Sketching the Beach. Rain or Shine

Image 3

Image 1

“Hello, its Christy here” and I’m taking the first group of sketchers today. 
‘Its raining, its pouring’… but we had no old man snoring, nor any bumping of heads.

We had sketching, and no rain was going to dampen our enthusiasm for that.
Today’s first group got settled and was amused to see the theme of the day was to sketch each other wearing a hat!

One of our early sketchers had put on a hat, unusual one I might add, and when the others arrived they didn’t even comment on it till they realized it was for dress up, and they had to wear one too!! We all had a chuckle.


Sketching people can sometimes be daunting the first couple of times around.

Like where do you start?

The people you see around you are moving quickly, how do I sketch that? Well, today we spoke about how to ‘see’ the people in front of you, wearing a hat, and how to look at the proportions of the face.

Everyone produced a wonderful series of sketches, and with a bit of laughter and fun at how we all looked wearing our hats, we were ready to head off to the next location.

Image 2

The rain kept us company as we trundled down the hill with our colourful umbrellas.
We were heading to South Steyne, the lower end of Manly Beach.

We had hoped to see various people walking past, perhaps with umbrellas and splashing in the puddles.

Image 4

But the rest of the public was not as enthusiastic about being outdoors as us happy sketchers, and we had an almost empty beach, a few sea gulls and the occasional runner jogging past.

So we huddled under the eaves of the Life-saving club and chose to sketch the view in front of us.

Before long a few die-hard meander’s and their umbrellas broke up the scene long enough for us to sketch them.

Then with some luck, a hoard of kids all in their red kit were bouncing around in front of us heading down onto the beach, doing their nipper type exercises.

Image 6

But it was time for us to make finishing touches to our sketches and head to the café.
We adore ‘Manly Wine Bar’, our café of choice today.

We shook off our umbrellas and were warmly welcomed in.
We decided to take tables up near the front, where we still had a view of the sea, and could watch as the water snaked its way down the windows.

The rain hadn’t deterred us today from sketching delightful encounters on the beach, from reflective water edges, bright umbrellas, a few bedraggled sea gulls and splashy puddles.

Our coffees and teas, and delicious lunches were enjoyed while we finished up our day’s sketching, with a couple more delightful compositions of the café.
Thanks everyone.

Image 5







Rain rain go away, Come again another day. Rain makes us creative.

I don’t think anyone heard, so rain it was. Lots of it.
We are doing the beach this week. Rain or shine.

However, our warm up sketches in the Studio would be each other, wearing a silly hat.
We have a smaller group now that several have finished their 5 week course, but for us the fun goes on.
I had a simple diagram on the whiteboard of how the parts of the face are placed.
This was a good moment to do a sketch of it into their own sketchbooks, just so it’s there for reference.

Everyone chose a hat, sat down and worked out who was opposite them and began to sketch.

The hat from Istanbul had a certain attraction, as did the stetson with shark’s teeth, and the little beach hats too.
Because today would be a hat or umbrella day, it was a subject we could relate to.
We were aiming for 10minutes including colour.

Everyone managed very well as you’ll see from the pics.
Once you have the face reasonably in proportion you can’t go far wrong, and you’ll get plenty of character.


Time to wrap up in our rain coats and umbrellas.
Tramping down the hill, we were now 2 sketchers less.

Splashing through puddles, we wandered along the promenade over to the shelters along the foreshore.
All we needed was somewhere a little bit dry, with a view of the beach, and we’d be happy as a sandboy!

In fact the shelter we found was just right for us.
One sketcher who says she never goes out if it’s raining quite surprised herself with what a hardy bunch we are.
Rain! What rain.

Being quite a grey day, means we use the usual sea colours but with added water..
If it’s bluer tomorrow it will be brighter so we’ll add more pigment.
Today we’ll do as we see and feel.
That’s the fun of sketching.

If the first washes look a little flat, that’s when we add a touch of colour near the centre of our focus.
Just to pop it as they say.

I decided to go get coffee for us, to brighten the sketchers day, and because they could start the sketch without me.
Happened to see the earlier group sitting happily in the bright and crazy Manly Wine.
All appeared to have done some great work and I’ll see those once Christy has done her pics.


When we felt we’d done enough on our beach views with Norfolk pines framing them, we ourselves headed across the wet streets to Manly Wine.

Now down to just 3 of us.
Not a lot of other diners in today, so it suited us to sit near the front, where we could see across to the beach.

In the end it was the green coffee cup with the yellow chrysanthemums and food which became our subjects.
Unusually, even I had time to do a quick something, which was quite good as it’s rare for students to see me do a completed sketch while with them.

A very good day, rain or not, and some very amusing hat portrait sketches to boot.



IMG_5426Singlet, Sunhat or Raincoat and Brolly?

Well the weather couldn’t decide and nor could we!

But luck was on our side today as the rain decided to stop more or less at the start of class and those puddles and paintings of driving rain were not to be had after all.

We would have been up for the challenge whatever the weather……..

IMG_5428We started off our class with lots of laughter and chatter, everybody seemed rather jovial.

I think we all enjoyed the story of how one lady was chatted up by a drunk on the Manly Ferry on her way to class – her gorgeous headscarf made him reminisce of times long ago and he was quite determined to try and take her out for lunch!

Ah but lunch with the ladies and a dabble with a paintbrush seemed the better decision.

IMG_5430So hats off to everyone today, or should I say “hats on to everyone” today as we sat down to sketch each other with hats on.

Just the head and torso preferably and it was a bit challenging as many people were looking down most of the time.

Everyone looked divine in headgear ranging from deerstalkers to Moroccan looking hats and the usual NYC cap.
Wow some fabulous sketches were done with ladies really managing to capture each others’ likeness.

Erin and I were very impressed.
I was amazed at how confident everyone is getting at putting pen to paper and having a go, and some lovely watercolour skills are very apparent; the results go to show that a positive attitude pays off.


So South Steyne was the next port of call.

Erin did a wonderful demonstration of how to capture the ocean using cerulean and hookers green with a dash of jacaranda on the horizon and a smidgen of red along the edge of the sand and surf.

IMG_5453 IMG_5455

The end result was simply charming and made everyone feel that they could have a go at this.
We had a buddah figured gent on the beach who was great to sketch and all the children in their red outfits doing surf-lifesaving provided that dash of local colour!

Manly Wine welcomed us and we were rather fortunate to have the upper area overlooking the beach all to ourselves – what a prime spot.

The eclectic decor has a sort of Hawaiian/Moroccan/Aussie Beach feel about it, with pink flamingos, moroccan tiles, plantation shutters and then an assortment of bits and bobs from goodness knows where – end result: charming!  Of course the view was the icing on the cake.

Yummy food and coffees – people had roasted vegetable salad, Portobello Mushrooms with rocket and delicious wraps and banana bread to name a few.
Ah another lovely morning and lunch, can’t wait for next week.




It’s Saturday and very sunny. And very blue.
In fact we rather liked having rain.
There is something lovely about the softer tones and reflections.



But before any of that part we were sketching each other in hats.

Also very exciting was to welcome 2 new sketchers here in Sydney for a casual lesson before joining us in Tuscany in September.
Our very first sketch lesson is always ‘How to see’ so while the others did hat sketches, we were doing the red and apricot hibiscus.

Both were very pleased with how pain free it is to take one step at a time and sketch just what you see.
Great work girls as you’ll see in the pics.


Much mirth was going on behind us and I’d check colours, shadows under hats, across spectacles etc.

Nobody could possibly be offended but lots of laughing about ears or noses and hats perched too high was going on.
We are very good now with our people sketches.

Everyone gets the character of the ones they’re observing. Portraits they are not.


Now for our exercise walk down the hill, past the markets and along South Steyne to a good spot looking out to the waves rolling in.
Saturdays are entirely different here from weekdays.
On rainy Thursday there was barely a soul.
Today it’s jam packed with a surf carnival, little nippers, local surfers and so on.
People of all sorts are promenading the foreshore.

Our new sketchers are working in coloured pencil for the moment, so I show them how they could get what they see onto their page, including quick ways of doing surfers, bathers nearer to us and so on.

Everyone enjoyed this as you’ll see and we were aiming for the cerulean, Hookers dark green with that touch of jacaranda along the horizon.
But not too strongly. The colours are soft.


Time for Manly Wine and lunch.

Today we were in the front seating inside the restaurant with views to the sea.
Here was your chance to do a little food sketch, table decor or anything that catches your eye from where you are seated.

A lovely variety of dishes were ordered and some were already inspired to sketch, even before eating. Broccolini and cashews, to pasta dishes and good ol’ chips.

It’s funny how that happens.
You are so keen to sketch your food that eating it is forgotten for a time.


We concluded the sketch class with a Tuscan get together. Those who could join us, could meet some of their Tuscan travel buddies.

So we were keen to meet, to talk about what we’d be doing during our week, and where some might go beforehand or after.

In fact anything at all about our exciting Sketch Holiday coming up just 6 months away.
Much chatting about different trips people had been on, and the joy (or not) of some of the characters one can find oneself with for a week.

So it was time to part and for some of us, we will meet again in Pisa, Italy in September.

For our other sketchers, it’s into the Studio next week for our Easter sketching,
Such a great week everybody and everyone has again produced lovely personal moments of where we were this week.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *