Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday at Twin Ponds - Alissa Duke

On Saturday the weather was finally fine enough to go outdoors. I visited the Gardens Shop to spend a gift voucher I had (decisions, decisions..) and then asked about the recent sightings of the tawny frogmouth. I was pointed in the direction of the Twin Ponds. I did not see the bird (unsurprisingly) but I did spent time amongst the trees, enjoying the bird calls and sketching the fascinating tree bark. I love the way paperbark peels off the tree, and the shinyness of the eucalyptus.

More than an hour later I wandered out of the Gardens via the Opera House gates. Although I was tired from a day in the sun I felt as though I had to do just one more drawing.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Few More Sketches in the Afternoon of 12 November 2011

Unable to make the morning of the last day of the Spring Sketchabout, we did some sketching in what turned out to be a beautiful afternoon.

From Governmet House by Barbara Gray
From Government House by Carole Solomons
Fountain Government House by Fred Marsh

The Band Lawn by Barbara Gray

The Band Lawn by Fred Marsh

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanks to the Sydney Sketch Club who have revived the ancient and timeless joy of sketching in a Garden with the Spring Garden Sketchabouts. Here is everyone (almost) at the last one this Spring on 12 November. See you all again soon we hope.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Last Spring Sketchabout

We started the Spring Sketchabout at the Palace Garden. As I'd been to the zoo, and my sketchbook is full of animals already, I decided to draw a lion. This one is truly king of the jungle - well, the Palace Garden anyway, as he has a crown of roses.

I snuck off down the stairs away from the main group to draw this jacaranda. They are blooming all over Sydney at the moment. I wanted to be sure I drew one this year, so - no time like the present. They are so ethereal looking.

We took our lunch to the lawn behind the Main Pond, where we always meet to catch up and look at one anothers sketches.We sit in the shade of this big tree and I always look at the intricate patterns of its bark. I've wanted to draw it before and this time I summoned the energy. I didn't think to look what type of tree it is, so I just called it 'The Lunch Tree' because that is what it is for me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

As much as I wanted to capture a few roses on our last Spring Sketchabout, it was a little bit daunting. So I settled myself in by first painting these flapjacks.
Made a few attempts at some roses, but my style is so rough, it doesn't quite capture the delicate, intricate petals of a rosebud.

Finished off the afternoon in the Oriental Garden, more just to escape the sun. Too tired to capture the entire scene, I decided to pick my two favourite sections and paint them separately.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spring Sketchabout - Alissa Duke

After a cool grey start, the blue sky sun came out mid morning as a group of about 20 sketchers enjoyed the final Spring Sketchabout. We went to the Palace Rose Gardens, learnt a bit about their fascinating history before finding flowers, statues and vistas to draw and paint.

Kerry from RBG mentioned the sustainable planting of the Rose Gardens. I quickly found some ladybirds on the rose stems, doing their job.

We stopped for lunch in the shade of a large tree and after chatting and comparing sketches,a few of us continued on for one or two more sketches. This is the view from the Band Lawn, across the Pond to Sydney city.

a wonderful day

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Last Spring Garden Sketchabout 2011

Hello Everyone,

It’s the LAST Spring Garden Sketchabout 2011 with the Sydney Sketch Club on Saturday 12 November, 10 am – 12.30 pm starting outside the Garden Shop – as usual.

We are thinking perhaps the Palace Gardens might be the site of choice this time. There are 2000 blooming roses, grown without any chemicals, lots of amazing history, over-the-top sculptures, graceful old structures and, of course, lovely fig trees.

BYO Picnic afterwards if you'd like to stay on and continue socialising.

Hope to see you all there for a final spring fling with those paints and pencils.

Solar plate etching - gymea lilies

I made a solar plate etching from my drawing in the post below. This is my first print from it. It was inked up in sepia, except for the flowers which were inked up in red. Then it was rolled over with a large roller with a blend. Unfortunately due to technical difficulties (that's printmaking!) this time round I lost most of the red.

Looking forward to doing another one where the red shows up when I have access to a printing press again. I think this plate has potential in many colour combinations.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spring Sketchabout Number Two

The second spring sketchabout was a dull day but lovely to be outside. We'd been expecting rain so we were highly delighted. A lot of new (to us) sketchers joined us and I hope very much we'll see them again.

We went to the Australian rockery & I drew these gymea lilies. I was at the top of this steep slope and the plants were part of the way down. They are so large that they towered above me. Hopefully you can tell that from the photo (courtesy of Jennifer).I had to put the north shore in and a yacht to get some scale.

I then drew some yellow kangaroo paw. I'd wanted to draw the red, but they were located mid-way down this steep slope. I've located some easily accessible ones up in Mrs Macquarie's Road, so hopefully they'll still be flowering next time I go.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spring in Gardens

Weekend with Sketch Club was amazing experience to meet new artist and share the talk.
This are some of the sketches we had.

Australian Natives and more

111008 04 Spring Sketchabout 2 Natives
Here are my sketches from Saturday... a great day!!!

111008 03 Spring Sketchabout 2 Folly

Sketching this folly was quite a challenge...
111008 05 Spring Sketchabout 2 Lunch
A good number of the sketchers stayed for lunch and we had a great time sharing sketchbooks. It is always so inspirational to see the works of others.

Catching up

Unfortunately, I have had other commitments whenever there has been a Sketchabout this spring. Luckily a friend was having a birthday picnic lunch at the RBG last Sunday, so I grabbed that as an opportunity to do some painting.

I arrived early to a very sunny, colourful day at the gardens. I managed to find the first spot you all sketched at and I was like a kid in a candy store. Which is why I forgot to note all the flowers/plants that I drew. As a birthday present to my friend I let her select a picture. Um, it's the yellowy-orange one... :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Australian Rockery - Alissa Duke

Sydney Sketch Club met at Royal Botanic Garden on an overcast Spring Day. We went to the Australian Rockery area, which is down near the entrance near the Opera House.

Kerry ( RBG staff) told me of the significance of everything in my drawing.

In the foreground are Gymea Lilies, which are a plant of the Sydney region. They have a flower spike of about 6 meters, which flowers in Spring ad Summer. They were used as a source of food for the indigenous Eora pople. They are now being used as indicator as part of climate change project.

In the mid-ground is the sea wall, a sandstone wall built in 1848 as about 3 acres of tidal land at the edge of the Gardens was reclaimed at Farm Cove.

In the background, beyond Sydney Harbour are the headlands, where the ships carrying the First Fleet of European settlers arrived in Sydney in 1788.

These are Xanthorrhoea (grass trees) .
They are a unique part of the Australian landscape.

As I drew this, I made notes on my page of all the sounds I could hear around me. Kookaburras, children playing and fighting, the tourist train, party boats on the Harbour, a helicopter, jetboats, tourists. sketchers chatting.. and in the moments of quietness I could hear leaves falling or the water lapping against the sea wall.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Don't forget the Spring Garden Sketchabout this Saturday (8 October) -- join the Sydney Sketch Club at the Royal Botanic Garden. It's free and no formal training is required. Starts at 10 am from the Palm Grove Information Centre (next to the Garden Shop). BYO sketch materials and a picnic if you are staying for lunch. Enquiries 9231 8125

Friday, September 30, 2011

Solar plate etchings - palms

Another Printfest on Sunday and my first opportunity to print the solar plates I made from the drawings of palms in the Gardens last autumn. This plate was made from the drawing on the right of this spread, done in the Tropical Centre. It was such a simple drawing but the solar etching plate turned out really well. The top one was inked up in sanguine Charbonnel ink - wonderful colour. The other was inked up in an aubergine mix that had been created by Seraphina Martin who runs the Printfest. It is interesting to see them come off the etching press and see how the variation in the colours used makes such a difference.

The second plate was from this drawing of palms done in the Gardens near the Herb Garden. The first was inked up in that lovely sanguine ink again, and the second one with Charbonnel Prussian Blue. Charbonnel are beautiful French inks for fine art printmaking. If you want to know about the process of making solar plate etchings from your drawings or photographs I have written up a short explanation on the glossary of my blog here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It was a beautiful day in the Gardens on Thursday, though a cool breeze near the water. We started out on the Spring Walk. Look how gorgeous. There were a lot of people looking and I was lucky to get this photo in a minute when they'd all disappeared. After lunch we moved on to draw trees. I have been wanting to do this ever since I saw Julia and Catherine's beautiful tree drawings the day the sketchabout went to Government House. The colours have been chosen for fun, rather than following nature. The top one is a Port Jackson fig, and the lower
one is a Moreton Bay fig.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sketching the "Spring Walk"

The Spring Walk in the Gardens is looking absolutely idyllic at the moment. Go now!

The panorama seemed quite daunting to draw and I was looking for something more bold. I found this glorious stand of irises and drew them, leaving room for the border of polyanthus that were actually further along the walk.

We had lunch on the lawn by the Main Pond and were soon joined by a number of hopeful ibises. The didn't stay around long as we were all far too hungry and the picking were not good.