30 Mar 2013

VW Easter Rally

Several hundred VWs of all vintages from beetles to combies to passants lined East End Reserve for the Easter car rally

The Sharpes were keen to have their eyelashes included

Pierre's painting & sketch

When in China recently I discovered a French work colleague also has passion for sketching (and painting).  He was gracious enough to share a couple.

Easter gardening

Lost in the new compost bin

24 Mar 2013

Bracken St House

Drawn from the top of a ladder to peer over the greenery from the road, this sketch turned out to be a little laboured
Happier with this 10 min quicke of the pre 1914 home with fretwork and finials
Download, playing at an Engagement Party.  Sketched in the dark next to the speakers meant choosing colours was almost a lucky dip.
Mangahewa 3 well head, already producing but now drilling another 4 km well in a different direction - inland from Motonui

House with character

Murray Dewhurst, from Auckland, has a pretty good streak going on the old New Zealand villas lately. (In particular, this post.) This week's subject was one of the Taranaki examples of these type of houses. While most villas aren't this large, this specimen is certainly a worthy challenge. This one took about three hours on location and maybe another hour and a bit to clean up my lines at home. These types of houses have lots of detail.

23 Mar 2013

Port Taranaki from Churchill Heights.

Today I sketched the view out to Port Taranaki from the top of Churchill Heights.
This hill is named Churchill Heights to commemorate in perpetuity the gratitude of the people of this district for the faith courage and resolution inspired by the leadership of the Right Hon. Winston S. Churchill, P.C., O.M., C.H., Prime Minister of Great Britain 1940 - 1945

Previously this hill was called Caverhill.

Here is my sketch:

17 Mar 2013

Marsland Hill.

Today we sketched from Marsland Hill. This was a European stronghold during the Maori Wars.

Here are two images from archives:

New Plymouth in about 1857, looking south. Marsland Hill stockade is in the distance on the left, with St Mary's Anglican Church below it to the right.
When war broke out in 1860 New Plymouth was a small town. Fewer than 3000 Europeans lived in Taranaki province, nearly all of them in the vicinity of the provincial capital. Seven hundred adult Pakeha males were confronted by twice as many Maori. Only troops could ensure the settlement's safety.

I sketched one of the views looking towards the New Plymouth Clock Tower and the Tasman Sea.

Here is my sketch:





All work and no play - three pics only in three weeks.

The Bund - Shanghai
Tianzifang, Shanghai

                                                          Band at the Blue Marlin

Drinks at the Blue Marlin - Pudong

10 Mar 2013

Small bridge in Pukekura Park

Just a quick one of the small bridge in Pukekura Park near the Boat Shed. (By quick, I still mean about an hour!)

9 Mar 2013

New Plymouth Prison Open Day.

New Plymouth Prison is closing this month. It will have been in operation for over 140 years, and is one of New Zealand's oldest prisons.

Today they held an open day for the public. There are no longer any prisoners there. Most of them have been shifted to Whanganui Prison. Several of us went to have a look, but none of us did any sketching. On the table in the dome, there were copies of sketches we did last time for the public to take if they wanted.

Here is the sketch I did that was on the table:

It was quite surreal watching people look at them and then pick up your sketch.

Here is a picture I took:

I may try and sketch from it later.


Pappas Pizzas in Kingsland, Auckland have amazing food. It is my friend Michelle's favourite restaurant, so I have sketched this for her.

6 Mar 2013

Glockenspiel Stratford on the 23rd Feb.

Two weekends ago I went to Stratford. supposedly with the rest of the sketchers, but I was the only one that showed up. It was a pleasant afternoon. There was a very good watercolour exhibition on at the Percy Thomson Gallery and I took the opportunity to try the Glockenspiel.

Stratford's revered  glockenspiel stands proud in the main street, Broadway, and is unique to New Zealand.
Shakespeare’s most famous star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, emerge for the balcony scene, reaffirming their vows of love, four times a day,
The life-size figures were created by Tawhiti Museum curator, Nigel Ogle.
The glockenspiel performs for approximately 5 minutes, after the hour chimes at 10am, 1pm, 3pm and 7pm.

A glockenspiel resembles a xylophone, but with metal rather than wooden keys.

4 Mar 2013

Barb's Winter Garden

My friend Barbara has a lovely garden - I almost forgot to include her precious cat.


Biking through the Pureora Forest on the way from New Plymouth to Tauranga. 32 degrees and some very big hills.  A relief to reach a spot in the forest to put up the tent.
Cycling from New Plymouth to Tauranga, through Tarata, Wangamomona, Forgotten Highway, we stayed at Ohura in the Old Prison. Ohura's main street is very much deserted, with some VERY interesting locals here and there, who love to pounce on strangers just for a chat.

The Meeting House at the Treaty Ground in the Bay of Islands

3 Mar 2013

Citroën cars at Adlams European

I'm not really a car person. I also pass by this building quite regularly but have rarely really looked at it. The other day though... I guess I just looked up while passing it. In the window among much newer models is this old-timey car. It always faces forward like it hates being in there and wants to escape to the road again. After sketching the building, I asked permission to draw this classy roadster. The owner and staff were very welcoming as I sketched. I actually learned a lot about Citroëns while I was there! In particular, the car that I was drawing is a 'Big Six' (6-cylinder) variant of a Traction Avant (which is French for 'front-wheel drive'). I guessed that the car was a 1940's model. I was wrong; it turns out that it was made in 1954! Being no expert, I am used to 1950's cars being big American cruisers. It occurred to me that France didn't come out of World War 2 as affluent as America did. One of the effects of this is that France just kept making the same cars and didn't have extra money for new fancy designs. (The first Citroën Traction Avant was built in 1934!)
As I sketched and chatted, I discussed the 2CV and the legendary Citroën DS. Just before finishing, I noticed that the discussion was less about the specifications of each car and was more about anecdotes and driving stories involving each car. Maybe this is what being a car person is... less about the facts of owning, driving and tinkering these vehicles and more about how they change and become part of your life.

2 Mar 2013

Pukekura Park.

Today we met at Pukekura Park and then split up. The walkers walked and the sketchers sketched around the main lake. I decided to try my new colours and skills from our watercolour lessons in the Wednesday Art Group.

The Pukekura Park Waterfall:
This illuminated artificial waterfall opened in 1970. It was initiated by a gift from the New Zealand Insurance Company to celebrate the opening of its new office building in New Plymouth. The fall represents the Waiwhakaiho River in its passage from its turbulent beginnings on Mt Taranaki. This was a tricky subject. There is a button to push to set it going. I had to get up and push it a couple of times, but mostly passers by were pushing it so I could just sketch.