Sketching with the Sunshine Coast Plein Air Group

On my last trip to Oz I had the opportunity to attend several sketch outs with the local Plein Air group. They are incredibly inclusive; instant friends, and willing to share and instruct anyone with an interest. It is a long-standing group with a large following led by a small core. One of the organizers was secretary for a large USk group in the USA; she is just starting the long process for USk affiliation for the Sunshine Coast club.

They meet weekly (Fridays from 12.30-3.00). People take turns organizing locations, and they generally visit each spot two weeks in a row. All communication and trip planning is done via a closed Facebook group…

Like USk Calgary, drawing is often wrapped up in a coffee shop (Australia is full of independent cafes, and has a long history of coffee culture, thanks to waves of immigration from Italy and Greece). A ton of fun. Most people post online afterwards, and there is healthy chatter about techniques, tools and vacation plans. Cafes are also used for rainy day locations…

A few of the group are semi-professional. They sell their drawings and paintings at shows, on line, via Instagram etc. Others are retired art teachers, and some are active instructors. Passerbys and other artists often stopped for a chat. Regardless of level, it was all very positive.

Others have varied interests and styles. Some make their own sketchbooks, cutting up watercolour paper that they stitch and bind. Lots of colour on the sketches. People were experimenting with powdered colour that they would sprinkle on the paper and spray with water. Some brought paper to sketch on that they had underpainted in advance, to give a moody background. Really interesting!

Highly recommended if you are ever in the area! For me Fridays were a highlight that I looked forward to…

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