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Monday, December 31, 2012

Very wet afternoon so more cafe sketching

I feel so privileged to be able to have another opportunity to get tips from Paul Since my sketching is often very spontaneous reflex sketching I am trying to re- train my reflex actions. Most important thing I have learnt from Paul is to use more water and let the paint do its own thing on the page. This also means that I have to slow down a little ... Something that I am finding it hard to do here in Singapore....
I just bought a 3rd a4 size moleskine as I expect to finish my second one before I leave!

Making friends in tea loft cafe

Don't you just love the way that kids love to watch you. These two sweet girls were keeping an eye on my progress!!!

Sketching a very special historic house with friends

Spent a lovely morning with my local friends visiting one of their friends who lives in a stunning traditional house built by her grandmother. I had some special sketching companions.
This is the second version I did - rushing as a big 'storm' was on its way (still haven't had to use my umbrella yet but this afternoon I might!!) the first was a more obvious side angled view. I can't help it... I just love sitting straight one and sketching one point perspectives. So much fun and almost relaxing. It is also the view that makes me feel like I am entering into the house.
There was something about the aspect the garden and the specialness of the house reminded me of my dear great aunt Ruby who passed area on this day 4 years ago.

Sketching and eating chicken rice

Yes Singapore is all about food and I have been doing my fair share of eating and sketching what I eat. Loving it all but I must say that I am looking forward to getting back to healthy salads when I get home later in the week!!!

This will be my last post for 2012 (what a subject to finish on!) rather silly photo for a serious post.


Thank you for being part of my year.... The comments and likes and the many many visits from you all spur me on the improve my sketching skills.i can't find the words to express how much I appreciate it all. I have also made many friends all around the world - being here in Singapore right now is not somewhere I would expect to spend my summer holiday.

It has been an amazing year - I can hardly believe many of the things that have happened. So thankful for many many blessings. On the sketching side (this is what I blog about).... Going to Dominican Republic and teaching at the USk symposium was obviously a highlight as was my week in NYC. i am still feeding off the ideas I got from that trip (and haven't gone back to 'normal Liz' sketching in my fav sketchbooks since)

Some big things have been happening in the background over the last few months and I stand on the edge of a new year not knowing what to expect. None of us know what lies ahead but often we expect 'normal life' to continue. I know some of my friends have had very serious trials this year and so I always feel very serious (rather than party time ) at the passing of one year into another... And I do hope that for all of you 2013 is a good year.

2013 will be different for me - don't worry it will become apparent what the changes are in the new year... But I am really not sure what it holds for me.. Exciting and a bit scary too.

So even more than usual I am conscious of the words of prov 3.5-6
Trust in The Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Finally doing the tourist thing (usksg style!!!)

Splashing paint, scraping with a stick, colour first and ink later with a hero pen... You can sure tell who I have been hanging out with lately.

Having a ball in Singapore... Can you tell????

Bedok sketchwalk - my 1st sketch of the day

As you would expect a great day today. Official sketchwalk in the morning - I tried to sketch with every group... This was the first sketch of the local swimming pool.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Putting afternoon tips from Paul into action,,,

View of nearby mosque from the window of my hotel. I had a number of lightbulb moments this afternoon.

My cafe sketches (Paul Wang) influence)

So here is what I did trying new stuff this afternoon. Sure had fun and it has got my creative juices pumping !!! Of course Paul was creating a masterpiece himself while giving me tips and ideas. Very relaxing and inspiring - thanks. Paul!!!

Cafe experimentation studio with Paul Wang

Can't tell you how much fun I had trying new stuff with Paul this afternoon.

Chinatown in the rain

Hard to believe ... But I haven't had to use my umbrella yet. Sitting sketching at the markets in Chinatown when finally some rain hits while I am out sketching. Sitting under a good awning so not bothering me too much.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Visiting studio of local artist and teacher Loy Chye Chuan

Always inspiring to visit a studio - really love his looser paintings of street scenes. Hope my painting will be better tomorrow as a result of looking at his work this evening.

Sketching the sultan mosque again

First sketch in new sketchbook

Sketchbook 1 is full!!!!!

Way too much is happening for me to summarise or even take photos of. I have 100 emails a day to check (mainly FB and got to make sure of sketching arrangements) and only wifi in the foyer of my hotel. The odd photo is what I will post leaving the sketches till when I get home.

Having an amazing time - as you all know the Singapore urban sketchers group is so impressive and have been looking me in style - so so generous and also making me make a few art related purchases!!

Not even half way through my visit (well almost!) .... SOOOO many sketchable things and great food. Hot and humid with rain most days - however after santo Domingo I am coping fine with the weather and haven't used my umbrella yet!!!(just good timing to date)

A little scary starting a new sketchbook tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Xmas high tea with the staff at Tian Fu tearoom

I never feel alone when I am sketching. By the end of my visit I felt part of the staff 'family' and it was fun watching their Xmas celebrations (I was the only patron still in restaurant)
Thank you to all the staff for a great experience!!!!!

Xmas dinner(Chinese high tea )

Had a great time at. Tian fe tearoom and felt like all the staff became my friends during the experience.

Little India solo sketch - can you feel my nervous tension

Walking through little India on my own was quite an experience this afternoon so how do you think I was feeling when I sat on my stool to sketch. It was a quiet street but still only Indian men (no women) walked past and I was rushing... Also trying to sketch before a van came and parked. No idea what this church is.
I think I will try to find company next time!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

My token Christmas Day sketch - orchard rd Singapore

I hope everyone is having a great 25 December.

I don't observe Xmas day as a religious event and personally don't care too much about having a big family day ... Therefore it was fun to have an unxmas day. But thought I had to do a sketch to record the crazy walk down Orchard rd.

Reasons for those two shocking statements - although I am a Christian do not observe Christmas as we are not told to observe Christ's birth in the Bible. I do believe we are to observe one day in seven - the first day of the week, the Lords Day, as a day of rest and worship commemorating His rising from the dead. I think it is a much better deal to have a special day once a week!

I do not need to be with my family today. We have SO many great times together during the year. I don't need presents as I feel that having the family I do is better than anything money can buy.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Nighttime homework

It is nice to have quiet evenings to catch up on the days activities. Must be time for me to draw a few maps ....

Happy holidays to everyone!!!!

Wishing everyone the best over this time of year.

This is my Christmas Eve sketch - the view from a seating area in my hotel - abandoning all attempts at perspective I just had fun. I think I am responding to the vibrant colours of Singapore ...

Not sure what the man across the road is thinking though!!!

My first shophouse sketch!!- more to come

Peranken food at True Blue

Great relaxing lunch with Paul Si-y Parka and Tia. Was great to be able to watch Paul make wonderful sketch - I love his True Blue sketches.

Sultan mosque sketching from a cafe with Parka Marvin and Paul

Sultan mosque sketching with Parka Marvin and Paul

Trying to get myself in the groove

A little time on my own this morning so trying to get into spontaneous sketching mode. Time for a tea house / cafe visit now (I did two other sketches this morning as well - all under 30 minutes - I have to work out how to slow down!!!)

More from Saturdays sketchwalk

Not sure how to post/embed a video on my Iphone but here is a link to video by Parka from Saturday. 
Please do NOT watch past the credits!!!!!?!?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Total inspiration to be watching Paul paint today.

Although we hung out a bit at Lisbon last year I never actually saw Paul Wang in action. So it was great to be looking over his shoulder today (while trying to do my own)

Being sketched by Don Low

Sketch walk at tiong bahru

Sketches from this mornings sketch walk

What a great morning with usksg group. Such an inspiring bunch. Here are my efforts (in reverse order)

In Singapore!!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

On way to Brisbane (and beyond)

An opportunity to have a one flight journey would have been nice ... But finding a freq flight available at Xmas time is unbelievable ... So I going via Brisbane. Where will I end up?? (A clue is in the time schedule on this page)

I am going to use the a4 moleskine watercolour. Already I am excited by the compositional opportunities - after my July trip I decided I needed a change for my travel journals.
The size of the book has its challenges especially on a plane so thankful for no one sitting next to me and while doing the sketch I was able to lie book flat.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

All Packed!

121220 All Packed! by borromini bear
121220 All Packed!, a photo by borromini bear on Flickr.

All packed and ready to go…where???

I have been keeping my 'summer holiday (vacation)' plans low key this year… some of you know where I am off too. A number of comments are circulating around facebook but I haven't and don't intend to make any announcement.

Here is my rushed sketch of my bags once all a stage of total exhaustion.(sorry about the poor quality photo) Suitcase was fully packed at 8pm – I have to say that the previous trip prep pages have been helping me so much and rather than the last minute panic/late night I just am not really focused tonight ("Am I supposed to be packing- hmm don't really feel like it") There have been other things happening lately to take my attention and energy!

I will be iphone posting now for the next 2 weeks… so wish to take the opportunity of being able to use a keyboard… to say now that I hope everyone has a wonderful time over the next 'festive season' (however you celebrate) and safe travels to all that are on the road (or travelling by sea, plane, train…)

Thanks for following my adventures this year on flickr/ blog/ facebook. Thanks for all those that comment or like but also thanks to everyone that 'views' - I know that each and every 'view' is a real person who is interested enough to check out (regularly) how I record my daily life with pen and paint. Without you all, I would not be sketching as much as I do…or even going to my destination (theres a hint)

When I am about to embark on a trip – travelling on my own (of course BB is with me) I am always especially conscious of the need of the Lord's protection. I need it everyday of my life but somehow my big adventures make me pause to consider even more and so tomorrow morning when I awake I will write out (as is my practice) the words of Ps 121. I add them here in full.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Last sketch & walk for 2012

My last day at work so had to go out and do a walk and sketch. So I went back to the White House for one more attempt.

I have started my summer holiday sketchbook and as I have been drawing a lot of teacups lately decided to do my morning cuppa. Love the opportunities for combining elements with the large folio moleskine.

Nice and hot this morning - already 28c

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A day in the life of Liz Steel - continued

I feel like I need to continue this further- with another 2 of three tea cups (notice each has a different coloured tea in it)...
anyway this is where I am up to tonight....

Monday, December 17, 2012

121215 WIP...All I could manage today

Work in progress (I think.. I did have an idea but not sure whether to follow it or not.)

BTW this is on the WONDERFUL new Stillman & Birn Zeta paper....I got some samples of the paper and can't wait till the sketchbooks come out in the new year.

121214 Getting Ready

121214 Getting Ready by borromini bear
121214 Getting Ready, a photo by borromini bear on Flickr.

It is time again… yes, getting ready for my summer holidays.
A few comments…
-Sitting down and slowly doing this sketch has been very therapeutic and of course helpful… I might not take everything here and I am definitely NOT going to have all this stuff as my daily kit…but good to get together everything I might need and you can see that I adjusted my kit during the process (too many flat brushes?)
-I have been meaning to experiment with using markers and watercolour in the one book and have found some old recycled photocopy paper that I intend to use for marker sketches and collage in to my page. Just got to be careful NOT to touch up after it is stuck on the page of my sketchbook as it will bleed through.
-Yes, I am going to be using the A4 moleskine and therefore have been able to spread out more AND include a visit to T2 on the same spread.
-What am I missing? You might not be able to tell what everything is but I know and I find previous versions of this sketch including useful to refer to.
-I might add more watercolour to this sketch… but this is the status so far.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

USKSYD Jan 12 2013

USKSYD Jan 12 2013 by borromini bear
USKSYD Jan 12 2013, a photo by borromini bear on Flickr.

If you are in Sydney we would love to see you... will post more details in the new year!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Testing S&B Zeta paper

Yes… I am very honoured to have some of the new soon to be released Stillman and Birn Zeta paper to have fun with. It is a 270gsm version of the Epsilon- smooth bright white paper. It is SO smooth and really wonderful to draw on with it. The application of the paint is great too – it just glides over the surface….I just love it. It will not be able to achieve some 'true' watercolour effects as a rougher surface (such as the wonderful beta or delta paper)but I think it will suit my splash-happy patchy style and I must say that I don't think I have had a nicer experience of ink gliding over the page! WOW!

The fact that I 'needed' to do a Baroque sketch on a Monday night is somewhat significant I think… I just needed to let my hand go crazy and do its own thing… so this is not an attempt to sketch an accurate version of my favourite Borromini building (San Carlino) but more a test of the paper and just an unwind sketch….pure reflex sketching!
And yes, if you are wondering, this is from a photo… I am not in Rome at the moment!

I wrote a little bit extra on this sketch on my separate sketching architecture blog if you are interested here

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Getting ready for my summer holiday

Yes the countdown is on and time for my usual habit of creating a clean palette. Radical change to my palette that I have been using most of the year is cobalt turquoise light for a bit of fun. That colour is so summery !!!

No time for trip prep this year or even doing much sketching at all.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

St Thomas church North Sydney

I have a little more time this evening but my sketching pace is so high at the moment that I don't seem to be able to slow down. But things might change soon ... Maybe!?!?!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Wrap up of the first gathering of USKers in Sydney

Amazing time today at first USk SYD event

The first meeting of Urban Sketchers Sydney at Paddington Reservoir gardens... what a great location and a great day!!! This is one of coolest new urban garden in Sydney - the site of an old water reservoir and a wonderful oasis in a very busy part of the city.

It was a very warm day (forecast of 36C and just had a few showers) but it turned out to be ok as plenty of shade and shelter and the morning cloud cover kept the temperature down... I commented that it was more pleasant than Santo Domingo.

I had prepared a little handout with some 'stuff' about Urban Sketchers - the manifesto, where we share online etc AND also a colour page introducing 3 USKers from Barcelona- 3 great friends and inspiring artists - Lapin, Freekhand (Miguel Herranz) and Swasky. Each month I plan to introduce some different sketchers from the global community- we do have the tendency to feel so far apart from the rest of the world all the way down here, so I hope this will help to make us feel more connected - I know that Lapin, Miguel and Swasky felt like they were virtually there as well.

Stillman and Brin books to give away
I also had a pile of Stillman and Birn books to hand out - a special thanks to S&B and the new Australian distributors S&S for sponsoring our first event... you can't imagine how excited I was to be able to be 'santa claus' and to share these wonderful sketchbooks with my friends!!!
Huge thanks to Michael from Stillman and Birn and Simon from S&S the new distributors for this amazing sponsorship !!! thanks!!!

121201 USKSYD01 Warmup

So... after all that it is not surprising that I was quite in the mood for sketching... so I got my markers out. Did it on a separate piece of paper and then stuck it in my sketchbook - provided a pocket for my handout and also the description of the gift I received.
 121201 USKSYD02 Trying to focus for a 
I went out to the corner to sketch, but as these events are as much about the social aspect as the sketching, was a wee bit distracted by some lovely conversations. We were very honoured to have three great watercolour artists with us on Saturday - John Haycraft, Rob Candy and Malcolm Carver. Malcolm gave me a gift of his special palette... I will do a separate post about this because it is very very interesting and an exciting concept.
I worked big and loose and only managed to splash on a little bit of paint when I thought it was time to move ... I added a little paint to this back at home.

121201 USKSYD02 Talk and sketch
We were very privileged to have an international visitor at our gathering as well - Sarah from England has been travelling around Australia and noticed via the blog that there was an event on in Sydney and she was able to come. SO I then went up to sit next to her...and attempt a chat and sketch at the same time sketch... added a little more watercolour pencil for the texture of the brick walls back at home.

USKSYD01 Great show and tell session

We finished the event by a more interactive show and tell. I have never been a fan of  the annoymous sketchbooks on the ground routine... I think sketchbooks should  be in the hand and I want to hear people talking about their work. I had noticed that the NYC USK group stand around in a circle and share their sketches so thought if everyone agreed we would give it a go. I thought it was great and it was interesting that a common theme arose - that people felt they got distracted by the details  - in particular all those bricks in the arches. Although I am not immuned from this myself, as an architect, my training inherently helps me start with the overall and with the space ...and for me the bricks were just texture. Really interesting if we can discuss this more ....

A huge thanks for everyone that turned up and were so keen to sketch and share! Can't wait for next month - keep Sat 12 Jan free!

121201 Have I been to T2 lately?
I finished the day (after a physio appointment) with a wee stop at T2.... in case you have been wondering, I have omitted to post any T2 teahouse sketches lately... and haven't been there that often anyway lately. On Saturday I was trying to mix my colours on the page... so a little blobby than normal... also running out of time and exhausted after the big day

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Amazing time today at first USk SYD event

Thanks to everyone that turned up. Great group great sketching great sharing.... And weather was bearable and not as bad as expected(forecast 36c)
I will post my half hearted sketches sometime later...