Dec 30, 2011

End of the Year

On December 26, we were in the middle of a hot and sunny weather marathon. We walked down to the beach (near Belt Road, New Plymouth) and sat in the shade of the red-flowering pohutukawa trees. Fruitcake and cups of tea as we watched schools of minnows jump around in the near-still sea water. I've brought my sketchbook down here before but haven't been inspired until now. The bottom drawing is my ballpoint pen drawing from the day. The top one is a Photoshop painted version that I did at home later while trying to remember all the colours.
Lots of action at Port Taranaki in the distance. The next day a large cruise ship was coming in for a day visit. Not a big deal for some cities, but it's been some time since one came in around here and there was lots of interest. The morning of the arrival, we went out to the end of the breakwater to watch it come in. It was raining lightly, making everyone soggy, but the atmosphere was high with people waving to the passengers. After the ship docked, it fined up for more hot weather. 
It's now the last day of the year and it's raining again - this time for a much longer period. Time to have a look at this year's sketchbooks and get ready for another year of sketchcrawls.

Dec 19, 2011

TSB Showplace, Devon St, New Plymouth

This is the New Plymouth Opera House. It's decorated as you imagine it to be with ornamental everything. A new part had been added to the adjacent building to add size and facilities. It was renamed the TSB Showplace. Since the Taranaki Savings Bank (TSB) likely sponsored the upgrade I am guessing that naming rights were part of the deal. (I've only lived here for a few years so I'm not sure.)
The building just past that is an Irish style pub named Peggy Gordon's. Most cities have at least one, with good reason. 
The town seemed bustling this week. It's probably the Christmas rush that has everyone buzzing but the nice sunny weather is coming back and that also helps get us outdoors.

Dec 13, 2011

Mr Chips

On my desk, I have a small sculpture of a demented puffer-fish. I have a friend who makes these as well as other larger crazy sea creatures. I helped her make some brochures once and as a gift she sent me a one of her smaller fish. She also gives each of her fish a name but this one arrived to us nameless. We thought that the row of bottom teeth seemed like a carton of french fries, or 'chips'. Down here in New Zealand there is manufacturer of chips that supplies several of the fish & chip shops that goes by the name of 'Mr. Chips'. It seemed perfect for our little guy.

Dec 5, 2011

Pirate Woman with parrot

A rough idea sketch of a woman with a parrot on her shoulder (and looking a bit like a pirate.) This is for an illustration on my other blog. The final version included a pirate-like hat as well. Click here to see the finished version.

Nov 29, 2011

Sidewalk repair

A lunchtime sketch of a work truck at the scene of a widening of a sidewalk. I assumed that since it was lunchtime, the workmen were having lunch as well.

Nov 23, 2011

Cloudy days in New Plymouth

It's about to rain. It's overcast with cloud and no wind. A calm before the storm. Maybe the last chance to sketch outside for a few days.
Going into spring, the weather is generally getting better but it will be getting wetter before it gets dryer. Almost half a year ago I did this next one when the skies were quite dark during the day. But I was out of the rain at a cafe - drinking and sketching.
Of note:
- The car in that first picture was parked and also drove away before I finished the drawing. Don't people know they are ruining our compositions? So rude!
- In that second sketch, there is a wheat paste of a face on the building. This one is a collaborative work but the main artist did a good number of them (pastes) and wall paintings by himself at the time. He was 'notorious' and in the newspapers often which opened the debate, "Is this art?" It turned out that he was identified as someone who worked for the city council and that caused a bit of awkwardness since they technically have to remove it. Afterwards he also had some solo shows (inside the galleries this time) that were successful. I've met him and he seems to be a pretty cool guy which probably helped him turn the publicity into something positive. As of today, It's starting to peel like the rest and some of his large works have been painted over. You can see this one and others at his website.

Nov 16, 2011

New Plymouth buildings

The White Hart Hotel would easily be one of the oldest buildings in New Plymouth (New Zealand) and in recent years has been reasonably derelict. People have started to restore/renovate it to make it offices shops and a restaurant. It wanted to capture it while it still was in progress with scaffolding and construction signs. (On writing this, I noticed that the building peeking in from the left is scheduled to be taken down to make room for an extension to the art gallery.)
This next one was done on the same day after a snack.

Nov 14, 2011

TOPEC footbridge

This is a reasonably quick sketch for me. I often spend ages refining the overall image. This day I was late meeting a bunch of other sketchers and some of them were already on their seconds or thirds. We agreed to meet near the TOPEC grounds (Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Education Centre). We were just coming out of winter at the time and even though it was a nice day, you really wanted to be in the sun. So I thought that I would skip sketches of cabins and things and I found a sunny picnic table by the river. Upstream was a footbridge to another wooded area. As I sat there, trying to make up lost drawing time, a fantail did actually land on the wire fence long enough to pose in that spot that I sketched it. (I later received comments of disbelief from fellow sketchers regarding the bird's ability to not spoil the composition of my drawing.)

Nov 6, 2011

David Brown 950 Implematic

There was a display of tractors and farm equipment as part of a local garden show. I drew this one since I liked the name.
(This tractor was labelled as a 1956 although a quick search on the internet said that this model started production in 1958.)

Nov 1, 2011

Viking re-enactment

We met up with some people with Viking blood who keep the spirit alive. They have their own weapons and armour and nearly every weekend, give each other a few knocks while working themselves up into a slight berserker rage. These guys are serious about the history but I think that the biggest draw is the social aspect of the society. They all like to have a drink now and then and they were laughing the whole time that we were with them.
(They were also featured in the local newspaper.)

Oct 26, 2011

Ford D-Series

I went to a property that had a assortment of old derelict vehicles and chose this old truck to draw. I later learned that it is a Ford D-Series. Like most of the vehicles there... lots of rust. (How do you draw that?)

Oct 22, 2011

Boat awaiting repairs

This is a boat that was damaged in a storm. It broke free of its moorings and spent a bit of time on the rocks. The bottom had chalk lines showing sections where the steel hull was going to be replaced. Apparently, this is the second time that this has happened to this particular vessel in the last two or three years.

Sep 28, 2011

Cricket grounds

Preparing the cricket pitch for the next season. Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, New Zealand

Jul 4, 2011


Five different colours of ballpoint pens + yellow highlighter