BlueMtns2022: Two big days

January 2, 2023 | 9 Comments

During the week before Xmas, I had three nights at Leura in the Blue Mountains (which is only 1.5 hours drive from my home).

It was the perfect little getaway to end the year and it was a great opportunity to do a series of sketches of the same subject. If you haven’t realised it by now, I love sketching the same scene over and over again –  from different angles, at different times of the day, and in different light.


On this particular trip I sketched the Three Sisters on each of the 4 days I was in the mountains. But I did a number of sketches of other lesser-known rock formations as well.


I discovered a number of new lookouts – this is Elysian Rock.


And I found some quiet locations where I felt as if I had the whole valley to myself. This was the bench I sat on!


Since my last visit to the Blue Mountains I’ve been focusing a lot on identifying native trees and so on this trip, I was noticing all the different trees and the colours!

Most Australian native trees are evergreen so there are no autumn colours but…


…we get beautiful colours in early summer when the trees shed their bark (often the new bark goes orange/red). New leaves are also often red.

The trees and bushes in the Blue Mountains this time were very orange/red/pink.


It was hard to capture the colours in photos but here are a few to give you an idea.


Holding two new leaves up to the light! Isn’t the colour amazing!


And new growth in a Casuarina shrub.


Because I was so focused on the vegetation – my sketches were more textured than usual. And I continued to experiment with pencils (both coloured pencils and watercolour pencils), markers (GoldFaber Aquas) and watercolour.

Now to share my work…

This article contains sketches from my first two days in the mountains. I’m including scanned versions of my main sketches first and then will share photos of the full sketchbook pages in the second half of the article. Enjoy!

My first Three Sisters sketch from Echo Point – overcast light.


Then I tracked down Orphan Rock which I have never sketched before. The thick ink lines show the approximate outline of the rock beneath the trees.


And this is a panoramic view from the Orphan Rock Lookout – trying out some fun layering with the markers. I had a number of lengthy discussions with other people at this lookout whilst doing this sketch so I was super distracted.


Elysian Rock in very overcast and flat lighting – doing a lot of different tests on the one sketch.


The second version from the same spot (very quick sketch)


And the third sketch from Elysian Rock looking towards Mt Solitary using markers and watercolour. Sketching this mountain always makes me think of a bushwalk I did with my siblings when we were teenagers.


My favourite rock formation is actually this one – Boars Head. This is the view of it on the way down to Cahill’s Lookout.


And with my other sketch, I wanted to record the sheer height of the cliff but I didn’t manage to fit it all in!


And BTW I did a number of cafe sketches as well!


And then back at Echo Point – sketching the Three Sisters at the end of the day (Day 2). I used a Bruynzeel blue coloured pencil (No. 50) for the shadows here.

After this sketch, I decided to switch to watercolour pencils for the rest of the trip. Stay tuned for the next article to see how I used them on Days 3 and 4.

Full Sketchbook Pages – Monday

Full Sketchbook Pages – Tuesday

As you can see I did a lot of sketching on Monday and Tuesday! It was fairly relaxing during the day but I did have to spend quite a few hours finishing my pages in the evening (particularly on Tuesday). 🙂

I really loved being in the mountains again, doing these sketches and finishing the page layouts each day. I’m looking forward to sharing more about these pages during the livestreams that I’ll be hosting as part of the Live Version of Sketchbook Design. The course starts this week – Wednesday 4 January and it’s not too late to sign up. Find out more here.



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