Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Point Walter Project

I have always loved scientific drawings. Botanical, zoological, mechanical, astronomical. Especially those drawings in which the passion to see, to understand, to compare and unravel exceeds the desire to produce a pretty product. Drawings where curiosity rules, where awe is evident and where the majesty of the seemingly mundane shines forth.

I also have a strange urge to document things. Travels, dreams, everyday life, the progress of gardens, sightings of birds, lizards, flowering eucalypts, shells, feathers,  artefacts. Mostly, though, my efforts at documentation have been unsustained and/or unsystematic. More like random jottings in search of a notebook, first pages of journals abandoned in the fluster of life or great ideas that were never executed.

My most recent documentary project is to draw the sandbar at Point Walter.
The brief I have given myself is quite simple. Whenever I go to Point Walter and walk out along the sandbar, I draw something that catches my eye. If it's a small thing, I bring it home with me. If it is big, I draw it in situ. I try to record the things I notice: what birds are here today? What's the weather like? A lot more jellyfish than usual...

So here are a few pages:

Fragments of shells and pottery washed up on the sandbar.

Looking south from the sandbar.

Swans out on the sandbar, in the shallow water. They are not at all afraid, turning themselves into all kinds of pretzel as they sleep or preen.

One day, I found numerous crab body parts washed up. When I tried to find an online field guide to make an identification, 99% of the information listed under the heading 'Crabs of the Swan River Estuary' was about how to cook them. What has happened to natural history?

Another day I found this fan folded up and stuck vertically into the mud in shallow water. 
          The Uchiha Sasuke figurine was 100 metres further on.

Jellyfish. I had to draw them on the run as they floated in the water. On the surface,  leaves of one of the common river plants are also floating along.

Crested terns, with rainclouds. Some raindrops on the page, too.

The view north on a cloudy day, and some pied oyster catchers.

The project continues. Lately the tides have been too high to walk out far. There is also a sign up, and a fence, barring entry to the little tufted island at the end of the sandbar so that birds can safely do their nesting. I want to go there.  I want to draw every species of plant on that little bump at the end of the spit.