Sunday, January 6, 2019

Capturing summer in a concertina sketchbook


I finished my sketchbook just before Christmas. I had another grey book on the go that I could have used, but they're not so good for the material I was going to be sketching up north on a camping trip. 

So I took this A6 concertina sketchbook that's been kicking around for a year or two. I can't remember the brand unfortunately (it has a blind debossed logo embedded into it's cloth cover, but it's a tad blurry so I can't tell what it says).
I quite enjoyed it. Sketching in a concertina sketchbook is something I hadn't done before, but a lot of fun as it turns out.

We tried the camp at Hihi out this year. Nicely refurbished with lots of shady old trees to read (and sketch) under.

Hihi is only 20 minutes from Taupo Bay so we headed over several times – a great place for a surf.

Mangonui is on the other side of the harbour (it's an easy paddle or 15 minute drive). Famous for it's fish and chips, but I'd rather have a beer in the old pub with it's eccentric characters, parrot and memorabilia.

Some letterboxes at Hihi. I really liked the whare letterbox.

The Butlers Bay Whaling Museum is at Hihi too. Well worth a visit too. Times have certainly changed since dead sperm whales in various states of decay would have littered the bay.

Matai Bay at the end of Karikari peninsular is actually 2 bays and a really long white sandy beach, all equally stunning. With beaches like these there is really no need to go to Tahiti.

The old cottages in the Hihi camp are very sketchable.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Huatoki eels

I decided that I wasn't done with the Huatoki Plaza so I did a watercolour sketch of the people feeding the eels that live the Huatoki stream. Most people that cross the pedestrian bridge like to stop and have a look over the edge to see how huge and freaky these things are looking today.
(The 2nd half of the video looks a bit strange with the walkway and the sky reflection; it's like the eels are in the sky or something.)

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Merry Christmas!

After all the hooha this year over Christmas parades and Santas I, like most Kiwis, are feeling pretty jaded about the big red dude. 

First there was the funding of the Auckland Christmas parade, then the fuss over the fired Auckland parade Santa over his comments on the dim prospect of a female Santa ever headlining the parade some day. Then, a Māori Santa appeared at the Nelson Christmas Parade, he was draped in a red korowai rather than a red cape and he set talkback radio and news media alight even more!

There was also the funding of the Farmers Santa, with building developers Mansons eventually stepping in to help fund this one above (sorry Mansons, I left your branding off so I could show Santa's boots in best effect).

The debate is still bumbling on with calls to reinstate the below Santa's winking eye and come hither finger action – features that were removed years ago as they were deemed creepy.

My Last attempt to draw this Santa was way back in 2010 and like the all the drama around Santa each year, I'll probably be back to draw him again too. He's just too big, red and spectacular to ignore.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Mixed bag

Here are 3 sketches done in 3 different occasions. 
I thought I could put them together and do a post.  

This first one is 1937 Dodge Sedan Coupé that I found on the Swap, meet and display annual event in Christchurch. The owner have painted it in gold colour. I liked the car and I also had golden gouache so that makes plenty of reason to sketch it
 Last sunday, our sketching Christchurch group meet in Taylors Mistake, a beach close to Sumner where there were illegally built a series of holiday bachs. City council had put up a discussion about demolishing them or not, but most of the people have realized that they are part of the character of the place, so I don't think its going to happen. On this bach you can easily see from the facade that it had been done in different stage and it grew along with the family necessities.  It had a combination of claddings but a constant colour had been used throughout.

 A few weeks ago, the HMNZS Canterbury which is a multi-role vessel from NZ navy, anchored in Lyttelton and it had helicopter parked the back deck. Its usually stays inside the boat for protection but it had been taken to exhibit to everyone. While I was doing it, a line of people start forming in front of me to get inside the boat, the adults stayed on the line and the small kids surrounded me trying to see what I was doing. When we are kids, drawing is such an important task in our life why do we stop sketching? I hope I had inspired at least one of them.

Monday, December 10, 2018

The magic of painting outside

Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka

This last weekend I ran my first workshop! And I'm happy to report I have 5 new converts to the magic of painting outside.

Day 1 was spent at 2 different locations at Glendhu Bay on Lake Wanaka. We did 4 small paintings in the morning learning about aerial perspective, the steps for painting a watercolour landscape, and how to paint watercolour skies. In the afternoon we did a larger painting of the iconic view of Mt Aspiring from Glendhu Bay.

Day 2 we sketched the historic old chapel at Cardrona, and I taught students my tricks for dealing with linear perspective in real life. Their finished paintings knocked my socks off!

The weather held, the views were beautiful, and I couldn't have asked for a better bunch of enthusiastic, hardworking, aspiring artists. I got to share my passion for sketching outside, and now they're all buying supplies and setting up sketching dates. Yay! Can't wait to do another workshop :-)

Renee Walden

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Huatoki Plaza

Huatoki Plaza was a retail building that was removed to expose the covered stream beneath it. New Plymouth made a reasonably boring urban space for people to ignore. One day, an artist put up a paste-up image of a face to try to make it better. It probably did because these days, the Plaza has several artists' work on various buildings that face it. I've sketched one of the buildings a few times and currently has artwork by Phil 'Suspect' Jones. His studio is actually in the Plaza and his murals are all around town.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Old Bedford Truck, Wanaka

Vintage Bedford Truck, Wanaka Cemetery

I am back from 6 months of travel in Spain and France and with many, many sketches. Unfortunately I didn't have enough mobile data to post any blog posts while away. Even on my own blog :-(
But back home now I can do a catch up.

First up, back to sketching with Wanaka Painters' Group every Monday morning. Yay!

Gone to pasture at the Wanaka Cemetery, this old truck has been my muse before. Last time I sketched it from the front, with it's wonderful grill, rusty bonnet and broken front bumper. But this time I couldn't resist the lovely hand painted sign writing on the side. Hellyer!

The photo above shows the painting after I finished on location on Monday morning. Back home, I decided to tidy the white writing a little with some white watercolour paint and to add a dark shadow underneath. The finished painting is below.

J.B. Hellyer
Watercolour and ink on Fabriano block, about A4 size.

Old Bedford truck

Hopefully you'll be seeing more of me here over the next 6 months!

Renee (