Southern Highlands Getaway. Banksia Park.

Getaway to Banksia Park, Kangaroo Valley, Southern Highlands. March 8 – 10 ’15

What a great few days. Clear skies and everyone looking forward to plenty of sketching and time away from our other lives.

Totally about ME.

We caught up with some at Berkelouw Bookbarn just out of Berrima for a good coffee and slice of homemade fig and strawberry flan. You’d hardly expect to find a gracious property like this just off the main road but it’s a good one to know.

Bistro One46 was where the whole group would gather.

People came from far and wide including NZ.

Our big table was beautifully set up at the end of the balcony and shaded by grapevines overhead. Perfect on a hot day. Where are we? South of France?

Kangaroo Valley. Who’d have guessed.

Several sketchbooks came out and drinks and delicious food became our subjects. We thanked Nicole for the very innovative menu and friendly service, and it was time to head off.

Arriving at Banksia Park our Aussie Outback destination, we all found our cottages – Wombats, Scribbly Gum, kookaburra and similar. Definitely not the city. Complete silence but for sounds of nature. Wombats digging in the dark. Pigs oinking. Donkeys eeh awing. Chickens clucking.

The Outback Bar became our Studio.

A lovely big meeting place where we shared preparation of meals in the kitchen. Space for our drinks and dancing – yes – a little salsa. Plenty of room for everyone to dine and sketch.

Over the three days we covered many of our foundation skills starting with observation of shapes and observation of colour. Quick sketches. Composition and placement of elements both inside and out.  Light and dark.

Subjects such as tractors and farm animals added to the novelty.

One of the keys to travel sketching is learning to work quickly. You are generally on the move and don’t want to miss an opportunity.

Overall I wanted people to sketch freely and loosely.  Big sweeping strokes. Letting go.

Feels wonderful. It’s about learning and trying things out. About you taking charge. Empowerment.

We would treat our colours in big clean strokes too. No painty painty here.  Simple strokes of color dropped one over another. No need to fill every space.

By the last day the difference was very clear. Moving from overworking to letting go was showing in every sketchbook.

We did a very quick impression at Fitzroy Falls and nobody thought twice about it.

We finished the day at Burrawang Hotel with a very enjoyable pub lunch and some people sketching.  The setting looks out over rolling pasture and avenues of huge old English trees.

Sketches were completed and we bid our farewells as we departed ‘the bush’ for the city.

We’ll be back. Missing everyone already.

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