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Saturday, February 26, 2011

110226 Tea and Trees

Yes, another big Saturday that involved tea and a visit to the Botanic Gardens...only two weeks to go to the start of the Great Garden trying to get some more sketches in my Garden sketchbook.

From Saturday 12 March - 18 April, the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney will host a free afternoon Sketchabout. You can meet other sketch artists and chat to our Volunteer Guides about the sights in the Garden. The Restaurant will be offering a special lunch and an afternoon tea with a creation by Chef Hamish Watts that's good enough to sketch (bookings essential). For more information visit Please also check out the BLOG!
110226_01 Another big Saturday -The Strand
But before I got to the gardens I had a few things I wanted to do. First I needed some more of the Sydney Tea Centre's amazing Earl Grey Special(containing lemongrass, cornflower and jasmine) which I am really into at the moment. (Aside: This is not to say that I am preferring it to Taylors but it is the variety I am drinking when not having Taylors!) The Centre wasn't open when I arrived so I did a quick sketch of the Strand Arcade opposite while I was waiting. BTW I seem to be drawing a map like this often these days!
110226_02 Tara Tearoom Visit2
I then walked down to the Rocks (actually I should say UP to the Rocks as it is north of the retail precinct) for my second visit to Tara Tearoom. I have to say that I LOVE this place... so excited to find another special tearoom that I can presumptuously start to call 'my (kind-of) tearoom'. Lots of different tea cosies to sketch on future visits. Next stop was a great art store that actually stocks Daniel Smith!!! Wow!
110226_03 Moreton Bay Fig
Ok... time for the gardens. First stop was my favourite tree. There are lots of Moreton Bay figs (or similar) in the Royal Botanic Gardens but this one is the best!!! Love all those aerial roots. After this sketch I moved on to doing some more studies for my big work as part of the Botanic Gardens festival, which you will just have to wait for....
LIGHT BULB MOMENT: After a week working in my studio on my big work (and missing on location sketching) it REALLY struck me today what the big difference between the two is. When I am working in my studio I spend most of the time looking at my sketch and thinking about it too much with the danger of overworking it. When on location I spend more time looking at the object/scene and the sketch often does its own thing - it is a result of my reaction to the object that is spontaneous. My big work is certainly not spontaneous... it is an exercise in thinking, composing, testing, refining etc. Quite a different cup of tea entirely.
110226_04 The Greek Coffee Plunger
I was feeling a little exhausted so I went to lie down on the grass in the shade for a bit. Didn't last long as I felt the urge to sketch. This greek monument I have sketched before and was recently label a coffee plunger here. I have always drawn this looking towards the Harbour Bridge but today sitting under the shade of a frangipani tree on a very warm summers day I was facing the opposite direction. I am trying to force myself to attempt more complicated scenes lately - this one is a little full on - colour, plants etc etc!
110226_05 Palm Grove
After the coffee plunger analogy surely it was time for a coffee - so I drew a grouping of palm trees while sipping a take away skinny latte. It is quite fun to be drawing more trees and landscaping...something that as an architect I used to really be unsure about doing...
110226_06 Herb Garden
And finally - I caught up with Alissa at 4.30 and we chatted non stop (mainly me... poor Alissa, the result of concentrating all day sketching solo can have this effect on me when I finally have someone to talk to) Each week things happen that we have to catch up on. If you haven't read here great interview on Kate's Artist Journal blog - please check it out here.
Ok! Enough for tonight (I would like to sketch the few purchases I made at Parkers...but I will leave that for another day!)

Friday, February 25, 2011

110225 This week

Surprisingly I don't have pages and pages to scan after having a self imposed ban on posting for 3 nights (big deal only 3 nights...but it is for me... sometimes I feel addicted to sketching and have to keep regularly posting or else the task will become too great)
110224 Post Work Cup of Tea with a friend
110224 Thai Dinner
Here are two sketches from dinner last night...just more of the same. Do I really need to sketch ever time I eat out? Actually, just for the record I had lunch with a friend on Wednesday and didn't sketch it!!!
110225 This weeks sketching activites
Then tonight I did a page to summarise what I have been up to this week (of course it involves sketching!) Preparing a big sketch for an exhibition at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney has been a good challenge... still working at it but learning SO much from a change of scale.

Monday, February 21, 2011

110221 Distracted by the moment

110221 Distracted by the moment

I realised on Saturday after an afternoon in the studio that my artwork is all about capturing the moment. I felt a bit frustrated being indoors working on the one piece when I could have been out sketching and sketching.

But I have also been aware for a while that I am very much distracted by the moment as well!!!!

So this week I am forcing myself to have a break from posting and time online in the evenings (still might be able to keep up a little at lunchtime while I eat my steamed vegetables...yes I am on that boring diet again- way too many scones and cakes over summer!) in order to have time for important things in my life!

So here is a suitably loose and scribbly sketch to confirm my resolution (I couldn't waste time doing a nice neat sketch could I?)

Have a good week everyone!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

110219 Another non-sketching Saturday the sense that I didn't go out anywhere to sketch. However, I have rarely had a day at home when sketching has been so consuming!

A bit of Greek Distraction to start my morning

110219 Greek Distraction
Honestly... this is Greek architecture (well Greek Revival) NOT baroque!
... still I should be doing something else this morning (like getting ready to go out for a visit to my local art store followed by a T2 visit with a friend!) What a nice way to spend a non-sketching Saturday!
110219T2 with a friend
T2 with a friend
Someone suggested I sketch my art shop purchases but they were fairly boring- a few pens, waterbrush, some WC paper and 12 empty half pans. I then had a very wonderful visit to T2.
110219 Sketching when I should be sketching
Sketching when I should be sketching.
Along with being involved in the Botanic Gardens Sketchabout. I have been invited to exhibit a large is very exciting but something quite new. So today was the day to get stuck into it. I am not used to working large or having to produce a 'good' work so found it more stressful that I expected. Of course I was sketching to get in the mood!

110219 Afternoon in my studio
After a profitable afternoon but with still more to develop and the final work still to come, I did a quick sketch which was a lot more fun!

Friday, February 18, 2011

110218 What is the connection between teacups and Baroque facades

This page is in response to the question which has intrigued Maarten who left a flickr comment on my post from yesterday. He asked about teapots and Baroque facades but it is in fact tea CUPS and not teapots that I am most interested in.
110218 What is the connection between teacups and Baroque facades?
After thinking about it for a few moments I suddenly realised that there was a real reason for this juxtaposition (in addition to the fact that I am decidedly eccentric!) It is the challenge of getting the structure right and then have lots of fun with fluid flowery decorations. In terms of cups, getting those circles right is a real challenge for me, and in terms of Baroque facades it is simplifying a highly complex composition to a basic grid - a lot easier and more relaxing task (especially after all my last years on site experience!)

I did have an idea once of doing a series based on matching a type of tea with a tea cup and with a Baroque building ...that would be fun...but I really don't have the time. Tonight however I somehow got distracted and had a go at it - choice of the cup came first, then tea to match and finally a Baroque facade. There is not really any particular rhyme or reason behind this! BTW I was also listening to some wonderful Baroque music at the same time- Corelli - Concerti Grossi - most inspriational!

Tea also ties in with this theme as it is often described in the most flowery language. I will add the description below so you don't have to read my scribbles.

T2 Monk Pear- Big, bold and sweet, yet surprisingly humble, a black tea blend with sweet jasmine blossoms, classic bergamot and crisp pear flavours. Pear is there from the outset, but the floral bergamot finish lingers for lovely effect. An almost full-bodied, heavier fruity black that takes a traditional Earl Grey and gives it a fabulously fruity twist.

Ok... that is way too much tea and Baroque for the week... except I just remembered that I have a T2 date tomorrow (ha! more tea and baroque... the chairs in there are rather Baroque-ish!)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

110217 This week....

Busy week and haven't really had a chance to play with my new paints from last week...

110214 Not just another usual late night Baroque doodle

From Monday night:
This is not just another usual late night Baroque doodle....... this sketch actually might mark a momentous change... I did NOT use W&N Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine Blue - instead I used Daniel Smith Ultramarine AND... (this is the significant part)... Daniel Smith Quin Burnt Orange.
110211 In search of a new combo
Here is a mixing page I did earlier that shows how much more livelier the Daniel Smith 'burnt sienna' alternatives are. I have loaded my palette up with the Quin Burnt Orange to play with.
110217 Testing the new combo
I know I am so boring... so predictable... so repetitive... but what better way to test a new paint combo than with something that I have done once or twice (!!!??!!) before. At least I managed to find a cup I have never sketched before - that is an achievement!
I am really quite excited by this new combination but it is going to take me a while to get used to it and assess it properly. I then can try DS Quin Sienna as well!!!
110215 Dinner with Robyn
And I almost forgot... on Tuesday night I went out to dinner - with Robyn from Have dogs will travel blog.
Another catch up with an online friend and 'real' friend too!!!
Yes this is the same Robyn that sent me the beautiful postcard earlier. Visiting home from Tuscany.

I am always happy if I am able to sketch while with friends and not feel like I have been rude or anti-social! I think that I still managed to talk Robyn to death tonight!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

110216 Photo Shoot Sketches

I am really excited to be involved in a wonderful upcoming project with the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney - along with my sketching buddies Wendy, Annie and Alissa. As part of a special Autumn of the Arts festival, they will be holding 6 weeks of afternoon sketchabouts in the garden - Saturday 12 March - 18 April from 1-3pm. I will post more details of this later...but if you are in Sydney we would LOVE for you to pop in and sketch with us!!

Please visit the blog to see sketches from us as we get ready for what should be an exciting sketching event in Sydney.
110216 Photo Shoot Sketches 01
Today at lunch we went to the gardens to have some photos taken of us sketching - in the garden and also in the restaurant - can you believe it they will be hosting special afternoon teas (with very sketchable displays of food!)!!!
110216 Photo Shoot Sketches 02
These are the sketches I did while 'pretending' to sketch! Of course I can't PRETEND to sketch... I am used to asking someone to photograph me while I am doing a sketch...but for the photography to be more important than what was happening on the page was rather strange. Also strange was the need to be reminded to smile (normally I have that intensely serious concentrating look!) It was a lot of fun... but I am more and more convinced that it is often easier to sketch than to take a good photo!

Monday, February 14, 2011

110212 The rest of my sketches from Saturday

Here they all are....
110212_01 Sydney Harbour Bridge
Harbour Bridge sketch was a fill in... from the map you can see that I had a busy day!
110212_02 Queen Victoria Building
Re-posting the QVB sketch so you can see my output in total (actually I did another 2 sketches on postcards for the Sketchercise postcard exchange- didn't like the first one that I did!)
110212_03 Tara Tearoom
Wonderful tearoom!!! Since seeing Alissa's wonderful sketch from this place when I was overseas I have been wanting an opportunity to visit. A visit from an online friend who was SO kind to me when in Portland was a good reason!
Have to go back many times so that I can try every scone/ jam combo!!!!
110214 With Cynthia Mooney
BB was so excited to see Cynthia (from Portland) again!
(From L to R) Cynthia, Annie, Wendy
110214 Sketching comes first!
Sketching comes first!
Four dedicated sketchers sketch before touching the food or the tea. I was the one that started eating first!!

110212_04 Tara Tearoom and SOH etc
Random Page - more from the tearoom and shop next door, that famous building that I have been obsessed with lately and a random meeting of an old uni friend.
110212_05 RBGSYD Bottle Tree
A quick visit to the gardens and an even quicker 10 min sketch....
110212_06 Evening 'coffee'
Final Sketch of the day... oh! I am eating too many bad things these days!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

110212 Another Huge Sketching Saturday- teaser

110212_02 Queen Victoria Building

Had another big day today... here is the first sketch that I did today.
The Queen Victoria Building in Sydney. I have realised that before 9am on Saturday is perfect for sketching on busy intersections.... only had 30 minutes for this so a bit rushed and I was experimenting with composition on the page (due to paint in the gutter from a previous page in my sketchbook)... will have to go back again soon and have another go!

Will post the rest of my pages on Monday night!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Earl Greys of Crows Nest 12 - Cafe Ticini

Well, I was blown away today.
Earl Greys of Crows Nest 12 - Cafe Ticini

Not only did I discover another good cup of Earl Grey tea on offer in a Crows Nest Cafe BUT it was Taylors of Harrogate!!! So it wasn't just good is was sensational!

Just for the record Taylors is my absolute favourite brand of Earl Grey - it is unbelievably good...and to find it in a little sandwich shop totally blew me away. The food was sensational as well!

There wasn't a expansive view of a stunning interior to sketch today so I had more time to sketch and enjoy my lunch.. but I hope that I have captured the essences of this little cafe from the seat that I had.

This is part of my review of the earl grey tea that is on offer in cafes in Crows Nest Sydney. The rest of the series is here

110210 Exciting Thursday and colour colour COLOUR!!!

110210 Exciting Thursday
This is for all you art supply junkies out there... I am afraid I have moments of weakness too - especially when Daniel Smith has a sale AND the Australian dollar is so strong (cheaper to buy online and ship than buy locally!)
And I finally got around to getting myself so MOO cards - 25 different designs on the back.. they look great...I don't want to give them away!

Since I have some new colours to play with and I want to make some more adjustments to my palette I have decided to start a dedicated colour book as it is hard to track down the pages I did last time I make some change. Here are pages that I have done since coming back from the big trip.I pore over the handprint site reading and comparing pigments. Try them out and then adjust further... I LOVE IT!
110211 New Colour Book
Just another one of my super quick title pages (I rarely reveal my colour choices because as soon as I post them they change)
101112 Post Trip Colour Changes 01
101112 Post Trip Colour Changes 02
101112 Post Trip Colour Changes 03
Pages that I did post big trip when I was looking at some changes. Didn't post them at the time due to all the other trip sketches I was scanning and posting! It was a BIG THING for me to break up the palette that traveled the world with me for 11 weeks.

It will be great to have these thought processes in the one book as a bit of a narrative.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

110209 Bag Crisis

110209 Bag Crisis
It would be lovely to have the one bag that is lightweight with an adjustable strap and lots smart enough to be able to use all week ...but until I find it I seem to be stuck in a cycle of constantly changing bags. I know one solution is to try to carry less stuff! A patchy and dark watercolour of my red bag that I have sketched a number of times before.(saying something about my mood?)
BTW 1 I like the way that the random selection of Sibelius Symphony 5 on my ipod ties in with recent studies of the Sydney Opera House. The last concert I went to included that piece of music. I love it on it own...but also because it always reminds me of a special night with 3 special friends from Scotland! Perhaps it will now make me think of my red bag?
BTW 2 I will be very excited if anyone knows what the 'Squirrels to the Nuts' refers to!
BTW 3 I am allowing the stowaway in my bag tonight as we hope to meet up with a friend from Portland tomorrow - how exciting!!!

My First Postcard - From Tuscany

I was EXTREMELY excited to receive a beautiful card from Robyn in the mail. In this world wide land of online art communities, there is nothing so special as having an original artwork in your hand. I think that this has a special charm for me as it brings back wonderful memories of the last few days of my big trip when I actually spent time with Robyn in this gorgeous part of the world.

Thank you Robyn - what an exquisite sketch from a truly beautiful village!!!

This is part of a postcard exchange "A Postcard from my Walk" with a group of Sketcherisers. Please check out the blog

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

110208 Blue and Broad

110208 Blue and Broad
Two scribble sketches and notes following two arrivals today.

1. Blue Ink (Noodlers Polar Blue) for my Lamy at work. Instead of the traditional red markup pen for the last few years, I have been using blue as it photocopies better. So as I have always been a fountain pen girl (yes, back in my early teens I used a vintage pen of my dad's) I decided if I got blue ink I could mark up, write and sketch(design sketches on butter paper) all in the one Lamy pen...and never have to use Artline 0.4 felt pens with damaged nibs ever again!!! I don't intend to use it for sketching but might do so!

2. A broad nib - for use on larger scale works. Wasn't flowing very well with my normal Noodlers Bulletproof black so for fun I put blue in as well and it is flowing better. Need to wear it in a little though as not flowing like I would like on day one (might need to get it adjusted) I seriously have to get this working perfectly in the next few lots of scribbling ahead for me!

So this page is just a testing page and a bit of fun. Interesting how a blue line changes the feel of a typical Liz Baroque sketch (this was one of the things that Jason Das did in the USK Symposium session on urban colour)
also interesting how the thickness of the nib affects the amount of linework...this is obvious I know but it was funny how it happened without me really being conscious that I was doing so (I did the broad one first)

BTW, I didn't clean the black out of the broad pen before adding the blue(lazy!) hence the blue-black colour!

Trying to catch up on a few things...

I am delighted to be part of an exciting project.....

A Postcard from my Walk

(drawing by Cathy Gatland)

This postcard exchange is part of the Sketchercise group(formed by Katherine Tyrrell). The idea is each month to sketch on a postcard while going on a walk - we have a wonderful group of artists from England, Scotland, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy,South Africa, USA and Canada..and of course there is me in Australia.

Please go and visit and start following the blog. The postcard that I received this month will be posted there very shortly!

110207 More on the Opera House

110208 More on the Opera House
A quick sketch last night with a few notes of things I read today about this magnificent building!

Monday, February 7, 2011

110205 A non sketching day

Saturday was the first Saturday this year that I haven't specifically gone out to sketch. It was a day dedicated to spending quality time wiht a very special friend who has just moved to Sydney!
110205 Sydney Icon sketches
I did these while waiting for her to turn up in the morning....
110205 Non Sketching Day 01
Then I managed a quick reflex sketch while having a good chat at T2 for afternoon tea. While o it can seem a bit rude to sketch while a friend is talking to fact I find it is a wonderful way to remember the conversation. If I ask my friends to tell me all about something, I sketch (nothing that I really have to concentrate on) and listen at the same time and then that conversation is recorded forever in my sketchbook - every time I look at the sketch I remember the conversation. It is amazing how many of my sketches are coded in this way ( a secret code that no one can ever crack!!!)
110205 Non Sketching Day 02
At dinner I was able to sketch as well (though I didn't do the Garlic Chicken dish) so my non-sketching day produced 3 double page spreads without me making much of an effort... if you do it often enough it becomes a habit and your friends get used to it!(though I have to admit that I do have very special and patient friends!!!)

Friday, February 4, 2011

110204 Understanding Architecture through Drawing - how about the Sydney Opera House?

A few things going on in my brain today and yesterday...
110204 Understanding Architecture through Drawing - how about the Sydney Opera House?
Yesterday: At work I was thinking how easy it is as an architect to design within the latest fads. Thanks to various blogs and my extensive magazine subscriptions I am getting lots of information about the latest and greatest...but how to design something that won't date? Hmmm
So at night I can home and pulled off a new book and started to read. It is Twenty Buildings every architect should understand by Simon Unwin. What I read in the introduction is worth writing in my book... so I did that tonight. (Tangential question: is do I have my own architectural voice?)

Today: I am working on a BIG sketch(more about this later) which includes the harbour bridge and the Opera doing a bit of research...what am I actually drawing? Yesterday I worked out accurately how many bays the Harbour Bridge has and how to draw it without looking at it(Confession:most of the time I just guess how many bays it has!)...It made me realise that I really don't know it or the Opera House very well. So tonight... I got another book off my shelf - Ken Woolley's wonderful new book on the Opera House.
I really what to read this book...cover to cover! I have never studied this building or even ever really looked at the plan.

Putting these two thoughts together...I need to start drawing the Opera House and studying drawings of it. I am not sure that I will suddenly discover if I have my own architectural voice by doing this ...but I will sure have fun!

BTW - I used to be addicted to cross hatching...when I am sketching and designing, cross hatching is a reflex action that helps me think through problems - for some reason tonight I felt in the mood for some.
BTW 2 - I am in a very serious mood for a Friday night aren't I? Maybe I need a Baroque sketch to finish the night off in style - it is after 11pm after all!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Earl Greys of Crows Nest 11- St Malo Bakery - plus a perfect supper

Earl Greys of Crows Nest 11 - StMaloBakery
Another very good Earl Grey with my lunch... I must say that I have been so impressed by the quality of Earl Grey tea in Crows Nest. It was hot today so not the most pleasant circumstances to sketch and drink tea in.I have been finding it hard to have my lunch and do a decent sketch in my hour lunchbreak. I will have to go back and do a better version on a nicer day. I also meet a fellow sketching blogger Carol!
This is part of my review of the earl grey tea that is on offer in cafes in Crows Nest Sydney. The rest of the series is here

110202 Perfect Supper
While I was sketching I noticed that they had some very nice date and apple scones. I just HAD to buy one. So tonight I had a perfect supper but all the while I was thinking of the poor people of North Queensland awaiting for the onslaught of Cyclone Yasi.Somehow my $3 treat with a Taylors of Harrogate Earl Grey tea in Royal Albert china seemed extreme extravagance in light of the 1000s and 1000s that are spending the night in fear or in crowded stuffy shopping centres.
This is the first time I have used any of my new plates as part of my Royal Albert 100 years tea set - I have been collecting the set with Xmas gift money for the last three years.