I will now relate the events of my trip to Sydney, with accompanying sketches and the quick cartoons which served as my Twitter and Facebook updates. You can see the sketchbook images at a larger size by clicking on a picture. That will take you to its Flickr page which will give you an option to see it at a larger size. The cartoons are in odd lights because I took them (usually on location) with my phone.

Page 01

First, to start the sketchbook, are some drawings from the “Art in the 21st Century” exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane. It was an exhibit full of fun – slides from the top floor to the bottom, rooms full of balloons and finches, tables of Lego spires, walls of wishes. At their best, modern art galleries are like carnivals, with hundreds of people looking and making and wondering and having fun.

Page 02

I went down to Sydney for a week, flying mid-week and staying in a backpacker hostel in Kings Cross because that way I can spend more money on coffee and avoid the crushing loneliness that inhabits hotel rooms.

Here I am waiting for the train to the airport in Brisbane. You may recognise the station from such movies as Daybreakers.

Mostly I walked and drank coffee. Sometimes I sat in bookstores and recovered from walking, and drank coffee. The weather was beautiful. I drew birds, and was not attacked by seagulls.

Page 03

I went on my usual personal literary tour – the gardens and Pitt Street for An Older Kind of Magic, and the Rocks for Playing Beattie Bow. I meandered through Darlinghurst and started a story about maps and recursiveness (I finished the first draft today).

I went to the gallery, where it all became very recursive, with sketchers sketching sketchers of sketches.

The Archibald Prize exhibition was on, and I went for the first time ever.

Page 04

I sat in the Domain and watched people sleep on the grass between sports fields, then went to the State Library for more portraits, and then walked through the Rocks and up to Observatory Hill for the Salon de Refusés (the pictures which didn’t get into the Archibald finals). I saw Nick Stathopoulos’ luminous painting of Shaun Tan.

I went to two Sydney Writers Festival sessions with Karen,  saw Pirates of the Caribbean 4 with her and other friends, and was disappointed that it only contained 1 line from the book which ostensibly suggested it. I descended gracefully from bunkbeds without waking German backpackers.

I went to Carriageworks on the Saturday for the markets and drew dogs until Guan and Bec and Karen and Astrid arrived. I carried proteas and marshmallows for Bec, and met Emma Kidd at her stall at the Finders Keepers markets!

Page 05

I spent a lovely afternoon with Karen and Ben and Astrid. Ben kept comparing Astrid’s intelligence levels to various animals, trying to get an indication of her current developmental level.

On Saturday night I went to Bec’s for a fundraising dinner for Hope Street with Bec, Rachel, Karen, Ben, Astrid, Bec’s mother, George, Elsie, Lachlyn and Tamara. I think that was everyone. Dinner was delicious – chicken and couscous and butterscotch sauce and marshmallows and marinated figs.

To be continued… Part 2