Monthly Archives: January 2017

Lunar New Year sketching

Over 40 (perhaps up to 60) Melbourne Urban Sketchers met on a blue-skied sunny day at Queen Victoria Markets to sketch for Lunar New Year. Although the markets are busy, especially on weekends, we found spacious, shady places to sketch. 


such a wonderful sight to see sketchers all around

The Queen Victoria Markets have been operating in Melbourne for more than a century. This historic landmark is spread over two city blocks, and you can shop for everything from Australian fruit and vegetables, and local and imported gourmet foods, to cosmetics, clothing and souvenirs . A place to visit for locals and tourists ! (

There was so much to sketch, and I choose two of the mythical creatures that were between the market sheds. I used my Lamy Safari Joy ink pen and watercolour pencils. I wanted to capture the people as well as the Lunar New Year.

a group photo at 1pm

We were one of at least 25 worldwide Urban Sketching Regional Groups that were sketching for the Lunar New Year.  

and here are some roosters I sketched a while ago . For Year of the Rooster

a day trip to Woodend

On Saturday I took A day trip to Woodend with my friend Louise, Woodend is only one hour by train from Melbourne. It is a delightful town, settled in the 1800’s and transformed by the gold rush of 1851 in Bendigo and Castlemaine. Now it is a pleasing day trip combining the old and the new.  There is historic architecture, a few secondhand shops, bookshops, antique shops and lots of sidewalk cafes. 


I knew that I wanted to sketch during the day , but was not sure of the opportunities I would get.  I realise that I have not actually sketched the town of Woodend itself. This is more about my day. I will just have to return to sketch some of those beautiful historic buildings, This is what I ended up with today……

When I think about it three drawings in one day is a lot but only some of what I could have done.

See more gum leaves in 2011 Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens Sketchabout in the Gardens album (about half way down the page) 

Below are some links to blogposts about travelling journalling. Although these blog posts were written three years ago, my approach is still the same. Even for a day trip to Woodend !

AUG 2013 written in October  2012 Thoughts on creating my Travel Sketchbook and travel sketchbook journalling

OCT 2013 The practicalities of travelling with my sketchbook and pencil wrap.

Oct 2013sketchbook travel journal : the reality

enjoy !!





why I sketch what I sketch

This week I contemplated what I draw and why I have the approach that I do.

Rubbish bins under an overpass at Darling Harbour Sydney

Specifically, I was thinking about the fact that I do not have any difficulty in finding a subject to draw. To me anything is interesting. Sit me in front of anything and I will draw it. I do not concern myself with sunlight, shadow, or arranging of objects. True, sometime there will be a bit of positioning as to where to get the best point of view and a little shuffling of objects. And some scenes, buildings and objects certainly inspire me more than others.

There is beauty in the everyday .  Garbage bins or old mushrooms can be beautiful (for a short time).  When you draw, you look closely and observe details . There are many articles written about this aspect of drawing (which I can’t find right at this moment).

I think that  my approach comes from my drawing background.

I have been drawing since high school, when with my best friend, we would draw in weekends and after school. We would copy from pictures of popstars from Smash Hits (UK music) magazine.

Ah Ha 1985??

 I was not very prolific and a drawing would take ages, as I agonised over every line  (but I like to think that it taught me that the slightest change of angle to a line can alter the personality of a person on the page).

For many years after that I drew from pictures in magazines, but I began to spend more and more time looking for the ‘perfect’ picture to draw, sometimes not drawing at all. I can still remember the frustration and angst I went through in looking for a picture to draw. 

After many years of not putting pencil to paper I began again to draw again sometime in 2000? I was given a sketchbook and a challenge. To draw everyday . I think that each month had to have a different theme.

  people at a cafe

a long hospital stay filled two sketchbooks

demolition of Sydney Convention Centre


I sketched intermittently between 2004 when I moved to Sydney and then sketched regularly with Liz Steel, then other sketching friends as my sketching world broadened with Sydney Sketch Club and then Urban Sketchers. This has directed and influenced my approach to sketching and drawing. I have gravitated and embraced the Urban Sketchers movement. My sketching and drawing approach is all about drawing on location  and capturing the moment, big or small. It is also about drawing the everyday, as I drawing things around me or in my life. I draw everyday and have just started my 63rd Moleskine Watercolour sketchbook since December 2008. 

I was also influenced by the Everyday Matters (EDM) challenges were on Flickr and each week provided a new prompt for something to draw. They dominated my creative process each week as I excitedly looked forward to posting my new drawing and finding out the challenge for the next week, EDM’s  provided the path of my other ‘drawing hat’, as I took more time to finish a page over a few nights. 

So now in 2017 I carry my sketchbook around, sketching all the time, capturing the moment and also am involved in a number of projects that involve more studies drawings. I love to draw !

However this is to say there are not challenge – peoples faces are difficult to capture, I find it hard to draw from my imagination and commissions scare me ! 

Discover your own path and have fun ! 




sketching New Year purchases

On Friday night I still had not decided on what to blog about this week. I am working on a few projects and have not been sketching daily in my Moleskine Watercolour sketchbook. And then it came to me – I had a kitchen bench full of purchases I had made this week.

A few years ago, when I did not have many art projects and ventures I seemed to have sketched everything I bought or received. I do not do this regularly any more as there is just not enough time in life.

My kitchen benches had bags from stores where I had stocked up on badly needed kitchen equipment. A visiting friend had pointed out the abysmal state of my frying pan and knives (of course, I knew this but just never got around to replacing them) and I had recently broken my last remaining red wine glass.

So here are my new knives, and frypan and red wine glasses.


I arranged them on the kitchen bench (with not too much thought involved) and then started sketching the outlines in the colour of the objects. In this case it was straightforward, as the colours were grey and black and red.  I am glad that the knife was red as it adds a bit of interest to the page !

This minimal colour range meant that I later had to make choices to differentiate between the different objects and surface planes within each object.  I used four Faber Castell Watercolour Pencils colours

  • Schwarz Black
  • Payne’s Grey
  • Cool Grey IV
  • Deep Scarlet Red

and Schwarz Black coloured pencil (for fine hard black lines)

I enjoy drawing so much more than I enjoy cooking ! I love to draw food, but do not get any appreciation from cooking , or even eating some of it.

I have been scanning all of my drawings since October 2008 to my Flickr page and have put some into themed Albums. Click through the links below to see them

Sweets Cakes and Desserts 

Raw food sketches


Coffee, tea,  wine


Happy New Year

 A Happy New Year to everyone


On New Years Eve , we walked up a few blocks where we were fortunate to have a grand view of the spectacular 9.30 pm Family Fireworks. Because of summertime and daylight savings , it had only just turned dark here in Melbourne.  The street was full of people and some were having a party on the grassed median strip. The fireworks went for seven minutes .

I scribbled the outline of the silhouette of the trees (in Payne’s Grey – could not find my Schwarz Black) and evening sky (Indanthrene Blue) and lights of the sky and passing tram (Chrome Yellow) 


Later at home (still before midnight) I added water (and found my Schwarz Black) . I am really pleased with the result!

I am looking forward to many more watercolour pencil drawings and creative adventures in 2017. Wishing you all well.