Finally sketching an important building

October 13, 2023 | 15 Comments

It’s a little hard to believe that until a few weeks ago I had never sketched my church as it’s been an important part of my life since I was a baby!

But on the other hand, it’s not surprising at all. As I don’t sketch on Sundays (it’s my day of rest and worship) and when I attend church I’m more focused on the worship service (coming into the presence of God) and the people there than I am thinking about the building or sketching it. The church has also been under scaffolding for a number of years so it’s only recently that it’s been possible to draw it.

As I’ve been sketching regularly in the City all year it’s been my intention to make time to capture the outside of the church. I decided to wait until winter so that I could see the full facade… but the trees in front were late to lose their leaves and then other things prevented me. I was also waiting until I moved from a square sketchbook to a vertical format.

So three weeks ago I finally got an opportunity to sit down opposite it.

It was the weirdest feeling to sketch this building… in a good way!

As my notes below said, I’m so incredibly emotionally attached to this place but I actually don’t know the building at all. I’ve never really studied it – so as I sketched it I was making lots of discoveries. This often happens when I start to sketch a subject I’m familiar with – I suddenly see it in a whole new way.

But what made sketching this building particularly special was the fact that I was swamped with all kinds of memories – from my childhood, from my teenage years and from my university days ( I did an assignment on the building and one day climbed up the steeple and rang the bell). I also remembered friends’ weddings and Sabbath school lessons.

Even though the building’s volumes are not that complex there are a number of very interesting details, added elements and changes in wall planes (all concepts from my Buildings course!) So I had to do some secondary drawings to work them out.

Ideally, I should have done this page of drawings first so that it would inform my main sketch. But as I intend to start sketching the church more regularly I don’t have to master it in one sitting.

A week later I did this quick continuous line sketch in a few minutes. So much fun!

Overall I consider this a tricky building to sketch. And so I’m looking forward to doing many more versions of it!


  • Pamela thomson says:

    So many beautiful memories happening in your life at this church. Revealing it to you now is God’s perfect timing. What a blessing to have such a beautiful structure to worship in. I love the variety of tones in the stone and you have captured that so well. I wish you many, many years of sketching it. Best..pamela

  • Karen Isenhower says:

    I appreciate your thoughts about discovery as you sketch a building. That helps put words to what I’ve thought on a few occasions as I was sketching a building that I thought I was familiar with. There is something about observing with a sketcher’s eye that puts definition on some of the “hidden” facets of a structure. This is helpful today as I plan to go out and sketch a local church in my city for my Buildings assignment. Thank you for the insights you share!

    (And when you talk about coming into the presence of God it warms my heart.)

  • Sandie Ingram says:

    What a sweet building, Liz! I love that you finally sketched it. Isn’t it amazing how things in our own backyards never seem to get our attention like something new or different. Yet, they bring us such joy! Beautiful work and sharing of your thinking.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks sandie! Yes indeed that’s true! Although in this case I’ve been wanting to sketch it for ages – so I suppose it’s more a case of never getting around to sketching the everyday things. Which is a real thing for me!

  • Lois Courtright says:

    I’m looking forward to seeeeeing many more versions of it! ; D

    Thank you Liz!

  • Maria Bergman says:

    Thank you for sharing this experience, Liz.
    Do you feel even more connected and fond of the building now that you are sketching it?
    I am looking forward to your future entries and sketches. So enjoyable following your discoveries and insights.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Maria, yes I’m more attached to the physical building now but that’s insignificant compared to the people and what happens inside.

  • Judy Nobes says:

    Very pretty church, May I ask which one it is ?

  • Jamie C says:

    What a stunning church! It must feel so good to get to sketching it on a sketching day, and experience such an important and personal building in an all new way!

Leave a Reply