Barrack Street Jetty, Perth

Barrack Street Jetty in Perth this morning with the Urban Sketchers Perth (10 of us). A lovely morning sketching around the bustling jetties…. ferries across the river to Mends Street, down the river to Freo and onwards to Rottnest Island, plus river cruises up and down the river all depart from here.


Below….found a lovely quiet and shady spot around the back of one of the cafes to sketch these posts – each post had a resident bird, mostly seagulls and one cormorant (locally known as “shags”) , the water was very calm and glassy.


Rosalie Blum at Cinema Paradiso


Waiting for French film “Rosalie Blum” to start this afternoon at Cinema Paradiso in Northbridge. Cinema Paradiso is a lovely small cinema which shows mainly art house and non-mainstream films….Such a refreshing change from some of the recycled Hollywood crap that’s currently out there. Great film, story, actors and subtitles (my French is pretty rusty). Nice to step into another world for a couple of hours.

Brittania Coffee Palace


This is a section of the former “Brittania Coffee Palace” (built 1897) on the corner of Francis and William streets in Northbridge.

The Brittania was constructed to cater for the temperance movement – “coffee palaces” were alternative to licensed premises providing accomodation and facilities for tea-totalling travellers and families. Located close to the city it was one of many hotels that sprang up to cater for the gold rush hopefulls that made their way to Perth. Up to 150 boarders could be accommodated… many young men who signed up for the first world war listed the Brittania as their home address.

It is currently cafe and retail on the ground floor and a backpackers on the upper floors….probably not tea-total!


Claremont Goods Shed


The historic Claremont Goods Shed (next to Claremont Station) was the venue this morning for the Perth Plein Air Painters gathering for a paint-out.


The Goods Shed was built in 1887 a year after the Claremont station opened to the public serving the new Fremantle to Guildford rail line which had opened in 1881. This shed served as a small warehouse for goods that would have arrived by ship in Fremantle.

Unbelievably the passenger services on the Fremantle to Perth were abolished for 4 years between September 1979 and July 1983 (allegedly due to poor passenger numbers, the service was only reinstated with a change of government).

The shed has been restored and re-purposed as a not-for-profit arts hub run by Form and has a little cafe (opposite side to my sketch).

Claremont train station, 1902

TWSBI Eco fountain pen with EF nib, De Atramentis document black ink, Pentel waterbrushes broad and fine, various watercolours in homemade Altoids paintbox on Clairefontaine A5 plain notebook.


Old Shanghai Food Court, Northbridge

The Urban Sketchers Perth met this morning at the Old Shanghai Food Court in James Street, Northbridge for our monthly sketch-meet. We started with some blind contour drawings of each other to warm up (and have a laugh at the results!!!). I think it’s really important to warm up before starting sketching….it loosens the fingers and relaxes the mind before starting a “proper” sketch.

20161211-old-shanghai-food-court-heatherThis is my blind contour sketch of Heather…it has some elements of her character (except that she doesn’t have 2 noses!). To do a blind contour drawing there are only 2 rules…..don’t look down at your paper and don’t take the pen off the page….try to slowly follow the outlines and form changes with your pen/pencil and feel your way around the object you are viewing. Invariably it won’t be accurate but it is a lot of fun and always brings laughter from the sketcher and the subject.


This is my quick sketch of the interior of the food court…quite dark except for the lovely bright red paper lanterns and the neon signs of the food vendors. We arrived at 10am when the place was empty of customers…only the cooks preparing the delicious foods.

This is the honey chicken, rice and spring roll that I enjoyed….sketched first…about 20 minutes…yum.


These three images are of a guy checking his phone whilst waiting for his food to arrive. I drew on location with my trusty Lamy Safari fountain pen and De Atramentis black ink. The watercolours I added later at home from memory in stages, taking photos in between to see how the colours changed the feel of the sketch I can’t decide which version I prefer the original pen only sketch or the final with the red cup…..

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Last but certainly not least…..everyone’s sketches from this morning….what a variety of different scenes that everyone chose to draw….we were all sitting around the same table but focused on different things….


Sunset Hospital Dalkeith


Cycled around the old Sunset Hospital site on the foreshore at Dalkeith this morning, it’s just been opened to the public having been closed and fenced off for over 20 years. Built in 1904 as the “Claremont Old Men’s Home” it was renamed as “Sunset Hospital” in 1941 when it became a hospital for returned servicemen and later a public hospital for men and women. Most of the 13 buildings are still fenced…. off presumably awaiting renovation. There are new BBQ facilities, children’s adventure playground and good seating underneath massive Moreton Bay Fig trees which overlook the Swan river. Current renovations have been financed by selling off part of the land to the Sultan of Johor, the long term plan is to preserve the heritage listed buildings for future arts, culture and community use.



Finally….. a quick sketch of the Perth skyline from Matilda Bay Tearooms (which have also been renovated).

Shipwreck Galleries – Fremantle

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The Urban Sketcher Perth met up yesterday morning for our monthly sketch-meet, this time in Fremantle at the Shipwreck Galleries.

I arrived a little early on the train and had time to scribble this quick sketch above from a conveniently placed bench in the shade. This solid limestone building sitting on the corner of Cliff Street and Croke Lane was built sometime in the 1850’s as a government stores. At that time the seashore was much closer and a jetty allowed large ships to offload their cargo into this building….supplies for the new settlement of Perth had to be carried by smaller boats as the Swan river was not navigable for ships until after 1897.

It turned out to be a hot (38’C) day so most of us sought sanctuary inside the Shipwreck Galleries museum which has lovely air-conditioning!


There’s quite a variety of artifacts in the museum, from the infamous “Batavia” to lesser known but equally fascinating brig “Stefano” which sunk in a storm¬†after hitting Ningaloo Reef south of Point Cloates in 1876. The 3 masted barque was carrying 1300 tons of coal from Cardiff (Wales) for Hong Kong with crew of 17 (16 Croatian, 1 English, the master of the ship was the oldest at only 25 years old!). Seven crew drowned, the remaining crew made the 6km distance to shore on flotsam and headed South towards Gascoyne River. Here they met the local Aboriginal people who though they could not converse were able to get some directions and were given a map that had washed ashore. The survivors of the storm then tried to find their way south but became disorientated in the desolate scrub-land and blinding sand/salt lakes. The crew scattered in desperation searching for water and died of exhaustion and thirst….all except for 2 lads (16 year old Miho and 20 year old Ivan) who headed inland and found the Aboriginal mob again. The Aboriginals were very humane and nursed Miho and Ivan back to health, looking after them forr 3 months, teaching them about the land and animals, Aboriginal ¬†language and culture. A passing cutter later picked them up and took the pair to Fremantle where they were treated as marvels for their survival. The two returned to Croatia but stopped on the way to give gifts to the Aboriginals who had saved their lives. The wreck was discovered in 1997 between 2 and 9 meters deep.

20161126-samuel-plimsollThis is a fountain pen sketch of the Samuel Plimsoll figure head that once gazed hopefully from the bow of the ship the “Samuel Plimsoll”.

Samuel Plimsoll (1824-1898) was failed coal merchant who experienced hard times and later dedicated his life to improving maritime safety. At this time shipping was largely unregulated, overladen and unseaworthy ships were commonly known as “coffin ships”. Plimsoll became an MP and campaigned against the wealthy and powerful shipping magnates to introduce the Merchant Shipping Act enforcing maximum load levels – the Load or Plimsoll line is still on every ship today.

The passenger clipper “Samuel Plimsoll” was an iron hulled 3 masted full rigged ship built in Aberdeen in 1873 as an emigrant ship for the colony of Australia. The ship’s owner (Thompson’s Aberdeen Line) named the ship in Plimsoll’s honour (and invited him to the launch) after Plimsoll mentioned the Aberdeen company in parliament as an example of a reputable shipping company who never overloaded their vessels. It seems that the ship had a number of collisions and lost its gear quite frequently but was surprisingly fast when all was well …. in 1878 sailed Plymouth England to Melbourne Australia in 86 days. Catching fire in 1899 on the Thames in London and scuttled was the end of passenger days, re-floated in 1900 intended for New Zealand service the ship was dis-masted off the NZ coast. Not worthy of repair the ship was used as a coal hulk for the next 40 years before finally colliding with another ship “Dalgoma” in 1948 in Gage Roads shipping lane just outside of Fremantle.



The UsK Perth group sketches, 7 of us in total, great sketching everyone.