Last week: Too wet to sketch?

March 20, 2017 | 4 Comments

It’s been a while since I put together one of these “Last Week” articles, isn’t it? But with my move and all the other stuff going on in the background at the moment, I just haven’t quite gotten back into my normal routines.

Anyway, last week was my third Sabbatical – read more about the concept here. The plan was to take it easy, do a few home chores and get out sketching a little. Well I did all three, but due to a lot of rain, I didn’t manage any sketching outings. Just for the record, my title is a little tongue in cheek – rain doesn’t prevent me from sketching!

So without any more chit chat, here are the pages:


After the big Oneweek100people challenge I was determined to continue sketching people and to make them more meaningful to me, ie. not madly sketching everyone I see, but instead sketching people when I see a story that I want to record. So on this page I have two cafe scenes (yes two cafe visits in a morning!) the first is all about the tall barista (at local cafe that I hadn’t visited previously) and in the second I wanted to record the very out of character empty tables at The Missing Piece in Macquarie Centre.

This is a bit of a half-hearted page – a few sketches while stuck in traffic, some swatches of ink samples that I recently ordered from Goulet Pens (note: these are watersoluble inks) and an unsuccessful sketch (for me) of two fancy cakes from a catchup at the new Flower Child Cafe in Warringah Mall.

A weird page containing a map of Nevada that I drew in 1999 – how random is that? I came across this while sorting through my stuff this week and really belongs in my incomplete photo albums from a trip to the western states of USA that year. I know I will never go back and finish those albums off so I used this map to cover up a very loose sketch of the top of my cupboards – trust me, you don’t need to see this sketch! The text is a label (or two) that I prepared for my USA photo album as well and the Indian Chief might be referring to the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota, but I’m not sure. And on the right a little sketching people research.

Two days doing chores, sorting, shopping and not much sketching. I am notorious for losing gloves but at least I am pleased to report that I found the left glove for this pair. I don’t normally wear gloves in Sydney (rarely cold enough) and would definitely not normally wear this pair as they are from a winter trip to Scotland many years ago and super thick.

Another new (for me) cafe visit and another opportunity to draw people in context and with some story in mind. On this occasion it was all about the wonderful layout of the tables. Some cafe layouts are much better for sketchers!

Finally, on Saturday I managed a quick 5 minute sketch of this house at Kirribilli just before I met up with Chris Haldane for another one of our Sketching People Meetings. BTW I will share some wrap-up thoughts about the big OneWeek100People Challenge tomorrow.

So there you have it, not a lot of sketches but a good record of my week. My Sabbatical wasn’t particularly exciting but I did manage to recharge my batteries a bit and get a little more settled in my new little flat. And now I’m ready to get back to work – some serious hustle! ‘Work Block No.2’ is going to be very busy with teaching, lots of big SketchingNow stuff, getting ready for Italy and much more.

How was your week? How much sketching did you do – the usual quota? Or was it more or less than usual?


  • B Woody says:

    This week for me has been more about learning about different watercolors and what might be best for me. In west Texas there aren’t many places to go out and sketch people. Starbucks would be about it. They are small and very busy and the chance of getting a table–forget it. We are in early spring here and the pollen count is too high to be out in it. So I’ve been studying color and getting a bunch of spring and birthday cards painted and sent out. I did purchase a pilot pen that looks much like your white fountain pen. I really love it enjoyed drawing with it. So thank you and it sounds like a busy week for you. Trust me, when retirement comes you will enjoy it. B

  • Regina Kaatz says:

    Regina Kaatz
    I thought, Liz that over there you don’t have rain!!!
    Did some sketching: one day peole in a Café, I want to go on with the life sketching, then starting again with lesson 2, but want this week to do the outdoor one ( because of the rain in the weekend), really longing for sketching buildings. But lost some of the enthusiasm I had in 100peopleweek.

  • Chas says:

    Am I being cheeky if I as what you mean by “an unsuccessful sketch (for me)”? Are you suggesting that they might be OK for the Hoi Poloi but you can do better?
    I imagine this was just an unfortunate turn of phrase but a wee bit unsettling for those of us still progressing through the middle of our sketching development.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Chas, Two golden rules are 1. to never compare your work and standards with other people who are at different stages of their creative journey and 2. don’t think you will ever reach a stage where you are happy with all your work. The more your skills develop the higher your expectation of what is successful becomes.
      In answer to your question this particular sketch was a watery mess and had no thought to composition – I was tired at the time and did it without thinking.
      I normally find people are encouraged when I admit to making a mistake (somehow they think I never make one, which is crazy), can you expand on what was unsettling. BTW this is a good topic for a separate article 🙂

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