Looking back on 2011 and thinking about 2012

January 7, 2012 | 4 Comments
My 2011 in sketches110103 Off Again!110104 Camp-01 The Lounge110104 Camp-02 Girls Dorm110105 Camp-03 Stanwell Park Beach110105 Camp-04 Sea Cliff Bridge
110106 Camp-05 Summary110107 Run Yourself Ragged110107 T2 counter view110108 Botanic Gardens choragic monument110108 01 Why I prefer complicated buildings to plain ones110108 02 Final Holiday Sketches
110111 Distracted while trying to do a 'perfect' cup sketch110111 A BIG change (of angle)Earl Greys of Crows Nest 08-Fabrik110114 Daily journal 35 has begun110115 Botanic Gardens 03 Succulent GroupImcomplete Page 1
Imcomplete Page2110115 Composition Liz Style110115 01 Morning Tea110115 02 Lunch110115 03 Afternoon Tea110115 Botanic Gardens 01 Morshead F Gate

2011 in full, a set on Flickr.

My 2011 in sketches

As I spent New Years Eve 2011 looking through my sketchbooks (and sketching them of course!) I thought I should do a little review of the year that is past, in terms of my sketching. But in doing so I can’t help thinking that blogging gives a distorted view of reality… And therefore this post is NOT a review of my life in the past year… But just sketching related events.

Firstly… I am sketching more and more and in particular I have become rather addicted to
1.A desire to record my daily life in my sketchbook
2. A desire to do as much sketching on location as possible.
These two aspects explain why travel sketching gives me such a buzz!

2011 was definitely an interesting year… I am not going to do a review of it but three highlights would have to be the
The Royal Botanic Gardens Autumn of the Arts Sketchabout, having my work published in Cathy Johnson’s “Artists Journal Workshop” – it is such a wonderful book and Borromini is just so chuffed to be part of it! And being able to attend the 2nd International Symposium…(so much written on this elsewhere – sketches, photos)

But for this post I want to focus on a few things that struck me when I did my rapid sketchbook flick-through on NYE. These I am converting into directions for 2011 (I do have other goals and resolutions which I am NOT sharing with the world)

Too Many Cuppas

Cups of Tea

Way too many teacup sketches – this is an important method of relaxation in the evening …but still….Discovering a new tearoom (The Tea Cosy in the Rocks) has not helped. The pages that I did enjoy re-visiting were the ones where the tea had some significance – the night Cyclone Yasi hit, the cups we chose to watch the Royal Wedding, my black tea detox.

111128 Sketchers diet starting again!

Food food food…

Lots of that too… (I do not post all of them!) Despite the repetitiveness of it, I am convinced of the power of sketching to control the way that I eat and I am sure that in 2012 ‘the sketching diet’ will appear yet again. Also I do think that it is nice when chefs and café owners go to so much trouble to present meals that I am there to record it in a sketch!

110302 Liz style celebration


Too many random evening (often late!) architectural sketches that really don’t have any connection what happened that day. I have stopped reading architectural history and theory books in recent years and I want to start again. So an idea is to sketch relating to what I am reading….so it will be more relevant and no more scouring of my library because I am desperate to sketch something… Anything. I also want to broaden my range of architectural periods so thinking of starting with some ancient greek buildings for a change!

110905 Faces from Lisbon

The human element

more people in my sketchbooks than previous years but still need more!!!! I started sketching portraits of people I know from photos that I have taken (ie. they are looking at me) and found that engaging with the person I am sketching is the secret of converting my ‘fear’ of drawing ‘people’ into my delight of sketching a person (with a personality). I need some serious training for the next symposium I get too… One does feel very inadequate not having the courage to do it (but at least one can sketch food instead!)

111007 What is in my bag tonight

Heavy bags

Yes…the search for the perfect bag continues and I just love sketching my art supplies. Somehow I think that the art supplies that I carry around only seem to increase… hence the need for lighter bags…. These are some of my favourite pages to draw!!!

EDiM04 Salt and Pepper shakers {Explored}

Daily objects

I am not a ‘project’ person but the every day in may challenge was great as I made an effort to make the subject meaningful… Or it created moments in my life – such as when Eza and I roamed Crows Nest to find the best salt and pepper shaker. Whilst I get bored very easily of drawing objects day after day it is very nice to have a record of daily objects that one does not normally think to sketch. I am thinking of working through the alphabet of daily objects in the coming year. The discipline of a list is good.

Earl Greys of Crows Nest 08-Fabrik

Lunchtime adventures

My Earl Greys of Crows Nest series that I did earlier in the year was wonderful. Not only was the fun of sketching my food a great break to my day at work but I met some of the local café owners which was great. However I still have a fear of being spotted sketching on the streets by colleagues, other tenants in our building or consultants/clients. I need to get over this because get out sketching is such a great thing to do in the middle of a work day!

110702_05 PreTrip Sketching Day - Opera House

Exploring Sydney

We spent a lot of time in the gardens at the beginning of the year and I think that limited exploration of my beloved hometown during 2011. Also I sketch the Opera House way too often!!!! My stay-cation which is just coming to an end has revealed a lot of possibilities… So another list is going to be written so next time I have free time I will know what to do.

110325 Lightbulb moment - process not product

Process vs Product

Inspired by a thought provoking post by Laura Frankstone I started doing more ‘process’ related pages (not all are posted!!!) and my trip prep journals are a great example of this. I am working quicker and looser all the time and recording thoughts more easily. To continue in 2012 but I might not post them all….

A sketch from 2011 that I forgot to post
Capturing spaces
the pages/ sketches that really jumped out at me were actually interiors and external spaces. This is the sketch that really surprised me as I didn’t post it and forgot that I did it. (The breakfast room in Sir John Soanes Museum in London… That I was desperate to visit in July but didn’t make it!)
110823_AD01_07 Sydney Town Hall from Kinokuniya Window Seat
Also in Lisbon, I sketched spaces, not just building facades. After returning home I found my normal complicated building facades less satisfying and I felt more of a need to be always telling a story.

So my big goal (oops I said that word!) is to sketch more spaces in the coming year. This has a wonderful connection with what I am wanting to do as an architect as well

Too much sketching and too much posting

I think that I have done too much of both in 2011… More timing thinking of what to sketch would be better. The first day in Lisbon is a great example and my current approach and a possible change (sometimes!) …
Cityscapes sketches
Session 1 – I approached in my usual style…sketching a square non stop and filling 4 spreads.
08_Thurs 08 Unfinished Business1
Session 2 – Jose Louro instructed me to ONLY do one spread… I spent a good half hour walking around and thinking of what I liked most about the square and then composed my page

So maybe…more thoughtful sketching and more thoughtful blogging …making sure that I always have something worth saying….

I just want to finish this post with perhaps THE single highlight of my year of 2011 – a highlight from my life not just the sketching aspect. I think that it also expresses how blogging often shows a shell of someone’s life and not the core.

The highlight is the very last moment of the church conference that I went to in Cardiff Wales. The little church packed with wonderful Welsh voices and many visiting Englsih and African Caribbean voices (and the odd Australian!) all singing a closing benediction from Psalm 72 below and almost blew the roof off.

my highlight from 2011
Earlier that afternoon I had been let into the church to sketch the interior (ha! One of the sketches that jumped out at me in the sketchbook review as mentioned above). I was quite happy with the sketch at the time but after the evening service, when it had been full of people, I felt that the sketch missed the point totally (an empty building is not really a church)
So teacups and cakes, baroque buildings and a silly wee bear… are really just the outer shell of Liz… These words below express more….

17 His name for ever shall endure;
last like the sun it shall:
Men shall be blessed in him, and blessed
all nations shall him call.

18 Now bless’d be the Lord our God,
the God of Israel,
For he alone doth wondrous works,
in glory that excel.

19 And bless’d be his glorious name
to all eternity:
The whole earth let his glory fill.
Amen, so let it be.

Psalm 72.17-19


  • BJR says:

    I am a Christain from USA…and a sketcher/pen and ink/watercolorist.
    Just wanted to tell you I enjoy your blog and it's contents so much! It's one of the first one's I look at! Keep up the sketching and posting; what you feel to anyways. I have glimpsed some of the "core" of you from the verses in your journals. I enjoy your art! BJR

  • Don't cut out too many tea cups!!! I love very one! Living where morning and afternoon tea is not something that happens I relish every tea you share with us.
    Sketch on……

  • Thoughtful post on many levels . . . but superbly glorious ending!

  • I am and agnostic from Spain, and a casual sketcher.
    Love your sketches and your style, and also your search for the best tools, books, bags… We ara all in the same ship, never mind religion…
    Congratulations for your work and celebration of life, Liz

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