Last week's visits to Lane Cove National Park

November 29, 2021 | 13 Comments

Last week I visited Lane Cove National Park on Monday- Friday (as I’ve done for the last 11 weeks) and I decided to document each day on my Instagram stories. It was such a fun thing to do!

I want a more permanent record so I’ve put together all the slides here… and also included all my sketches from the week (something I didn’t share on Instagram at the time.)

As a result of sharing these adventures, I have a few thoughts about my approach to sketching Lane Cove National Park which I will discuss at the end of this article.







My Sketches

On each day I did a sketch during my walk in my Greenwood Journal (with copic markers and coloured pencils) and then a sketch in my Alpha book near where I parked my car.

As you will see from these pages, I’m mixing it up a lot now.:-)




The process of documenting a week’s worth of Lane Cove really highlighted to me just how many interesting things I come across each day. (I still can’t believe I found those tawny frogmouths!!!!)

The overwhelming thought I had while I was putting this article together is: “wouldn’t it be great if my sketchbook contained more of the details contained in these photos”.

I would love to start doing more ‘nature journalling’ style pages rather than simply two quick sketches of scenes from each visit. But there are two major factors that I have to think through:

1. The purpose of the first half of my visit each day is to go on a walk. During this time (20-30minutes of walking) I come across the most interesting things – see animals and notice changes in the flora. If I were to stop and sketch every time I saw something to record, the exercise benefit of the walk would be lost. Pausing to take a quick photo is okay, but as soon as I start to sketch, (even if they are just quick simple line sketches) it would be easy for them to morph into more detailed drawings.

2. To document all of these discoveries would definitely increase the time I need in the park each day and that would put pressure on my other work. At the moment I’ve been able to limit my visits to 1-1.5 hours in length and this has been working fine. But if I wanted to sketch ‘everything’ I discover it could add a lot of pressure to the visits (and the rest of the day).

Ah! always things to think about and ideas to explore! 🙂


  • Janice Troyer says:

    Loved seeing your Tawny Frogmouth photos Liz! I had to look them up in my Cornell’s Birds of the World subscription as I had never heard of them. Apparently there are 16 different kinds of frogmouths in the world, the Tawny being the most common in Australia. I know what you mean about trying to balance the walking/hiking with sketching. I’m challenged by that all the time in Alaska, especially if I’m with other people. It helps to have a sketching buddy and to go with the purpose of spending some down time to sketch during the hike (assuming the weather cooperates which is another challenge here!). Janice Troyer

  • Tina Koyama says:

    Wonderful to see all that you are discovering and the seasonal changes! I went through a similar process when I walked the same neighborhood blocks every day during the worst part of the pandemic (14 months). I loved watching the trees and plants change. As for your nature journaling, I have been surprised that you have resisted sketching those birds and other animals! I could not have resisted. Maybe you could allow one day a week to be less walking but more sketching? And another day of the week to be more walking and less sketching? I know that you do well with sticking to a routine! 😉

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Tina…Isn’t it great to see more things around us!
      I’m still very much obsessed with trees and not quite ready to move out of this phase. Most of these animals are very common at the park so there is no rush to start sketching them. I have a really long term approach to my sketching… so I will get to sketching animals when I feel like it. For now I just talk to them while I’m sketching my tree/bush scenes.
      As for the frogmouths it was raining, I was standing on the road and didn’t want to disturb them, so wasn’t ideal to sketch them.. otherwise I would have.:-(

  • Laurence says:

    Magnificent walks Liz,
    Living in a big city, parks are my source of inspiration and meditation almost daily. Either for lack of time, or to vary the pleasures and especially to improve my techniques I crunch the animals I meet with my colored pencils. This technique adapts wonderfully to geese, ducks, pigeons, squirrels, … I love working on the curves of the birds, their feathers with the pencils, it perfectly transcribes the vivacity, the dynamism, the lightness of the movement … A good learning for me because it is necessary to combine a lot of skills with faith 🙂

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hey Laurence! And thanks for the idea for cps for animals and also that they will take less time than a full bush scene as I’ve been doing for the past few months.

  • Michael Trim says:

    I love these walks and sketches so much. That last one feels like Cezanne!
    Thank you Liz

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Liz! It’s so fun so see what you discover on your walks in the bush. I think it would be fun to see some quick sketches of the hakea fruit, turkeys, water dragons and owls but understand that isn’t the purpose of your visits :O) I enjoyed reading your adventures and I can definitely see why you are hooked on Lane Cove National Park. Thanks for sharing!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Stephanie – I will eventually work out a way to do more varied sketching, but right at the moment I love being in my tree phase 🙂

  • Kitt says:

    There is nothing to beat that deep, soul-piercing look that a Tawny gives when looking straight at you Liz – I completely understand your excitement. Also in relation to the hakea fruit, which I always think of by their common name – mountain devil – because they do look like little devils!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Kitt – yes, such a beautiful stare from the Thanks for sharing!… and I didn’t know about the common name… only ever called them Hakeas thanks to my sister who worked doing bush regeneration!

  • Jamie C says:

    This entry and your walks make my heart sing!

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