Tea and Trees

February 26, 2011 | 2 Comments


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 Sketchabout..so 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 www.autumnofthearts.com.au Please also check out the BLOG!

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!

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!


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.


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 labelled 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!


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…


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 but finally… the few purchases I made at Parkers!


  • Robyn says:

    Fantastic day's sketching, Liz and everyone deserves a page of its own.

    I was so tempted by the Daniel Smith watercolours at Parkers but with Sennelier being so generous of late, I simply couldn't justify it.

    Even thought it always terrifies me I share your thoughts on sketching en plein air – I am always much happier with the result because my focus is on the subject not the end result.

  • Liz, I've really enjoyed visiting your sketches, quite inspiring. I might get very brave and come along to Botanical Gardens sketch week, it is one of my favourite spots.

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