Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Joziburg Lane

After days of unrelenting (but welcome) rain and a forecast for more we headed for cover on our monthly sketch date last week and returned to Joziburg Lane in the city. This is a food, retail and residential refurbishment of some old buildings, including what was known as Motortown, where Chrysler, Rolls Royce and other car brands were based back in the day, before inner-city decline set in and they moved north to the suburbs.

I leaned against my car bonnet and sketched from the windows of the rooftop parking lot - I loved the curves, waves, angles and textures laid out beneath me, and the window shapes helped me to place them on the pages of my concertina Moleskine. As you may know, buildings and architecture are extremely challenging for me - I found myself getting more and more irritated with drawing all the details, when I knew I didn't want details, and my hand got more impatiently scribbly as I went along... until suddenly I realised I was enjoying myself again with almost handwriting-like shortcuts to describe the background buildings.

I decided I really wanted some of the many textures of the rooftops and used white wax crayon before going over with watercolour - not such a great idea as the effects were pretty unpredictable. When I got home I also added bits onto my pages to take some of the buildings up to their proper heights - what would Johannesburg city be without the Carlton Centre, once the tallest building in Africa?

With cramped legs from standing so long, I trekked down the 'Forever Stairs' - there isn't a lift yet - to the food court at the bottom of the building where I met the rest of our group for lunch. We left just before the afternoon/evening event was about to start, a pity as some pretty funky musicians were arriving that would have made great subjects for sketching.

I've just realised I haven't posted the sketches from my other trips to Joziburg Lane here, so for the record...

...some early musicians from their Birthday Bash for Joburg's 130th anniversary, and the huge birthday cake in the food court (also unfortunately before the crowds arrived - I think I'm getting too old for the hustle and bustle of these social happenings) and the last two from a quiet weekday morning...shopkeepers and restaurant staff at a bit of a loose end waiting for customers, in front of a wall mural that those little plants are eventually going to be trained up.


dinahmow said...

I love those page extensions! At first, I thought they were fold-outs.Great idea and one I may borrow.
Your people groups, like musicians and market traders always give me a lift.Thanks.

Cathy Gatland said...

Thanks Dinah - I got the idea of the extensions from someone else's sketchbook, unfortunately I can't remember where...on Youtube? So borrow away!

laura said...

You are so productive! I'm in awe.
I've always enjoyed paintings/drawing of rooftops ... I love the way the red flows through yours.

Cathy Gatland said...

Thanks Laura - these were over a few visits to the Lane - I never feel like I've got enough done in one session!

Bev said...

Love looking in on your latest sketches. Joburg seems such a vibrant city these days, certainly wasn't in my day. I do remember motor town though, so many years ago!

Cathy Gatland said...

Thanks Bev, parts of Joburg are vibrant, parts are dirty, smelly and dangerous - but always interesting!

Cathy said...

That view is stunning!!! I love the bits you added to fit in the buildings, it was clever!
The other sketches are also wonderful: the people, the cafe (what pretty lampshades!)... Thank you for offering such a rich and colourful post!

Ginny Stiles said...

Since you are my VERY favorite sketching of all time...really...I was wondering if you'd be interested in posting on a travel blog challenge with me. I'm nobody of course...but Candace Randon is a fascinating blogger and she has a great little challenge going. She has 47 countries represented. Maybe you are already on this?
Check out my blog post for today and see the links. ginnystiles.blogspot.com for March 28.

and regarding your post here...dirty, smelly and dangerous is not where I would normally sketch! OMGosh. But you are SO brave. AND I love the "pop up" additions for tall buildings. AMAZING>

Cathy Gatland said...

Cathy, you would love it there - so much to sketch - not that you don't have in Rome!!

Ginny, thank you so much, I'm blushing! I saw your post and looked at Candace's blog, she's great - I loved watching travel sketching programs on TV before I ever discovered urban sketching. I just have so much on my plate now, feel I can't take another thing on, although I might do the odd post on Instagram with her hashtag if I have something to share.
I do avoid the dirty, smelly places if possible - sometimes a venue that was vibey and well-maintained last time we sketched, has degenerated into DSD the next time so we tough it out - not on my own though, we go in groups.