Researching Warragamba Dam

March 22, 2021 | 9 Comments

We’re currently experiencing torrential rain and this has led to horrific flooding throughout NSW and western Sydney. I’m okay but feel very sad about the devastation many people are experiencing at the moment.

Our big dam – Warragamba Dam – has started spilling incredible amounts of water (the volume of Sydney Harbour per day), making the situation worse. So I thought I would do a little research to find out how the dam works. I have a few vague memories from a school excursion there many years ago so it was fun to do these few quick sketches this afternoon. I used some non-flooding day photos as references so that it was ‘easier’ to draw the structure and gates.

I’ve started to use my new Aquarius palette (set up on Friday – more here) and for some reason I started using a Rosemary & Co synthetic flat brush (R20). I’m also finishing up the 8.5 x 5.5″ softcover Alpha which I used for OneWeek100people and this is just too small for me to feel comfortable. Normally I only try to adjust 1 variable at a time – not three! So for my third sketch (the top one in this article), I went back to my beloved dagger and 8×10 sketchbook! Note: I had a few pages left in my previous sketchbook that I could use for this third sketch.

Anyway, this was a fun challenge and Warragamba Dam is definitely the most complex structure I have sketched in a long time!


  • maria schnabel says:

    Good of you to turn this adversity into an opportunity to research a structure and sketch it beautifully. Sorry about the floods. Hope you continue to stay well.

  • Barbara McCafferty Weeks says:

    Using adversity to learn is an example for sketching and life! Thanks for the insight!

  • Heidi Smith says:

    Glad to hear you’re safe from the flooding liz. I lived at Silverdale near warragamba dam in the early 70’s as a youngster and can vaguely remember several visits to the dam. It was still mostly bush then! Mum remembers that we could hear the lions at the lion park near the dam sometimes.

  • David Campbell says:

    The stories we’ve gotten are heart wrenching. Relieved to know you are well. Hope things are better soon for you all

  • Letizia Farisato says:

    I read the news and immediately thought of you. Glad to know you’re well. I’m very sorry for the floods, I wish you all that things get better soon.

  • Nicole Müller says:

    So sorry, Liz, to hear the terrible news. Saw the pictures of the flood in the News. I pray for you and your country. Stay safe and help god, that the humans awake and protect their one and only earth.

  • Jamie C says:

    I’m so relieved you are safe! Those floods are terrible! Sketching the dam is a great idea!

  • Gretchen Flesher says:

    I’m very glad to hear you are safe and doing OK. Thanks for letting us know and the great sketches that are so relevant to the event.

  • pier says:

    Happy to hear that you’re safe and made this into an opportunity to study. Where i live we were hit by some devastating snow storms that was also an opportunity to study (on candle light some times :D). Anyway me and my friend made a great course for the price of a couple of brushes if anyone is interested in improving their drawing skills check it out!
    That’s a nice series! Started drawing during the pandemic and now i got an invite to gallery myself, but the restrictions came and is postponed >.< . Anyways if someone is interested in learning to draw in this difficult times my friend made a highly recommended course for the price of a couple of brushes!

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