SketchingNow Adventure: Petersham

September 2, 2015 | Leave your thoughts


A week ago I resumed my SketchingNow adventures that are associated with my online courses. The idea behind these outings is to get away from my computer, to explore new parts of my city and also to provide an opportunity to create new sketches based on what we are doing that week in my course. You can read about the adventures I had during my Foundations course here.


So this time I headed for Petersham – an inner west suburb about 6km from the CBD (central business district or downtown). The main reason for choosing this location was that I was longing for a Portuguese custard tart – a result of hanging out with a few Lisbon Urban Sketchers during the symposium. Is that a good enough reason???

So after finding a carpark (not easy!) I headed straight to the Sweet Belem cafe for a coffee and one of their Belem Tarts (pasteis de nata). I quickly sketched it before deciding that I needed another one, with a cup of tea – of course!


While I was at the cafe, I used the opportunity to draw my map of the area so I got a better feel for the lay of the land.


It is just as well I did the map then, as I haven’t had time to do more than add a few notes afterwards.


The main street is New Canterbury Road with lots of character.


Petersham has a strong Portuguese community and there are numerous shops that I would love to visit and sketch, but I didn’t have much time on my parking meter. This tiled wall gave me a Lisbon feeling though! Have I mentioned how much I loved visiting Lisbon and how much I would love to return there one day. If you want to get really distracted (like I just did) the link to my Lisbon sketchbook from 2011 is here.


I crossed the road to check out the newly renovated Majestic Theatre… now a gourmet grocer and cafe. It was a closed down, sad looking roller skating rink last time I was in Petersham (3 years ago) so it was a nice surprise to see it cleaned up and very slick like this.


I was looking into the sun so did a quick line sketch before resuming my walk of the streets.


Next stop was another cafe… but I didn’t go in. I just stopped opposite The Grumpy Barista and sketched it standing up, using shape first. (More about this in Edges Lesson 1!)


My time was up (the 2 hours went very quickly) so I rushed back to my car. There were so many interesting buildings, houses, street views and laneways that I would have loved to have sketched – so I will have to return soon. I often feel that my hometown is very dull after a big overseas trip so it was good to be reminded of how sketchable my city is – I just need to get out more often!


While walking down a residential street I saw this unusual site – a massive brick chimney! It is an old sewer vent built in 1909 and a real surprise to discover… well, to be honest I should say ‘remember’ since I have just realised that I sketched it before!! Anyway, it was just too interesting to walk past without pulling out my sketchbook – I just had to sketch it even though I didn’t have the time. So out came the Winsor and Newton watercolour marker…. a few lines with my brown ink sailor pen, and few strokes of the marker and it was done!


It was time for lunch so I drove over to the other side of the railway line to another cafe that I had read rave reviews about – The Pig and Pastry. Can you just imagine my excitement when my tea was brought out in this cup? Wow!! I had no idea. Talk about making my day! The tea was very nice – it was called Karavan, a mix of green and black tea with lots of floral bits – very technical description hey?


I had a lovely lunch and time with the amazing staff. Hope to be back here again soon.

Well, it wasn’t a full days adventure but I didn’t want to battle Sydney’s afternoon traffic so headed home… but all in all a great little adventure!

Where to go next week?… I have something quite different in mind, but as usual, my destination has been chosen because of a cafe!


SketchingNow Online Sketching Courses: Foundations Self Directed course start today!


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