29 Aug 2015

The Len Lye Centre and Monica's Eatery.

It was rather wet this afternoon, so we went to the Len Lye Centre to sketch inside. I was quite happy with this as they had the touring exhibition of the New Zealand Secondary School NCEA level 3 art boards from last year i.e. 17 year olds. This made interesting viewing and there was a wide variety of different ideas and mediums to look at. I didn't attempt to sketch any of this, but went out into the centre. I had problems deciding what to do as at this stage it is quite a big empty echoey space with a lot of grey concrete or black walls. In the end I tried a pencil drawing in grey scale of a nook in the wavy concrete wall.

Here is my sketch:

I must say I was surprised to find a crack in the floor at this early stage!

I then gave up on the Len Lye Centre and went to their cafe "Monica's Eatery." I found much more to sketch in here. I decided to get out my pen and coloured pencils. This is the first pen sketch I've done since July 2014. Goodness! I think I need to do a few more. I sketched very quickly as I was concerned the two people would leave any minute. They had that look about them.

Here is my sketch:

28 Aug 2015


Here's a fishing boat that is double parked to the main launching dock. I'm not sure why since there were other places to berth to. The sailors had to climb to the larger diving ship and then to the dock to get supplies loaded. Important things like fuel and hot lunches from a nearby restaurant. About halfway through this one the ropes were untied and it sailed away. This is a bit worse than when cars do this.
The name Exocet has the same as an anti-ship missile and is French for 'flying fish'. I guess this is a good name although this doesn't seem to be a particularly fast vessel.

23 Aug 2015

Exxopolis Brooklands Park.

Go and see Exxoplolis. It's certainly worth a look.

In 2012 Architects of Air created its 20th luminarium entitled ‘EXXOPOLIS’.
For this luminarium, Alan Parkinson aimed to return to his roots and to involve local community groups in the build of EXXOPOLIS. The main dome has brought together different elements of design and sectors of community to create a celebratory centerpiece named the ‘Cupola’. Inspired by the circular space of the Chapter House of Southwell Minster, the ‘Cupola’ features perpendicular style windows that have each been made by different community groups and that are made up of small pieces of coloured plastic designed to create a ‘stained-glass’ effect. The design of these windows is based on Penrose tiling discovered by mathematician and physicist Roger Penrose. This particular tiling has an organisation similar to that found in Islamic tile patterns. All the individual pieces have been cut and glued together by hand in their workshop in Nottingham, England.

Since 1992 Architects of Air's luminaria have enchanted over 2 million visitors in 41 countries around the world. The luminosity of light and colour inside is created purely by the light shining through the coloured plastic. 

Before everyone got there I went inside to have a look and take photographs. It was quite difficult to get good pictures as the light wasn't daylight or electric light, so I had to do a bit of experimenting to get it right.

Here is my sketch of the outside:

And some photos:


And Inside:


Which Way?



"Stained Glass"


Suitable for young and old!

I was particularly pleased with this one, playing with colour accents.

22 Aug 2015


This inflatable  air concept began in 1992 in Nottingham.with 'EGGOPOLIS" - like a series of coloured eggs, and expanded to EXXOPOLIS in 2012 when  'Architects of Air' began the first luminarium.  The cuppola on the right was inspired by the Chapter House of Southwell Minster featuring perpendicular windows with a stain glassed effect.

The New Plymouth site for the feature was nestled in a corner of Pukekura Park as part of The Taranaki Arts Festival.  Families were streaming through.

20 Aug 2015

High Tide Coffees & More

A mobile coffee shop that usually hangs out at Oakura Beach, which is down the coast from New Plymouth. (I looked it up on Google.) It's currently in town for the arts festival evenings.

15 Aug 2015

The Famous Spiegeltent

At present "TheTaranaki International Arts Festival" is running from 13-30th August. One of the venues for shows is The Famous Spiegeltent, described in the advertising as one of the most beautiful venues in the world.

The most beautiful of the last remaining Belgian Spiegeltents, The Famous Spiegeltent, was built in 1920 by master craftsmen Oscar Mols Dom and Loius Goor. Since Marlene Dietrich sang Falling In Love Again on The Famous Spiegeltent stage in the 1930s, its magic mirrors have reflected thousands of images of artists, audiences and exotic gatherings.

Today I decided that as the Spiegeltent is so intricate and covered in detailed drawings I would only sketch a part of it and use watercolour pencils. That way I would have more control of my image. I was drawn to the reflection of the trees on Devon Street in the glass doors and the glimmer of some small mirrors that could be seen inside.

Here is my sketch:

And here are some photos:

The Famous Spiegeltent

The Famous Spiegeltent is in town.   'Spiegel' is the Dutch/Flemish word for mirror because they are lined with mirrors - the tent of mirrors.  Emerging in Belgium in the early 20th century they acted as traveling dance-halls, pubs, and entertainment salons and now there are only a handful left in the world.

The staff kindly let us past the barrier to sketch this 1920 version here for the Taranaki Arts Festival, the band was warming up inside.  Once you started drawing you discovered various risque pictures of a burlesque nature. This tent is built of 3000 pieces of wood, mirrors, canvas, and leaded glass then decorated in velvet and brocade, it takes 12 hours to assemble.  Apparently Marlene Dietrich performed in this tent back in the 1930's.  It can hold 300+ people, so looks slightly Tardis-like.

This one has been in New Plymouth several times before.  When it was here in 2009 the barmaid approached us as we sketched the band, and asked if we would draw her.

I later completed it at home on my then-new Wacom tablet.

Len Lye building and the historic White Hart Hotel, New Plymouth .MLB
the amazing and Famous Spiegeltent at this years Taranaki International Arts Festival . MLB
The NPBHS Gates ... my  years 1962-65.
Maurice Betts- Urban Sketch Aug 2015

8 Aug 2015

Pridham Hall, New Plymouth Boy's High School.

Today was a dull, dark, rain, hail snowing on the mountain type of day. We sketched indoors at Pridham Hall, New Plymouth Boy's High School.

The school was established in 1882.
Pridham Hall combines the Elizabethan and Jacobean influences from palaces, mansions and collegiate buildings built in Britain.
Pridham Hall is a substantial example of the Edwardian Free Style in New Zealand and shows the continuing influence of British trends on New Zealand architecture well into the twentieth century.

It certainly was a challenge to draw for several reasons. there was so much to do, it was cold, there were no seats and the floor was hard to sit on, but we all persevered!

Here is my sketch:

And some Photos:

 Looking out the window at the weather!

 Look at all that detail!

Scott and Brian looking at the Honours Board.

Pridham Hall

The rain hosed down outside, but it was perfect peace within Pridham Hall, New Plymouth Boys' High School.  The school kindly let us in on a Saturday afternoon.

The Harry Potterish Free Edwardian style combines Elizabethan and Jacobean influences.

Ernest Pridham was the Headmaster from 1881 - 1911

1 Aug 2015