From island to classroom


This week was bookended by attending two different art groups. Monday, I joined the travel-sketching crowd at an end-of-year sketching day on nearby Waiheke Island, just a 30-minute ferry ride from my home. On arrival at Matiatia wharf we were to find a spot to sit and sketch until the bus arrived. It would take us to Casita Miro, a fabulous Spanish winery and cafe.

Matiatia sketch

Looking out from Matiatia

You can tell I still had clouds in my mind while sketching near the wharf, as I’ve left out all the yachts moored in the bay! The weather was so changeable; sunny one minute then dark cloud the next.  The wind and rain finally chased us into the ferry terminal, where we looked for more to sketch. I changed medium a little by brushing water through the ink, and by adding a little blue. A simple sketch, that’s for sure.

ferry bldg

Towards the end of the peninsula

Casita Miro was the most fabulous place. The owner held a penchant for Gaudi-style mosaics and had created walls similar to those at Parc Guell in Barcelona. It’s an on-going project for sure.

mosaic Casita Miro

The weather had turned sour, but once the door opened on the spacious Casita Miro, the mood of the group was ecstatic. Not just because of the fine wines we drank, or the tapas, which were delicious.

apres lunch

Keen sketchers

I had never been with a group of sketchers who just could not stop drawing. Tony, the tutor, encouraged the group to move around and sketch what they wanted after lunch. Many of the group were reasonably new to sketching, and all did well to work in public as they did. Again, this is encouraged by the tutor, as we all hope to take what we’ve learned to the experience of travelling with our sketch books and capturing in pen and watercolour the variety of sights and scenes, whether around the barbecue at Christmas or holidaying overseas. Some are looking forward to sketch trips in Spain and Sri Lanka next year and if that isn’t enough to inspire one to sketch their hearts’ out, I don’t know what is.

class images

The day’s efforts

Come Friday, I was asked to join a life-drawing session at the local community centre. I said thanks, and yes I’d love to, as I hadn’t sketched figures in a while. I popped A2 paper in my art folder that morning, and walked the short distance from home to the class.  I decided to try a variety of drawing mediums for a change; coloured chalk pastels, charcoal, and pen and ink. For one pose I used coloured pastels on manila paper. Lucy, the tutor, had suggested we chose a section of the form, and do a ‘close-up’ view; make it more abstract, as it were.

pastel nude

colour pastels

One work I threw away, as I tried to use too many mediums at once and ended up with a mess.

different bits


For another, a mélange of body parts, I did three (very) quick pen sketches and added charcoal, rubbing it with my fingers onto the paper.

face pen and charcoal









For the final sketch, in charcoal, I focussed on the model’s face and shoulder which I juxtaposed against the earlier unfinished outline of her body.



It was an enjoyable end to a very pleasant week, filled with fun, laughter and sketching. May there be many more like this. Next week’s post probably won’t feature art, but I will take the opportunity to reflect on my first year of blogging on Artistry. See you next week.

2 thoughts on “From island to classroom

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