Wednesday, 30 September 2009

GOfish3 : open for submissions

GOfish is a great creative arts publication straight out of the country. With two editions under their belt, the first focused on artists from Wagga, the next all female artists. With fantastic artists from around the world submitting, it's time to check it out and get your work seen.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Creative Sundays

Sundays usually consist of a bike ride followed by takeaway food, a beer in the backyard. But this weekend, for a change, I was invited by Sophie to a afternoon of creative/crafty arts. Though I didn't stray from my sketch book it was fantastic to be around creative people and talk about our projects. Can't wait to do it again! Also a big thanks to Iris (for hosting) and Fiona for adding to the creative pool. 

So, the conversation ended on something like 'thats about as likely as a gorilla wearing a pink tutu, marching around a congo drum, hitting it with rubber snakes'. Strangely the image was still in my head the next day, so it deserved a page in my sketchbook.

I have noticed the theme of wind power popping up in a lot of my scratchings lately. I'm not sure if it is because of the weather here, Carly's wind/water powered building or just a fascination at how much power it actually has, and how different levels can make or break your day.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Life drawing

Another fortnight down and complete sketches are at a premium. Lucky for those of you who like pictures more than words I did make it to life drawing at the Sandringham once again, where we were treated to an excellent model and cold beer.

I had attended with a back up plan of creating cartoon characters of the other artists in attendance, but we don't always get models of this calibre, so i'll let that back up plan wait for another day. 

I did manage to play with a few different styles and even reached back to high school days when I spent hours doodling with black biro through my workbooks – they are towards the bottom.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Urban non-adventure

Through the grapevine I had heard about an underground water reservoir in Paddington which had been unused for this purpose since 1899. Researching a little more I learned that it had been through a few uses since then, including a garage. Still I hoped it had decayed through time. A little later in its life (1990) sections collapsed as the park on its roof finally weighed more than the supports could hold. Immediately my mind went

Wow ... an urban wasteland, nature consuming the reservoir. Trees and plants growing wherever nutrients allowed. A snapshot of a ruined civilisation. Sydney's version mayan cities. I started wandering through a humid jungle of vines, hiding the animals as they watched me pass. The dappled light showing glimpses of fur and feather as they scurried ahead. Brushing the ferns aside so to pass my sleeve catches on the frond and a tickle of blood runs from a scratch on my forearm. I make a note to watch for that fern  in the future

In the darkness a slow dripping sound resonates through the still humid air. A startled lizard hisses and opens its mouth wide when I disturb its basking. Perched on a stone jutting from the wall at shoulder height its diminutive size being no indication of the monster lurking inside. The effects of water lapping against the stone wall has evolved the surface into contours, even in this artificial environment drought years showed as undercuts closer to the floor. What is tucked away in those recesses I am not game to fell to find out.

Ducking below the lizard range I spot a leech looping its way up my sock. Despite looking gorged on blood it progressed swiftly upwards before being flicked to the ground. Immediately contorting its body, before rising to full stretch and attaching itself to an overhanging fern so to transfer itself to the next passer by.

The rubble from the collapsed ceiling lay in piles, obviously moved by human hand to ease the passage through the maze. Slabs of brickwork creating caves, hills and valleys. Trinkets and rubbish blown down from the city above adding to the colours of the birds and insects that flashed through the tree tops. The low hum of traffic droned quietly in the chambers, creating haunting tones as the arches and columns of the still standing sections directed it on unexpected paths.

A trickle of water crossed the path, small scratch marks lining its course. I hope it is something native, but could be assured of its vermin status. Moving further into the darkness giant fungus protrude from the walls and the sound of a bats leathery wings makes me stoop, before peering up into thousands of tiny eyes. Their high pitched chirps bouncing off the walls while they register the surroundings. The ground below slick with the remains of their victims.

The air is thick and warm towards the rear of the chamber and the smells irritate my nose. Rags, food wrappers and bones litter the ground. Huddled in the corner a ball of fur whimpers before scaring the life out of me with a blood curdling scream. Not wanting to wait around for who was being call for I continued along the worn ridge line to where the trickle I had seen should pass.

Finding its course easily I gingerly stepped over twisted metal and the ribcage of a dog. Grateful I had not sampled the water at my first crossing I follow it across the cavernous space, until it disappeared into a wall. A micro-system of ferns, fungus, climbing vines, insects and frogs had established itself at the tiny pool, their meager means easily met in the warm damp environment.

Conscious of time, I stand from my crouching position and turn a set of eyes look back at me. Straddling the stream I had followed to this point was a small boy. With wide eyes and a hard-set jaw he stared not at me, but though me, like he could see what I was thinking. But when I looked down to check my step forward he vanished without so much as a rustle.

Not wanting to tempt fate I turn to my left and take the most direct route towards the stream of light which pierced the darkness. Stubbing my boot against a the buttress of a massive fallen tree I stumble to the ground. Hidden in the leaf litter thorn covered vines start to curl upwards, clawing at my hands. Not being one to hang around I am up and away, my foot aching, and the tiny barbs form lines across my hands. They have not bled yet, though I'm sure it will be another story when I come to removing them.

Crashing though a stand of saplings a nest falls from above, the contents smashing to the ground while the understandably disgruntled parents attack with all the ferocity of a magpie after a cyclist. Flailing wildly at the birds I once again miss my step and find myself sprawled in a clearing.

Painfully rolling over I refrain from using my now throbbing hands and scan the shrubs. No sound, nothing. Beyond that barrier is another world. A wilderness surrounded by an urban jungle.

Then somehow I pop out of my daydream and back to the couch, google and reheated sausages. My imagination has been betrayed by reality, the council and an architect. Why did they have to conspire to turn a raw, evolving element of our past into a sterile park/function venue. No taking away from the great detail on the gates, the trendy vibe and manicured gardens, but, you can create that without carving up a piece of history. Hope fully next time the wilderness wins.

So when I did visit the site, it turns out that while I thought I was going on an adventure, instead it was just another day in the park.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Header #4

This typeset managed to get a special treatment for its time as header mostly because it provided the full suite of letters, but also because the letter forms ranged from clean to ornate. Which is because they are a collection of letters from 12th century manuscripts all illuminated by Henry Shaw.

My favourite from this set is the first of the 'k' characters, the lines flowing from the ascender are beautifully weighted.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

In response to a response

Ever get so into a story that it forms an image in your mind, well that was the case with Amanda's (Pocketful of courage) submission to the Monday Project's 'box of sun' challenge. Make sure you read Amanda's great short story to see find out what's happening in the sketch.

Click on image for larger version

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Life drawing

With a full week behind me I only have these sketches to show from life drawing with Sophie of 'the Monday Project' fame. 

The adventures for this week that distracted my sketching time were Fire: a retrospective, friends from Wagga (who left with my alley bike to take on Tour de Rutherglen), a 3 year anniversary and dinner with friends. Hopefully next week at least one night will be spent between the sheets (of my sketchbook).

Sunday, 6 September 2009

my box of sun

After starting again and again on this project I kept getting stuck on the descriptive title of this months challenge provided by the Monday Project. 'A box of sun' told the whole story to me and no matter how I tried to bend my head around to something new I decided to develop on the very basic image in my head. Make sure you click on the image to see it larger and read the text on the box.

Thanks again to Kate and Sophie for getting me to finish at least one creative project each month :)

Why do I even live in Sydney?!

It's a question I have pondered quite a few times and the pros and cons always match up.
We are close to everything! Sooo much traffic.
Lots of friends! I know people everywhere.
Don't have to spend money travelling to the city! City sized rent on the same pay as I could get in the country, hell I could fly to the city every weekend on the difference in the rent.
Coast roads to ride my bike on! Sooo many cars trying to knock me off my bike.
Etcetera! Etcetera.

But then along comes a day like Saturday and Sydney doesn't seem so bad.

My new highly recommend thing to do on a sunny day in Sydney is catch the ferry to Taronga and walk east through the national park to Balmoral. Keep an eye out for the bearded dragons and brown snakes!

Header #3

Whatever happened to the decorative drop-cap. Yeah I know it doesn't really have much of a place in the modern san-serif world, but why should we always like everyone else. Not that I'm overly precious about decorative drop-caps but it's hopefully going to make do as a metaphor.

I think that where appropriate we should all try to add that little extra detail to our work. Like a drop-cap highlights a passage of text you should incorporate into your work a point of difference, which tells a little about your character.

Indulge your inner self. I don't mean you have to carve your notes on a stone tablet with the tooth of crocodile, or write in latin right to left bottom to top (unless that's your thing), but use your own voice and style to create and interact with your environment. What works for someone else doesn't have to be your way ... experiment and have fun doing whatever it is you find yourself doing. Work doesn't have to be boring!


Big thanks to Kate's memo over at the MondayProject for the little reminder.


Image update: These decorative letters are from a bible illuminated for Charles the Bald in the 10th century.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Code word: Taswegia

View of Hobart from Mt Wellington.


Escaping ... it seems to be a recurring theme now that I live in Sydney. The act of letting go of the everyday and finding new things in new places, or simply visiting old haunts and catching up with seldom seen friends. It is for these escapes that I work my clicking finger to the bone and strain my eyes staring into the comforting WYSIWYG of the Adobe Creative Suite. Saving up my pennies so that those meals out and sneaky beers don't come at the expense of rent (or bicycles).

Breaking through the bars and over the razor wire I was on the run. Leaving behind, work, grocery shopping, buses, traffic and living under the flight path. Some friends on the outside had been in contact for the few months before and just about had everything set up for a swift getaway. Everything was on a need to know basis, all I had to do was rise early on the thursday, not wake the warden, then a yellow car would meet me at the door and before I knew it we would be at the airport and free.

Unfortunately a death in the family made the plans a little more complicated and the escape had to be pushed forward. The schedule was changed and zero hour was moved to the tuesday lunch time. Escaping from the labour camp appeared to be an easier challenge than directly from the cell, but with guards constantly checking up on me it did pose a few timing challenges. On the premise of slipping off to the loo I sent off one last email and casually whistled my way down the hall before dropping back past the warden to my cell to make sure I had my disguises for getting past border control.

Even with the late notice my driver arrived perfectly on time, but at breakneck speed we arrived at the terminal dangerously early. In the confusion I stuttered the wrong destination, but quickly corrected to Albury and my boarding pass was handed over after an uncomfortable chuckle.

Having perfected the art of passing security checks back in my formative years I breezed through the detectors and with a nod dodged the bag inspection (i think he was in on the deal). Picking up some subway I tucked into the first fast food I had seen since my last escape.

Sitting in the waiting lounge the delayed flight had me suspicious that with the late changes to the plans someone may have been tipped off by all of the chatter. Constantly scanning the crowd I felt a little better as the room emptied completely as flights departed. But still the flight attendants were running late to the desk. I always get uncomfortable when the timelines change on an escape.

Fifteen minutes after the planned departure I slunk aboard, ducking under the low doorway of the plane ... i'm sure there was more room last time!

Listening in on the two behind me I was assured I hadn't been followed on board ... no one would fake a Canadian accent as a disguise.

After having constantly lost time in the air it was comforting to be met on the ground as promised and chauffeured to Wangaratta for the handover to the family.

Having been locked away in Sydney for so long it was fantastic to catch up with dad, mum, my sister and the rest of the family. Shame it was for such a sad occasion, Granddad had been a huge part of all our lives and it showed with hundreds of people crawling out of the woodwork to celebrate his life.

Staying in the same safehouse for 3 nights it was time to move again, and to get back on schedule. Andy and Damo would be waiting, and I know what kind of trouble those two can get themselves into when left alone for too long.

Taking the low profile option with Tiger Air it was just a short hop from Melbourne to Hobart to complete my escape. free Free FREE


As I had suspected my contacts had gorged themselves on golden fried seafood and the local beers so were a little worse for wear. Never the less they were ready to make tracks – right after another feed of golden fried seafood and beer :)

Having dropped our supplies back to the hideout we made our way out to see Kram at the Brisbane where Andy tested his new identity to its fullest as he adopted full deafness in his right ear as he attempted to ignore an intoxicated local. Very funny to watch, but the trials of our other identities were as stretched as the denim and leather that strutted around the bar.

After the gig and having consumed a few too many celebratory ales we slunk back to the pad for some well earned rest. No one would find us here.

During the night a light drizzle fell across the city which continued throughout the next few days, all the while we gathered information from locals on the best places to go so see or be seen and go we did. From trendy bars and cafes to vantage points second to none. We did miss one rendezvous when the road to the top of the mountain was closed because of snow to lower levels. Even with the disruption we were able to hike high enough to see what we had come to.

With the new understanding of the lay of the land we were sure to make the most of what the city had to offer. Then from the Shot Tower we saw the access to the ocean which all going well would eventually act as our next escape point.

On a reconnaissance south of Hobart we found a small pub in Dover where the conversations floating around the bar questioned the morals of some of the locals. A little scarred from the experience we dashed back towards the relative safety of Hobart, taking the scenic route on the other side of the river there were tiny shacks that may come in handy should our current hideout be discovered. Tucked away on the hillside they melt into the landscape and provide a great view across the valley.

Under the cover of darkness we slipped back into the suburbs and swung through the CBD before tucking the car behind the building for the night.

Strangely I was woken early and instructed to shower and pack, the only clue I was give was that I was moving again and I that we had brought too much attention to the house ... the other tenants were getting suspicious.

Bundled into the car at 8:15am we shot out of the complex and past a suspicious looking van 'fixing the phoneline'. Swept up in the pace I hadn't had time to comprehend what was going on until it was too late. It was a double cross it would seem that in exchange for some favour they had decided to deliver me directly to the airport. Into the lions den as they would say.

Trying to act cool I tried my luck, but it all seemed too easy. A new line opened just for me and before I knew it my bag and I had been swept plane-wood. Though not before I was robbed of $11.80 for a toasted sandwich and BigM.

Betrayed and beaten I accepted my fate and board the plane.

While my escape was short lived I will remember my time on the outside and starting plotting the next time I go over the wire.