Wednesday, December 12, 2018


5 Dublin Sketchers at this sketching workshop organised by SPAB (The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) at Dublin Castle's State Apartments. We seem to be everywhere!
It was lovely to meet non-Dublin sketchers who are into sketching on location too! This outing was facilitated by the OPW, and we were made to feel very welcome.

I didn't take an architectural approach for my main sketch, however. I just followed my line, wherever it went. And it made me feel happy. The resulting sketch doesn't look like much. But it reminds me of that time when it was just me and the line, nothing else.

Here is a close-up of the same sketch, where you can see that I tried to differentiate between foreground and background through the thickness of the line. But I loved every aspect of the view equally, so it was hard to give some aspects of it less detail. One thing I've been wondering lately is if being on the spectrum makes it harder for me to sketch the big picture?

After that big view, I needed to relax with something easier. A Christmas tree kindly obliged! And then I went to the Terrace Café for a Christmas ciabatta and salad, which I tried to sketch using what I'm learning from Sketching Now Edges. But I was hungry,  and the coleslaw looks more like sweet potato chips. The beetroot salad, the bacon and the bread itself worked out nicely I think! And it was all very tasty!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Life Drawing - charcoal

4 of us from Dublin Sketchers at Life Drawing last week! And a poised model, Jennifer. I tried to apply some of the shading techniques I had learned the previous week. And some measuring. The number at the bottom of the page is the duration, 1 minute, 5-10 minutes. The occasional number at the top is how many heads to the total height.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Getting the tire fixed

I wasn't even in the garage for 10 minutes, so this is as far as I got with that sketch! Given that there seems to be a never-ending supplies of nails and screws on the roads these days, no doubt I'll be back again. Hopefully I'll then get a chance to finish this sketch!

It was a weird but interesting high studded stool!

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Life Drawing - Watercolour and pens

Since we've moved from Block T, I'm finding it a bit hard to manage my watercolours and watercolour paper and sketchbooks. But this time, I decided to gear up like I do for urban sketching - coroplast board, palette and paper clipped, and water secured to the board with bluetack. That worked well for me. It would have been nice to get a chair too, but I think they were all in use, so I stood. Pretty tired by the end of the evening, but it was worth it!

Red pencil and watercolour on Moleskine watercolour

Sailor Fude and grey ink on Stillman&Birn Beta

Pencil and watercolour on rough Saunders Watford

Saturday, December 08, 2018


December isn't the best time of the year for a sketching course. First, it's a busy month. And then there's the weather. But it's self-paced so I may stretch it into Spring if I need to.

 I love the exercises where you have to test out your art supplies! And when you have to draw your food! So far, I've managed to stay indoors for the outdoor assignments. That's what windows are for!

Friday, December 07, 2018

Simon's Place

Another day, another sketch! Nothing like sketching while chatting and enjoying a cuppa and a cake.

Simon's Place is a lovely café in George Street Arcade - they are famous for their cinnamon buns, but on the day I was there, they were not available until 1pm! I had the madeleines instead (raspberry, blueberry) and I didn't regret it. It's a pity they're not open on Sundays.

My friend Emma was wearing a beautiful red jumper, but I can't add colour to this ink drawing as the ink isn't waterproof!.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Dr Sketchy

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that my 5-o'clock appointment was with Dr Sketchy. It was my first time and I loved it. Essentially it's a life drawing session, except that the models are more burlesque, and as the poses get longer, the models wear fewer and few clothes.  It's all good fun. In a cosy atmosphere. And a full bar if you want to loosen your creative demons. I drank non-alcoholic gin and tonic (the waiter knew they had it, but had trouble finding it, and when he did, it wasn't on the till system, so his manager told him to just charge me for the tonic - it was really nice - any time I go to a pub now that's what I'm going to ask for!). And I sketched for 3 hours. Heaven.

The models were fantastic - red hot Miss_Memphishell in her black lace outfit and the cheeky and voluptuous Oh Golly Miss Dolly.

As is standard in life drawing, we started with short poses to warm up.

After a few drawings with pencils (Polychromos and Inktense), I switched to a fountain pen.

I decided to start playing with the line, even if that meant I couldn't do a full sketch.

This one was a continuous line

And this one with my non-dominant hand

There were some little competitions - to win cup cakes or alcohol shots - I didn't win anything - this one, you had to come up with a cartoon caption bubble to express what one of the models was thinking.

And we moved to longer poses, fewer clothes.
Brush pen and watercolour

Fountain pen and watercolour

Red pencil and watercolour

Red pencil and watercolour, and a golden marker, useful for the tassels and tinsel!

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Temple Bar

A quiet afternoon for me with Dublin Sketchers. I'm normally very social, but this time, I found a quiet spot in a café with a view and I did my own thing. I found it very soothing.

As I had an appointment at 5pm, I didn't meet up with the gang. Instead I went to an eatery to sketch and eat a gorgeous vegan wrap with red cabbage, avocado and azuki beans.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Chinese, Korean and Japanese delicacies

I often say that I'm not that interested in food. I could eat the same thing (baked potato, coleslaw, cheese) every day and be happy. Yet, our trip in September/October was very food-focused. Well, I love Japanese food, so that's the easy bit. And my husband looooves food.

My previous experience with real Chinese food, many years ago, wasn't that great. But this time, my husband had done the research - actually now that I think of it, the Internet didn't really exist the last time we went to Hong Kong - maybe it existed, but there was certainly no broadband at home and I'm not sure Google existed, let alone TripAdvisor. I remember reading an article in a computer magazine at the time about the coolest websites and Google was one of them, and me and my husband were there 'yeah, we agree, it's so cool!' Now nobody even thinks about Google Search. It's just there. Also, Hong Kong hadn't been handed over back to China yet. God I'm getting old!!

And as for Korean food, I had never touched it, worried it might be too spicy for me. I had plenty opportunity to try it in New York, as any time we went, we stayed in a hotel very close to Little Korea, but it did not appeal to me and I always pushed for other food choices (all you can eat sushi was around the corner too, and that was hard to resist!).

So here we go, a brief overview of the weird and wonderful foods we tried.

Sea Cucumber soup
Sea Cucumber was on my 'try-before-you-die' list. Now I can say I've eaten it. Never need to do it ever again. Not much of a taste. It's an interesting texture. The two things that go against it from my perspective are 1. it doesn't look appetising - I won't say it - you just have to look at the picture below; and 2. it's really hard to grab with chopsticks!

Jellyfish (it's the one at the end)
Jellyfish, on the other hand, was delicious. On the occasion below, it was with a chilli sauce. There is a bite to it, which I didn't expect. This was in Hong Kong, but we had jellyfish again in Japan and it was delicious too.

Baby Tako Yaki
I feel bad for the baby octopus, but you can't go to Ōsaka and not eat tako yaki!

Tako Wasabi
I wonder is that the right picture, or is this Japanese jellyfish? We had both at the same meal in an izakaya. Both were yummy. Tako means octopus. And wasabi is the spicy green Japanese sauce.

Dim sums for breakfast
Sets you up for the day!

Salmon Roe (ikura, イクラ)
I love the pop of salmon roe on my tongue. I could eat it all day (it would be nice on top of baked potato, actually!)

Shaved ice with sweet beans
It was still hot in Japan, so I had to try one of these! So refreshing!

Tofu and other goodies
I love how you can order set meals in Japan, so you might order tofu, but you also get tempura, salad, miso soup, rice, and pickles. We tried many different varieties. On one occasion, I even tried yuba, which was delicious too.

Again, you can't go to Ōsaka without trying okonomiyaki (it sounds like a difficult word, but once you've tasted it, it will roll off your tongue - just try to say each syllable on its own slowly o-ko-no-mi-ya-ki and then faster and faster). It's a kind of omelette, with cabbage, seafood and all sorts of yummy things (I'm trying to alternate between yummy and delicious - I could also go for oishii, the Japanese equivalent! - My food vocabulary isn't very extensive, this is why I'm not a food critic!)

Onto Korea now. Well, we only had two full days there, so I had bibimbap, bibimbap, and bibimbap again (forgot to take a photo of the first one, but it's in one of my sketchbooks). It's a kind of mix of rice, vegetables, sour hot cabbage and sometimes egg. The one at the top was brought in a big earthenware dish and the rice continued to cook against the bottom and sides of the dish, making it crispy and even tastier. As the chilli sauce was served on the side, mine was quite mild. The one below was an octopus bibimbap - it was spicy, probably the spiciest food I've ever eaten (apart from my first time eating Indian in London - it put me off Indian food for years), but the soy bean accompaniment tempered the spiciness. It was a small restaurant near the entrance to the palace near the City Hall in Seoul, we were the only westerners there, there was no English spoken, except for the basic menu, and I can say that after eating there, I felt ready to convert to Korean food!

Any dessert with sago in it!
This one was particularly spectacular (in Hong Kong), but I love sago. I tasted it for the first time on a short Cathay Pacific flight between Taiwan and Hong Kong, a long time ago, even before that trip I mention earlier in this post, and I still remember how happy it made me feel!

Monday, December 03, 2018

More exercises from the book

These ones were quick contour drawings. I should use a timer, as I tend to continue drawing for longer than I plan to. My goal would be to do lots of small 90-second drawings.

All models from Croquis Café.
The orange pen is a Marabu fineliner I got in Lidl a good few months ago.