bits and pieces in pen and paint

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Easter in the Blue Mountains

After a month of international travel, it was great to have a long weekend to re-equilibrate. Judy had arranged a hotel stay in the Blue Mountains – just an hour and a half west of Sydney and we drove up on Good Friday (with most of the rest of Sydney, it seemed!).

Our hotel was a former “temperance” guest house, built in the early 1900s to provide “respectable” accommodation in the mountains, free of the temptations of alcohol. Happily that had changed, but the decor maintained the earlier style and grandeur.

Mountain Heritage Hotel

And the view from the restaurant/breakfast room was a gorgeous panorama of the mountains and valleys.

View from breakfast room - Mountain Heritage Hotel

We spent the weekend walking, driving and drinking coffee – all according to our whimsy. Most enjoyable.

Scenic Skyway

Blue Mist Cafe

Sketching around the world -Part 8: Urban Sketchers Paris (2)

On a beautiful Paris Saturday afternoon (that had been predicted to be rainy), I met with a group of Paris Sketchers in Le Musee de la chasse et de la nature (museum of the hunt and of nature). This former private home and collection of guns, hunting trophies, taxidermy, art and kinda weird stuff provides a fascinating range of opportunities to sketch. I started with the large stuffed polar bear:

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Then I settled into a comfy chair alongside the grizzly bear. As it happened there was an “artist in residence” (literally: http://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/poincheval-lhomme-qui-vit-dans-lours-au-musee-de-la-chasse-152777) inside the grizzly, and the kids were having conversations with him. This is the view from the other side. I had no idea the artist was actually inside!

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I had some extra time so also sketched a wolf and a ceramic donkey. :-)

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When the museum closed we all got together for a drink at a nearby cafe.

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And then a bonus activity, sketching a live model at the classic art school, La Grande Chaumiere. The model moved constantly in response to poetry and music that was being simultaneously performed. Very tricky to sketch fast enough, well beyond my skill – here is what is a selection of what I captured:

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Sketching around the world -Part 7: Urban Sketchers Paris

A late arrival in Paris. Then a taxi driver trying to take me the least direct route to the hotel – I had to challenge him twice about his choice of route, and still ended up with a longer, more expensive ride than I should. Finally my room wasn’t ready so I showered in the pool change room, put my bags into storage and headed off.

Not the most promising start for a day in Paris perhaps, but this city is my “home away from home” and never fails to charm me. And, besides, I had a meeting with some Parisian urban sketchers to look forward to (thanks again Liz Steel for the intro).

But before that I had a rendezvous with an old friend, or at least a building that I love. Le Carreau du Temple is a wonderful iron and glass building dating back to the mid 1800s. It is just a few blocks from where we lived in Paris and was still operating as a run-down clothing market when we first moved there. But it has just emerged from a complete renovation and repurposing as a multifunction public space. So when I learned it was hosting a contemporary drawing exhibition I couldn’t resist.

I was too tired to really absorb all the drawing – so many galleries showing so many styles – but there were some magnificent pieces of drawing (and some I cared less for). But here are a couple of views of the renovated building.

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And then, even better, off to meet the Paris Urban Sketchers. A second drawing exhibition, this time do classical “masters” was being held in the Palais Brongniart (former stock exchange). It has been the Paris Drawing Week (la semaine du dessin) hence the exhibitions. So a group of sketchers decided to meet at a cafe beside the exhibition building and sketch IT and/or the environs.

As it happened we never quite left the cafe. We chatted, drew what was in view, including each other, and enjoyed the afternoon. It was a perfect unwind and introduction to a new time zone for me. And great to meet such talented and interesting people.

Here is my drawing of “not the Palais Brongniart” (it was behind me from where I sat – although the statue is just behind the building in question). :-)

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(Confession: I mis-spelt the name of the cafe, it is Le préaumur).

Sketching around the world -Part 6: Finally, a flight departing on time?

A perfect on-time departure from San Diego, en route to Paris via Dallas-Fort Worth. And a completely uneventful flight with interesting company.

Then three hours in transit in Dallas, so I occupied my time by drawing the airport. You might guess which airline I was flying…

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I had a very nice conversation with an elderly Swedish couple while I drew. We each played “guess the accent” – my Australian accent continues to be a poor shadow of the national norm so my Swedish friends struggled. :-)

And, as it happened, I could have fitted in another drawing – because my next (Paris) flight was 40 minutes delayed due to late boarding of 4 passengers.

Sketching around the world -Part 5: Urban Sketchers San Diego, Sunday meet up

Lydia and the Urban Sketchers generously organised an extra sketching on Sunday so I could meet and sketch more in San Diego. The venue was Balboa Park. We found a table in front of the statue of El Cid and sat together (mostly) sketching and talking – very enjoyable. Here are my sketches:

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And here is Lydia’s video.

Sketching around the world -Part 4: Urban Sketchers San Diego, Saturday meet up

Liz Steel from the Sydney Urban Sketchers has put me in touch with sketching groups in San Diego and Paris. So on Saturday morning I was met by the lovely Lydia Velarde, organiser of the San Diego urban sketchers, to join the group at the City Farmers Nursery. This place is a combination nursery and farmyard in a wonderful rambling, rustic setting.

I settled in a remote corner behind the owner’s house to draw this garden grouped around an abandoned horse float.

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And here is a link to the video Lydia made of the meet up.

Sketching around the world – Part 3: Flying DC to San Diego

Three flights so far on this trip, and three problems. This time we were told there was a problem with the flaps and they couldn’t fuel the plane until the flaps were fixed. After an hour of this passengers were invited to go back into the terminal to stretch their legs. 30 minutes later we were told that they still couldn’t fix the plane but they had found a plane that wasn’t broken. And after waiting some more for to transfer baggage etc, we were eventually on our way.

While we waited through this I sketched the young man in the seat in front of me…

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