Sunday 15 September 2013

A Tasty Cultural Sketching Article

My article on A Tasty Cultural Art Project is published in the latest edition of Australian Artist Magazine. There are six pages of information and images, including a step by step sketching guide.
Food Sketching can be done anywhere, and it reflects culture and country, both of which are unique. Food is all around us when we travel; in markets, cafes, restaurants and shops. I love not only the food but the presentation of food in various countries as even the serving dishes are characteristic of people and place.
The food markets in Savusavu, Fiji - alive with colour and an amazing diversity of local food.

 Below are various dishes from Bali, and this is a composite sketch. Often there might only be time to do a very quick initial sketch, so ensure you take photographs to refer to at a later date. So I have taken food sketches from many of my regular Balinese sketching holidays and put them together, so you get an overall impression of the culture and cuisine.
Vietnam for me is a very special place and I have spent time travelling to some out of the way places there and engaging with the local people. These were areas where not many tourists ventured, so for a change, we were the curiosity and a source of interest for them. Vietnam is a very beautiful country where food is goverened by climatic and geographical conditions.


This shop was on Quan Lan Island, which is one of the outer lying islands of Halong Bay. The very sandy island has about 2000 inhabitants and several larger towns, but basically it is quite uncommercialised. We enjoyed a home stay which was an amazing experience to be a guest in a local person's house and to be shown their hospitality and generosity. The home cooked meals were produced in an outside kitchen over an open fire, and the flavours were extraordinary. Seafood was a main staple and we enjoyed a wide range of other delicacies as well.
You only need to travel lightly, and you can see from the image above, this minamalistic group of materials is all you would need as a starting point. However, once involved with this exciting medium, you can add more colours or materials as you require.
Happy sketching!!

Wednesday 11 September 2013

'Flora Danica' Royal Porcelain

The Flora Danica porcelain service, which was commissioned by the Danish king, can be seen in the Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen. Although it is a complete dinner service, the Royal Family mainly used it to serve dessert. The other courses were usually served on silver plates.

Inside the Christianborg Palace, Copenhagen
 This service was made at the time of the Enlightenment, which was a cultural movement of intellectuals in the 17th and 18th centuries. During this period a keen interest was shown in nature and the natural sciences.

 The motifs of the service were not chosen because they were beautiful, but because all the illustrations in the botanical work Flora Danica were to be painted on the porcelain. Mosses, algae, parasitic fungi and other unappetizing things, as well as the flowers, were given a place at a banquet. Originally all the plants were to be shown life-size on the porcelain.

If a stem was too long, it was resolutely cut into several sections, or forced to wind its way precariously along the curved edges of the service.

 The paintings are quite exquisite, and faithfully representative of species. Further elaborate decorations were painted around the edges of the porcelain, along with gold trim. Beautifully sculptured flowers on the top of the serving dishes and on serving platters were also botanically correct.

This was a magnificent display which fitted well with the opulence of the palace itself. I am sure many of us would love to have one of these dishes adorn our table.
It is certainly on my Wish List!!!

European Odyssey

I am well and truly back from four weeks through Scandinavia in Northern Europe, visiting Bruge (Belgium), Tallinn (Estonia), Helsinki (Finland), Berlin (Germany), Stockholm (Sweden), St. Petersburg (Russia), and Copenhagen (Denmark). These were eight countries I had not previously visited. To finish off an amazing holiday I stayed with a friend for four days in Gillingham, Dorset UK, and relaxed in London for a week, spending a day in Bristol with "new" friends we had met on our travels.
The trip was at a very relaxed pace and I made some time for sketching. Some are finished, some almost finished and some still on the drawing board.
Kensington Palace, London
Horse Guard Headquarters, Whitehall London


I loved the mediaeval towns we visited, and Tallinn and Bruge were particular favourites. As you may have noticed, I love architecture, and how it relates to the history of a place. It can also reflect the climatic, cultural and geographical characteristics of place.
Above is a work in progress and was done in the town square in Bruges, Belgium, right under the tower that was featured in the movie "In Bruges".
So to leave you with one last sketch of a window box in Talin, Estonia with beautiful stained glass windows.
Once back in Sydney, life took over again and it has been pretty busy. Am now on top of my work, finished another magazine article for Back to Basics Magazine and an article for the quarterly issue of the Botanical Art Society of Australia Newsletter. I will do a separate post on this article as it concerns 'Flora danica'  porcelain which was in the Christianborg Palace in Copenhagen.
Northern Europe has the most amazing palaces and churches. Such opulence, extravagance and magnificence.