Back to normal life after an amazing week here in Sydney. The reason was the 2 day Expressive Urban Sketching Workshop that I co-taught with Paul Wang from Singapore - but the entire week has had a symposium like feel and I have been riding the USK creative energy wave!
Our workshop was based on Cockatoo Island - a spectacular setting with lots of amazing old industrial and historic buildings and ship building equipment and cranes as subject matter. The ferry ride to and from the island morning and evening was like the icing on the cake… Saturday morning was amazingly still and clear and in the evening as we left it was dramatic with storm clouds. 2 Sketchers camped on the island "glamping'' as they call it...I think if we run this workshop again more of us will stay overnight.
Paul and I spent two days on the island beforehand refining the content of the workshop and doing a little sketching for ourselves… such as the one above. We had a few potential challenges to deal with. The Biennale of Sydney opened on the two days of our workshop - this meant that the island would be busy, our usual wet weather hideouts (the big industrial sheds) were being used for exhibitions and their could be a lot of campers overnight meaning that the table area where we had hoped to use could have been crowded. Threatening weather forecast all week added to my challenge… but it all worked perfectly - less crowds, few campers and wonderful weather.
We had an amazing group of 25 sketchers for the 2 days. 9 were from regional NSW or interstate (from Brisbane to Adelaide) and one sketcher, Uma, was from Montreal Canada!
This is the first gathering we have had in Australia of USKers so it was a real 'symposium like' feel on the night before when we had a meet and greet at the MCA cafe overlooking the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. It was the first time that a number from our facebook group had met each other, some new faces…and a little reunion for the 4 Australians that were in BCN!
I will be writing more about the workshop during the week over at my blog… and hope that we can put together a little video as well…but in the meantime here are a few photos from the two days. Flickr set of my photos is here.
We had a number of exploratory sessions - expressive lines & shapes, expressive mixing and then applied these to different locations around the island. We also looked at expressive design - having a strong focal point and spiraling out from it. The work done was very inspiring and it was wonderful to see everyone have a go and take risks - with spectacular results.
It was just so great to be able to teach alongside Paul… and for me the most memorable part was our combined painting demo. It was so much fun to work together on the one piece. I started working in my usual somewhat crazy spontaneous way, mixing line and paint on the page. Paul was giving commentary and then on a few occasions decided that the work needed a splash or two, or some forceful scraping while I was in full flight… he then added the final touches to pull it all together.
A huge thankyou to our sponsors - Stillman and Birn who donated sketchbooks and sample packs, to my local art store The Artscene who gave us pencils, paint brush, watercolour paper and a canvas bag to carry all the goodies. Paul and I supplied everyone with a little pill box of ink, wax, salt and three special colours of Daniel Smith paint- special thanks to Arters in Singapore for doing a good deal for us so that we could supply these amazing Daniel Smith colours to everyone. Thanks also to my support team who have helped me over the last few months trying to coordinate it all.
Of course Paul and I are already planning our next workshop! And I am certainly not tired of sketching on Cockatoo Island... in fact I think I am in more keen to go back and sketch some more!