Baskets, Manly Ferry & the Cove



I know I keep talking about the weather but it’s just too beautiful.

Downunder we should be headed for cold. That’s usually june. MMmmm.

In the Studio where all the action was, we were doing baskets. Round ones, long ones, lidded ones and 2 little old dolls from Peru. A nice touch.

Yes there are some challenges. Getting each shape right, getting the inside shadows to show corners turning, the light on top, the darker sides etc.

Most people do very well with the colour and usually it’s just a bringing up of one side against another to get the light and dark working.

Two sketches per person – we’re going at a cracking pace now!

Along the street and down the hill to Manly Cove. You can sit here and watch the passing parade of people, the seagulls on the sand, Mothers will toddlers splashing at water’s edge and the Manly ferry coming and going.

You get about 10 minutes plus while it’s unloading visitors, long enough to sketch the shape, and the 2 levels of deck, funnel and a touch of red for the floatation things in case the boat sinks.

Not sure they ever have, and they ply Sydney to Manly from 6am till after midnight, 7 days a week.

Our table today was at Ciao Belli Cafe on the water’s edge.

The umbrellas were perfectly placed so no one got sunburnt.

Sketches were touched up, delicious lunches and coffees consumed, and we were very happy.

As Barry from Canada commented recently. “The sketches look great but I think artists are supposed to suffer a bit more. You’re all having way too much fun”

Our sketches are fun, and a lovely collection of images just as each person saw them. Some tell a whole story, others a collection of small moments.

Enjoy today’s work.

Our Sketching spot

Our Sketching spot

Lunch & Sketch at Ciao Belli Cafe

Lunch & Sketch at Ciao Belli Cafe


Beside the Sea. Ciao Belli Cafe

Beside the Sea. Ciao Belli Cafe





Of course it’s another glorious day. It’s almost winter but blue and clear. Very Sydney.

We had a two visiting sketchers, Jan and Jacquie. Both knew some of the others from our Bilpin trip and both sketch when they can.

Jan’s had a recent hip replacement and Jacquie is being her live-in ‘pickup up everything I can’t’ carer.

So today was a great chance to get to sketching before both go back to their other lives.

The baskets still lifes are providing a lot of opportunities to look at perspective, elipses, colour and texture. Added an onion and garlic clove to one.

Today’s sketches all achieved that. Often the colours are all there, and with a bit of stronger colour in the right places it get the results.

Again a couple of sketches each and all as individual as the sketcher themselves..

There we were sitting down at Manly Cove waiting for the ferry to come in. Where is it? So we sketched other ‘beach’ vignettes, and just before lunch, yes the ferry arrived.

You’ll see some great sketches here from today.

Our table was waiting at Ciao Belli and we sat down together to finish anything we thought needed a touch up.

Lunch is always a lovely time to see what everyone else has been beavering away at. The lovely thing about sketchers is the genuine delight they take in other people’s work.

A very pleasant way to spend a few hours indeed.

Sketching the Manly ferry

Sketching the Manly ferry

The round building and Ciao Belli Cafe

The round building and Ciao Belli Cafe


Friday sketching at Ciao Belli Cafe

Friday sketching at Ciao Belli Cafe





A little cloud passed over our blue skies at photo time today but it was still beautiful.

Now we are getting two sketches and more from everyone in the first hour.

This is travel sketching. You don’t always get much time to sketch when you’re on the run, but if you know you can do a 5 or 10 minute sketch, you’ll have a try at something rather than walk away.

Today we concentrated on getting the elipses and inside the baskets. A good lesson.

We sat on the park benches and sketched the ferry. This time it was at the wharf giving everyone time to get the main shape in, then off it went. When the next one came in we just carried on where we’d left off.

Over at Ciao Belli Cafe we could do the last little bits we thought we needed – usually just balancing colour and keeping the focus centred.

A bit tougher this week for new people. Now we’re onto subjects you pass every day, and they do need to be observed carefully before beginning your sketch.

The whole vista can be overpowering, but when you take the part that’s of interest to you, focus on that rather than everything else which may distract.

An excellent week and I’m delighted at the progress everybody is making.

Give yourselves a pat on the back!

Robbie sketches on

Robbie sketches on

Completing the work over lunchIMG_8921One last thing. We’ve been talking about different typefaces you can use to make headings notes and comments on your sketch pages.

The ones I’ve shown are all easy to do and for the main part – it’s your own writing and it becomes part of the personality of your sketch. Feel proud of what you do. We are so used to not giving ourselves a pat on the back.

More adventures next week.



  1. I love reading your blog Erin, and seeing how differently each persons’ sketches turn out. I’m tentatively trying to sketch while travelling, but I’m not nearly as speedy as you guys. I’ll have to keep practicing.


  2. Hi, Erin. I really like the work you are getting out of your students. Do you give any guidance or “dictates” on color. They all seem to be using the same palette. Or is that just me.


    • Hi Lee,
      We use similar colours in the early stages as most have no idea. As people progress I encourage them to branch out and try different looks. Some people are colourists, others more gentle. They do discover their own style and go with it as confidence grows.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: