Forrest Place, Perth

20160730  Forrest Place Commonwealth Bank20160730 Forrest Place Photo

The Urban Sketchers Perth met this morning in Forrest Place, Perth to draw the heart of the city. I chose to sketch a section of the Commonwealth of Australia Bank building. This is a very solid, imposing 6 storey building made from stone quarried from nearby Greenmount. Erected during the great depression as a means of creating jobs for desperate people it took 3 years to complete, opening in 1933. Built in the “Beaux -Arts” style that was popular at the time (same style as the Commonwealth bank in Martin Place in Sydney) the next door General Post Office is similarly imposing. The new bank was fitted with all the latest features…. a night safe, ‘a new feature of banking practice in Perth’ safety designs included an automatic fire alarm, multiple locks on doors and the door to the safe deposit was, ‘constructed to resist all known methods of attack. (Heritage Perth website)

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The other pictures above are a quick sketch of some children playing in the water fountains in Forrest Place….the water pops up in random lines forming a wall of water. The pattern of water continually moves and the kids have a great time running through and getting soaked (adults too) even in winter.

Also the collection of sketches from everyone this morning (9 of us)

To the Pilbara and back again….

This is a little “mud” – map of our travels around part of Western Australia.

The red lettering on the right side really is written with mud –  red dirt – from a puddle on our campsite – genuine Pilbara red ochre!

The below sketches are from various bays in the Ningaloo Marine Park – Turquoise Bay and Oyster Stacks which we snorkeled in, saw lots of fish (fishing is banned throughout most of the park), turtles, clams….lots of coral and shells.

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Have you ever seen a starfish this blue? I had to include the photo to prove its amazing cobalt blue colour……we all thought it was a toy plastic starfish at first….but no it was real and alive and we saw several more when out snorkelling!

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The below pictures are looking up to the top of Circular Pool in Karijini gorge, there is a white gum tree clinging on to the very top edge of the red rocks. This painting is an example of why sketching on location produces a much better record of a place than a photo….the contrast of light was too great for my camera (Canon G16) to handle (and I suspect most cameras) even after adjusting the aperture, neutral density filter, ISO, Speed etc. Most of my photos are very under or over exposed because of the extreme contrasts. But sketching on site you can observe the real colours and your eyes compensate for the bright sunny sky and the dark shadows from the tall cliffs….sketching from a photo just wouldn’t be the same.

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Swimming with Whale Sharks – Ningaloo Reef

Swimming with Whale Sharks just outside of the Ningaloo reef…. an amazing experience to be in the water so close to these graceful creatures of the ocean…. We motored out for a day on the boat “Prime” with Exmouth Diving Centre, all these photos were shot by the professional photographer on board the boat – Jess Hadden (just as well as we don’t have an underwater camera and we could concentrate on snorkelling). The water wasn’t too cold but a wet-suit helped keep warm for multiple snorkels and also gave buoyancy. There are a number of charter boats operating whale shark tours. A spotter plane in the sky directs the skippers to the shark when it is about to surface then the boats head over, taking it in turns to drop their passengers into the water to swim. We had 5 swims with the Whale Sharks, the largest we saw was around 8 metres long… we swam along side for 5-10 minutes until the shark dived down to the deep for 20-30 mins before it returned to the surface. Being sharks they don’t breath air (have gills) but they do skim the water just below the surface with their mouth wide open to scoop up krill. We could get really quite close….within a few metres…. but not too close as they are very large creatures with a powerful caudal (tail) fin.

We also sighted Humpback Whales in the distance coming up for air as they migrate North for breeding.

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Perth to the Gascoyne, Pilbara, Mid-West, Wheatbelt and back – Part 1 – Hamlin Pool and Exmouth

Just returned from a two week, 4987km round trip from Perth to Ningaloo and Karajini National Parks in Western Australia and back again….. heaps of photos, some sketches….will take several posts to cover it all!

20160717 Hamlin Bay NestThe left hand sketch is a sunset sketch of an Osprey’s nest atop a disused telephone pole just outside of Hamelin Pool Caravan Park…. Hamelin Pool was originally a telegraph station for Perth to Roebourne communications (1884) but is now more famous for the stromatolites on the beach at Hamlin Pool Marine Nature Reserve.



20160717 LighthouseOn the right is the Vlamingh Head Lighthouse just outside of Exmouth, completed in 1912 it served as a warning for shipping. The North West coast of W.A. is a very dangerous stretch of coastline, with high cliffs, few natural harbours and additional hazards of reefs. The nearby World Heritage Listed Ningaloo reef is one of the longest fringing (close to shore) reefs in the world….300km from just outside of Exmouth to Quobba Station south of Coral Bay and Shark Bay.


Some photos….

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