bits and pieces in pen and paint


Round the world again – and sketching along the way. Part 2: Southern California

Business has called me to travel the planet again. Starting with a seminar in London and ending with a global Quality meeting in California, I have spent three weeks bouncing from Australia to Europe to the U.S. And along the way I have tried to meet up with as many Urban Sketchers as I could. The first two weeks were spent in Europe (see Part 1) before travelling from Paris to San Diego.

An early Saturday morning departure from Paris meant a late Saturday afternoon arrival in San Diego, but not before a change of planes in Heathrow.
And a late Saturday arrival in San Diego meant being in time for a Sunday morning meet up with twenty-some SD USkers at the San Luis Rey Mission. We sketched in the peaceful cemetery, met to compare notes and drawings then had lunch together with a few of the crew.
Thank you Lydia for organising again, and Dominique for the ride. Here is a link to Lydia’s video of the meeting. 🙂

Then one more week of work, in San Diego and LA before heading home.

Happily, while transiting from SD to LA on the Amtrak I had time for a little sketching. So here is my sketch of one of my colleagues on the Amtrak train en route to LA Union Station,
Sion Amtrak
…and here is a quick sketch of the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, where we stopped to take in the Hollywood atmosphere in the late afternoon.
Chinese theatre
Then home.

Another great trip to meet up with so many generous USkers. Thanks so much for your time and friendship.


Round the world again – and sketching along the way. Part 1: Paris

Business has called me to travel the planet again. Starting with a seminar in London and ending with a global Quality meeting in California, I have spent three weeks bouncing from Australia to Europe to the U.S. And along the way I have tried to meet up with as many Urban Sketchers as I could.

But before I started:

I knew that I would be sketching the new Frank Gehry Louis Vuitton Foundation building in Paris, so on the morning of my departure I took the bus down to Sydney’s new Gehry building, the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building at UTS. This fantastic brick and glass building has custom made bricks to create the wonderful curves and slumps making it resemble a sandcastle or a wet paper bag.
Gehry UTS
But I was so captivated by the building that I nearly left it too late to make it to the airport! Then, after the long flight, I had a Monday arrival in London for a full-on week of what I get paid to do, in the UK and Ireland, with no real chance to sketch.

But first thing Saturday I was flying from Dublin to Paris, with a weekend to spend with Paris Sketchers. By early afternoon, I had met up with Aviva, Carole and Martine at La Bellevilloise and we were busy sketching from the cafe terrace.
La Bellevilloise #1
When Lionel arrived we then toured Belleville, with a sketchers eye, until we stopped late afternoon for a quick sketch of the wonderful Parc de Belleville.
And later we were able to meet up with Kim, Savath, and Dotun at La Closerie de Lilac for drinks and dinner.

Sunday brought a quick early morning tour of the newly opened Musee Picasso with Aviva, Dotun and Claire before Dotun and I left to meet up with Marion, Beatrice and Martine at the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Part fantastical, futuristic sailing ship, part unfurling insect this is another super challenging Gehry building to draw. And with so many different spaces and angles!
Gehry FVL#1
gEHRY flv#2
Then another working week. But with a moment to sketch on my own over dinner …
… and then, later in the week, with Dotun, Aviva and Lionel over dinner at La Bellevilloise (again!)
But my sketching week in Paris wasn’t yet done. Kim helped navigate me to La Nuit du Modele Vivant on the Friday night before my departure to San Diego. My first life drawing, first time with charcoals and chalk. First time in large format. Great fun – if a little stressful – and a great way to finish a week in Paris.

A couple of samples:

The next morning I flew to California

Another US trip

A two week trip to the U.S. Meetings in Washington DC then back to San Diego, then a final, not-quite-planned, day in LA.

Of course this means more time in aeroplanes, and the truth is that on these business trips it is the aeroplanes and airports that provide me with the most spare time to sketch.

So here I am sketching on my flight across the Pacific.


Between meetings in DC and San Diego I had a Saturday morning in DC and a Sunday in San Diego.

I stretched my legs on the Saturday morning, walking 20 mins from my hotel down to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But the place where I felt inspired (and comfortable) to stop and sketch was across the road from the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. I was very taken with the glass pavilion entrance so sketched as quickly as I could so I could make my early afternoon flight.

Sunday morning in SD was occupied with work, catching up on emails and planning, but I had time in the afternoon to venture out to Del Mar.

Then back into meetings for a week till I had a few moments in the lounge at Tom Bradley terminal at LAX.

And as soon as I got home, Judy and I headed across the road to Scupi’s for breakfast and a coffee.


A little R&R

We have escaped Sydney for a little winter break – and some down time together after my long stay in Munich. The destination? A remote lighthouse keeper’s cottage on the far south coast of NSW.

With virtually no phone or internet connection, all we had to fill our time was …watching the regular parade of whales pass by the point, enjoying the lolling of the young fur seals off the rocks, wandering amongst the heath and rocks around the cottage, touring the lighthouse with our expert host and resident caretaker, spotting sea eagles and kestrels, catching sight of wombats and wallabies, cooking, eating and reading. Strangely, the four days passed effortlessly – what a fabulous place!

Ah yes, there was one more thing to do…here are the sketches I managed to squeeze in amongst our action packed agenda:




Last Munich thoughts

Apart from sketching, I did manage to get out once or twice during my five week stay in Munich.

One highlight was visiting the Residenz, the former residence of the Wittelsbachs, rulers of Bavaria from 1180 to 1918. Although only 50 square metres of the 23,000 square metres of roofed palace remained intact after the bombings of the Second World War, the Residenz has been wonderfully restored and is worth a visit. Here is a taste:



Also entertaining was the “Jump and Fly” event held on June 25 behind the town hall, in Marienhof. This featured long jumpers and pole vaulters sharing the same runway and alternating as they ran to their target at opposite ends of the runway. Here is one of the pole vaulters just failing to clear the bar.

It’s a fabulous city – but it’s nice to be home. 🙂

Munich Urban Sketchers

A gorgeous Munich summer’s day was too nice to spend in the Deutsches Museum. So, although that’s where we met, that’s not where we sketched.

Here is my view of the “Father Rhine Fountain” in the park opposite the museum. It was a popular choice today, because of the shade and pleasant location alongside the Isar River.


And here is one of the two tables we occupied at the Mueller’schen Volksbad Cafe afterwards, chatting and thumbing through each others sketch books.

2014-07-06 17.01.01

Magnificent Munich

I’ve now had three weekends in Munich. It is the nature of my current stay that I need the weekends for regeneration and review – so not much sightseeing. But I am puddling out to try to sketch when I can, and trying to sketch quickly (mostly).

There are some magical buildings in Munich. Last weekend I saw this magnificent streetscape on my way back from a (vegetarian) restaurant on Saturday night. I returned on the Sunday to sketch it. It got rather hot while I was sitting out on the street (it was near midday) so I finished the line work as I sat then went back to my room to add the colour.


And this weekend I walked around the corner to one of the medieval city gates (Isartor) yesterday and quickly sketched this. If you look closely at the roman numerals you will see that the clock actually runs anticlockwise!

Isartor 21_6_14

Finally, this afternoon I wandered around to the next city gate (Sendlinger Tor) and sketched it as fast as I (reasonably) could.

Sendlinger Tor

One thing you might notice: the weather has been stunning!


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