Simplifying and Experimenting

June 14, 2024 | 11 Comments

Here is a quick sketch (completed in 10 minutes) that I did the other day in The Rocks area of Sydney.

There is a lot going on in this scene, but I simplified it into a few elements and then experimented with using different media for each.

I’m starting to enjoy using a waterbrush and small palette because even though it’s much harder to get nice washes with lots of watercolour magic and the lack of mixing wells is a bit of a pain, I’m loving the freedom of a smaller kit.

And I’m enjoying combining these ‘waterbrush washes’ (this is how I think about my current watercolour work) with ink and watercolour pencil.

I was using some of the techniques from my Watercolour On Location course. (gentle reminder: the group event for this course starts next week – 19 June 2024. See more here.)


  • Ginie Udy says:

    All signed up for WOL. Can’t wait to start! This sketch is delightful Liz!

    • Patricia Wafer says:

      I had planned not to do any courses until fall but the WOL course fits right in with what I want to concentrate on this summer and since Ginie signed up I decided I would too! What I really want to concentrate on this summer is simplifying and minimizing. I tend to do just the opposite and throw in everything but the kitchen sink! And I think this looks like a good course to help me with that. I’m especially interested in the use of white paper and not covering every bit of paper up with paint. And it being summer in the northern hemisphere I can get outside some part of everyday and have lots of opportunities for taking day trips and a few short ones to sketch a variety of subjects. And today I will put together a small kit with my tiny palette and a water brush to keep in the car as so many times I wish I had my Sketchbook and paints with me for something I see that would be a good quick sketch. Another important thing I have noticed is that I do more work and learn more when I’m in a class that gives me some structure. So I I’m quite sure WOL is a great plan to keep on track with learning this summer.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Ginie and yay! that you are joining WOL!

  • Lois Courtright says:

    Great inspiration to just go for it!

    Thank you, Liz!

  • Judy Sopher says:

    Really love this painting. The various lines are great and the simplified subjects. I have been trying to combine the same media ever since I went thru your course on teacups. But now doing the 30 paintings in 30 days with Direct watercolor. Fun but anxious to get back to drawing again.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Judy – I love watercolour but there is something special about combining it with line in unexpected ways!

  • Alan Wells says:

    I love my water brush it lets me carry all I need in my pocket to paint small sketches. I make small pallets using half pans to paint with. I have two sizes both made from Altoid boxes. Using two ballpoint pens one being permanent and the other watersouldable I am able to sketch and paint anywhere any time without a problem. The whole set up weights less than 6 ounces.

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