Sketching Term 4 – Here We Go

Thurs 1



First Thursday Out & About Travel Sketching for Term 4.

Luckily the Studio can be kept cool when the dial on the temperature gauge promises 38 degrees.

Not that we change our plans much for rain or shine.

There’s always somewhere to shelter.

Hardy bunch we are.

Some first time sketchers enter the Studio with a little uncertainty.

This is a big step for people.

To commit to trying something you really wonder if you can do.

But the fact they are prepared to have a go means they get an elephant stamp.

The regular and excited sketchers are all keen to catch up with each other after our break.

At last we get some quietness for me to begin explaining ‘how to see’ to the sketchers doing the simple leaf setup.

Rather good timing as the beginning of term is a good time to revisit the core observation skills.

Our new sketchers are put through their paces and all have a sketch, on the page, in the correct proportion – and with colour, within the hour. For the first 3 weeks we use watercolour pencil. We will get familiar with layering colour before moving into watercolour paint after that.

Our regular sketchers have a minute or two to do a second sketch – the red cacti – but they are being naughty, so I’m not showing you the things they write in their sketchbooks!

The walk down to Gilbert Park is certainly hot, but not unbearable. If we didn’t know it was going to be so hot, we wouldn’t even think about it.

A park is a very cool place to sketch anytime, and it feels fine to stay there for 45mins or so.

The subject is about plants, shrubs, trees or park like vistas.

Here is where most people feel uncertain.

How do I choose what to sketch?

We look around at the various plant, tree and flower groupings and decide.

We like the spiky groups of white flowered lilies clumped around the huge roots of the Morton Bay fig.

One sketcher chooses the bright pink ‘carnation’ like flowers nearby and she can sit in the cool on the little rock wall.

Another goes along to the big aviary where the pigeons gather and coo.

Time to cross the road to Belgrave Cartel Cafe.

Good that there are not too many other people in our favourite back room and corridor.

We can sit wherever we like and order coffee and lunch.

People sketch their drinks, lunch, each other.

A really good day and everybody is now a true sketcher.

Thurs 8



Fri 1


Bright and sunny today. Was that rain I saw at 6am?

A cruise ship brightly lit, making it’s way slowly and majestically up the harbour.

Our sketchers soon arrive at the Studio, very excited to catch up on all news, and new sketchers wonder what they’ve struck!

We start ‘how to see’ instructions with new sketchers or those who feel they need a reminder of starting from scratch.

I suggest everyone does the same.

We are doing the simple green leaves on our table.

The others are doing the frilly green leaf arrangement, followed by a red leaf one at the half hour mark.

Or should I say its closer to a 15 min sketch when I swap them over, and they probably are looser than the first ones! Less time, less indecision.

Before long we all have very pleasing sketches in our books, despite the look of disbelief that they could ever do anything like this.

And even when one sketcher thinks she’s going wrong, we gently remind her that we don’t tear anything out, or even start again. You can’t actually go wrong with sketches. It’s just an impression however it turns out.

We want our sketchbook as a learning journey rather than filled with ‘good sketches’

One hour in and the individual styles are coming through beautifully.

There we have it. First sketches for the term and all catching the moment. All completely different.

Once organised we all make our way down the hill to Gilbert Park to look for a sketchable shrub or fern.

I realise when I can only see a few of us that some must be over the road grabbing their caffeine intake before sketch two.

Sometimes sketching in your own garden is just what you feel like. With or without coffee.

Before long everyone has found a ‘bum’ rock or park bench to view their subject.

Jozy has a very smart lightweight folding seat which we all think is excellent. Caribee brand and it becomes a shoulder bag with pockets for all your sketching kit.

The part I like now is seeing how totally differently people see the subject in front of them.

My main ‘thing’ is get light and dark by using your colour to bring you forward or take you back.

Once we all have a completed sketch, its over the road to Belgrave Cartel to our bright outdoor corridor where people can perch on the rustic stools at the iron tables.

We all love this spot with random lights hanging, suspended pot plants, tomato cans for cutlery holders etc.

Now we order that longed for coffee, if you hadn’t had an earlier fix.

Here was where I can do a few water brush demos.

It always pops the colour if you stick to the darker spots and don’t feel tempted to ‘colour in’ which is not what we do.

We indicate colour. Nothing more. It’s a sketch. That quick impression.

Soon time for people to depart and with lots of good-byes we’re off.

I get a message from one of our new people who is still at the cafe 2 hours later, still sketching.

If you have your sketchbook you are never alone!

Fri 11




Sat 1

Sat 2


Birds are chirping brightly as day breaks. Now we are on daylight saving time, I’m almost awake with them. I can never believe how excited they all are first thing.

I admit that I feel the same way when you first open the door and feel the air, and the fresh aroma of jasmine and citrus. AAaaahhhhh. Breathe.

Off to the Studio for Saturday’s class.

Already there are new sketchers on the doorstep, keen to check they have everything they need to get started.

Our regular people all sit at ‘the other’ table and catch up on the news.

Before long there is silence. ( Thank goodness! )

We begin with ‘how to see’ and observing the subject. We are looking to compare shape to shape.

Then it’s down with the first leaves and keep adding where you see them.

Lastly the vase. Check the width.

Good. Now for the watercolour pencils. Hold them in your other hand so you can pull out the one you want.

Good trick to learn when sketching in a small space.

Everyone has something pretty recognisable and small smiles mean I know they are feeling pleased.

One sketcher said she’d never ever done anything with art before. She thought she might not really truly learn.

It’s about observing I remind everyone. Nothing to do with ‘talent’.

Once the colour is on we’re ready to go out and about.

At Gilbert Park we look for a spot we like the look of and get sketching.

Observe its shape, visualise where you want it on your sketch page.

We almost complete the sketches then pop over to Belgrave Cartel. Luckily our big back room is empty so we take a place at the tables and order coffee.

Now we can add a little colour where it’s needed, and some of the girls do a cafe sketch as well.

Every new person this week has realised that they can sketch, and for me its the most rewarding ‘job’ in the world.

More sketching adventures next week.

Sat 20

Sat 21©ErinHill2013


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