Our First Sketching Week for 2014

Thursday 1. Hibiscus

Thursday 1. Details of bottlebrush

THURSDAY 10am Class.  FEBRUARY 6 2014.

It’s a new year, it’s a new day, and we’re loving our sketching! Our first group of the day consisted of our loyal returning regulars and the others were ‘brand new out of the box’, excited new sketchers.

To get the ball rolling, we started with sketching flowers and leaves, Hibiscus flowers and Callistemon, (I hadn’t known the formal name of the ‘Bottle Brush’ was Callistemon and that there are several species of that too! Thanks to one of our very organized sketcher’s, who was quite happy to pop back to the car and retrieve the tree species book!)

In the Studio

We all got busy with our first sketches, those that were returning regulars were stretching our sketching muscles and warming up into the familiarity of the basics. ‘How wide, how high?’ and reminding ourselves of how we should apply colour, while the new members of the group were getting a fabulous demo from Erin on how to approach starting your sketch, progressing to add colour, and getting familiar with the new kit. In no time at all, everyone had produced a wonderful first sketch.

Before long it was time for us to head out, as the next group were due at the door any minute! So we trundled down to our next location, which was Ivanhoe Park, leaving Erin to take on the next class of the day.

Ivanhoe Park

Wanting to keep with our ‘leafy theme’, we decided to sketch a close up of a leaf, a seedpod or feather, or anything you find of interest. As it is in travel sketching, you’re always in for a surprise when it comes to your subject matter, so find whatever is around you! Then our second sketch was a tree or shrub in the near distance. Everyone settled somewhere in the park, on a bench or lawn and got wonderfully busy sketching. It’s always a delight as a tutor to see everyone getting absorbed and excited about their sketching.

Thursday 1. Nature sketches Thursday 1. More nature sketchesRoger had to go...

Then we rounded off our great morning by heading to the ‘Café Le Bas’ for coffees and lunch. A few last touches were made to our sketches, before enjoying our drinks and lunch.

Cafe La Bas time


THURSDAY 11.30am Class. FEBRUARY 6 2014

Thursday 2 Hibiscus Thursday 2. Bottlebrush closeups

THURSDAY 11.30am Class. FEBRUARY 6 2014

What a marvellous start to Term1 2014.  We now have Thursday 1 and Thursday 2.

As one group leaves the other group comes in.

Everyone arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed.

All our new sketchers cottoned on extremely quickly and within half an hour all had completed the sketch of Hibiscuses in a glass.

The experienced ones were sketching Bottlebrush twigs and for their second one , the hibiscus still life.

Then for the colour demo using selected watercolour pencils and a touch of water brush.

They looked superb.

These are people who have never sketched in their lives, and have even felt they had no creative ability.

Now their eyes have been opened and the realisation that they have just produced a recognisable sketch – and guess what – we know what it is.

To hear someone say ‘I feel so different doing this’ is very rewarding.

Off we went to Ivanhoe Botaniclal Gardens across the road.

The idea was to do a detail of a plant or shrub, then another of the whole tree or bush or something.

However we were just beginning to get short on time, and……… we hadn’t had our coffee!!

So the whole Crepe Myrtle tree it was. Forget the closeups.

Just observe it’s size and shape, and get it down quickly.

We don’t need much detail, but those glorious pink blooms are so lovely against all the greens.

Throw your layers of colour on. Almost doesn’t matter what colours you use – they are all there.

Thursday 2 Crepe Myrtle

On we go to Cafe La bas.

They are so very welcoming and had kept most tables for us.

Emre the manager whispered to me that the first group had done a lot of talking and not much sketching.

Ahaaa. But it was a secret between he and I .

Yes of course it’s a secret!

Who am I gonna tell?

But that wasn’t so for this group. Sketching was happening everywhere, and great food being munched, and oh those coffees. Yes I’ll admit a fair bit of talking was going on. And laughter.

i did a quick demo of how to sketch your coffee and still drink it hot!

Lots of coffee sketches were done and all with those great designs on top, and still hot – well sort of.

So we completed a lovely first day back sketching and we were all pretty weary.

Sketching does use a huge amount of concentration which can leave you tired but in a fulfilling way.

More fun tomorrow.



Friday. Honey coloured Hibiscus

Friday.Blue FlowersFriday. Bottlebrush


A beautiful clear day for our Friday Sketchers today. Our regular sketchers are thrilled to be back.

Our new people arrive and open up their Sketch Kits. Oooh, just like first day at school.

Judy is also tutoring with me today.

We have a group of more experienced sketchers so we want them to be challenged while the new ones learn the ropes. And Judy was doing plenty of checking !

By next week we have everyone doing the same subjects.

We move up the ladder quickly here.

We began our step by step observation chat, and as people look at me, I’m very aware they cannot quite see how THEY will sketch a flower still life of their own.

But I know that as they begin to put their first lines down, they will be hooked.

Within an hour they have a finished impression of what they saw.

Everyone admires everyone else’s and you can feel the joy they are already getting from their new found skill.

Of course it’s early days, but they are on their way.

And we are on our way to Ivanhoe Park for some nature sketching.

It is soooo lovely there in the peace and quiet among the trees, palms and flowers.

Our more experienced sketchers have already done some delightful closeups of leaves blooms and tree trunks.

Our first timers choose the pink Crepe Myrtle  blooms, and sit on the cool grass and enjoy this special time.

Friday.Nature Sketching. More Friday Sketches.

Then a little walk down the hill through the park, past the sports oval to our cafe.

Emre was ready and waiting to get those coffees out, and we all took over the cafe.

We have a knack of emptying a place once our happy laughter and chat begins.

Way too much happiness going on here!!

We had the coffee sketch demo, and several decided to sketch other sketchers.

This is pretty amazing for first timers as you’ll see.

A very rewarding day all round.

Roll on tomorrow.



Saturday Hibiscus SaturdayBuckinghamia Saturday PlumbagoOoops sorry about the shadow!



It still feels like a long hot summer.

It’s February so we can expect this till we end daylight saving late March.

Mornings and evenings will have a crisper edge.

So it was that a very happy group all arrived this morning.

Some returning so there is much laughter and chatter about what and where they’ve been since December.

For our new sketchers, a little anxious as you are on the first day of anything, but soon to discover they needn’t have been.

We begin with the flowers on both tables.

Off we go with our observation and first lines. OMG no pencils. Yup. Just let the lines flow.

And they did.

Oh such freedom.

Nothing has to be perfect.

This is your impression, and it’s how you see it.

The other table are given 30mins on each still life, and with colour.

They are pretty good at this and the sketches show it.


Everybody is pleased and feeling relaxed. Then we cross the road to Ivanhoe Park to look for closeups and ‘further aways’.

Most people adore the pink crepe myrtle and it’s coming out a little more each day.

One chooses a smooth tree trunk with gorgeous texture and colour.

‘How long do we have left now’ asked one sketcher.

Seven minutes I reply.

‘Oh then I don’t have time to do another one’

‘If you were standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, and you had 7 minutes – you’d sketch it’ say I.

So she did. A most glorious closeup a leaf.

Seven minutes. Any minutes. You can sketch.

Ivanhoe Park sketches Cafe La Bas sketches

Trot, trot, trot down the hill we go. Past the bowlers at the Bowling Club and the Cricketers on the oval.

We arrive at Cafe La Bas and Emre must have thrown all the other customers out.

Just as we like it.

Coffees are ordered and I show them the trick again.

People love this. We laugh about how silly it seems. But hey, you want your coffee hot and it’s too pretty not to sketch.

What? No brown and no black.

Nope pure colour only.

You’ll see the difference.

Our first timers are right into it. Sketching the others, the lighting centrepiece and coffees.

Everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly. today.

And so do I.

Best job in the world.

©ErinHill with Christy Powell and Judy Salleh.


  1. Katherine Webb

    I was determined to sketch that beautiful light and Emre makes lovely coffee :).
    Oh good it’s lunchtime now, off to do my 10 minute sketch now (well yesterday it was 12 minutes)!


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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: