A rainy ol’ Sunday.
What better thing to do than tootle off to the Blue Mts for a Sketching Getaway.
Everyone arrived at Kurrajong Village on the dot of 10, bright eyed and bushy tailed.
Bluebox Cafe was very happy to give us a balcony table overlooking the blue and lavender misty Gross Valley. We ordered our essential first caffeine of the day, and a tasty something if we’d missed breakfast. Introductions took place for those who hadn’t met but would be good pals before long.
Sketchbooks were out and pens flying before you even say ‘scones with homemade jam please’
Over the road in the only street of the Village are some very tempting gift and antique shops. There was time before a beautiful lunch at Sassafras Creek Restaurant, to meander through here and the monthly markets. A good chance to pick up some treasures we don’t have time to find in the city.
By the time we gathered at our cars to head to our lodge, shopping bags were being stowed into spaces in the back.
Bilpin Springs Lodge here we come.
Into our rooms and checking it all out, we gathered in the huge farm style kitchen for a cuppa.
Thoughts of sketching, perhaps a wander around the 10 acres, a bit soggy. Maybe a glass of something ……….mmmm.
Among our village purchases we’d picked up some boxes of small Gala apples.
What a perfect start for sketching. Into a big wooden bowl they went, a few on the table and a flower arrangement of red and white roses and there you have it.
A still life that stayed there all our 3 days.
After a yummy bbq dinner and tasty garden salad – no matter that the dressing had to be made in my little painting water jar – more sketching took place, and a few new ideas to think about for sketching tomorrow.
Try a page of thumbnails, try sketching in paint only, try the white chinagraph, all of which is part of your sketch journal of our Blue Mts adventure.
And so to bed, all cosy and tucked up, listening to the rain on the tin roof.
Sweet dreams. An exciting day tomorrow.
Pyjama clad people are up early making a morning cuppa on this cloudy Monday morning.
Then maybe a walk with big Coola the house labrador, or hopping back into bed for a quiet read.
After breakfast – fresh fruit, rhubarb, figs, mango blueberries then toast with local marmalade, it was coffee from ‘The Machine’ we’d brought with us. Jacquie became the barrister as she has the same one. AAaaaaah the aroma.
We head to Mt Tomah Botanical Gardens 10 minutes away. This is the mountain sister to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney.
Naturally we were more interested in the cafe than any of the carnivorous plant displays we were passing. But we’d be back.
Starting our sketches with small or a detail image was one suggestion. Sketch what appeals to you and keep your centre of focus a little more bright than the background.
Notice the softer colour behind. Keep background soft. Foreground stronger. Leave whites around edges. Sooooo much to remember, but it’s fun doing it and having the time to try out different colour techniques.
The plan was to catch the little safari train and go for a ride all through the Gardens to get an idea where everything is.
A bit like jumping on the tourist bus when you hit a new city.
This gave us a wonderful idea of where we’d like to sketch after lunch.
The collections as they are known, are in themes or groups. NZ , Sth Africa, Asia, Nth America, St America and so on. Most interesting.
Our lunch team, Milton and Joanna had set up a tempting help yourself picnic of French bread, ham, pate, cheeses, tomatoes with a crisp white to go with it. Followed by delicious homemade biscuits from some of the talented sketching cooks, to complete to meal.
Such a beautiful spot under blue skies and the huge trees, with a big Magpie wanting to share.
Our afternoon sketches were split between the formal gardens at the top, and the waterfalls & ferns, and bright exotic succulents and big spiky cacti things below.
Everyone sketched away all afternoon doing delightful small and large works.
Home for a cuppa, or glass of something and even another wee sketch.
Tonight was Joanna’s Italian tomato onion and eggplant dinner. Alongside an enormous garden salad with masses of coriander, basil and fetta.
Wicked chocolate morsels emerge from nowhere and the aroma of coffee wafts. The wines have gone down a treat and the laughter and chatter is at volume 10.
Such a great group all bonded by their passion for sketching.
Tonight we all fall into a deep sleep after using all that mental energy.
Tuesday morning is bright and sunny. Sharp yellow light reaches across the paddocks, where the ex race horse and the alpaca wait for apples. Flowers wait brightly in the shade for the sun to move onto them.
We have another leisurely breakfast, pretending we’re not leaving.
When all the cars are packed and the picnic lunch is in, we head off to Pie in the Sky Roadhouse.
It looks like a farm shed made of corrugated iron. Inside the lovely owners Josh and his wife display their delicious and popular home made apple pies alongside two rows of savoury choices.
Coffee is ordered and we wander round the far side under the pergola to the tables waiting for us.
Sketches are of teacups and dahlias, farm sheds and fences. Time doesn’t matter. We eat apple pie and chocolate goo fudge.
We leave after ordering pies to take home, fresh farm eggs, local jams and honey.
Next port of call is Bill Shields orchards just along a bit.
Bill greets us and with our baskets we follow past avenues of fruit trees to where the Gala and Jonathan apples are waiting to be picked. We sample one of each and decide both are worth getting.
Then to find a shady sketch spot as it’s now blue and hot. There were sketchers poking out under all sorts of apple trees as I looked for people who might like some sketching help.
Lunch was under big shady trees and Bill had a moment to join us. Fresh baguettes with selected cheese, fruit and of course some tasty delights from the biscuit choice. Washed down with a little white wine. All set up ready for us by my visiting daughter Joanna and my partner in crime, Milton.
The afternoon sketches are a collection of stories and adventures recorded there as we saw it, breathing in the mountain air and listening to the bellbirds.
An absolutely glorious few days with some passionate sketchers.
Avoir Bilpin and Kurrajong, we’ll be back.