The Church is fine (pen vs earthquake)

Anna Cull Pen vs earthquake Oxford Tce

Built in 1881, the Oxford Terrace Baptist Church was one of the many buildings conspicuously absent from the landscape when we flew over Christchurch last month. I’ve circled the relevant piece of dirt in the photograph below (click on the photo for a closer look). The building was badly damaged by the September 2010 earthquakes and then completely collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake. It was famous for having a sign out the front which read: “Our building is cracked, the Church is fine!” Although the neoclassical structure (an unusual style for Christchurch) is not going to be rebuilt, there are reports that the damaged Oamaru stone is to be used in a sculpture ― what a wonderful way of honouring the spirit and tenacity of its congregation.

Where Oxford Terrace Baptist Church isn’t, Christchurch, 2013
Where Oxford Terrace Baptist Church isn’t, Christchurch, 2013

Anna Cull Pen vs earthquake Oxford Tce comparison

The sketch is originally from this student project. Ben Heine’s ingenious Pencil Vs Camera images were my inspiration for this series.

Above and beyond

A little jaunt over Christchurch last week in a 1944 DC-3 has yielded quite a crop of new photographs… I’m really pleased with them, especially considering how small the window was and that we were basically right over one of the wings! Anna Cull DC3 Amy (officially ZK-AMY) is a fairly rare bird and will, sadly, be retiring early next year. The day of our flight was quite hazy and more than a little bumpy but the experience was pure magic. Amy will soon be on permanent display at the Ashburton Aviation Museum.Anna Cull DC3 flight The photos not only show Canterbury’s beautiful farmland in all its patchwork glory, they also show how altered Christchurch is ― earthquakes have removed many familiar landmarks and made the cityscape rather beige and boxy ― but perhaps that is a post better left for another day.

Re-tour (pen vs earthquake)

Pen vs earthquake #4 – Retour/Edmonds Band Rotunda, 2013
Pen vs earthquake #4 – Retour/Edmonds Band Rotunda, 2013

The iconic Thomas Edmonds band rotunda opened in 1929. It was converted into a restaurant in the 1980s and was operating as Retour Restaurant at the time of the Christchurch earthquakes. It was officially ‘deconstructed’ in 2012. The structurally sound dome has been removed and some of the less damaged columns, balustrades and steps have been salvaged. So at least that’s something.

My pen vs earthquake series is proving to be quite challenging. It’s taking me into parts of the inner city I haven’t seen for months and I’m never sure what I’m going to find… sometimes there is nothing left of the original building to photograph. How exactly do you photograph nothing? And why would you want to?

Anna Cull Pen vs earthquake Retour

The sketch is originally from this student project (click on the link and scroll down). The photographs were taken last month. Ben Heine’s amazing Pencil Vs Camera images were my initial inspiration. There are links below to more of my ‘pen vs earthquake’ images.

Pen vs earthquake #1 – Mona Vale, 2013

Pen vs earthquake #2 – The Octagon, Design & Arts College and the Hotel Grand Chancellor, 2013

Pen vs earthquake #3 – Shand’s Emporium, 2013

Feisty (pen vs earthquake)

Pen vs earthquake #3 – Shand’s Emporium, 2013
Pen vs earthquake #3 – Shand’s Emporium, 2013

This adorable little building is Shand’s Emporium. I remember it as a magical place packed floor to ceiling with antiques, collectables, jewellery and books. Built in 1860, it is one of Christchurch’s oldest commercial buildings. It was meant to be demolished in the late 1970s (to make way for a new telephone exchange) but was saved by petition and while the more modern buildings surrounding it have been taken out by earthquakes, somehow Shand’s has survived. It has had some repairs since then but it needs an estimated $250,000 to fully restore it. The building is going to be relocated to prevent it from being damaged by nearby construction work. The owner is, in fact, giving the building away in an attempt to preserve it ― and yes, I was a little bit tempted, but I didn’t think we’d get it down our driveway. Shand’s will probably be in its new home by Christmas.

P.S. There are plans to move Shand’s to the delightful suburb of Redcliffs (by the estuary) early next year. It has been reported that a local man is prepared to spend the best part of a year restoring the building ― although it will depend on the city council’s master plan for the area. Here’s hoping this story has a happy ending. December 2013

Update: Shand’s Emporium touches down on Manchester Street, Christchurch. June 2015

Anna Cull Pen vs earthquake Shands

The sketch is originally from this student project (click on the link and scroll down). The photographs were taken last month. Ben Heine’s ingenious Pencil Vs Camera images were my inspiration. This is my third ‘pen vs earthquake’ ― below are links to the first two.

Pen vs earthquake #1 – Mona Vale, 2013

Pen vs earthquake #2 – The Octagon, Design & Arts College and the Hotel Grand Chancellor, 2013

Then and now (pen vs earthquake)

Pen vs earthquake #2 – The Octagon, Design & Arts College and the Hotel Grand Chancellor, 2013
Pen vs earthquake #2 – The Octagon, Design & Arts College and the Hotel Grand Chancellor, 2013

The beautiful building in the foreground, formerly the Trinity Congregational Church, was a restaurant and live music venue (Octagon Live) when this sketch was done. Built between 1873 and 1875, it sustained a lot of damage in the 2010/2011 earthquakes. There are plans to restore the timber interior and the 1871 pipe organ (thought to be one of only three of its kind left in the world).

The building to the right of the church was my old art school (you can’t tell from the photo but it’s in a very sorry state ― it was deemed unsafe following the February 2011 earthquake and put on the city’s ‘partial demolish’ list). The building on the left, the one on a bit of a lean, was the Hotel Grand Chancellor (now demolished). The hotel was built in 1986 and was Christchurch’s tallest building for more than 20 years.

Pen vs earthquake Octagon

The sketch is originally from this student project (click on the link and scroll down). The photographs were taken last week. Ben Heine’s ingenious Pencil Vs Camera images were my inspiration. This is my second ‘pen vs earthquake’ ― below is a link to the first one.

Pen vs earthquake #1 – Mona Vale, 2013

Double take (pen vs earthquake)

Pen vs earthquake #1 – Mona Vale, 2013
Pen vs earthquake #1 – Mona Vale, 2013

Mona Vale restaurant and function centre was damaged quite badly in the February 2011 earthquakes. The 5.5 hectares of gardens are still open to the public but the beautiful historic homestead needs a lot of TLC to restore it to its former glory. Mona Vale used to be one of our favourite places for special occasions and we miss it dearly.

The idea for this photo shoot came from Ben Heine’s ingenious Pencil Vs Camera images. I have a number of sketches I’d like to photograph in situ like this ― all are from this student project (click on the link and scroll down).

Anna Cull Pen vs earthquake Mona Vale

The sketch is from my time at art college (2011). I took the photographs last week.

Shoot it, Sketch it: Survivor

Survivor – ink and coloured pencil, 195 x 220 mm, 2013
Survivor – ink and coloured pencil, 195 x 220 mm, 2013
The old cash register – Tauranga, 2013
The old cash register – Tauranga, 2013

We discovered this beautiful antique in an art gallery while we were away on holiday. The till and its owner used to live in Christchurch but moved because of recent events (such as earthquakes) ― the sign says it’s still in good working order!

Shoot it, Sketch it: A trip down memory lane

Press Lane – Christchurch, 2010.
Press Lane – Christchurch, 2010.

I was looking for photographs to put on my new portfolio site over the weekend when I came across an image I’d completely forgotten about. It’s a picture of Press Lane in central Christchurch taken a few months before the September 2010 earthquake.

Press Lane –  mixed media, 290 x 205 mm, 2013.
Press Lane – mixed media, 290 x 205 mm, 2013.

I wish it wasn’t quite so hard to tell what the image is (you’re looking over a flower box, down the lane and seeing the buildings in the next street). My husband took a long, hard look at it and announced that I had drawn a kitchen ― and I can see it too now! It was still an interesting exercise… putting my own spin on the out-of-focus shapes and shadows.

The sketch is mainly ink and watercolour with touches of gouache and graphite. I’m not sure what the splash of orange is at the top (I’m sure the building wasn’t on fire) but it was in the photo, so it’s in the sketch : )

Shoot it, Sketch it: City lights

City Lights, original photo – Christchurch, 2012.
City Lights, original photo – Christchurch, 2012.

Today’s Shoot it, Sketch it offering is based on a photo I took on my way to LUXcity last year. For one night, Christchurch was illuminated by 16 light installations created by architecture and design students from across New Zealand. The event provided an opportunity to visit a part of the central city that many of us hadn’t seen since the earthquake in February 2011. An hour before the event, the Great Airbrush Artist in the Sky painted a breathtakingly beautiful sunset and stole the show.

City Lights – mixed media, 2013.
City Lights – mixed media, 2013.
City Lights – chalk pastel and tinted charcoal, 210 x 297 mm, 2013.
City Lights – chalk pastel and tinted charcoal, 210 x 297 mm, 2013.

Also participating in Shoot it, Sketch it are Clouds of ColourThe Little LeafLunch SketchPoppytumpTwo Scamps, Breana and 30 Minute Art.