28 Dec 2015

Huatoki Stream

The Huatoki Stream runs from the farm land south of the City through the CBD and into the Tasman Sea. There are plenty of lovely spots along stream which borders one of the popular walkways that the Taranaki region is famous for.  MLB

27 Dec 2015

Westown School

Westown School is a co-ed primary built in 1925, and probably the most brightly painted school in New Zealand.  Interestingly one of our sketchers walked through the portals of this school in an earlier life, and was excited at the prospect of recording a piece of his history.
Even the motto was branded still on his forehead 'seek truth and do right'!

26 Dec 2015

Christmas Eve Shopping

It was Christmas Eve. I didn't have any more shopping to do (that's why I was drawing). It seemed like tons of people still had a ways to go. The stressed, hurried pace made it hard to capture the last-minute shoppers. Looking down this passageway between some shops I could see the 25% off signs in the shop across the street. I was standing there holding a book and using a ballpoint pen. People were nervously walking by me as I sketched. An older woman even admitted to me that she was quite relieved when she realized that I was drawing and not soliciting or taking a survey. It was Christmas Eve and there was no patience to deal with that.

19 Dec 2015

Merry Christmas!! Everyone.

Merry Christmas!! Everyone. I hope you and your loved ones have a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year. Here is a Merry Christmas drawing of one of our Christmas decorations from the Christmas shop and a little chocolate Santa from our local Binn Inn. The best in the country!

At last my Art corner downstairs is back in action. I had a small disaster with a burst pipe and a water leak about 4 weeks ago. Thankfully, because I was in my Art Corner, I heard dripping and found it before any significant damage was done. The damage came from cutting holes in the ceiling etc. trying to find the old pipe and replace it! So I have been painting, but of the decorating variety.

Westown School

New Plymouth's Westown School  original main block . Opened 1925.  The school has been added to over the years  and bright colours have been used which helps blend the more recent additions . Nice building , popular school . MLB

15 Dec 2015

Old Railway Line

This is an old railway line with a pretty cool stone wall that runs between two busy streets in New Plymouth. Now it's just for people. On each side of this thin park is crazy traffic caused by crazy people, desperate to finish their year-end chores. Everyone is so rushed here in New Zealand at this time of year. A Christmas / Summer combo holiday makes people insane, irrational and very tired. The big solid rock walls insulated against the noise and was a nice lunch hour time-out from the frenzied late-December pace.

12 Dec 2015

Poets Bridge

The 70ft span bridge was built in 1884, from the winnings of a horse race, where the winning horse was called 'The Poet'.  It was rebuilt in 1938.  The colour is based on the red lacquer of the Japanese Shinkyo bridge in Nikko.

Tragically the donor was drowned under the bridge 7 years after its original construction.

It is in located in the heart of Pukekura Park, which in turn is in the heart of New Plymouth City.

The suspended balls are in preparation for the annual Festival of Lights held each summer.

30 Nov 2015

What do I do with an enormous sketchbook?

My daughter gave me this very large sketchbook which she got from an art shop in Dunedin, (sadly they've gone out of supplying these now, and I find it difficult to source sketchbooks which have high gsm papers suitable for watercolour). It is quite large, a bit too big to take out sketching, so I decided to use it for watercolour paintings instead. This was then a little intimidating, especially the first page as you want it to look good!

Here is the result: 

 Shell Study. Watercolour. The first page in my large watercolour sketchbook.

James Lane

This tall and thin building forms half of James Lane and two sides have street art on it. You can see a biplane on top and the bottom has a intricately painted wooden fence alley scene. I thought that the alley scene is a pretty good job but a friend said that maybe the artists did too good of a job. The fact that it's painted very well may give it a bit of resistance to being painted over with something new and prevent the natural image rotation that usually comes with urban art. Of course, the buildings making up the lane might not be that earthquake safe. If they end up needing replacement, it sort of makes the artwork time limit argument irrelevant. It's unlikely that any new building will have wall space put aside for spray cans. 

(Here's roughly the same scene, but from a slightly different angle done in 2012. Spot the differences between these two pictures.)

29 Nov 2015

Kite surfers from East End Surf Club.

On a fine, but very windy day, I sat outside the East End Surf Club and had another try at sketching the kite surfers. They are certainly not easy as they are always on the move. I'm not sure how many there were. Definitely more than 10. The sea was quite rough and Port Taranaki was a bit hazy in the background. The wind was whipping up quite a bit of sea spray.

I think this is my best kite surfer sketch yet.

Aussie Car Muster

1957 Vauxhall Velox wagon at the Aussie Car Muster - not exactly a 'Muscle Car' as billed on the advertising but still very much admired by passers by.


(Sketched by Patricia)   Police & Fire at Car demo, with the jaws of life

21 Nov 2015

Motonui Epa

Forty years ago these Motonui Epa (back panels of a storehouse) found in a swamp were spirited out of the country to a Bolivian collector for USD65.000.  The government bought them back for 4.5 million this year, and they were returned to Taranaki.  Distinctively our style with serpentine bodies, the pointed heads and pu-werewere (spider web) decoration.

A challenge to draw as the display was slowly rotating, so we had much exercise over the hour's drawing. 

Brian suggested trying a dark background to 'pop' them out.

Maori Carvings

Sketched by Patricia

14 Nov 2015

Pukekura Park entrance, Rogan Street, New Plymouth.

Today while the others sketched at The Traveller's Fair, I sat and sketched the Rogan Street entrance to Pukekura Park.
There is the usual red Pukekura Park gate, and a pleasant shady path to walk down. In front of that was an enormous power-pole interrupting my view. This is what caught my eye.

I decided to try a different technique today and used a medium black calligraphy pen and watercolour. I limited my palate to five colours. Surprisingly I finished the whole thing in an hour.

Gypsy Travellers Fair

You invariably find interesting characters at Gypsy Fairs.

Here are two good sports who didn't mind modelling.  (And I'm not talking about the Bedford and Ford)

12 Nov 2015

Fire Trucks

Just some fire trucks because that's what I felt like drawing lately

11 Nov 2015

St Mark's Church, Lepperton.

On Saturday, for the tail end of the garden festival, we went to St Mark's Church in Lepperton. It was a beautiful afternoon,  just right for spending the afternoon sketching. The church was dressed for a country wedding.

This Anglican church in Lepperton is thought to have opened in May 1900 with a dedication service on the 18th of January 1901.
It is likely that the church was designed by the architect Frank Messenger and built by a Mr Mannix. Church records have been located showing a £5.00 payment to "Mr Messenger". Tenders for the construction of a church in Lepperton closed on the 11th of October 1899 - the tenders to be submitted to Frank Messenger.

Here is my sketch:

 And here are some photos:

Inside, there was a handmade wedding dress that had been made for a wedding in the 1950's:

They also laid on the most wonderful afternoon tea! Here are a few photos taken by Sarah Davison.

9 Nov 2015

Tree Church

Just south of Hamilton at Ohaupu a former farmer has created a tree church.  Growth is trained over framing to create this intriguing spot.

6 Nov 2015

St Andrew's Church. Exhibition of sketches.

This week it is the Taranaki Garden Festival. It runs from the 31st October to the 8th November. During the festival we have a series of sketches on display at St Andrew's Church. We went and sketched at the church about five different times, and tried to capture many different aspects of it inside and out.

There is also a display there by the orchid Society. So last Saturday we went and sketched among the orchids and our sketches.

Here is my sketch:

And some photos:

Alan, Andrea, Trevor, Liz and Maurice's sketches.

Scott, Julie and Maurice's sketches.




Brian, Patricia and Maurice's sketches.



Andrea's sketch.

Liz's sketch.