Sketching Fruit & …What is that Vegetable?


New Sketchers 12noon Monday September 1 ’14

What an amazing day to start Spring. It’s just too perfect to be true. Will it last? Mmmm.

Our group arrived and very keen to get started on this week’s subject. We have a gorgeous fruit choice for everyone, even though we have some more experienced sketchers as well.

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As a subject for sketching, fruit is a very forgiving form to observe. You’ll certainly have something recognizable even if it’s not quite the same as in front of you. Doesn’t matter. It’s your impression only. Not botanical sketching.

Some very edible sketches were done and we used a dash of the waterbrush with our watercolour pencils. Tricky but effective.


Now for the Out&About part of the lesson.

To Ivanhoe Park and some old steps surrounded by orange clivia. Well there was one bloom. They are pretty well over now I suppose.  Shapes, lights and darks were observed and some lovely sketches happened.

One sketcher was keen to continue with her watercolour today.

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We were busting for our coffee so we trekked down to Showbox which does an excellent one and ordered a couple of yummy muffins – only as sketch subjects of course. Not.

Two sketchers decided the muffins were very good subjects and were pretty pleased with their sketches. And the taste as we rewarded ourselves.

The watercolour steps were being completed by our watercolourist and our muffin sketchers went back to complete their steps as well.

Another 3 sketches completed. Great work from each one if you today. And how happy it makes us feel.

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New Sketchers. 10am Tuesday September 2’14.

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New Sketchers. 10am Tuesday September 2 ’14.

We arrive at the studio excited to see gorgeous fruit and vegetable set-ups on the tables.

If you were very early, you’d have seen Erin adding a few more interesting fruit and veg to round off the displays. One ‘veg’ in particular evaded our memory, and so we played a guessing game with today’s class to see if we could remember the name of this peculiar purple skinned, rather beetroot looking or turnip like vegetable.

And yes, we have a bright class in today, within minutes its revealed it’s ‘Kohlrabi’.

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Ok, but we’re here for sketching, not ‘Trivial Pursuit’. And so we discuss what we’re going to be tackling today in our sketching.

We’re going to be looking at the ‘P’ word, and that’s perspective! We’re going to be sketching the front of the ‘New Brighton Hotel’ in the Corso, and so prior to that, we talk about the eye line/horizon line and others that move away respectively to the vanishing points. Everyone sketches that into their books for later reference.

But first we’re warming up with sketching the fruit and vegetables.

I have the trusty support of Karen and Toni with the class again, and the three of us are moving around giving support with the use of w’colour pencils, or watercolours. Before long, lovely vibrant compositions come to life and we photograph them collectively. Impressive.


Its time for us to head to the Corso, and the weather appears to be holding off with the rain.

It really is a bit of a lottery lately, and with me bragging about getting ‘the best’ weather, it appears there was some rain for ‘that’ parade!

So we all get down to the Corso and decided there would be enough time to quickly sketch in the pen work before the rains came, and we could see the dark clouds gliding closer.

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I am so pleased to see everyone is making sense of the ‘perspective diagram’ and putting in those lines sloping down from the top, and sloping up from the bottom. (You’ll know what I’m talking about when you see the sketches). The rest of the windows or balconies and awnings etc, all fill in-between.

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But here comes the rain, and we all make a dash for coffee, where we can complete our sketches with colour, and we didn’t have far to go …we’re at the ‘New Brighton Hotel’ itself, up on the second floor and we almost have the place to ourselves too!

We’ve lost a couple along the way who needed to head off early, and so our little group gathers together at a cozy table to enjoy a coffee and finish up things. It’s been really encouraging for this group to ‘see’ what they can accomplish and not be afraid to tackle ‘perspective’ and buildings and all that detail. Well done everyone, see you next week.

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General Sketching. 9.30am Thursday September 4 ’14


General Sketching. 9.30am Thursday September 4 ’14.

Oooh that’s a chilly wind. Maybe not quite as gale force as yesterday, but it’s not raining – yet.

Most sketchers were waiting outside as I arrived, so we got stuck in straightaway with our first little exercise of the day.

We’ll start by copying a guide to perspective, based on your eye level. As with the other classes this week, it’s quite good to do your own version of in your book.

That way you’ll begin to see what goes this way and that.


Time to get those gorgeous fruit and vegetable sketches started. Yes one of our very smart sketchers knew we had a kohlrabi in the grouping.

The plan was to spend half the time on one, then swap over.  Looked as though we were being caught up on one. Mmmm.

Two minutes to go then.   Seemed to work, and we had only 5 minutes to complete the second sketch.

And of course everyone did just that, then decided that one was far more free than the first one.  I’m not gonna say I told you so!

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Next mission was to get down the The Corso and checkout The New Brighton corner.  Now go back to your earlier perspective diagram and it will all begin to make sense.

Each sketch achieved what we were after. Get the angles all going to the vanishing point.   A lot of thinking going on and sometimes too much.

Simply check the angles in front of you.  If you can’t see it, it doesn’t go in.


We were feeling that chilly wind a little by now, so decided to head to the downstairs lounge bar at New Brighton Hotel and order hot drinks.

A few more squiggles we went up to the restaurant on the first level.

Now we could sit together at one of the many tables, get our sketches out, and study the menu.

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The food arrived and such huge serves, people were offering it to all of us.

Being kind people, we felt obliged to help out.

Very nice actually.


The colour was making all the work come to life. Even for one sketcher who almost ditched her line sketch, then once the colour was applied, decided it was looking pretty good.

We all agreed.

We really enjoyed working through today’s perspective session. Now people were beginning to see how it all works. Once that happens you feel you can try all sorts of street scenes without fear.

We’ll do more of this next week.

Looking forward to more progress.

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General Sketching. 9.30am Friday October 5 ’14Image 1

General Sketching. 9.30am Friday October 5 ’14

Some very happy faces today when the displays of fruit and veg we’re spotted on the tables. Oh we love love love fruit and veg. So much colour, texture and contrast. Every sketchers dream! Did we all recognise the mystery vegetable? We always have one sketcher who knows the kohlrabi this week. We are amazing.

I didn’t tell them that they were probably going to groan at the sight of our location sketch! More about that later…


I demonstrated a quick sketch with watercolour and letting the paints the work for you when the colours merge when wet. 

How do you do coconuts? That was a question asked. Need to layer the paint to create the texture and a final dash of watercolour pencil did the trick. 

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Oh is it raining again? Sure is. But that won’t stop us totally. We head off to The Corso where our intrepid sketchers are met with the spectacle of doing the corner of The New Brighton Hotel. 

Ooh, yikes, help, please somebody save me from this magnificent challenge, I’m off, I’m staying, oh thank goodness it’s started raining just in time! Let’s get inside that big lounge in the New Brighton.

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Our sketchers had lots of varied thoughts.

Some braved it in the rain and some decided to sketch from inside the Hotel. Both locations provided some good challenges. 

All of the sketches were amazing as I’m sure you will see. Another wonderful class. Well done everyone. 

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New & General Sketching. 9am Saturday September 6 ’14

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New & General Sketching. 9am Saturday September 6 ’14

As I woke up I thought “surely it’s not still raining”. Yes it’s still raining. The worms and ducks are loving it but not my sketch pen, it stops working when wet!

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It was fun meeting new people today and I started with getting everyone to copy a perspective diagram which would be handy for our location sketch later.

Once everyone had finished I did a quick watercolour demonstration using lots of rich colours and heaps of water. 

Oh my, what fabulous students you all were.  Everyone totally had a go with following the technique and the results were splendid.  

Vibrant fruit and veg and the only issue was the paint just wouldn’t dry quick enough. Help we need a hair dryer!

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Not to worry, everyone carried their sketchbooks open on the walk down to Manly. No! It started to rain – those drops turn bok choy into spinach, tomatoes into lychees as the paint washes off or splurges.  

Artistic creativity that’s what I call it. 

So we started to look at the perspective and finding our eye level in front of the New Brighton Hotel. “Saved by the rain” thought those sketchers when it became too much and we were forced inside the hotel.

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I chose the perspective then looking towards the Steyne Hotel and this was slightly less challenging but a test nonetheless. 

My, here was a lonesome man there with his beer and cigarette, ready to go sitting smack bang in the middle of where we wanted to be. So I braved it and asked if he would move.  He was very obliging – that was lucky. 

Only coffees and hot chocolates for us today but we don’t mind. Sketching is what we came for. 

Fabulous work everyone, the sketches were absolutely wonderful.

P.S. Apparently kohlrabi is beautiful steamed, or grated into coleslaw. Thought you’d like to know!

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