New Workshop

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The last few days


Been so busy lately that I haven't had a chance to blog and little time to sketch. So please excuse instagram collections!

Today: USK SYD at Central Station. Only the second time in the 10 years life of my car, that this warning notice has appeared! I didn't manage to stay for the full event  today but this is what I sketched.


The reason for the extra busy-ness... a rare post of family photos!
My 2.5 year old niece  who I haven't seen for 2 years is visiting from Scotland. So I am fitting in serious Aunty time before I head off to Singapore in under two weeks. She is SOOO much fun!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My work in two recent publications


 Just another quick blog post as things are VERY ‘full on’ for me both work-wise and family-wise and I am not really doing any sketching.

I am very honoured to have my work included in two publications lately.


The first is a 28 day painting challenge article in the Summer Edition of UK magazine Artists and Illustrators. I contributed three pieces to this article and my photo got on the cover image!
Special thanks to my brother-in-law who was able to pick up a copy of the magazine from a Stornoway newsagent on the isle of Lewis, Scotland just before coming to visit us here.


So one exercise is … cafe sketching! (surprise surprise… just for the record, this was the editor's suggestion!) Photo and sketch was from this day with Paul Wang.


The other two are sketching architecture - painting with shapes first and using watercolour pencils.



I have also included in a progress image from each of these sketches.


The other publication is a book - A World of Artist Journal Pages curated by Dawn Devries Sokol.

I submitted work for it in 2013 - so long ago that I almost forgot about it and I was surprised to read that I wrote ‘architect’ as my occupation. It is a stunning book but is general artist journal book not a sketching book. So the majority of the work in the book is more gesso, opaque paint, collage and text type pages  - not ones that include observational sketches. There are a few of those, in the book but not many, and I must say that these pages really stand out for me - I am very biased of course!

 It is VERY cool that this book starts its tour around the world with Australia (unlike the Art of Urban Sketching which ends with Sydney) so my work is on p14! It is slightly emotional to see a sketch of the now closed T2 tearoom in print again ..and oh! BB is included as well. Plus my sewing and travel clothing sketches (something that is hot topic at the moment for me and I did some sewing on Saturday).

There is a lot of great work in this book but it did make me feel very thankful for the path that I have taken. 10 years ago I was doing photoshop collage images and looking at altered books and these kind of journal pages. I am not at all passing a judgement on this kind of work, but I just love the immediacy of sketching, I love the richness that improving my observational and drawing skills has added to my life. For me it is far more satisfying to do a little sketch at the time on location (that takes 10-20 minutes) that records a moment in a special way, than a hour doing an elaborate (abstract) painting/ collage in my studio and writing a few words to record my feelings at the end of the day. Observational sketching is a lot harder - you really need to hone your sills and work at it constantly but it is oh! so rewarding.  BTW this is what my Foundations course is all about.

I hope that paragraph didn’t come across negative, because I do love this book and there are numerous pages that I will be marking to revisit for inspiration. A lot of gorgeous textures that I would like to explore with watercolour and some interesting collage work that I am interested in, particularly in the context of travel sketchbooks.

So much for a short blog post!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Perspective Workshop Prep

Today I was preparing for my #usksingapore2015 workshop: Pointless Perspective and Coloured Shapes.

Here are my step by step sketches for the perspective part. I laid them out on the floor to get them in order and to work out if any explanation was missing. Every time I teach perspective I refine my ideas and this was certainly true today as I had a few more ideas further to my April workshop here in Sydney. I am very excited to be sharing my 3 step process to perspective to those doing my workshop in Singapore.

And don’t bother asking... I am not going give away what they are beforehand! I will afterwards though! A few background ideas are here (but it is not the full story!)


Here are some tests for the coloured shapes exercises. I have a great building for my workshop (Singapore Art Museum) ironically it is a white building and we are sketching with coloured shapes. But that is just perfect! I was doing some tests on SAM and also the National Museum. Both buildings I have sketched in real life


Art Museum: during my first trip on 25 Dec 2012


National Museum during my second trip on 02 Jan 2014

It is going to be a lot of fun! Can’t wait... actually the countdown is on and I wish I had just a little more time to get everything done beforehand!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Post-launch wind down sketch


Sigh! it was a big day yesterday (launching my Foundations Self Directed Course) - in fact it has been a big week - a huge week working non stop and not getting as much sleep as I should be. So last night at 10pm when everything seemed calm-ish, I switched off my computer and tried to wind down. Over the years, particularly when I was working in a full time architectural job, I would un-wind for a big week by doing a crazy Friday night baroque sketch. Last night is was 'Thursday night English Baroque' and rather than an elaborate ink and wash, it was a very quick sketch using the Winsor and Newton watercolour marker (I recently picked p another colour- sepia), De Atramentis Document Brown ink in a Sailor pen with 55degree fude nib and a waterbrush. I am really enjoying this way of working for a super quick loose sketch. The scan has overplayed the hue difference between the marker and the ink. I have been thinking about mixing a sepia ink (rather than the standard brown) and this is a good reason to try that!

And, yes this sketch was from a photo but I have sketched the building in real life before http://www.lizsteel.com/2009/11/day-08-wales-to-newcastle-big-day.html

Speaking of architectural jobs, I am constantly thinking about the similarities in what I do these days with my old job. Some many of my skills as a project architect help me daily! Putting an online class together is very much like going out to tender or submitting a Development Application - the sheer amount of documentation, complexity of coordination throughout and attention to details. It is just that my consultant list and the team in the office is a LOT smaller.

Thanks so much to everyone that signed up to my Foundations course while I was sleeping…it is very exciting!

I woke up to a list of ‘help me’ emails this morning which I have been sorting. Ah! part of the joys of doing things yourself… but at least I don’t have the pressure of preparing Week 2’s lesson like I did when I ran the first Foundations Course (sigh! I do some crazy things at times!).

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Foundations Self Directed Course Registration Now Open!


SketchingNow-Foundations Online Sketching Course from Liz Steel on Vimeo.

Exciting news today: my Foundations Course is ready and the doors are open again!  

Click here to enrol now!

I have re-packaged the content from the original 12 week course into a self directed format so that you can sign up and start whenever it suits you - and you can work at your own pace. I am trying to have the best of both worlds by providing a Self Directed Schedule - a weekly programme starting Wednesday 15 July so people can do the lessons at the same time as others, which is really the most motivating way to work through an online course. 

All lessons and videos remain accessible indefinitely – you can come back and review them over and over, whenever you like!

We have done some major changes to the site (sigh! a BIG job!) but I am very happy with how it has come together...and it makes me REALLY excited to be able to share my content again and see what you all do, and best of all, see development in your work. Wow! there are no words to describe how I feel to see that (blogging is often a fairly lonely one way process!)

And the other big news is that I am also working hard at a new course for 2015. SketchingNow EDGES.
It will be a 4 week course (with teacher interaction) starting Wednesday 2 September. More details in my July Newsletter due out on Tuesday 7 July. I can't wait to tell you more about this new course as I will be sharing some more advanced concepts - some that I am having a lot of fun with in my own work at the moment.

A note for those who enrolled in Foundations the first time (in November 2014):
This Foundations Self Directed Course is the same course and you still have access to all lessons in the original classroom. You are free to join in the Self Directed Schedule as well -  more here on the SketchingNow site and in an email I sent you a few hours ago!

Oh! I think I need to go and indulge in a little sketching right now!

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