Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sketching with Liz 'Borromini' Steel at Pellegrini's

Liz and me

I have drawn the Pellegrini's frontage before but would have been too self-conscious to sit at the bar with my open sketchbook if it hadn't been for the force of nature that is Sydney urban sketcher, Liz Steel.

I had the honour of interviewing her last year and it was really then that the world of urban sketching opened up to me (she made it seem so easy to draw in public...and so much fun!). And I was lucky enough to catch up with her this morning while she's in town. We had to take shelter indoors because Melbourne opened up the skies for the occasion, but what better place to sketch than Melbourne's iconic institution, Pellegrini's Espresso Bar?

And yes, you are seeing correctly, the cash register does jut out over the edge of the bench! Love the old-world interior.

I describe Liz as a force of nature because she just sweeps you up with her enthusiasm for sketching and for life. We talked non-stop all morning. How we managed to sketch and drink coffee and eat apple strudel on top of all the chatting I have no idea - but we managed it!

And it was also a little bit like having a private masterclass. I learned so much from sketching alongside her that I wrote a page of notes on the train home. I went away from our meet-up absolutely buzzing. (Or was that because I'd had two coffees this morning?) Anyway, you get the idea - it was fun!

Owner Sisto was very interested in our sketch-making and asked for our cards. He promptly pinned them behind the bar next to each other. I feel almost famous - haha! We asked the staff to sign our books, and Liz wrote a lovely message on my page.

That's Sisto in the bottom left photo, pointing at our cards. On the right is my boab card next to Liz's T2 interior image.

Of course, I had to squeeze in a practice sketch before our meeting just to warm up. This was the scene of my first morning coffee.

Such a contrast to the old-school charm of Pellegrinis. A very modern fit-out. Really good coffee too!

So now, after talking to Liz, getting to hold her sketchbooks in my hand (she had another one with her that I got to leaf through) I am thinking really hard about my purpose for keeping a sketchbook and where I want to go with it. I'll let it percolate for a while (coffee, anyone?) and get back to you.

P.S. Liz left Borromini behind on this trip...which just means I'll have to sketch with her again sometime. I have to meet that bear ;)