Sketching in the rain (USK Sydney meet)

February 8, 2021 | 6 Comments

On Saturday I was very happy to attend the monthly meet of Urban Sketchers Sydney at Woolwich Dock. For various reasons I’ve not been able to attend any of the meets since March last year, so the forecast of rain didn’t bother me in the least.

I arrived early to do a warmup sketch of Cockatoo Island (it started to rain slightly while I was working) and I had earlier done a quick continuous line drawing in Chatswood while waiting for my passenger.

Once the meet officially started I walked down to the dock and settled in for a few sketches. It was so lovely to be out with a big gang of sketchers (our current restrictions mean that we can have 50 people at outdoor gatherings) and it was very peaceful sitting here and sketching together.

My first sketch was a ‘kitchen sink’ version – drawing everything in sight even though I wasn’t fully committed to it. This type of sketch is always good for helping me work out what really interests me. Note: This was the only sketch of the morning that wasn’t rained on.

And then I decided to zoom in on a few of the buildings as I really liked the way the shapes interlocked. Before I started this sketch I realised that I needed to slightly move position so that the side of the big building wasn’t as dominant.

I was enjoying working on this sketch but then it started to rain again! I like the way it was looking at the time (a more open sketch with lots of white space) so I left it as it was..

I wandered back up the hill and found a comfy bench in the Goat Paddock. It had a lovely view but the rain was still falling and I decided to let some of it land on my page. However the wetness got a little out of hand! Note: If you want a little texture you really have to limit the amount that falls on the page – a little bit of rain is all that’s needed. A decidedly crazy page but it was fun to do.

I know this area quite well (I had a big day of filming here in 2019 as part of Watercolour On Location – see here) but somehow didn’t realise that this was a perfect spot to sit and sketch. I definitely want to come back and sketch it ‘properly’.

It was a lovely morning and it was so wonderful to see some of the local sketching gang again.



  • Kimberly Ester says:

    How wonderful that you had the chance to go out with your local gang of sketchers. I really enjoy hearing about your outing. In terms of your sketches I especially like your kitchen sink sketch. The odd shape of the building stepping back and the overall atmosphere attract me.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Kimberly! I wasn’t super happen with my kitchen sink sketch at the time so I stopped it early and added a few more darks back home.

  • Sharon Middlehurst says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your outing. It is -28c with a wind chill of -45c here. We are only allowed to mingle with members of our household right now so no group events. Your world looks so normal please keep showing us your beautiful work.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Wow Sharon – I can not even imagine those temps! And yes, our lives are almost normal these days – which I never take for granted. Stay safe and warm!

  • Cathy Ramsey says:

    Thanks for sharing, Liz, these are wonderful! (I envy you Sydney sketchers all that water and those harbor scenes. It’s also fun to see the sketchers socially distanced and absorbed in their work. ) Nice to revisit the WCoL scenes. And the rain makes such interesting effects! So glad you had a fun day; I am very much enjoying your beautiful art and frequent blog posts these days, they keep me inspired.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Cathy. Yes I love a bit of rain! As for social distancing… I think that happened naturally with urban sketchers even before COVID times! Ha! Social but distanced is the nature of the activity. 🙂

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