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Saturday, April 1, 2017

family reunion sketching

I have not posted on this blog for a while. As I wrote my own blog yesterday about my recent family reunion I remembered my family history project from some time ago, which was mentioned in the Artist's Journal Workshop book. It was a different side of the family (paternal) , and I realised that I have very little from this side of the family (maternal) in the way of objects, letters and photos .
I was fortunate to capture what I could at the family reunion.

Last weekend I spent five days interstate for a Family Reunion in Goondiwindi  (pronounced Gunda - windy) in Queensland, Australia. pop 5600. I completed over 10 pages of sketches.
my maternal line . drawn from family photographs. I drew this in advance to set the scene and begin the narrative of the following pages.  Faber Castell Dark Sepia watercolour pencil is perfect. I was tempted to use colours with the current generation, but liked the old world look.
It was a gathering of over 130 descendants of two migrants in 1850's. Our family line stayed in the area until 1953, so there is close connection.
This is my art blog so it is all about the sketches from the weekend. It also includes sketches done in advance and completed afterwards. 
I took my customised  watercolour pencil wrap and Moleskine watercolour sketchbook (13 x 19 cm) with me, as I do everywhere I go. There is always an opportunity to sketch !

But first I had to get there - My journey began with a bus ride a,  two hour flight then a two and a half hour drive west to outback Queensland. 
The Cunningham Highway is a long flat road. Not as brown and barren as I thought it would be.

Some time was spent visiting places which brought back  memories for some of the family.

Meet and Greet at the Goondiwindi Bowls Club on Friday night. So many new faces.

I sketched this in the open hot, dry heat of 33 degrees. I did not stay out there long, heading back under the trees for conversation and food.
Group photos at Goondiwindi Boars Rugby League Playing Fields - one of everyone and then the separate families. The photographer was really quick and did not stand still for long.

Lots of social gatherings .  But I did not sketch at them all, as I wanted to socialise, ask lots of questions and try and soak it all in. The long weekend was very well organised, with names on coloured tags for which line of the family you are descended from. Great introduction and talking points. I met some lovely and interesting people.

It was a very special moment to stand in front of the graves of the ancestors who began life here in a strange foreign land over 150 years ago. It is difficult to try to understand the difficulties and challenges that they encountered.

and then the return journey home.....
... to start writing down some of the family stories that we were told and fill in the gaps on our family tree with the new relations we discovered. 
 Below is part of that history - Nana's tennis trophy from 1941. The town of Toobeah now has a population of 42. I think it was about 250 when she visited, There are quite a few tennis courts around the district, and it must have played a big role in the social life of the district.

I sketched this in 2014


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Judy. It was very special. My Grandmother passed away at 92 in the days after. She was in high care home and could not attend, but know that we had.

  2. Yes bit where any others artist?

  3. Sorry I missed this, Alissa! I love this project of yours, it's a treasure.


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