Last week: Happy

April 19, 2016 | 16 Comments

Well, I am a happy girl today as my final installment for my sketching architecture book has been sent off. Writing a book in under 3 months has been insane! I still have a few more weeks of bits and pieces but the production of content is completed. So to celebrate this morning I pulled out a teacup that I rarely sketch – Royal Albert 100 years set: 1980s – Holyrood.

This edition of Last Week’s sketches is all about being happy with what I sketched/recorded in my sketchbook!

There is a degree to which I am always happy with some aspects of my work, but there is always an element of dissatisfaction. Lately, it has been more with the subject matter and the story-telling component (how well my sketchbook is telling the story of my life). I think that it is very healthy to have a degree of discontent as that is what spurs you onto to keep growing, searching and improving. (BTW: you might be interested in a post about my inner critic here… and another one here!)

But it is good to look back and find the things that you like, and celebrate those… and that is what I am going to do now.

In a funny way, last week on Saturday when I set aside a little time just to do a few sketches in my book “just for me” (scroll down to the summer wardrobe sketch in this post), I re-connected with my sketchbook and this collection shows how I have been making a little more effort to design my pages.

Ok, enough chatting… here at the pages:

I am happy with my new-ish fancy Wilkhahn chair… but why I decided to sketch a predominately black scene blue? Hmm, I have no idea.

I am still coming to terms with so many coffee sketches in my book but I certainly love sketching them at the time… and I am happy that I have such a great local cafe that helps me start my work day well.

I was happy to get out sketching on Tuesday and have a page in my book with sketches from somewhere else!

I am really happy with this spread. I love the colours and the composition… and am really happy with the little simple warmup sketch I did. I seriously isn’t THAT hard to carve out five minutes to do a small sketch is it? I just need to be intentional about doing it.

But of course some days I am caught up in other projects and deadlines… so my coffee is all I end up with. I am happy with how I mixed up the composition of this spread. And I am VERY happy with my newest fad of stamping the date. I think this has been a bit of a break-through as it is forcing me to take a little calm time to finish off my pages. I treated myself to a few stamp sets by Kelly Purkey – this is the Southport Alphabet which is great as it is bold but condensed so easy to fit in left over white spaces.

But most of all I am happy about the wonderful Sunday (Lord’s Day) I had. We had communion at church this weekend and it was so so good to be reminded of the most important thing in life – being saved by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and living by the power of His resurrection – makes me happy in a MUCH deeper way than sketching ever does!

This blog is where I share and focus on the sketches of my life. I know I am very enthusiastic about sketching, and often say that I want you all to have as much fun sketching as I do. But that is very the top layer – I wish this deep joy for you all too!

I don’t sketch on Sunday, but I often record notes from what I have read or the sermons of the day. I don’t always share these with you but here is last week’s version with a bit of collage.

Note: I have increased the size of all my double page spread images (sorry about the small sizes recently).

I would love hear from you, what are you happy about in regard to your creative work in the past week?



  • alissa duke says:

    Hello Liz – I really enjoyed this Happiness page. ..Maybe your coffee pages reflect your pattern of life at the moment- going to the coffee shop as part of the day. In years to come it will reflect the here and now.

    What am I happy about in regard to your creative work in the past week? I sketched at a Royal Historical Society of Victoria conference last weekend and was trying to sketch the faces of presenters rather than back of heads of the audience. This was challenging for me but was well received by the conference presenters who want to use the sketches as a record of the events.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks ALissa! excellent work on your people sketches.
      And yes the daily coffees are a big part of this season in my life and record the time I am putting into planning and working on big projects.
      Have a great week, my friend!

  • Ann Schwartzwald says:

    This is what i wrote at the end of my day 4-18, yesterday… So much fun spending all day outside, drawing with friends!

    We spent time at San Diego ‘ Balboa Park rose garden, then the cactus and succulent garden. After lunch on to the SD ZOO, how could a sketchers day be better!

    • Liz Steel says:

      lovely Ann – it is such a nice feeling when you are outside drawing with friends! (outside doing anything with friends is also nice!!!)

  • Dee Ludwig says:

    This is a lovely post! I can almost see the calmness that descended upon you as you finished the book and sent it off. For me yesterday was an attempt at experimenting with a night painting of downtown Chicago. I felt the freedom to experiment and push into unfamiliar territory. I think it was in response to having received almost 400 comments on a previous sketch that I didn’t think was very successful! Sort of felt that maybe I wasn’t as bad as I thought, so was more free to explore. I love how you are now dating your pages and how that ties the pages together. You are totally inspiring to me, and are my “cup of tea” daily.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Dee… I am glad that my post transmitted calmness! Will have to look up your night painting… 400 comments would inspire anyone and a true sign that it certainly wasn’t as bad as you thought! Sending you a big hug!

  • Antje says:

    Dear Liz, I always so appreciate the way you appreciate the Lord’s Day! Your words are such a good reminder of what really matters. Most of the time, these days anyway, I think that my happiness lies not in my work but in my art, but as you say, it’s all nothing without the one person who makes us who we are. On a more mundane note though I have to admit that today I was happy about buying expensive golden frames for two whimsical watercolour paintings. They now look so impressively serious at first glance even though the subject matter in them is more like a children’s book illustration. This juxtaposition gives me joy 🙂 As does your blog every time I read it!

  • Doug Noren says:

    Hey Liz,
    Just curious about the deadline for your book, why did you have only 3 months? Was that self-imposed?
    Also, since you went to your new format, when I go to your blog, it frequently doesn’t load the last entry. I need to hit the reload circular arrow in the address bar. (FYI)
    Lastly, whatever happened to Borromini Bear?

    Thanks for the blog!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Doug… its all driven by the publisher. I am writing a book as part of a series so they set format and deadline. More soon.
      Are you using an old browser? Looking into why this is happening. And BB is a bit old and fragile but will be going with me to Europe!

    • Doug N says:

      Liz, thanks for the reply! I access your blog with iPad Air 2, using safari browser

  • Gina Gibson says:

    Thank you Liz for sharing your faith! I am a Christ follower also and love the scriptures in your sketchbook. We have much to be thankful for,
    In His Love,

  • Jean Mackay says:

    Liz- Thanks for sharing — this is a well-timed post for me because I am having a week where I’m not terribly happy about my sketches and my inner critic needs to be checked. I know I’m not alone in this struggle, but it helps to read your thoughts about it. Time to push through and move on…and to get painting! –Jean

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Jean… yes just keep going, but also find parts of your work that you do like. There are always some!!!!

  • Kristy Brenner says:

    Your joy really bounds off the flowers and collage page. Makes me smile.

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