My daily sketches last week

July 7, 2014 | 14 Comments

I feel like last week was a big blogging week (with the moleskine review, Sketchbook Skool video and tasmania sketchbook and a few days out in the Rocks including USK SYD event) but I didn’t actually post any of my daily sketches…was I doing any?
YES! of course!


I am starting this post with a teacup sketch – how surprising! (the only home one that I did last week) I had a lot of fun doing this one and think it summarises a lot of what I have been trying to do with my work in the last 18 months or so.

I know that some of you prefer my old style – ink first and then watercolour wash… and then some of you like my crazy mixing up of line and colour, or inkless. But the big thing for me is that the creative juices are pumping and the work is flowing out of me… AND my work is always progressing and experimental.  I still LOVE using my lamy pen (with DeAtramentis ink) but I do find that my painting is more interesting if I don’t do all my ink lines first. There is a tendency for a ‘colouring book’ approach when one does ink and wash and ultimately the aspect that is most important to me is improving my painting. I think that these days, watercolour paint is more important to me than my ink lines (ah ha! the painter vs the architect tension strikes again!)

This particular sketch is a bit of a hybrid and I had a lot of fun doing it. Some ink then some paint (or was it the other way around- who knows?) a number of out of control moments… and just fun the whole time.

Ok… here is my week in full with a few journally type comments


1. Earlier in the week I was home and working hard and just found single objects to sketch…so separate pages. (I get a little bored during single objects)
2. I did the diagram for this post in my book and then let the page evolve over two days. The cup of tea sketch was prompted by the fact that I put one of my Royal Albert cups away and then another one jumped out at me and said ‘draw me’. And BTW I do not normally have my cups out on display like I did for that sketchbook skool video – my studio is normally a lot more lived in as well
3. A day in the Rocks preparing for the USK SYD event (getting those cups sorted) and  my upcoming workshop. The only chances I got to sketch to record my outing were during lunch and a 5 minute sketch on the back of my work notes from the train. Half hearted attempts …but there is something about sketching that helps me focus my thoughts. So while I was sketching my lentil soup I was thinking about my workshop content
4. I can get frustrated if I don’t get to sketch for myself on an outing day… so instead of waiting 5 minutes at Wynard station(underground) for my train I jumped on an earlier one and got out at Milsons Point and sketched the view (rapidly!) On Friday, I wrote my daily reading notes and then decided I liked the white space (one of the great things about using S&B Alpha books is that there are so many pages that a few generous white spaces have no guilt attached = guilt for ‘wasting’ expensive paper space)
5. I find the days I do have time to sketch (the ones I am working at home all day) I sometimes struggle to find a worthy (meaningful) subject that is unique to record the day…other days I have too many things to draw and don’t get the chance. So on Saturday despite being tired (exhausted) I thought it would be good to sketch a combination page of a number of new things in my life from the week.

A few extra comments on the individual pages:


Sketching food is good to make me accountable… I would like to go into full sketching diet mode but don’t really have the time at the moment…so ‘just when I feel in danger?’
Some foods are hard to do (well hard to get looking like what they are) in my quick slap-dash approach – but hey – the whole point is to have fun playing with paint and I sure did that with this one. I get very excited by what Transparent Red Oxide decides to do on its own on the page.


There is/was a big Urban Sketching event in Penang this weekend and seeing all the build up to it was a good reminder to me of the very special tea I got in Georgetown in December. It is green puer tea in a teacake (is that the right term)
This is another type of object that I find challenging to do in a fast way… this wasn’t quite so fast but I was trying different tools- wax pencils, oil pastel, watercolour, pencil over the top


Close of up on lentil soup from the Fine Food Store in The Rocks…
Very rushed and loosing my control of the water but hey….it is all about getting the hand moving and the paint flowing and the creative brain ticking….


View of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the platform of Milson’s Point train station.
The linework was done in under 5 minutes and then the paint added on the train (with a waterbrush). It is very handy that one can see the train crossing the bridge – you know exactly how much time you have.
Filling a sketchbook with moments from your life is all about seizing those small opportunities (and a little bit of Cobalt Turquoise Light always makes me smile!)


There is absolutely no need for you all to know what those bottles of ink are (some of you already know) or why I have them… but I was trying to preserve a lot of white when I sketched them. (Is it just too rude and tempting for me to post a sketch of an art supply and not reveal all???)
Been wanting to try a Fabriano Venezia sketchbook for a long time and when I saw one on the counter at the Art Scene the other day ) I decided to get it. You can see that I am not a ‘draw every brick’ type of girl… I am always asking myself how FEW bricks can I sketch and still create the impression of the whole. I really should have gotten up and found a small flat brush to use… oh well!

And finally… last week I  kept coming across bloglovin’ and have joined up – is anyone out there using it? I have to say that it is a beautiful looking platform. I know a lot of the online art world seems to have moved to Facebook… but I am still fully committed to blogs – in fact I am even more focused on my blog at the moment….FB is great for chats but for real content blogs win any day in my opinion. (and hey- thanks again for hanging out with me here!)
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14 Comments

  • Caroline says:

    Please tell us what you think of the Venezia book when you have a chance. I've wondered before if you've tried one. Danny Gregory seems to be a fan.

  • Diana says:

    Hi Liz- Thank you so very much for sticking with the blog. I too use FB for just keeping up with the family and some friends – sort of just a quick scan to see if anything momentous has happened. But when I want to see real art and get pertinent information on techniques, supplies, etc. or just to relax and be inspired, I go to blogs. I'll have to check out BlogLovin'. I've seen it in various places but never stopped to investigate. I too like to see what you've written on your pages and enjoy the bits from the bible. On the really crazy days, when there isn't time for anything else, I give myself the time to read your blog. It is my favorite by far. Keep up the great work!

  • Liz Steel says:

    thanks Susan… yes big on blogs at the moment… and going to get more serious!!!!
    Yes- I am experimenting with the best way to include my images when I work across the spread for a landscape book. I am happy at the size and look of those in this post. I am so glad you like reading my notes(sometimes a little crazy) and especially the verses I read… the most important part of my day! This blog is about my art… but the foundation of who I am is found in the words that I start my day with (don't always write them down but always start my day with them)

  • Liz Steel says:

    thank you Trish – so lovely to have you follow my blog AND more important to share my scripture readings as well – that is truly special!

  • Liz Steel says:

    thanks! My ricotta spinach cake was sadly a little cold by the time that I got to eat it!!!!

  • Liz Steel says:

    HI Tina! Yes- blogging is the best! the best way to really create a narrative about your work and a usable way to share!

  • Liz Steel says:

    I certainly will let you know. It is one of the strange thing that I haven't ever seen one to buy when it was convenient. I had to laugh at what Danny said the very week I finally bought one!

  • SusanA says:

    I, too, am glad to hear you're committed to your blog over FB. I am not a FB fan and have not joined. It's disheartening to know that so many artists are using FB instead of telling stories about their art on their blogs, as MiataGrrl said. I would miss your stories, Liz!

    Btw, I like when you post enlarged images of your sketchbook pages. I like to read your comments and the verses you include.

  • Trish says:

    Discovered your blog yesterday and am enchanted by your work! I too, love your tea cups, they are so divine. It is uplifting to see that you include scriptures in your sketchbooks. Looking forward to visiting your blog often. Thank you.

  • Absolutely wonderful sketches, Liz. I always love seeing the wide variety of tea cups you sketch; they are always beautiful to my eyes. Also, thought I'd share with you that I am now in dire need of ricotta spinach quiche!

  • MiataGrrl says:

    I'm so happy to hear you are still committed to blogging! FB is fine for chit-chat, but you can't find anything there that was posted more than a day prior, and I've been disappointed that some USk groups are using FB instead of telling stories about their sketches on a blog. Keep on blogging, Liz, and I'll keep reading! 🙂 I've been happily using Bloglovin for quite some time — my favorite blog reader, by far. See you in Paraty!!

    – Tina

  • JOAN says:

    I've been following your blog for some time now…my goodness you are one prolific sketcher!!! I can't wait for your segment of Sketchbook Skool !!! I hope you don't go to FB, I'm not a fan only use it for family photo posting. I thoroughly enjoy the blogs I follow like friends…

  • Liz Steel says:

    thank you Diana for your kind words – and especially that you enjoy sharing in my Bible readings for the day- I think that is very special.
    Totally agree with you on blogs over FB

  • Liz Steel says:

    thank you Joan… I am trying to make a living out of my art so sketching is important.
    Looking forward to seeing you in klass somehow and will definitely be active in the klassroom as a priority over FB

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