Sketching – The Way we Were.

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After the high winds we’ve had for 2 days, it was back to blue and lovely for our Sketching class.

Christy and I decided we’d combine our classes, as several sketchers have completed their course, or away for the holidays, so it made sense. We are a great team, and the sketchers get double the love.

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We had a lovely big group and much chatter and laughter took place before we settled into our theme for this week  – ‘The way we were’.  Pre- digital in other words.

We had the writing set – from the days of letter writing. A desk clock. Fountain pen. My ancient Teddy,who doesn’t squeak or do tricks. An old model Ford car, which had a gear stick.

Great subjects to test your observation skills and everyone produced excellent variations of all objects as well as sketching to a time limit.

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Next we were heading off to Desire Books, on Whistler Street and on the corner of the  original 30’s Chancery Arcade.

So Desire Books suits the setting perfectly with their nostalgic collection of typewriters, interesting badges and posters, objects d’art, and of course books glorious pre-loved books. They encourage a lot of community events here with performances, dress making and life drawing among the many on offer.

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Our sketchers soon were immersed in their choice of subject either inside or out, but looking to get the feeling of an old and quirky bookstore. The old typewriters are a great subject to sketch.

Some like to get their sketch down and then do the colour at lunch.

Christy and I approve of this, as you now work on what’s going to make the sketch look it’s best, rather than referring too much to the original location.

Or maybe they’re just desperate for a coffee!

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Lunch was a two minute trot across the street, and down the lane to Fika Swedish Kitchen.  We love it’s bright and sunny Scandinavian decor, and it’s very tasty Swedish inspired menu.

We were a pretty big group so the very helpful staff had several tables together for us.

This was a lovely time for Christy and I to mix around with everybody and to see so much progress over the term.   In fact Christy was quite excited to see how far her group had come.  My group are fabulous anyway so it goes without saying!

So came to an end our 9th week, and next week will be our Week 10 adventure.  You’ll find out where we go next week!






Oh what a treat! Erin left me a birthday card and a bottle of wine as it’s my birthday.  Not telling you my age!  Should we open it in class?  No we decided might have a glass of wine next week when we go on our special trip to The Spit, which everyone is looking forward to.

Today is a trip down memory lane with some interesting items on the tables, a gorgeous writing set, an old car, and we all loved the teddy.  We admitted that some of us old sofites still had our teddies from our childhood.


The wooden box was more challenging that first anticipated – too much wood! And wood is brown.   Oh no that means getting lots of different shades correct and allowing some light to soften it.   I heard a few grumbles but not to worry everyone did a great job.

When we arrived at our next location we all instantly fell in love with Desire Books.

What a beautiful bookshop and so much more to it once inside than we expected.  The owner and his son were so welcoming, felt like we were visitors to their special library.

We all found our places inside to sketch and the layout plus typewriters, funky lamps and armchairs made for a great setting. It was a job to get sketchers sketching as the books were somewhat distracting as we all found a few titles that appealed.

Glad to say that two of the class bought books. Always good to support the people who support us.  We also had a lot of oohs and aahs from a sudden stream of customers to the bookshop – they seemed rather impressed with our sketches (and so they should be!)


Fika Swedish Kitchen for lunch.  It’s a real Swedish Cafe, but not like the last Swedish Cafe I went to – yes you guessed it, Ikea. This one is rather nice with a decidedly Swedish menu.  We managed to all sit cosily round one table and chatter away.

Today everyone produced some lovely sketches and I was just so happy with my class – what a lovely day we had.  Next week will be such fun in a new location with spectacular views over the harbour.  Rain rain stay away…..





Another great day for sketching. Sunshine, clear blue skies. Just so fresh and lovely.

Our enthusiastic Saturday sketchers were keen to get cracking on their first warmup sketch. I know a few alarm clocks were being set to make sure they’re here that one hour earlier.

So we would do one watercolour and one w/c pencil sketch.


There is just enough perspective in both the setups to get you really observing your angles.

As we discussed, if you get it right, you’ll know straight away. If not check that your lines ‘going away’ are getting closer together on the far away side. Even if you over emphasise a little. Better more than less.

The bear looks easier. But is he? Take a good hard look. He has a particular shape and if you get it right he will very bear-like, and not like a koala. Subtle I know.

Everyone managed their two sketches and we then made our way down to Desire Books.

Our sketchers were quite fascinated with this nostalgic styled bookshop, but had never noticed the very quirky little miniature boxed or glass domed little scenes, sitting between the books.


A couple of sketchers were very taken with the odd little scenes going on in there.  They sketched with fascination as they began to see even more strangeness revealed.

Others just loved the bookshelves, the typewriters, guitar, and fireside armchairs.

If you take the time to look around, you’ll notice very amusing greeting cards, posters, embroidered badges and odd little candles and small gifts.

Having mostly completed the sketches, we decided to move on to Fika Swedish Kitchen, for early lunch and to complete sketches or start another.

We had a very nice table where we could all sit together, chat and talk about our sketches. Yes, the mushrooms on toast passed the test! And the avocado dish was well received as well.

Now is the moment to punch a little extra colour in the little corners. Add a soft colour round the edges and step away.


The sketching ability of this very keen group is awesome. Everybody is able to travel sketch, observe quickly and nail the colour, using two mediums.

Next week we’ll meet at The Spit for our last week.  Lots of water, houseboats, yachts kayaks and beach there. Can’t wait.  Another fab week everybody.


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