. The pilot did some close fly-bys and tilted the wings for the cameras. I've heard fighter planes before and this one didn't have a usual deep rumble that a grunty aircraft engine would make. It sounded like there was still a lot of power there but not as loud as I expected. I've read about the Spitfires and they were quite renowned for their performance in the skies. It seemed very classy (and stealthy?) to be 'that kind of fighter plane' and yet have this nice purring engine. These are great planes!
After it landed, and parked on the airfield I started to sketch. I overheard someone say to another enthusiast that this particular Spitfire was a seven-eighth size replica with a V8 engine. 
Oh. 
I just kept drawing...

Jan 25, 2017

That palm tree



There's lots of wind and rain this summer. So far I haven't been that productive. When I get like this I just draw our palm tree that I see from my desk. I've drawn it about five years ago (included here) and I'm surprised that I can see how much it's grown just by looking at the two drawings. It's hard to notice when you see it everyday. About two years ago I did a watercolour and that's included in this set too.

Jan 16, 2017

Masters Building Demolition

I had the day off, so I went into town to find something interesting to sketch. They were dismantling the Masters Building on Egmont Street. A lot of people stopped by to watch and some commented that they would miss that building. There's a lot of discussion about preserving the heritage buildings but most aren't earthquake safe. Some need saving but they need to be functional to make the idea realistic. It's maybe more important to make sure that the new buildings that replace these ones have a bit of style and character. It will help them stay occupied and not just be another box. All these older buildings that people love, used to be modern buildings that people love when they were first built.

Dec 31, 2016

Inglewood Columns

Here's another one from Inglewood. In between these columns is a view of people sweating while trying to finish off their Christmas shopping. We like to get ready for the holidays early, so I have lots of time to sketch the last-minute desperation.

Dec 15, 2016

Colourize Project: Rangimarie Paritutu

Here's another from what I call my Colourize Project, which is taking previous sketches, usually going back to where I drew them, and giving them the watercolour treatment.
This is of the Rangimarie Arts & Crafts Centre with Paritutu in the background. This has been in the news lately since it is to be moved from the port area to allow for seaport expansion.