Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Here's a sketch of a 150-year old creepy looking tree. The hotel, where it's at, was somewhat built around it to keep it. It's actually a NZ Registered Notable Tree although when it was listed the site was still a church property.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Bullet - made like a gun

I started out drawing New Plymouth's 1 million dollar tree, the gnarly 150 year old Ombu tree, one of only three in New Zealand when an Indian couple pulled up for a coffee.  I say pulled up, but as you can see there is no pillion, so one was following in the car.  It started to spit so I moved across to the bike and began umbrella sketching.

Royal Enfield was formerly the brand of the British Enfield Cycle Company.  It started in India for the Indian Army when 350cc bikes were imported in kits from the UK and assembled in Chennai (formerly Madras).  After a few years the company started producing the 500cc Bullet.

Intriguingly the Bullet derives its name from the original links with the Royal Small Arms Factory in Enfield, London.

In 2013 a new factory opened in Chennai.  Royal Enfield now sells motorbikes out of India to more than 50 countries and surpassed Harley-Davidson in global sales in 2015.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

USA trip

I visited the USA last year with friends, to attend the famous airshow at Oshkosh, in Wisconsin.

Starting with a three day trip from San Francisco to Chicago in the train called the Zephyr, we traveled to the show by car from Chicago, and after that to New York.

As far as airshows go, nobody does it better than the Americans. This includes heaps of warbirds and classic aircraft, a school bus powered by a Phantom jet engine, a night time display with fireworks attached to wingtips, evening musical shows with Little River Band, and awesome pyrotechnical displays. This happens over 6 exhausting days.

New York was the noisiest place I have ever been in, but the Highline pedestrian trail was a haven of quiet. Chicago would have to be my favourite city, where I visited many wonderful Frank Lloyd Wright buildings.


I sat down in a small park in San Francisco, among a social gathering of many dog walkers, and sketched in late afternoon sun, Grace Cathedral; a church modelled on the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. American architecture replicates many classical building forms, but this was beautifully crafted in concrete and built in the 1960s.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A very pretty town and a very hot, 30 degree, July afternoon.

The City of Oshkosh Courthouse, had very elaborate native inspired carvings in stone framing the beautiful polished brass doors. A very angry squirrel kept threatening to jump on my head as I sketched at the base of his tree, and the ants weren’t too friendly either.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fijian magi magi

I was taken by the graphic design of these Fijian coconut fibre (magi magi) weavings wrapped around pillars. So was compelled to sketch them. Pronounced "mangi mangi" as Fijian sounds an n before some consonants. The fibre is course, very strong, and quite expensive. The colour is precisely burnt sienna - easy to watercolour! The two artists who do this work in Fiji were away so I didn't get to meet them.  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Creating a public disturbance in Port Vila

 New Caledonia, Noumea, the park along the Centre of the old part of town.

Vanuatu, Port Vila Fruit and Vegetable market. A very colourful place and lots of wonderful smiling faces. I was completely surrounded by onlookers as I completed this picture, and was concerned the police might come and investigate the public gathering. One person took on the job of "crowd control" and ensured the viewpoint to my subject was kept clear.

Time for a Haircut

A sketch at the barbers that I go to. I like how the decor is a bit old-timey - a real barbershop. Snip snip, chop chop, talk some shop. Pitter patter, a bit of banter, and you're done.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Maryborough, Queensland

Maryborough, inland Queensland. A delightful town with lots of history and lovely old buildings. The boatbuilding industry on the local Mary river has all but disappeared, but it has a brand new town hall and an active art community.

Maryborough is the birthplace of the author of Mary Poppins, Pamela Lyndon Travers, although the town was already named Maryborough before that event. The town hosts the annual Mary Poppins Festival.