Sketching Nature, First Week Term 4.

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Tuesday Class. October 7 2014.

We’re excited and we’re back for term 4 together, and everyone is eager to get to class today. We’ve gotten ‘flowers’ to sketch in the studio today, and I was still arranging them when the early ones were arriving. We chatted happily about our breaks and shared our lovely sketching with others to see what we’d been up to. Absolutely delightful!

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We have a few new sketchers with us today too, and so with the wonderful help of Toni again this term, we both make sure that those that have been sketching with us for a while are all set up and on their way with their sketching and remembering a few pointers we mustn’t forget.

Like ‘how to compose your page, finding the midpoint’, “how high, how wide”. Then we dedicate some valuable time with the newer sketchers, getting them familiar with our colour palette and how we approach sketching.

Before long everyone has created really characterful sketches of the ‘pink lilies’. It’s amazing one sketcher remarked; “I never knew I’d be able to sketch something like this on my first day.”

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We’ve spent a little more time than usual in the studio this morning, but that’s not to worry, we were getting everyone accustomed to the start of term and spending additional time talking through how to approach sketching the flowers, and we’ve all ‘blossomed’ because of it.

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Then we head off into the sunshine to sketch in Ivanhoe park. One of our favourite places to go. I half expected to see a lot more ‘colour’ in the park, with all the new growth of spring. But everything was still budding and green, however the Clivia were there in brilliant orange to entice us to sketch them.

We amble up the steps at the higher end of the park, and happily seat ourselves in the sunshine and sketch double page spreads of the garden views or vignette style groupings across the page. Everyone is really warming up to this sketching and I can see looser and freer sketches emerging. Beautiful.

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We’ve warmed up in the sun quite enough now, and decide we’re off to the cafe for coffee. This week we’re at Foundry 53. As you’d well know, this is one of our favourites. We arrive and gladly get a large table all together. I get a lovely peppermint tea, and others order coffees. Coffee is very good here! We finish up with our last touches of colour and our class comes to a close. We have charmed a few passers by, who ask who we are? So, delighted we share our story and I hand out business cards. Looking forward to others getting excited about sketching too. See you all next week, I’m looking forward to it!


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Thursday Class October 9 ’14

Ah the start of a new term and no doubt some new faces to go with it.  Should be great fun as Summer is well on its way and we can make the most of that.

Erin is still away on her travels (honestly I’m not even the tiniest bit envious! gulp) so I looked after the Thursday class this week and I really enjoyed meeting some new people and catching up with some familiar faces too.

Lucky me, Karen jumped in as assistant tutor at the start and did a marvellous job as chief flower arranger and purchaser too!  Can she come to my house and do that too?

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So Karen provided us with some vases full of gorgeous colour co-ordinated flowers to sketch in either pinks or citrus shades.  We started first with a quick warm up of strezlitzias to get the flow happening as some folks hadn’t sketched for a wee while.

Strezlitzias are rather lovely to do as the colours are gorgeous and the shapes are relatively easy – lots of triangles really!

I was very pleased with everyone’s work as everyone threw themselves headfirst into doing a fast sketch and they were great.

I then did a watercolour demonstration showing how to get the feeling of the flowers without drawing too many details and letting the paint do the work for you.

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We finished off our morning at Foundry 53 Cafe (yes I know, we go there rather a lot, but hey it is amazingly good).  Yummy cakes and muffins and very good coffee made for a perfect mix.

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I demonstrated how to do cups and to practice sketching rather quickly.  Why not keep your paints and a pen by you in the kitchen.  Amazing what you can do while the kettle boils! Yes you can sketch your teabag.

I hope everyone felt a bit inspired by the ideas, we certainly had a good morning.

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Friday Class. October 10 2014

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Friday Class. October 10 ’14

Not everyone is back from their holidays both near and far so we were a slightly smaller group today. But that’s a great thing – we get more one on one time!

The studio definitely looks like a florists especially as Karen arrived with some fresh Strezlitzias this morning which are just magnificent with their varied and bright colours.

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We started with some warm up sketches of the strezlitzias as they are such a great subject matter. We used different mediums with watercolour pencils, watercolour, pigment liners and one student used a bamboo pen which gave gorgeous expressive lines. Everyone really achieved some fabulous results which are really shown in the photos.

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So next it was time for a vase of flowers which can seem bit bamboozling with all the leaves and stems, but I showed how to have a go without drawing too many lines.

Lovely to see the artwork produced which was really impressive.

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It was wonderful when Erin turned up at Foundry 53 Cafe. We had all looked at Karen’s fabulous sketchbook from her travels in Tuscany (very impressed Karen!) and then Erin filled us all in with some further news about the trip. Sounds amazing! Book me in for the next one please.

I was delighted with everyone’s results.

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As usual the time flew and our cappuccinos were drained dry and a few morsels of basil and cake crumbs were all that remained. Time to Go! Roll on next week……

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Saturday Class. October 11 2014


Saturday Class. October 11 ’14

Look at those cobalt skies.

Where am I. Oh I’m back in Sydney on a glorious sunny day.

First Saturday for Term 4 and a good turnout for this first class, plus one new sketcher.

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The flowers Karen had bought this week are still magnificent. Pinks and purples, yellows reds and gold.

Once everyone had caught up on what they’d been doing for the hols we could settle into our first sketch.

While that was happening our new sketcher was beginning to get the ‘how to see ‘ instructions from me, and doing very well.

Down went the big shapes. Next the ones surrounding that. Get some colour on now and here’s how it’s done. Easy. Laughter from around me. That’s fine for you to say!

Well look at her sketch and see how easy we’ve made it look!


We have a go at some 2 minute sketches. You’ve done a 30 minute one, or 2 fifteen minute ones. Now let’s get good and loose and throw ourselves in. Whatever is in front of you.

We had time for 3 of these and amid some gasps of ‘you mean colour too! Everyone agreed their quick ones were the best. Why do you think that is!

Pics taken and we step out into this fab Sydney day and trot through Ivanhoe Park.

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A few people had never been here before. It’s so hard to believe that next to one of the busiest roads is this little piece of tranquility.

We walk across the little stone bridge and through the shafts of sunlight filtering through the trees. We have a couple of sets of steps we can sketch so we choose our positions.

A couple come down our steps with suitcases as we surround their planned route of escape.

They’ve been spending time in Sydney for a wedding we discover in about 30 seconds, and staying at the gorgeous B&B at the top of the steps.

Something about sunny days makes everyone very cheerful and chatty and we wish them well.


Our steps are looking good. Get some colour on if you can. Get the light and darks. Establish back and forward. However for some the call of coffee was getting too great and off they went to apply their colour at Foundry 53.

It’s a gorgeous walk down through the park on a Saturday. You have bowls being played on one side as you hear the chinking of bowls connecting. On the Oval is Cricket being played and the cheering of a few fans settled under the trees with drinks and snacks.

A very Aussie Saturday.

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We have a table already with our early sketchers ensconced and even my coffee had been ordered. What a life. What would you rather be doing!

Now the colour is being added.

I chat about how vital it is to be able to sketch steps. Everywhere you go in Italy are steps. Often they are a central part of your view so you might as well know how to treat them. Everything we cover in our Sketch classes is practice for something you’ll run into when you’re travelling. Even if it’s in your own backyard.

We even have time to sketch the table decor and our coffees at Foundry 53. I’m amazed at our new sketcher who sees others doing their coffee cups and there she is doing one of her own. Not a pointed corner in sight. Great observation.


We get our books together for the pics of the last 2 sketches. It’s time for people to go their separate ways. An excellent day together and we are off to a superb start.

Two of our sketchers stay on and sketch over lunch.  An excellent way to spend a Saturday.

Till next week then.


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