Somerville outdoor cinema, UWA

Spent a pleasant morning out painting with the Plein Air Painters Perth at the lovely Somerville Auditorium. This is a gorgeous outdoor theatre set in the University of Western Australia (UWA) grounds. This area of the university is also known as the “cathedral of pines” because of the huge Norfolk pine trees that were planted by William Somerville to create an open air venue sometime after 1927.

The Somerville is home to Perth’s International Film Festival with nightly showings after sunset in the summer months, the public gather to eat picnics on the grass surrounded by the massive trees before settling down in deckchairs at sunset to watch the film.

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On my bike ride into the city there was a yacht race on the Swan river just outside of Elizabeth Quay….the city makes a great back-drop for the race.

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Hike along the Blackwood River, Mauritius


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Hired a car for a few days to explore the island of Mauritius, it’s about 60 kms long North to South and 40 kms wide East to West…..Short distances to travel (compared to Australia). The Blackwood River runs down from the central mountain with lake filled volcanic crater. The lake is a holy site for the Hindu population – there’s a massive 35m high statue on the edge of the lake, very impressive, lots of shrines with incense wafting through the air. Winding little roads down weave around fields of sugar cane down to the coast.

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Wildflowers Kings Park, Perth, 2016

Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia this arvo, a quick cycle around (glad I didn’t drive –  it was very busy) to see this years wildflowers…. I probably should have come a week earlier but was too busy. These pictures all taken with my smart phone….I’m still astonished….the quality of picture for a little phone…..I scribbled a few quick sketches too….

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Quick A6 sketches of some of the wildflowers…Giles Mallee above (Europeans first discovered this plant in 1876) was thought extinct but was rediscovered in the Little Sandy Desert in 1991.

Sturt’s Desert Pea on the left.

Carriage Cafe Fremantle

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20160209 Carriage Cafe Freo PhotoThis is the Carriage Cafe in the Esplanade Park, Fremantle this morning. The park is surprisingly pleasant on a hot day…. there was a cool breeze from the Indian Ocean and lots of shade from the huge Norfolk Pine trees. (According to the Heritage Council of WA the Esplanade park is land reclaimed from the sea around 1900 and originally the seafront was the aptly named Marine Terrace).  The cafe really is made from an old train carriage and has been in existence since 1912. There’s a corrugated roof giving shelter through which two pine trees are growing …. holes cut into the roof to accommodate. The coffee wasn’t the greatest but it’s a lovely spot.


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A sandstone water fountain in the middle of the park, brass bubblers and wrought iron decoration.

Pilot Parallel Pen 1.5mm with De Atramentis Document Ink, various watercolours with Pentel waterbrush, Pentel waterbrush with Liquitex acrylic ink, Pentel waterbrush with water and a few drops of sumi ink (grey), Holcroft sketch and draw diary 225gsm.

Moonlight Cinema Perth

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Moonlight cinema in Kings Park Perth last night….went to see Star Wars – The Force Awakens. It was a perfect night for being out and about….had been a hot 37’C day and was still 30’C at midnight….no warming blanket required! We have seen the film before and I have to admit I slept through parts of it…I think one viewing is probably sufficient! But it’s so relaxing to set up a blanket on the grass, surrounded by the big gum trees and have a picnic as the sun goes down. This was sketched in about 15 minutes as it was going dark quickly.

Karrakatta Cemetery

20151026 KarrakattaVisited Karrakatta Cemetery yesterday and today. …..I was intending to paint something to enter for James Gurney’s graveyard challenge (plein air painting of anything graveyard related but with the restriction of using only 3 colours plus white).

This restriction on colour made painting (for me at least) really difficult and frustrating. I wasn’t happy with yesterday’s painting of this head stone (watercolour raw sienna, quin burnt scarlet and Indigo plus a little white gouache).

So I tried again today with marginally more success a horizontal grave (there may be an offical name for the types of graves, I don’t know).20151027 Karrakatta

Although the grounds were very peaceful with beautiful trees and flowers….I did find it an unsettling place even mid morning….my sense of unease wasn’t helped by a somewhat bewildered lady who was wandering around calling out for “John” (I presume her relative or husband).

The first burial at Karrakatta took place in 1899 when it took over from East Perth Cemetery which was filling up rapidly as the population expanded due to the gold rush. Adjoining Railway Road it covers quite a large area (almost 100 hectares) and there are many different styles of ornamentation (or lack of) according to the deceased’s religion and culture.