At Cockatoo Island again

December 7, 2013 | 6 Comments

Today the USKSYD group was back at Cockatoo Island on a gorgeous summers day. About 15 sketchers managed to make it which was a great turnout (such a busy time of the year!)

My starting sketch was a somewhat experimental. My thumb is a little sore at the moment so I tried to draw and paint with a different pen grip that didn’t rely on my thumb as much. Was a little tricky but fun. After recent discussions with Chris, I decided that I would try putting down a wash first (preserving the white areas) and I was having fun scraping as well.

My second sketch was of the white house up on the top of the island. I went back to my normal pen grip but used
– sailor pen (not flowing perfectly but I am enjoying the hit and miss)
– flat brush and dagger brush
Really had fun trying to work slower and let the watercolour interact on the page.

Here are two photos of the first two sketches… You can see my initial wash on the first one and the supplies I used on the second. I didn’t have an old plastic card in my kit today so I raided my wallet for the one that could most easily get a little paint of it…my T2 card (I have now cleaned it)

I was also using a new water container (thanks Anne!)

My third sketch didn’t quite turn out to plan…I was talking to A at the time but…  I just didn’t think about my eyeline and went a little off track. Then I was a little heavy handed with my washes – a result of  light/dark contrast of the strong midday Sydney sun. Strongly dislike what was on my page (it happens to all of us at times) I reviewed at home and then decided to add more colour and a bit of texture and test out how robust the Beta paper is…it is amazing. Crazy page and somewhat overworked (I prefer to ‘hit it hard and leave it’).

Not every sketch in a book is what you hoped to achieve – and some have a life of their own.  Tt is all part of a process and regardless of the result is a record of the moment.


  • Liz Steel says:

    thanks carol – great to have you following my blog.
    Gridlines are done with pencil either coloured pencil or water colour pencil (as here)
    I do have a grid line sheet that I use for guides but depending on the thickness of the paper whether I can use it or not. These are all freehand as the paper is thick. I am an architect so have many years of practice (and training) drawing straight lines

  • Liz Steel says:

    scan always scan. If I take a photo it is on location and in the sun – like above.
    It is on my to do list to write about my scanning procedures

  • Carol Phifer says:

    I recently subscribed to your blog and have really enjoyed it! I was wondering about the red grid lines you use for writing on- do you use a pen or a paintbrush and do you freehand them or do you use a ruler?

  • Carol Phifer says:

    thanks! I have another question- do you scan your work or photograph it? The pages look very bright and clean.

  • Carol Phifer says:

    okay- thanks, that is very helpful!

  • Liz Steel says:

    any time Carol!

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