From my sketchbook: tea cups

I could never quite get art journaling.  Seemed like a lot of work and I couldn’t work out for why.  How ignorant am I?!

Then I came across sketcher extraordinaire on Instagram, Liz Steel, and the idea of utilising my sketchbook to capture my every day, even the innocuous, really made sense to me – a quick loose sketch of whatever is in front of me, plus some words about what was going on, what materials I used, is really working for me.  Alright, I don’t do it every day, but already it’s nice to look back since Christmas and see my day to day in pictures.

Liz Steel’s sketches are inspiring – every morning she goes to a coffee shop and sketches her coffee and tea – her collection of teacup sketches are stunning.  If I hadn’t seen her sketches there’s no way I would have attempted sketching an oldy woldy china tea cup.

So actually I feel like a bit of a cheater as she’s done all the hard work for me really, solving all the problems I know I would have struggled with, like the edges on a dainty tea cup.  But sometimes in life you have to be shown, then you can apply the solution to a variety of situations.  Another tool in your kit.




It’s been a good week…

Week one - Jan 16

Top from left:  | Annie, 5 min pose, pen & watercolour | Tracy, 5 min pose, pen and wash |Tracy, 5 min pose, vine charcoal | My friends dog!  Class mascot |


…the highlight of which was going to life drawing class for the first time in months and catching up with a new friend and her dog.  Plus everyone else there is really friendly.

Crikey my eyes have been so tired since, from all the squinting.  We did about 7 sketches of various lengths over a couple of hours.  I’m still recovering!

I sat down at the computer about 2 hours ago to write a post about an abstract piece I just did.  Three different cameras and lots of bad photos.  Somehow I managed to edit it so the colours were true but now I’m so tired I can’t remember what I wanted to say, so this is short n sweet.

Why beaches are best in winter


For a start, we can take our dog.  Gawd bless him, we love him. The bad news is everyone else takes theirs too.  Which our dog loves.  But sometimes you just want a tiny corner of the world to yourself for a minute.

Also, obviously people on the beach in summer are just littering it.  Not with actual litter I mean, though they do, I mean littering it with their bodies draped all over the place.  No walking to be had, especially when the tide comes in and there’s less sand.

No, there’s something very basic about wearing every woolly you own, your thickest coat, socks, gloves and hat and striding along the waters edge as the sun goes down on a winters day.


Urban sketching


Whilst I use a sketchbook (in fact, I have several in various states of use), these have mostly been for planning paintings, so thumbnail notans, compositions, etc, with the occasional sketch of my foot, or the lamp next to the TV.

One of the things that has established regular sketching for me is carrying around a smaller sketchbook ( I have a couple, both Moleskines, one for just sketching, the other can handle watercolours or pen and wash) and discarding the pencil and using pen.

In fact, I’m surprised, given how permanent a pen mark is (compared to a pencil) how liberating is it!  First off, I like the feel of how the ink flows on the page (fulfilling a sensory need is one of the reasons I paint), and actually I so enjoy it that I’m not (too) bothered about accuracy.

The other thing is that pens, a brush pen and a sketchbook are so portable and to hand, even indoors, and I’ve found huge inspiration from the fabulous Liz Steel, and Australian urban sketcher.

What’s great is that I’ve found of way of keeping a diary that I like – a combination of my sketchbook and this blog.  Some of the sketches will probably be worked up into finished oil paintings, but others definitely won’t.

Another plus is that whilst I’ve been known to paint plein air landscapes in my local area, I feel somewhat intimidated doing this in my local town with all the oil painting kit outside Starbucks!  Urban sketching will help me get my eye in and work up to that I hope.