Recent teacups and teapots with associated thoughts

March 2, 2022 | 4 Comments

As I mentioned in my monthly newsletter that went out last night, sketching is a great thing to do with my hands while I’m processing thoughts in my head. And I’ve been doing that a bit lately!

In recent months I’ve started doing cross-stitch again and it’s also a great hand activity to do while thinking, but it doesn’t encode my thoughts the way that sketching does.

In a special way, my lines and brush strokes seem to record what I’m thinking at the time and years later when looking at the sketch these thoughts will be recalled. Sometimes the sketching is simply a reflex action (I’m not thinking about what’s happening on the page at all)  and other times by focusing on my eye and hand coordination, my thinking can become clearer.

This first teacup was done shortly after receiving the news that a special man from my church had passed away. He was a dear friend of my parents since 1961 (hence my choice of the 1960s cup from my Royal Albert 100 years set) and a big part of my whole life. As I was painting I relived many lovely memories!

This teapot (I think it’s the fanciest and most difficult to sketch in my whole collection) was painted during a catchup call with Suhita immediately after the funeral a few days later. This was truly a reflex sketch as I was in conversation with Suhita at the time as well as having background thoughts about the funeral and all the people I met there. I’ve been putting off sketching this teapot for weeks due to its complexity so it was fun to do this version while not thinking about it at all! Note:  There is no special significance in using this teapot on this occasion – it was just the pot I have chosen to use on that day.

Last Saturday… a pink teapot that I happened to be using on the day. While doing this sketch I was thinking about the situation in Ukraine and feeling very sad for the lives in danger (or already lost) and the people living in fear. I was also processing an influx of information as I started to do some research into the complex history of the region.

And then today I was thinking about the terrible floods here in Australia. Both of my parents grew up on dairy farms and have told me stories about the big floods they lived through, so I chose a cup that belonged to my Aunt for my afternoon cuppa.

Four pretty tea-related sketches that are connected (both now and in the future) with serious thoughts about recent events at a personal, national and global scale.

Do you have a similar connection with your sketches?


  • Martine says:

    What a wonderful article, so special to read about how your sketching and processing events are intertwined. For me, I cannot think about anything else when sketching. I think that has to do with not being skilled enough 😉 I do like how sketching keeps me from worrying and keeps me relaxed. I absolutely love the pink teapot by the way. I hope you and your family are safe from floods.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Martine – “I do like how sketching keeps me from worrying and keeps me relaxed” I totally agree with that and yes, my pink teapot is very nice!

  • Kimberly Ester says:

    I think it’s a wonderful thing that our sketches can be tied with our emotions and to what is going on at the time that we were creating them. I find it similar to how I experience certain music. Recently, I have tried to direct strong emotions: for example anger, into making art, as a way to transform the emotion. I love your sketches, they look so joyful, and appreciate them even more knowing the background that you shared.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Kimberly – hope you are doing well. I find that the sketchbooks that I filled when I was really stressed at work (back in my architect’s days) are really hard to look at now. They were important as an outlet at the time, but contain so much emotion that looking at my sketches from back then brings it all back. Hope your art is helping your strong emotions!

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