Sketching Scandinavian

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The clouds parted and the sun came out for our class today, and though we had a smaller class than usual, we then had double the fun!

To get the ball rolling, we had a little sketching exercise where we borrowed a sketch from our dear friend Picasso and turned it upside down and sketched, the lines and form, and saw what it looked like when you turned it back right side up again. This is a very good way to train yourself to see your sketching subjects as shapes and not ‘people’ or whatever your brain is ‘telling you’ it is!

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You should see the impressive sketches that followed this morning!

Our next couple of sketches were of some items you’d find in your bag, along with another of your sketching pencils or watercolour paints.

I was getting so excited with everyone’s’ fantastic progress,

I was a little overly enthusiastic and managed to cheer-lead everyone into doing three sketches in the studio before we were to head off to the next location.

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We had our breather as we ambled down through Ivanhoe Park, heading to ‘The Modern’, which is a fantastic furniture store in Manly.

One sketcher commented how she’d quite happily move into this store and live there!

I quite agree, it’s décor and furnishings, and beautiful wooden pieces are very much to my liking.

We were welcomed in and considering the beautiful surroundings we made a pact not to bring out our paints or anything that might ‘make us never welcome there again!’

We quickly put the pen-work in and for some it was hard to know where to start, there was an array of superb sketching opportunities laying in wait in this store.

We felt very privileged to be lingering and sketching there, and once we were quite satisfied we had sketched enough, we marvelled at a few of the special items that interested us, and then made our way to the café to complete our colour.

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Showbox was our café of choice today.

This quirky well-frequented and very new little café is like the best secret revealed!

Upon arrival we were fortunate to be seated together at a large vintage red-topped table, as it was a popular time for other lunch goers, we happily huddled around our table and ordered lunch and drinks.

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We were adding colour to our sketches and quietly chatting away as we usually do, and it is hard not to appeal to those around us who clearly want to join in the fun.

And so, there are a few more ‘charmed’ individuals who’ve taken note of who we are and where to find us!

The food was amazing too, and if I may say, enlightening!

I’ve always looked for a café that’s doing something a little different, and we were rewarded with delicious food that is mindful of health and with quality that is paramount.

I will definitely be returning to this little café tucked away on Whistler Street.

Another very enjoyable day out sketching, fantastic job everyone, and those clouds had by now all but evaporated and we had a sunny day to get back to.

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THURSDAY 11.30am class. MARCH 6 ’14

Thursday 2 Paint sets.

THURSDAY 11.30am class. MARCH 6 ’14

Golly, after last night’s dramatic electrical storm, we had no idea what weather would be dished out today.

Ah. Good. Blue skies.

The 10am class were just leaving as we turned up. Can’t believe they got through this morning’s program by now.

As people arrived I handed out the upside down sketch they would do today.

Puzzled looks.

Open your book to a fresh page, turn your picture upside down and copy exactly what you see, starting at the top.

We’re getting our brains to look at the way the shapes connect.

This abstract version of the picture is what you’re looking to do when observing any of your sketch subjects.

See them as shapes rather than what you already know they are.

It’s like putting a jigsaw together.

You don’t know what you have till all the shapes are in place.

Exactly the same here.

Everyone did very well and you could easily see when completed and turned up the other way, where you may have lost it a bit.

Two short sketches now.

Take some items from your bag. Sketch those.

Take some of your art materials. Sketch that as well.

Thursday2. Something from your bag.

‘I don’t want to sketch that ‘ says one sketcher looking at her paint set.

‘Why not ‘ I ask, knowing exactly why.

‘It’s too hard’ she replies.

‘Then that’s the exact reason why you should sketch it.’

Like the upside sketch, just connect the shapes. Don’t think, just do.

We looked through the view finder and she began to see it that way.

In fact she was quite happy with the results, as was everyone.

And so you should be.

I’d given you all just 15minutes for each one.

Oh the pressure.

Across Ivanhoe Park and onwards to The Modern Furniture Store.

Who are these familiar people coming towards us?

Oh it’s a few from the 10am class.

What did they think of the location and cafe?

Loved the food at Showbox.

We want to live in that furniture store!

OK I’ll see what I can do.

We quietly entered the store, greeted Maia the manager and her assistant while everyone found a place to sketch keeping out of the way of customers of course.

Marameko design is classic Sweden and the bright colour and design is still knockout after all these years.

The simple pale wood furniture, soft leather sofas, tea and mug settings in clear colour, all sorts of tea towels and cushions meant a fab selection of choices for our sketchers.

Thursday2. The Modern Furniture Store

Some were ready to move to Showbox. One of the newest Manly Cafes right across the road from where we are.

We know a thing or two. Coffee calls.

Plenty of room for us to sit and sketch  – and try their simply delicious fare. That’s if the previous class left any!

They have a very well placed window seat which our of sketchers enjoyed perching on.

Everyone so enjoyed the food and commented how nice it was to have something tasty and simple and different.

Our sketchers know their cafes so what we say matters. The Sketcher’s Cafe Reviews! Take note.

A challenging day but everyone smiled through it all with great sketches to show for it.



Friday Art or bag sketches


Great excitement today.

Alissa Duke was to be our guest speaker.

Most people arrived early to be ready for a flying start.

Alissa is an entertaining speaker.

She tells it like it is. Travelling and sketching needs planning.

Her books of London and Barcelona were grabbed and almost devoured.

Everyone loved her soft pen and watercolour pencil sketches of subjects large and small.

No she doesn’t work from photos, but the squirrell in St james’s Park was way too speedy even for her.

So a little photo reference can come in handy at times.

As a Thank You, we presented her with some tiny morsels from our favourite St Remy Baked, which of course she was obliged to sketch!

We immediately launched in to the upside down sketch.

People were very puzzled at first by the idea, but straight away began immersing themselves in foliowing every line they saw.

Laughter erupted when time was up and could look at their sketch right way up and compare.

It’s such a great brain exercise.

You wish it was as easy to apply the same abstract effect to your everyday sketches.

We were a little pressed for time, so chose either ‘Something from your bag’ or your art materials.

There seemed a good balance between the two, and this would take the remaining time.

Off through the park or down the hill we went. Either way is fine, provided we all meet at The Modern  furniture store any time soon.

Judy was waiting so it was good to have her join us and to help with the various questions which come up.

Everyone seems to relate to Scandinavian design.

Many of us were introduced to it in our teenage years and thought the bold fabric patterns were very trendy. And guess what.

They’ve never dated.

Such bright and simple designs in everything, so our sketchers were in 7th heaven, doing their work and quietly taking in the atmosphere.

Friday. The Modern furniture store sketches.

Time to pack up and move across the street to Shadowbox.

A little busier today, but we just took tables wherever there was one.

Our coffee orders were taken – thank goodness, and the menu perused.

What you imagine you’ve ordered will not be quite what you think.

Alex and Bo have designed a refreshing menu, leaning towards health and organic, with spices and touches of surprise.

The chocolate, banana, raspberry smoothie is a knockout.

If you like your coffee stronger, as I do, ask for extra strength.

Here in between eating, people chatted and completed their furniture store colour, although I see Alissa had been sketching staff at the counter.

Everyone was very happy with today and as someone said,

I feel as if I’ve been visiting another country’.





I have the privilege of taking today’s class; by the way it’s Christy here! And I’m taking today’s class in place of Erin, who had asked if I could cover for today.

So yay, we continue with this week’s theme.

However today is special, because we have Marianne Rudd sharing her travel-sketching journey with us.  It was such a treat to see her beautiful journal, cleverly documented with a hand drawn calendar to start off the ‘adventure’.

Marianne’s adventure is in Africa, where she holidayed with family and friends and got to see wildlife, quite literally within touching distance! Her beautiful sketching and writing to accompany it was a lovely tribute to a fantastic holiday.

It left us all inspired and diligently taking note of what approach we ourselves would take in our sketching, when we next find ourselves about to take a trip. So thank you Marianne, you’ve gotten us all excited for documenting our next adventures!

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With the added enthusiasm we delved into the ‘upside down’ sketching exercise. And everyone had a proper chuckle over the results when we turned them the right side up again.

It’s a lot of fun, but also an important exercise in paying attention to detail and form, and not what you ‘think’ you see.

I was pleased to see lovely progress here.

We then moved onto the sketches of either the stuff in our bag, or your watercolours and art materials.

Everyone had picked up the pace, and with attention to applying our colour and shading, the sketches turned out beautifully!

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Before long, on our beautiful sunny day, it was time to head off to ‘The Modern Furniture Store’ on Raglan Street, where we’d next be sketching.

So we all ambled down through the park and arrived anticipating we’d be sketching from the outside looking in. One can’t be sure if it’d be busy and we wouldn’t want to crowd a store.

However, we were welcomed in with smiles and it wasn’t very busy at that moment. So we quickly got sketching in the pen-work, before heading to the café to complete our sketches with colour.

We were doing a fabulous job of sketching various vignettes, or full-page views of this spectacular store. When crash! I held my breath hoping it wasn’t one of us!!

And thankfully, it was the poor dad with little daughter who got a little enthusiastic in her playful game of looking at the side-plates. One unfortunately found the floor, and dad was required to bring out the wallet.

It was about time anyway, for us to say our good-byes, and thank you’s for having us, and make our way to the café.

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Just across the street at “Showbox”, we excitedly got to sit around the vintage red table. Excellent!

Altogether sketching and not dispersed, although we never would have complained.

We added our colour whilst sipping our coffees and enjoyed the remainder of class with the accompaniment of good food and lovely company.

A very good week indeed.

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0 Responses

  • Just a quick thank you Christy for taking our class at short notice. We had a fabulous morning and Marianne’s travel diary was an eye-opener. The calendar was a great idea and I think many of us will use this idea. loved Showbox – a great find Erin.

    • Thank you for the above comments from such lovely people.
      Christy was wonderful stepping in at short notice, and we had such a great program for you with an excellent cafe find – thanks Therese for the heads up on that.Two excellent guest speakers this week as well.
      I think Marianne’s travel calendar is brilliant. It should inspire many.

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