Sketch The Cake Workshop with Rockdale Council

July 23, 2014 | 2 Comments

While on the subject of tea … (when I am ever not on that subject?) … I am finally getting around to sharing with you all about a workshop I taught in April for Rockdale Council as part of their Arts Festival 2014.

It was called ‘Sketch the Cake’ and was held in the lovely Vanilla Cupcakery in Kingsgrove which has a reputation for amazing cupcakes – and rightly so!

Because it was a one-off workshop we decided that watercolour pencils (WCPs) would be the best option. This is my test page working out which minimum colours I would need based on the anticipated cake selection of the high tea.

All these colours are part of my set of WCPs that form my daily sketching kit (click here for details of the full set)

Sketching during a high tea is a fairly ‘full-on’ experience. There is so much food to eat and sketch – some of it is hot and you don’t want to eat it cold…so it does involve a little bit of strategy. My standard approach is not to sketch the teapot and cups till later!

One of the great advantages of being a teacher during a high tea is that I could stage the arrival of food to suit the sketching – this meant that I was ready to sketch the hot things first.

The format of the afternoon was that I did a very quick demo of every item of food as it arrived first.


Here are my demo pages from the afternoon which I notated in ‘journal’ style at the end of the day…something that I always try to do.

They are not necessarily finished works but more examples to explain my approach. Some of the sketches are just WCP, and some involve watercolour paint (as much as I love WCPs I can’t live without paint and water!)

The surprising thing, when I look back at the sketches from the day, is that I didn’t draw my cup at all! I think the focus was on the food for my demos.

A special thanks to Rockdale Council for the invitation to teach this workshop and to Amanda Hurst for her organisation and these lovely photos. Don’t you just love photos like this one? – tea, cake and art tools and sketchbooks all on the one table top – fun!

Just for the record I didn’t get to each much as I was constantly checking on everyone and giving direction.


But I did have some ‘takeaways’ which I painted in the evening

Now… not all my workshops are based around drinking tea and eating scones! But this year there has been a lot of that. And my week in Sketchbook Skool is coming up soon… and yes, more teacup and teaparties in the near future.

I know that many of you, my loyal readers, would love to join me for a class one day(and I would love that too!) I have been spending a lot of time in the last 12 months trying to work out a way that I could run my own online classes. Anyway – in the last few months I have finally developed a format that I am REALLY excited about – it is a concept for an online class that suits the way I teach and the way I like to work and sketch out on location. I am in the final stages of planning it for the end of the year!

I will be announcing more details in the next few weeks but the best way to stay up to date with the latest news is to subscribe to my mailing list. I am hanging out to share more with you about it all!

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