A Day Spent in the Cemetery

thumbnail-14I have a friend who I spend time with once a week taking time out to draw.  Neither of us have a great deal of drawing experience and although I feel I draw on the level of a five or six year old I really have fun doing it. So if people think it’s ridiculous, who gives a flying ……fox?

Yesterday my friend chose the venue of the large Hobart cemetery in Cornelian Bay. We arrived with our coloured pencils and pens and went to an old section of the cemetery.  We knew we would perch on the edge of a grave so we chose older ones as we didn’t think anyone would arrive to visit.  There must be several hundred thousand graves in this place.

Nobody was around. We did notice a service going on in the chapel but that was on the other side of this very huge landmass of graves.  There are bushrangers buried in this cemetery from the 1800’s. As we drove around we looked at the various areas and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the place. thumbnail-3

We spent quite a bit of time looking at the beautiful pots that were cemented in place on many graves. The ceramics and designs are quite old and beautiful.  I should have photographed those but I wasn’t thinking at the time I would write a post about this.

My friend chose a place to sit down and then I walked a bit away from her and chose my own spot. If we sit too close to each other we talk and don’t get any drawing done.

We never would have made it in the same school classes as young people.

This grave had two hens and a rooster on it.

I found a grave marked George xxxxx, (I won’t reveal last names) who died in 1943. He was alone with no other family stones around so I perched on the edge of his grave and told George I was going to spend some time with him.

I recently found this book of drawing faces at Amazon when I was browsing and thought it would be fun to have a go at some of these.  Once it arrived I fell in love with the book. It is full of whimsical and unusual faces, bright colours and heaps of directions for drawing faces.  I haven’t had time to really read it so while sitting there with George, I began to read the first chapter. thumbnail-6

I then proceeded to sketch out my first face.  The only sound was the birds and the pencils scratching on paper. I could raise my head and look out over the river and the autumn colours.

Then a small car drove by. It turned around and drove by again. I said to George, “Hey, what do you think they think if they see me sitting here with you drawing.” Of course he didn’t reply but I thought he must enjoy having a bit of company.

The car turned around once more and stopped. Right in the line of sight of a monument my friend was sketching. The car blocked her view. I looked back at her and she had put her pastels down and was waiting.

thumbnail-4.jpegWas someone going to jump out and tell us to get the hell out of the cemetery or wonder what we were doing?  Two women in their 60’s can’t be that threatening armed only with coloured pencils and chalk.

Then an elderly man got out and walked towards me. Just when I was getting ready to pack up and move away he stopped at the grave next to me.  He started pulling weeds. He straightened the flowers in a jar. He paused to reflect.  I put my head down and kept sketching pretending I didn’t see him.

He looked over and smiled.  I stood up and handed him a silk rose I had picked up that was unattended on a walking path. I was going to leave it for George but instead gave it to him.  He thanked me, put it in the jar and said, “Oh, that looks better.”

He then walked back to the car but said to me before he left, “Bye now, I have others still to visit” and he got in the car and the woman driving put the car in gear and they left. thumbnail-13

We didn’t see anyone else for the rest of the afternoon. My friend and I both looked at each other and laughed. All we could think of was, “for heaven’s sakes, there are a million graves and he visits the one next to us. What are the chances?” and burst out laughing.

Next time I’ll get the Penguin off the page and take him along. I think he might like that kind of humour.



11 thoughts on “A Day Spent in the Cemetery

  1. I can’t draw either, but I like sketching when I’m away on holidays, and sometimes when I felt low after visiting my father in aged care, I would pull into Braeside Park Reserve, find a quiet spot and sketch the trees until I felt I could go on.
    I found it much easier with black pencils (proper sketching ones). B&W and shades of grey are more forgiving of mistakes, and not having to get the colour right makes it easier.


      1. Ah yes, I’ve tried those. The colours are lovely. But I gave mine to the little girls next door because they are much more adept than I am and they were ecstatic to have them.


Comments are closed.