BlueMtns2022: Back to watercolour pencils!

January 6, 2023 | 6 Comments

After a huge Tuesday of sketching and nightly homework (see this article for more) I had a really slow start on Wednesday! And as you might have noticed on the sketchbook pages shared in that article, I decided to switch to using watercolour pencils(WCP) instead of coloured pencils. Did you see my purchase of a few Albrecht Durer Watercolour Pencils during my first day in the mountains?

Even though I love the ‘resist’ that wax-coloured pencils create when used under watercolour, the main reason for this change was that I wanted to be able to soften the pencil marks with my watercolour.

You might also notice in this combo image that I did a number of marker sketches as well!


Wednesday morning: Before I started sketching the mountains again I needed breakfast.


The next sketch was inside the grand domed space of the Hydro Majestic at Medlow Bath. I just started sketching without really thinking about the perspective or what I was going to include. In hindsight, I think that this would have been fun to do with a fisheye view. Next time!


After doing a simple sketch of the outside of the hotel, I ended up driving down the long windy road to the Megalong Valley – which was made longer by all the red lights. The heavy rainfall all year has resulted in a number of landslides – part road closures and lookouts totally closed as well.


The view from the Megalong Valley tearooms – done while having some scones with jam and cream. (A must-have when coming up to the Blue Mountains!)
This was the first use of WCPs for the trip.


Most of the afternoon was sketch-free. I drove out to Evan’s Lookout but it was closed (as well as Govett’s Leap!) and then drove around Blackheath and then back along Cliff Dr.

I found myself back at the Katoomba Falls area (next to the Orphan Rock Lookout). And so I ended up doing another sketch of the Three Sisters!


It was now late afternoon and the area was quiet so I was able to do my sketch from the comfort of a bench (and still adequately see the view). Here is a photo of my WCP marks and my support board.

This is the first time (and last time) that I used my support board on the trip. I’m just not liking it at the moment as it’s too top-heavy and uncomfortable to hold when using an A4 hardcover sketchbook. Instead I ended up standing up for the ink, pencil and marker stages and then sitting down on a bench or rock to paint.


Thankfully I was able to find spots to sit most of the time. BTW here is a photo showing my position for the blue Three Sisters sketch I had done the day before at Echo Point – a bench in the shade and a view of the Sisters through the railing.


But to get back to my Three Sisters sketch from the Katoomba Falls lookout…

I used a Bruynzeel Watercolour pencil (Blue No. 50) expecting it to be the same as the No. 50 coloured pencil (used in the above photo) – but when I applied water/watercolour it wasn’t the same hue.

Ah! it’s always fun to use new WCPs as you never know exactly what you will get.


On Thursday morning after another leisurely breakfast (see below in the full sketchbook pages section) I ended up at another quiet lookout with a view of the Three Sisters.


The lighting was dark and flat but I had fun choosing different colours for this final sketch.

And here are all the pages from these days – showing more food sketches and notes etc.

Full Sketchbook Pages – Wednesday

Full Sketchbook Pages – Thursday morning

Final photo before I left… I really wish I’d had more time to sketch the trees!

But it was a great short getaway and a good reminder to me that it’s not too hard to come up here for a little sketching!


  • Marianne C. says:

    I sure wish we had landscapes like that in the Netherlands!
    Made me wonder if you ever visited Hanging Rock?
    The movie “Picnic at Hanging Rock” is a favourite of mine.

  • Jamie C says:

    Some stunning vistas! Great little getaway!

  • Martine says:

    Love that indoor sketch, it’s so bold. No chance of an interior sketching g course? And I absolutely love Portuguese pastel de nata pastry and have sketched them on occasion too. Nice to see your version, makes me realise I need to put in more contrast.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Martine – it was fun to do. And yes! Interior sketching course is on my List to create at some point. I’m still developing my technique! 🙂

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