Sketching Architecture on location again

October 22, 2021 | 10 Comments

Yesterday I went out specifically to sketch a complex church as part of the week 2 assignment for my SketchingNow Buildings course. It felt so good to be out sketching buildings again and 4 months to the day since I last officially did that (my second JimmyB sketching day in June).

Even though I’ve been doing a lot of sketching lately, this felt different. And I couldn’t help thinking about why.

There are three kinds of sketching that I’ve been doing lately and each impacted my sketching yesterday:

  1. Doing small quick thumbnails (in my Greenwood) means that I’ve been doing lots of rapid lines capturing the main volumes.
  2. Sketching buildings (Palladian buildings in particular) from photos has given me an increased focus on accuracy especially in regard to perspective
  3. Daily bush/trees sketches have encouraged lots of free and loose marks.

So yesterday I definitely felt freer and looser when sketching St Johns Uniting Church in Wahroonga. I’m not sure how visible this is to you, but it was definitely a feeling I had while I was working.

It also felt different to be seeing perspective on location. Working from photos does help train some new skills, but there is no substitute for sketching on location.

I had parked my car in a 1-hour spot so I was happy to complete these three sketches in that time (with a few final details and sky added once I got home).


  1. I’m trying a few new things in order to achieve perspective that’s convincing but not too technical. For those of you who are doing the Buildings Group Run-through, I showed this in the constructing volumes sketch of the Manly church in Livestream 1 this week.
  2. I did no sight measuring today (next time I hope to do a little).
  3. The times recorded are simply for my own record. Do I need to insert here my usual disclaimer about my fast natural pace and my belief that many sketchers (especially beginners) should slow down? 🙂
  4. I’m still using (and absolutely loving) my Art Toolkit Folio palette and today I used for the first time a new simpler and larger black support board. (More about that soon!)

I’m looking forward to sketching more architecture in my LGA in the coming weeks as we go through the Buildings course. Even though we no longer have the 5km limit, I’m super keen to continue exploring and getting to know my local area. This means less driving time too!

BTW 1: I’m back to Alpha again and have quite a lot of sketchbook pages from my Gamma book to catch up on. I’ll share those on Monday – so stay tuned for that!
BTW2: It’s not too late to join the Buildings Group Run-through – although it soon will be. 🙂 I don’t expect to offer another Group Run-through of this course until 2023. Find out more here.


  • Jamie C says:

    I’m loving the brown ink for the churches. It seems to add an extra quality to the stone look of them! I was out yesterday to sketch a church, for the Buildings class, too! I can see how your bush sketches and Palladio sketches have really influenced these. I love how the learning and the growing never ends in painting and sketching!

  • Beverley Clark White says:

    yes, Liz, I noticed the black support board!!! can’t wait to see how you configured it!!!

  • Annette Huppatz says:

    I had to go to the women’s Hospital in Randwick on Thursday and drove past a couple of really cool old buildings and wished I had my paints with me. I wondered whether you would be out sketching it was a lovely day.
    Looks like you took full advantage of the georgeous weather.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Annette – yes, such lovely weather at the moment … I’m trying to make the most of it. Glad you saw some nice buildings and hope you can sketch them soon! 🙂

  • Maria Bergman says:

    You’re an inspiration. I learn so much just looking at your sketches and of course from your classes. I was inspired to ‘just let it rip’ after looking at these. The result has me feeling I’m getting closer to letting go of my cramped detail compulsion. I don’t want tp declare victory quite yet but getting closer to the feel I want.
    Using the sepia ink and a M nib on my platinum desk pen. Gratified by the almost scratchy feed back. Going to try a M nib on my lamy.

  • Beverley Clark White says:

    hello, Liz, I have a sort-a personal question: when you write down you daily readings, are they from any particular scheduled readings (from a Missal or some sort of religious book) or are they just various Bible readings that you pick from the Bible???

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Beverley
      Thanks for asking….I’m reading through the bible in a year using a fun programme that has a different type each day of the week.
      Sunday-Epistles, Monday- Law, Tuesday- history Wednesday-psalms Thursday-poetry Friday-prophets and Saturday-Gospels
      So it looks random but it’s not!

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