USK Sydney meet at Cockatoo Island in crazy weather

February 7, 2022 | 2 Comments

It was really special to attend an Urban Sketchers Sydney meet on Saturday at Cockatoo Island. Despite the large group (over 40 people?)  and the crazy weather, I managed to do a lot of sketching! These are the sketches that I did between 8:30am to 12:30pm and all but the last spread had rain on the pages at one point! Click on the image to view it larger.

It was one of those days when it was sunny one minute and then the next it was pouring with rain. Rather than finding a single well-covered spot to sit for the duration of the sketchmeet, I decided to move about whenever it wasn’t rainy! So in a way, my sketches capture the character of the crazy weather that day.

As regular readers of my blog you all know that I have a natural fast pace… so please don’t compare my output with what you would achieve in the same timeframe. I was a little surprised at the end of the session to realise that I had done so much. I  decided to go up to the top part of the island and the rest of the group stayed in the industrial precinct… so I did most of these sketches solo. Sometimes all I end up doing is talking for most of the meet and only sitting down to sketch in the last 30 minutes, so it was a nice change to be so productive!

It was also a really fun challenge to work around the spiral binding of this book…. some pages work better than others (ie. the spiral really got in the way when I was sketching The Beam Benders).

Once home I added notes, heading, a map and a sky to finish off these pages. But I hope that you can see in the image above, how much design thinking went into the placement of the sketches at the time. 🙂

So here are the final pages… with one more that I did while I was waiting for the ferry!


This sketch was done while drinking a coffee and keeping an eye on the rain crossing the harbour. I managed to get this sketch completed before the downpour hit… and the sky was added later once I had decided how I wanted to finish off the page.

I totally miscalculated the placement of this sketch and so the second Beam Bender landed in the middle of the spiral and completely ruined any hope for accuracy! Ha! but I still had a lot of fun doing this sketch. BTW using this particular sketchbook (7×10 Alpha) is not going to become a favourite, even though it has been fun to use.

The Drawing Office from a little dry spot which turned out not to be so dry! Notice the rain spots in my washes.
At this point I decided I wanted another coffee but it took me three sketches in between downpours before I made it to the cafe!
On the left: trying to be super loose and didn’t quite achieve what I wanted. On the right: I got a really nice spattering of raindrops on this page mid-sketch which was really nice to paint into.

Quick line drawing while waiting for another shower to pass and a map drawn later.

View from the cafe… ah! blue sky and sunny day now!

Final sketch doing a little measuring for Foundations Lesson 5. If you are part of the Group Run-through I will talk about this sketch in this week’s livestream.

It was so wonderful to see some of the USK Sydney gang again and have a really fun sketching session. Did you get out and do any sketching this weekend?


  • I love these fast and loose sketches which give such a great feeling of Being There! I was thinking “What are Beam Benders…?”. What a fantastic subject. Also a good name for a 60’s psychedelic rock band ?

  • Jamie C says:

    How fun to sketch into raindrops on your page! As long as it’s not too cold, of course! Great outing and lovely sketches.

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