Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Travels with a Sketchbook in Australia

Two views from Circular Quay
- Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Ferries (pencil, 8" x 11")
- Sydney Opera House from Wolfie's (coloured pencils, 8" x 11")

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

My sister Helen lives in Australia and in 1997 I visited her and her husband Phil and my 'soon to be three' niece Kate in Sydney, the largest city in Australia and the capital of New South Wales.

Making a record of my Australia Sketchbook will remind me about all the wonderful and different aspects of Australia. It'll also probably provide an incentive to visit them again soon - before my nieces grow up and are old enough to start travelling independently to 'do Europe' and visit their aged auntie in the UK!

This then is the start of my record of my last trip and the sketchbook I kept at the time - with a few photos as well. Well actually I've got more than a few photos but this is supposed to be a sketchbook blog!

I kept a brief note of what happened in my sketchbook and this series of Australia Sketchbook blog posts will include some or all of the following:
  • 4th April 1997 - arrival to wonderful early Autumn sunshine in Sydney and fish and chips at Balmoral Beach
  • 5th April 1997 - Royal Easter Show, Sydney (photos only)
  • 6th April 1997 - a trip out to visit part of my BIL's family in Empire Bay and the tropical rainforest in the back garden (photos only)
Empire Bay - the rain forest in the back garden
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
Sydney Back Garden
pastel, 19.5" x 25.5"

copyright Katherine Tyrrell
  • 9th April 1997 - jet lag kicked in and after rest in the morning I drew my sister's back garden.
  • 10th April 1997 - sketching in the Queen Victoria building (which was described by Pierre Cardin as the most beuatiful shopping complex in the world), lunch at Wolfie's overlooking the harbour at Circular Quay and then drawing Sydney Opera House in the afternoon (photos and 3 sketches)
  • 11-15th April 1997 - a trip with my sister and her family to stay at Bluey's Beach via the Hunter Valley (home of Tyrrell's Wines and a lot of other famous vineyards!) and lunch at the Rothbury Estate (quite a few sketches and photos)
  • 16th April 1997 - a trip across the harbour on one of the Sydney Harbour ferries to Taronga Zoo with my "very soon to be 3" year old niece followed by a meal in the evening at the Rockpool - yum yum! (photos only)
The view of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House from Mrs Macquairie's Chair in the Royal Botanic Gardens
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

I've got a page in the Travels with my Sketchbook part of my website for the Australian trip which has some of the Australia sketches from that trip.

As before with my trips to the southwestern states of the USA, New England and Venice, I'll be providing additional information about the places and links to associated sites for those who want to explore further. You'll notice I've already started to collect them..... ;)



  1. Katherine, I love the pastel you did of the back yard...wow, just great! So lively looking and full of movement and color.

  2. I enjoy reading your blog and looking forward to the posts of the trip.

    I love the Back Garden. I don't know how to describe it, it just so smooth and delicate and just beautiful. I don't paint in pastel and I really want to try it now.

  3. Visiting a new place provides wonderful inspiration, doesn't it? Enjoying the posts...heading to Kauai myself (Hawaii) next week.

  4. Wow Katherine, its such a small world ! Did you mean Empire Bay which is next to Woy Woy / Ettalong ? (i looked at the map but couldnt get it to come up) if so thats where i LIVE ! I live in Woy Woy 5mins from Empire Bay. I also used to frequent Balmoral all the time as i used to live in Mosman which is right next door. I grew up on the Northern Beaches (Mona Vale) so i am a regular visitor to all those places !!! :)

  5. There's quite a lot of heartache for me looking at your lovely sketch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge & ferries, Katherine. In the first place, I've never sketched the Sydney landmarks and second, I would so love to be there at the moment! Excellent perspective and scale and I love those umbrellas on the left.

    Rockpool is a favourite restaurant too - particularly their mud crab! Neil Perry was married to a friend of mine.

    Balmoral is another heartache memory. I used to take my daughter to breakfast at a little restaurant on the beach there every Sunday when she was small. It is still one of my favourite beaches in the world.

    And it is a small world Belinda. My daughter was born at Mona Vale Hospital!

    Keep them coming Katherine, while you relive what was obviously a fantastic holiday, I can enjoy a little comfort of home through your sketches and photos.

    I've seen your pastel Backyard before. It is lush and colourful and amazing, particularly for an artist with jetlag!

  6. Belinda - yes, it's the Empire Bay which is next to Woy Woy - it surely is a small world!

    Have a nice time Ed.

    Robyn - more about mud crabs later - I have the complete list of what I had written out in my sketchbook!


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