Birchgrove and Balmain East outing

January 22, 2021 | 4 Comments


One of my goals for this year is to do more sketching on location and so I’m trying to build a habit of weekly sketching outings somewhere in Sydney – outside of my local area.

So far this year I’ve managed two outings – I went into the city (filming demos for Sketchbook Design), and then Manly/Echo Point(only sketched a map when I got home)  – but neither were true sketching adventures! So yesterday I was determined to have a proper sketching outing!

I went to Birchgrove and visited Ballast Point Park which has some fun remnants from its previous usage. I was here in 2011 when the park was fairly new and did a number of sketches. I remember not being happy with a few of them (and they were not even included in my article at the time) so I was happy to have another go. But sadly the trees have grown so much that two of the great views I had last time are no longer there. 

I walked the whole park looking for a spot in the shade (it was a warm day) and ended up sketching these old oil tanks. This was a very quick – 10 minute? – sketch and I was in a very ‘wet washes’ mood so there was a lot of wet-in-wet happening.

Next I needed a coffee but the closest coffee shop was packed, so I ended up at Balmain East – the street where I filmed Foundations Lesson 9 demo (with the viewfinder) back in 2015!

The cafe here was also full so I ended up getting a takeaway coffee and doing a quick line drawing from my car.

For those of you doing Sketchbook Design, I was thinking about White Space at the time!

It’s so long since I had a big full day of sketching (it’s back in December 2019 when Ben from Rome was visiting!) that I felt ready to head home after my second sketch! What? That’s crazy for this obsessive urban sketcher!

But on my drive out of Balmain I stopped to take a photo of a church tower and then sketched a house I could see from the car.

Back home, I had my usual afternoon work session in Goodfields (coffee in dark blue cup) and then I drew a map of Ballast Point Park as that is the best way to record all the cool industrial remnants and the nice design of the park. And BTW I’m a little obsessed with using tape to create straight edges to my sketches at the moment, but I’m not doing the traditional approach of taping all four edges at the start. I’m only taping a few edges and I’m deciding on this halfway through the sketch. Those of you doing Sketchbook Design will find out more about this in Lesson 4 Demos!

(Hmm, I just noticed that there is a green spot on the house caused by closing my sketchbook too soon after doing the map. I will try to lift off… but too lazy to re-scan and upload!)

Well, that was a lovely morning of sketching! Maybe next week I will manage a longer sketching outing….

And just like that I published five articles this week without it feeling like a burden. In fact it’s been really fun and it’s great to be more or less up to date!

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  • Maria says:

    These are wonderful sketches of your day. Leaving the ink-drawn trees as part of the border is a great idea and one I’ve put in my mind for future use. Thanks, Liz!

  • Kimberly Ester says:

    It’s a highlight for me to receive your emails and read about your sketching adventures! I read that you are enjoying the format of story telling on your blog recently. It gives more space for understanding your process and relating to your experience more fully. I too have it as my goal to get out for urban sketching adventures weekly. Your loose wet washes at Ballast Point Park have a quality that draws me in, an almost tactile response. Is your street scene a continuous line sketch?

  • Dana Ryan Perez says:

    I just thought the green was foliage on the balcony! Always love your adventures in Sydney–it’s a personal tour from afar. Thank you for the links about the area and great to read the history of the park. Happy weekend.

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