GUEST DOODLEWASH: Sketching Down Under

Doodlewash and watercolor urban sketch by Chris Haldane of Sydney Harbor bridge in Australia

Doodlewash and watercolor urban sketch by Chris Haldane of Finder's St. Station in Melbourne AustraliaMy name is Chris Haldane and I’m from Sydney, Australia (follow me on Instagram, Flickr, and Facebook!) I’ve loved drawing since I was a little girl. My mum used to say that if she couldn’t find me, all she had to do was go to the bookshelf, and there I’d be hiding, drawing in her books! But as I grew up, studies and work became so time-consuming that my art took a back seat until about 6 years ago, when I resigned from a busy teaching career and enrolled in art study. I’m currently working towards an Advanced Diploma, majoring in painting and drawing.

At that time I was thrilled to become one of the founding members of Urban Sketchers in Australia. I am currently the Sydney organizer, and love meeting so many likeminded and passionate people as we get to know our environment better by drawing it.

Doodlewash and watercolor urban sketch by Chris Haldane of Excavator in Australia

Doodlewash and watercolor urban sketch by Chris Haldane of Barangaroo Dance of the CranesMy favourite subjects are urban/ industrial, especially demolition sites. I think I’m drawn to any subject with an interesting social or historical past, and I feel my work helps to document these fast disappearing sites for posterity. In my local area, I’ve sketched the actual demolition process over a few days of two large factories, which are now being developed into highrise buildings. I find the stories behind these sites and the people who worked in them fascinating and love to record them with my sketches.

But I also love construction sites, particularly the cranes that hover over them ( I have recently been nicknamed Chris Halcrane!). Over the last three years, I’ve done about 40 sketches of Barangaroo, Sydney’s biggest building project down by the Harbour, which is transforming the foreshore. It’s been fascinating to record the changes as the towers soar ever higher, and I plan to continue this project until it is completed in 2020, so I’ll be busy for a while yet! One of my earliest sketches of it is probably my favorite. I called it Dance of the Cranes.

Doodlewash and watercolor urban sketch by Chris Haldane of Broken Hill MinesI’ve also recently become interested in visiting remote parts of this vast country, and sketching aspects of our rural or mining past that are so little understood by many city dwellers. In fact, I returned this week from the remote town of Broome in Western Australia, with a unique pearling history, which challenged me to work with a different colour palette to capture its rocks and beaches. And who doesn’t love recording their overseas travel adventures?! I’m looking forward to a trip to Manchester and Ireland in a couple of months’ time to immerse myself in more travel journaling!

Doodlewash and watercolor urban sketch by Chris Haldane of Broome coastal view beach and waves

Doodlewash and watercolor urban sketch by Chris Haldane of The Streets of Barangaroo Tower from beside future casino siteMy sketches are done on site and watercolour is my favourite medium; those ‘happy accidents’ are so addictive! I use Winsor & Newton with some Daniel Smith favourites like Transparent Red Oxide, and generally work in A4 or A5 Moleskine journals, although I must say I also like the square Handbook. I use Micron pens and a Lamy pen with De Atramentis ink when I want a more definite outlined look. I really enjoy sharing my passion on Flickr, Instagram and Facebook and you can follow along with me at the links below!

Chris Haldane 

Recommended1 recommendationPublished in Featured Artists
  1. Rebecca 7 years ago

    Wonderful sketches! Thank you. 🙂

    • Chris Haldane 7 years ago

      Thanks very much Rebecca. Glad you enjoyed them.

  2. Arts & Rhymes 7 years ago

    Wonderful work! 🙂

  3. wendymuldon 7 years ago

    Love this works! I like how sketchy and how beautiful they are. And I love the colours, makes you think that the world is really a colourful place! It was awesome ti read about you

    • Author

      Thanks for commenting, Wendy! So pleased you liked the feature! 😃

    • Chris Haldane 7 years ago

      A very lovely common thanks Wendy! Across the worked we are all he same … we all love colour!

  4. Moon in Capricorn 7 years ago

    Your drawings are simply awesome! I’m always impressed by how artists can take a very mundane subject — such as cranes — and turn them into works of art.

    • Author

      Great stuff, isn’t it? So thrilled to feature Chris. Thanks! 😃

    • Chris Haldane 7 years ago

      That’s a lovely comment thanks Moon in Capricorn . I love the angles that are created by them.

  5. Jessica Seacrest 7 years ago

    Beautiful work! Love your ocean waves 🙂

    • Author

      So glad you liked these Jessica! Thanks! 😃

    • Chris Haldane 7 years ago

      Thanks so much Jessica. It’s interesting visiting beaches …you have no choice but to try to paint them!

  6. laura lecce 7 years ago

    So beautiful, that one of the Sydney Harbour Bridge is stunning!!!

    • Author

      Isn’t it? I loved that one as well. So glad you liked Chris’ feature, Laura! 😃

    • Chris Haldane 7 years ago

      Glad you likes it Laura. Can’t be a Sydneysider and not do the Bridge!

      • laura lecce 7 years ago

        Very true! I will be visiting sydney for the first time since I moved 2 and a half years ago. I miss how beautiful Sydney is!

  7. Teri C 7 years ago

    Awesome urban sketching! Awesome!

  8. debiriley 7 years ago

    very lovely to see! and nice to feature great Australian artists work too!!

    • Chris Haldane 7 years ago

      Much appreciated thanks:)

      • debiriley 7 years ago

        any time I see a fellow Sydney – ite I smile!! 🙂 no worries!!! cheers, Debi

    • Author

      So happy you liked this feature! Thanks Debi! 😃

      • Chris Haldane 6 years ago

        Hello and thanks!

  9. Jen 7 years ago

    Beautiful work! I particularly love the cranes.

  10. Sharon Mann 7 years ago

    Thank you Chris for sharing your fantastic art and story. Thanks Charlie.

  11. anna warren portfolio 7 years ago

    Lovely work!

  12. Cathe 7 years ago

    Such incredible and inspiring artwork. I love the overall feeling! Thank you Chris and Charlie!

  13. beverlydyer 7 years ago

    Your work makes me wonder if there is an urban sketcher club near me. Wonderful work and I love how you are documenting change!

    • Author

      You should totally check to see if there’s a local Urban Sketchers group near you, Beverly! So thrilled you liked Chris’ feature! 😃

    • Chris Haldane 6 years ago

      That’s lovely to hear Beverly. You would really enjoy belong to a group. At least follow them online. Or start a group!

  14. Snehal Kank 7 years ago

    Very Inspiring work Chris! Started follwing you on IG 🙂 Thanks Charlie 🙂

  15. MAGNY TJELTA 7 years ago

    Wonderful work!!1

  16. artandmoondreams 7 years ago

    Fantastic watercolor sketches/paintings. It really takes talent to make urban construction look so beautiful as shown here. Wonderful feature post, thank you for sharing.

    • Author

      Thrilled you enjoyed this feature! Thanks Haunani! 😃

    • Chris Haldane 6 years ago

      That’s such a lovely comment . Glad you liked looking at it.

  17. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 7 years ago

    Chris, I like the way you tell the stories of the buildings being demolished and of the people who once worked there.
    Your art fascinates me, the way you compose each painting, capturing color and texture.

    • Author

      So happy you liked Chris’ feature, Sharon! 😃

    • Chris Haldane 6 years ago

      I really treasure your lovely comment Sharon. I’m so glad you took the time to read some of that. I find it fascinating to know the history of the things i draw.

  18. brushparkwatercolors 7 years ago

    Amazingly brilliant!!!

    • Chris Haldane 6 years ago

      Very kind of you!! Thanks so much.

  19. memadtwo 7 years ago

    Such beautiful lines…fresh and free! (K)

    • Chris Haldane 6 years ago

      Thanks so much. Very nice of you.

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