bits and pieces in pen and paint


Sydney Fish Market

At the end of my street is the Sydney Fish Market . It is a vibrant marketplace, filled in the early mornings with the trucks of Sydney’s fishmongers preparing to distribute the produce to Sydney’s suburban fish shops, then in the middle of the day thronging with locals and tourists shopping, sightseeing or just enjoying a fresh seafood meal.

The Fish Market sits on Blackwattle Bay, also the home of the cement works shown in my last post. Although most of the fish required to meet Sydney’s seafood demand is transported in, Blackwattle Bay is also home to a small fishing fleet supplementing the imports with fresh local catch.

The Fish Market is scheduled to relocate to the current site of the Hanson Cement Works as part of a massive redevelopment in the next few years.


Cement works

I live in a fascinating part of Sydney, at the western edge of the city and bounded by the harbour on three sides. In earlier times it was all working harbour, bustling with goods and new immigrants arriving among the docks, cranes and stevedores. It was also the site for the colony’s largest sugar refinery.

Progressive gentrification has progressively replaced the working harbour with restaurants, tourist venues and apartments. A reminder of its past still exists, for a while, with two cement works that supply the multiple building projects in the ever-changing city. These too are scheduled for relocation shortly.

IMG_1200 cr  Hanson Cement Works 2 cr dk

My Year in Drawings

With the start of 2016, I thought I’d look back at 2015 by selecting a drawing a month to represent my year. So here goes:


Australia Day: A bleak day to be out on the harbour celebrating our national day – but to be on a vintage steam tugboat was very special, and seeing the celebrations from the water was almost as exciting. I like this sketch partly for the memory, but mostly for the water blotches that remind me of the rain falling as I tried to paint. 🙂



On another business trip, catching up with the wonderful San Diego Urban Sketchers at Rancho Bernardo Winery. Thank you for your ongoing camaraderie and friendship Lydia, Dominique, Rachel …



And on again to Paris and the equally wonderful Paris Urban Sketchers. Kim organised a people sketching lesson in the Passage des Panoramas.



A late night performance by our friend, the wonderful Tony Dwyer, and his band.



Marooned in Japan on a business mission, but finally got a weekend to sketch around the Imperial Palace.



In the midst of a very stressful period of work – a wonderfully peaceful escape to the desert at Uluru.



Ah – a fabulous week in Singapore for the Urban Sketchers Annual Symposium!



The opening of the wonderful new Headland Park on harbour foreshore just west of the city.



A trip up the mid north coast – sad because it was for my uncle’s funeral, but many great memories and a rare chance to catch up with the extended family. Here, a watercolour of factory buildings in Taree.



One of the series of Australian Chamber Orchestra concerts we have so enjoyed in 2015.



The impressive Newtown Festival. 90,000 people visiting this suburban park. Music, food, art – and a great opportunity to buy loud shirts!



The year would not be complete without the Sydney Urban Sketchers. This is from the December meeting in Martin Place.


Special mention

to our friends Shady and Rose at our wonderful local bakery. The Pioik bakery has been my most regular sketching spot all year, and Shady and Rose so welcoming (not to mention the fantastic food and bread!).

So, thanks to all of our friends and family for a wonderful 2015 – and very best wishes for 2016!



Sketching my morning

I tried to sketch the significant moments of my morning today. It got harder as I went but here we are:
1. Sunrise
Sunrise 30 Aug 2015
2. Breakfast at Bar Zini
Bar Zini Breakfast
3. A walk out to the point
Giba Park
4. Waiting in Kent St while Judy visited the library
5. A beer before lunch at the newly opened Palisade Hotel

A musical weekend

Here is a summary of the weekend:

Saturday morning: The opening of the new park in the old dockyard area to the west of Sydney city, the Barangaroo Reserve. (Development of a casino, residential and office blocks is underway further south in this district).

Barangaroo reserve opening

Then an evening of Mozart and Brahms with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.


Sunday: A rainy day, but still a chance to get to the local pub for an open mic session this afternoon.


Drawing people

i signed up for a Marc Taro Holmes online course on “Sketching a people in Motion”. It was (is!) fantastic. I haven’t consistently applied all of the learnings ( must practice more!) but have been focusing a lot more on getting people into my pix. Here are some recent efforts.

The gentleman at reception in my Lyon hotel, and a couple on the Metro in Paris…   


A lady looking out the window while having petit dejeuner at Gare de Lyon


A collage of images captured in Germany


My local bakery


A fantastic old Sydney pub


And a friend’s band at a bar


Back in the saddle

A conversation with a friend during the week reminded me that I haven’t blogged for a while – in fact since January now that I look. As it happens, I have travelled and sketched quite a bit since then, so this will be a quick update on my travel sketching.

February and March were big travel months for me – I was away for five weeks out of six at one stage. That included stays in San Diego, Tokyo, Abingdon, Lyon, Paris, Dublin, Bremen, Freudenstadt and Munich (with a couple of side trips). Here are some of the sketches:

1) I arrived at LAX and drove straight to Old Poway Park to catch up with the San Diego Urban Sketchers


2) a week later we met at the Rancho Bernardo Winery 


3) and in the meantime I had visited the wonderful Balboa Park ( on Valentines Day)


4) my first weekend in Europe was in Paris, with the Paris Urban Sketchers practicing people sketching in the Passages des Panoramas


5) and my second was in Germany:

a) driving from Freudenstadt to Munich via Baden Baden


b) and taking a side trip on the Sunday to Salzburg


And in between quite a bit of work…