Dec 9, 2013
About two more weeks until lots of people (and most businesses) shut down for up to a month. Combining Christmas, the New Year and plain old Kiwi summer holidays into a concentrated dose of serious time-off. But why wait? That's what weekends are for.
Dec 6, 2013
Nov 10, 2013
As a kid, there was a helicopter that you could see in the air from time to time. It was this one, combined with re-runs of M*A*S*H, that led me to believe that all helicopters were basically exposed steel frames with a clear bubble cockpit. As I got older, the TV show, Airwolf, pointed out that not all helicopters look like this. Even though it was a modified civilian helicopter, it looked very cool and modern compared to the basic and skeletal Bell-47. Fake rocket pods, other attached film props, and visual & sound effects made it even better.
So here I am, decades later, sketching a helicopter, that still looks a lot like Airwolf. While the TV star was a Bell 222, this one before me is an AgustaWestland AW109. Even years ago, as an avid watcher of the show, I had to look that up. The overall body-shape is very similar, and to me, it's close enough. When I was reading about it on the internet, I read that the actual vehicle in the series had a brief stint as a charter helicopter and then, in Germany, also became a rescue helicopter. Unfortunately, it crashed on its way back to base after an otherwise successful mission when it was caught up in a storm. While it is a risk here that an accident could happen too, this one has very safe specifications. After all, the response team here is a very capable crew piloting 2 decades of flight technology improvements, such as GPS and night vision. The real stuff this time... not TV trickery!
Oct 6, 2013
This week a bunch of us gathered to have a look at some amusement park rides that were set up on a patch of grass by the sea. Even though it was predicted to rain this weekend, it was very sunny and there were lots of people. While some of the others were drawing the rides, I thought that it was the people, especially the kids with ear to ear grins, that make something like this really happen.
Sep 29, 2013
Labels: New Plymouth
Aug 15, 2013
At the bottom is an arcade with shops (not the kind with Pac-Man) that lead to a parking building. I remember that there used to be an American-themed bar in there that was closed once because it was a New Zealand public holiday. Still, other pubs were open and I though it was weird that an American bar wouldn't be open for the Super Bowl, which was the same day. Well, today it isn't there.
Aug 11, 2013
Last time I was here was two years ago and below is the sketch (and a digitally coloured version) from then. While I was there I noticed a headstone for the Viking Lander out of the corner of my eye. (The 1970's Mars Mission?) Surely, not! At the very least, wasn't it on another planet? (I explain it better on my other blog.)
|2011 Sketch - coloured|
Aug 8, 2013
I actually came here to sketch the intersection. There was a street bench with a nice view up the hill that I had scoped out the day before. On the day, a Nissan Micra was parked right in my perfect view. (I guess there was no car parked here the day before.)
So I thought, if this car was, say, a Maserati I would have no trouble starting my drawing. I thought, even though this car isn't an extreme luxury auto, it could be someone's treasured little car. Maybe it even has name (like Rupert, even)!
So in the end, I decided to show this little runabout a little love and feature it right in the middle. He's probably really enjoying his day out in downtown New Plymouth.
Jul 14, 2013
Jul 10, 2013
I also remember the time that a tornado ripped up this street and shattered the overhangs among the rest of the street's debris. I was working near here at the time of the tornado and can still clearly recall the slow walk up this way just after if happened. This area became a bit like a movie scene where someone fought off some aliens or robots.
Jun 30, 2013
Jun 25, 2013
New Plymouth's main shopping area runs from the top to the bottom of a hill. Shops at the top are said to be 'at the Top of Town' while those further down the street are 'at the Bottom of Town'. Radio and newspaper ads for businesses in between are described as 'on the hill'. Although it seems a little weird, I can't imagine how else you can describe it.
|(If you are looking at the sign and wondered who won, New Zealand beat France 24-9.)|
May 28, 2013
Originally, I though we were going to draw just the Yaks which are Russian propellor planes. When I found out that there were jets there too, I had an ear to ear grin and could have happily sat in there all day and sketched. It was just us and the planes with permission to walk around the building and look inside the cockpits. When we left were were offered the chance to come back again. I wonder how long we will be able to resist?
May 5, 2013
Firstly, it is held in a town hall and this is a reminder that all centres in the province of Taranaki are still dependent on farming (in different percentages) to keep the economies running smoothly. And secondly, I've heard that New Zealand has a rule where no birds or eggs are allowed into the country to prevent an exposure to bird flu - so the varieties and breeds that are here need to be well managed. It's also (maybe as a result) starting to be more and more common for someone to keep some chickens on suburban properties. I'm mentioning this since in quite a few places in the urban world, keeping animals like this is probably illegal.
A fellow sketcher even purchased a couple that were for sale to add to her existing coop. As a buyer, she had quite a selection to choose from. There were all types of chickens and pigeons with a few ducks as well.
It makes sense to integrate the rural into the cities since they maybe aren't that separate anyway.
(At the edge of urban - Part 1)
Apr 28, 2013
Apr 21, 2013
Apr 6, 2013
Mar 24, 2013
Murray Dewhurst, from Auckland, has a pretty good streak going on the old New Zealand villas lately. (In particular, this post.) This week's subject was one of the Taranaki examples of these type of houses. While most villas aren't this large, this specimen is certainly a worthy challenge. This one took about three hours on location and maybe another hour and a bit to clean up my lines at home. These types of houses have lots of detail.
Mar 10, 2013
Mar 3, 2013
I'm not really a car person. I also pass by this building quite regularly but have rarely really looked at it. The other day though... I guess I just looked up while passing it. In the window among much newer models is this old-timey car. It always faces forward like it hates being in there and wants to escape to the road again. After sketching the building, I asked permission to draw this classy roadster. The owner and staff were very welcoming as I sketched. I actually learned a lot about Citroëns while I was there! In particular, the car that I was drawing is a 'Big Six' (6-cylinder) variant of a Traction Avant (which is French for 'front-wheel drive'). I guessed that the car was a 1940's model. I was wrong; it turns out that it was made in 1954! Being no expert, I am used to 1950's cars being big American cruisers. It occurred to me that France didn't come out of World War 2 as affluent as America did. One of the effects of this is that France just kept making the same cars and didn't have extra money for new fancy designs. (The first Citroën Traction Avant was built in 1934!)
Feb 10, 2013
Today, the Regent Theatre is now the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery which specializes in modern art from New Zealand and Pacific Rim countries. This other building (showing prominently in the sketch) is due to be demolished later this year. The Art Gallery starts construction on a large additional wing mostly dedicated to kinetic artist Len Lye. It is a modern design with a wavy stainless steel surface.
In a way, it won't be another case of tearing down an old building to put up something new. Since it's going to be physically connected to the previous Regent Theatre, it can be thought of as a severe renovation of the Regent Buildings and that they will continue to live on.
|This is another sketch that I did just over a year ago from further down Devon Street. The Building that says Red Cross on the top is part of the planned gallery expansion but I don't believe it to be one of the Regent Buildings.|
Feb 3, 2013
I'm finding the weather lately a little too hot to function normally. I sketched this trailer (caravan) while sitting in the shade. Even then I almost found it too hot to concentrate. To make matters worse, I forgot to bring my swimming trunks too. On my way home I picked up some ice cream and promised myself to go back to beach the next day - properly. So today was just as hot but I was ready this time and brought my bodyboard too. I stayed in there riding wave after wave until I was sick of it. I purposely left my watch at home.
Jan 25, 2013
Jan 13, 2013
Every year, the city of New Plymouth lights up Pukekura Park with coloured lights and displays. It's called the Festival of Lights and happens every year. Each night for 6 weeks there are different entertainment acts such as musicians and outdoor movies projected onto a large screen. Admission is free to all shows so this central park is quite popular every night that it isn't raining.To the left is my original ballpoint pen sketch and last one for 2012.
Jan 6, 2013
|Original drawing before colouring|
This is from November on one of the first summer-like days of this season. I didn't post this one at the time since the original seemed to be missing something without the colouring.
For those people that haven't been to New Plymouth, I'm sitting on some steps leading to a pedestrian bridge (over railway tracks) that connects the central commercial area to the coastal walkway. This walkway runs for several kilometres in both directions.
Jan 2, 2013
Sitting under a palm tree in Puke Ariki landing. Behind that partial wall is a stream that runs through the CBD. The trees on the other side barely hide a shopping mall parking building. Other buildings in the back include the BNZ/Quest building and the Liardet St Apartments that, for whatever reason, seem to show up often in my sketchbook lately. Other than that, there were lots of Christmas shoppers about. I must admit that I started this one last year! I ran out of time and was going to come back the next day (in December) and finish it. I got too busy at work and then it became way too hot. The heatwave was followed by some tropical rain. Before I knew it, it was next year!
(Apologies to the Canadian tourist who I had a chat with who may have wanted to see the finished drawing. Finally finished!)