Milson's Point and Cumberland State Forest

April 29, 2022 | 10 Comments

In addition to spending time with family last week, I also went on two short solo sketching outings.

The first was to Milson’s Point late afternoon on Tuesday. I’ve come to this spot many times and normally I sketch the Sydney Opera House and/or the Sydney Harbour Bridge. But this time I avoided both of them as my subject (although the SHB appears in the background of this sketch!)

I walked along the harbour’s edge and then sketched these piers – a fun subject to experiment with coloured pencil shading. This sketch felt good in my sketchbook as it was so I didn’t bother adding colour to the background.

Luna Park was buzzing with activity so I found a quiet spot to sit (from where I’ve sketched on other occasions). My linework was really loose and so I was thinking of how to add the colour in a similar way. (The sky shape was added later!)

I realised that it was almost ‘early dinner time’ so I wandered around a little more, did another sketch and then had a lovely Thai dinner.  The place was empty so I knew that I would only have a few minutes for a sketch – so a rough continuous line drawing was all I managed. Hmm… It’s ages since I’ve visited a Thai Restaurant.

My second outing was to Cumberland State Forest. I have only visited it once before in 2014 when I had fun drawing and painting some trees with my niece.

I drove around the loop, got a coffee and then went on a short walk where I sketched these cabbage palm trees. (These are the same type of palm trees I sketched recently in association with the SOH and SHB.)

BTW I’m really enjoying doing maps with coloured pencils!

I then visited two of the picnic areas…

… the second had an unusual type of tree that I had to look up when I got home.

So there you have it – two short late afternoon outings (each only a few hours long)  which were good opportunities to test further ways of using coloured pencils for urban sketching.

Can you tell I’m a fan of CPs? I have lots of ideas of other ways to use them… and can’t wait to incorporate them with watercolour and/or swtich to watercolour pencils.


  • Jason H England says:

    Absolutely beautiful!!! ? I especially love the scripture. This has truly inspired me to do the same in my sketches. I started teaching myself to draw a couple of years ago and have enjoyed every moment if it. I’ve concentrated soley on graphite drawing scenic art and now trying my hand at portraiture as of 4 weeks ago. It’s been the most therapeutic healing ever for my depression and PTSD that I had once suffered from since I retired from the Fire Department early after being severely injured in the line of duty. I look forward to seeing mote if your majestic art and all glory to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!!!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Jason and I echo your closing words “glory to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!!!” 🙂

  • Annette Huppatz says:

    I’m really enjoying the way you’re using coloured pencils Liz. It’s very inspirational.

  • Deborah Young says:

    Can you recommend some sharpeners to get those long points? Thanks

  • telly says:

    I like how your drawings are slowly becoming more refined and detailed! The teacups were my favorite.

    Personally, I like to have bold colored pencil edges and outlines, then gently layer multiple transparent layers of colored pencil for the form. The result is something in between impressionism and graphic novel illustration to me. I just love how from a distance, it looks like i colored something green, but when I lean in, all the little speckles of yellow, blue, and purple stand out! Feels like magic.

  • mary anne garland says:

    When I opened your post on Friday, the first image that loaded was tree tops and my first thought was this is pencil but the strokes are the same as her brush! It’s the same hand seeing the same forms, coming from the same reference point. But it’s pencil, not even watercolor pencil! How can this be? And then as I looked further down the post, all I could think was, “This is genius, but how is she doing it?” There’s no water to create that pigment magic. There’s no twist of the brush to keep the work loose and moving. And how can you feel the edges with only a hard point? Well, it looks like you are conquering that too. This is impressive work because it further demonstrates the validity of the fundamentals you teach and their adaptability to other mediums. I love the way you have created so much texture and depth in these pieces. I want to enter the frame and explore the landscape. Very, very, nice. Thank you for such a wonderful lesson.

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