[Stephanie Bower, Seattle] I am just back from three weeks in far-off Australia! It was an amazing opportunity to teach workshops in Sydney and Melbourne, and I also got to visit relatives in Adelaide and Canberra. All this, thanks to the fact that I was sort of adopted by a large group of friendly Aussie sketchers as we walked around Singapore before the 2015 symposium. What a great bunch of warm and talented people! It was wonderful to see those I met before and to make many new friends on this trip.
Below are 10 sketches from my Australia travels and a brief story about each!
First stop was Adelaide. This was a bright, sunny Sunday morning at the North Adelaide Baptist Church where my in-laws were married many years ago. We parked in the back, walked no more than 15 steps, and I found my view--probably a side of the church that few ever notice, but an amazing space between the buildings. It was great fun to hear the magpies sing at the same time the church choir was singing in side...music to sketch by.
Also in Adelaide, the rellies walked me to a beautiful nearby billabong or water hole. This wasn't the prettiest gum tree, but the spot provided me a picnic table and some shade. I made this sketch really quickly, as we were roasting and I didn't want to make the relatives wait too long in the heat.
It was really the only heat of the entire trip, as instead of finding late summer, I hit early fall...had rain and cool weather most of the places I went, so this sunny spot brings back some nice warm memories!
After only a few days, it was off to Melbourne and sketcher Angela Williams. Angela lives near the location for the workshop, the University of Melbourne--it was wonderful to get to stay with her and see her lovely sketches too!
Before the workshop, I walked to the Uni to scout locations and practice. The sketch below was in the beautiful Old Quad on campus, really the perfect location for showing how I start a perspective sketch using the big shapes and to talk about ARCHES!! We had a really fun group, people came in from Canberra, Brisbane, and even Perth!
I also was honored with the opportunity to give a talk about sketching at the Melbourne offices of the famous engineering firm, Arup. Angela has worked here for 10 years and has gotten quite a few of her co-workers interested in sketching, so the turnout after work was great.
With only a few minutes before I had to be in Arup's office, this sketch was drawn very quickly in the wind and cold, and painted very minimally simply due to lack of time...but I really like how clean it is and how the linework stands out. It's one of my favorites of the trip.
The last day, Sunday, was an open sketchcrawl that had a GREAT turnout and some amazing sketches!
I sketched this clock tower on the Old Arts building, as it had been calling to me for days. I like how this little sketch came out, as I actually managed to leave a lot of white on the page, giving me the opportunity to tell everyone that the hardest part of painting is where you DON'T paint!!
After Melbourne was one night in Canberra to see more rellies...Duncan and Kam were kind enough to take off from work and drive me around to see the sights...and they sat patiently while I did this sketch at the National Arboretum, a new, dramatic modern building.
Much of the arboretum had been destroyed in fires some years back, so new trees from around the world are being planted. It will be gorgeous in oh, about 75 years...
Finally, Sydney and RooiPing Lim! Thanks so much to Rooi for encouraging me to do this trip, she was an amazing host!
The workshops here were held in the old waterfront neighborhood called The Rocks. The rain held off until the last day, so we were able to wander and sketch the old buildings and alleys. I felt drawn to the views of the water and iconic Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge and did several sketches.
And these two views were on my last day in Australia...the morning from Mrs. Macquarie's Chair, where apparently she used to sit and wait for the ships to come in, and the other was later in the day up close to the opera house. It was raining, the wind was blowing (literally blew my paper away, I had to chase after it--must have looked like a crazy person), and I had to hurry to get back to the car... but I like this view as you can look into and even through the buildings.
I typically am a stickler for drawing AND painting on the spot, but this last sketch was done very late in the day after hours of teaching. I got it drawn and underpainted, but I confess, I finished painting it in the studio...oh well, I couldn't resist the drama of the skies...
All in all, a wonderful trip! Thanks so much to all, I am so grateful to have had this amazing opportunity!