Saturday, January 8, 2011

Painting Miller's Point from the top of Harbour Control Tower New Year's Eve 2010- Part 2: Moore's Wharf from the eye in the sky

Painting on New Year's Eve 2010 from Amenities Level at the top of the Sydney Port's Harbour Control Tower.
Painting Moore's Wharf and the Sydney Port's Corporation Emergency Response Tugs while waiting for the 9pm fireworks

My easel is set up in the lunchroom of the amenities floor. I am short, and the window is small and tantalizingly high. I spent the next 8 hours literally standing on tip-toe, painting the view. When I was younger, I spent several years at ballet class, not realizing that training my calf muscles not to protest would ever come in handy later on as an artist.
A bird's eye view of tugs and workboats

Moore's wharf has a fascinating roof structure - very tricky  perspective from above. From ground level, the building's curve is not immediately apparent.
As expected, the parade of tugs arriving and departing drove me bonkers. When one would finally return from an outing, they would dock it in the opposite direction to how it had been when it had set out. Just to annoy.
Art and life

I tried hard to take a photo of both the canvas on my easel with the view. The combination of the high set of the window, the narrow working space (the door is directly behind me) and the dark interior compared with the glaring light outside made this my puny Olympus camera's best effort. 
It's interesting how even in this age of digital photography, something as slow and old-fashioned as painting can still be more effective. The human eye has no trouble combining a dark interior scene with an extremely light exterior into a cohesive image - but the camera does.  People endlessly nag "Why paint on site? Why not just take photos?" Well, this is one example of the limitations of photography. Add to the dark/light problem, the glare of glass, and the smeared and grimy windows, and any photos taken through these windows are barely adequate as memories. 
It helps when painting this series of works from this vantage point that I have already painted everything in this area before. Singly, in pairs and in groups of three! The buildings, the boats, the wharf, the water - from almost every possible viewpoint and in every season and weather.