Hands, Feet, Surfers and Vistas

Thurs1Thurs 2


Hello’ it’s Christy here. I thought even though Erin was in class today, I’d do today’s write up, as the rest of this week and next will be covered by us tutors, by either Vivianne or myself and with the lovely Judy in attendance as she continues to shadow the whole tutoring process.

The class today was in full swing even before the official start of class, we always marvel at how enthusiastic our sketchers are turning up early! Our 10 in class today, busied themselves with sketching hands and feet, our first sketches of the morning.

Thurs 3

We used the ‘hand model’s to start with, and aren’t hands funny things to look at? Not to mention that we’d be moving onto ‘feet’ next! However, it’s still the same process we take with all our sketching subjects. Measure it onto the page, with a central/ focal point and once sketched in, suggest colour, leaving lots of whites down the sides. And ‘wa-laaa’, everyone’s sketches were beautiful!

Thurs 4

It was with great amusement when it came to sketching feet, and we decided to attempt our own feet. Some sketched anothers, especially if they were good at holding still. We had one exceptional “foot model” in class today and she held still, with foot aloft, for everyone.

Whether it is simply the busy time of year, or the weather, today’s class was busy and a lot was going on behind the scenes. From absent minded brother-in-laws setting off house alarms, needing an apple juice to combat feeling faint, and discussing a delayed start for next weeks sketching class, we then all mellowed into the latter part of the day’s sketching by heading down the hill to sketch our “vista view”. Which is looking back across the Manly Oval at the church steeple and surrounding layering of houses and greenery. I must say, these sketches that emerged were truly wonderful and I am very pleased with everyone’s approach today.

Thurs 5

To round off our busy morning, we made our way to the Corso to have lunch at the Sushi Bar Taka. It was a great way to end the class, all seated watching the train of delicious foods circling on their way past, Miso soups being sipped, and putting the final touches to the beautiful “vista” sketches. Thank you everyone for your participation today, I look forward to seeing you all next week for our final class of the year.

Thurs 6



Fri 1 Fri2


Hello’ it’s Christy here again. I’ll be taking Friday’s class this week.
So we continued with ‘Hands and Feet’ to start off the sketching today.


We had 7 of us today, all eager to get busy with the initial hand sketches. We talked about looking at the hand as a shape and it’s negative space, to make it easier when approaching these sketches today. One sketcher commented how it really helped with freeing up and ‘seeing’ the sketch onto the paper, and before long we were happily chatting our way through various vignette studies of our hands and feet. Most pleasing everyone! Great job!


Now that we’d freed up our sketching arms, we continued our nattering down the hill to sketch our vista-double-page sketch. This one is always exciting because it evolves over two pages, with scenery. We included the church steeple and surrounding houses and trees. We discussed what we saw in front of us, the way the green foliage and houses were layered as your eyes travelled across the distant hill. We chose to incorporate what we found ‘charming’ or with ‘character’, for example the gorgeous home with the ornate wrap around verandah, the unusual home with 5 chimneys, of course the beautiful lime stoned church steeple.

See if you can note these in the sketches.


Before long, we were heading down into the Corso to have lunch at the Sushi Taka Bar. I arrived wondering where half the class was, but was amused to see them arriving with coffee’s in hand. Of course we had to have a good coffee at some point in the day! We then happily settled down into our little nestled spot in the back of the restaurant, watching the train of food snaking past, and easily reaching out to select our lunch for the day. We added a suggestion of colour in our vista sketches, whilst sipping on a glass of red, and chatting about our soon to be holiday’s with the family.

Thank you for a fabulous day of sketching everyone, its always a pleasure and I look forward to seeing the finished vista sketches next time, for those that were still adding the final touches of colour. Till next time.





Sat 1 Sat 2


An absolutely gorgeous day today and the sketchers were eager to get inside and get to it…even though we were sketching hands and feet today!

The bane of many an artist, hands and feet can be tricky, partly because we don’t normally spend a lot of time observing them and partly because they have so many separate elements!

But we simplify them down into shapes.

I must say I was amazed at the outcome. Having been to art college for many years, I think its safe to say that it took my co-students years to achieve the type of sketches that todays’ class created. It really goes to show that our continued learning to OBSERVE pays off…that the observation in itself is the skill…and that it will help you to sketch pretty much anything!

We first sketched the wooden hands, being careful to look at the angles and sketching it large on the page…Then it was shoes off (for most!) and we sketched our feet. Or as per one sketcher, sneaking a peak at someone else’s foot under the table!

Feet weren’t our most beautiful of body parts it was agreed, but, on an angle they could be quite elegant…This is where the yoga comes in handy!

…and no-one needs to know if our nail polish was chipped, a fresh coat of watercolour in our sketch made our nails look perfect!

We walked down towards the bottom of Sydney Road and sat ourselves in the window sills of a building for a great vantage point for our vista. Overlooking the oval towards the quaint church and houses on Raglan St, we had a comfortable spot in the shade.

Surf must have been up because there were lots of surfers walking by trying to take a sneak peak of our sketches. I dont think anyone noticed however, everyone was so into what they were doing!

Again, this was a real lesson in “sketch what you SEE, not what you THINK you see!” The houses are all on the slope of a hill, so it makes sense to sketch them on a slight diagonal across our two pages.

Requiring even more careful observation were the angles of the rooftops and church tower. It’s all too easy to sketch the angles as though you are seeing them from above, not below…great if you’re a seagull but unfortunately we’re stuck to the ground…Looking UP towards the tower means the angles of the walls move down at the sides not up. (like in an upside down V shape)

One tower ended up looking delightfully exotic…Morocco had come to manly!

A little more artistic licence was taken with gaps on the page filled up with trees and some trees removed if they were in the way of a nice building. What a quick way to become a tree lopper!

One sketcher decided to add some of the cricketers to the oval in the foreground which added a nice quirky Australian touch.

One lady seemed to be enjoying her sketching so much that I couldn’t help but refer to her as “the Singing Sketcher”

Off we went past the buskers (including two young boys singing “When I Was a Man”) in the Corso and on to Sushi Bar Taka where the chef greeted me with an enthusiastic “hello Biviang” (not quite “Vivianne” but it was sweet either way)”

Great to know that, despite having invaded this place 4 times in the past week, we had not worn off our welcome…the staff are so lovely in there…

We sat on some tables near enough to the Sushi train to grab things, but big enough to be social and to have enough space for eating AND sketching. Unfortunately…no coffee!!! Strong teas would have to suffice…

Some got straight into the food part claiming “A well fed sketcher is a happy sketcher,” while others couldn’t wait to get some colour on their Vistas.

Hmmm, soy sauce accidently dropped on the page? no problem…its all part of it…

The delightful “wet in wet” technique was used to create foliage. Blue green and yellow, with the darker blue used more around shadow or base areas, and lighter colours used for where the sun hits.

Some cobalt for the sky behind the buildings and our sketches were complete.

When asked how one sketcher felt at the end of it all, I think she summed it up nicely…”great, like I’m floating.”

What a great way to start the weekend.

Sat 30

Sat 29




©Christy&Vivianne for ErinHillStudio2013





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