We met on a gorgeous sunny day in Eastwood. First I took our group to a friendly local pop up market where the vendors sell a variety of fresh seasonal fruits and veg. The energy of this market means we had plenty to capture. We tackled 1 point perspective, scribbling simple human forms and getting a sense of the depth of the space amongst the hustle and bustle.  It was a 15 minute sketch, then off to some street food. Topokki in Korea is one of the most popular streetfoods. Its made with the dense chewy cylindrical rice cakes, plently of gochujang (a fermented rice chilli paste) and this version had cabbage and fish cakes in it as well. Some of us loved it, and some were happy to sketch and leave their portion behind! Korean food is one of those cuisines that does not always win everybody over immediately!

Next we headed to the Korean side dish store where we choose from a great big variety of classic Korean side dishes that are typically eaten with every family meal. This shop also sells a big variety of kim chi. After I filled my Erin Hill Sketching bag with a fermented things such as chillies and lotus roots and dried radish, we headed to a sweet little dumpling house for handmade dumplings. Here we had a relaxing sit and sketch and talked about all things Korean food, whilst looking at tone, colour, shape and perspective in our sketches. 

Finally it was time for cake and coffee. Those who were still game tried the sweet potato latte, the yam latte, the citron tea and the red bean cinnamon pumpkin buns. Those who had experienced enough of a new cuisine for a little while were happy with a cafe latte. All delicious, and a fun group and happy day! Take a look at out sketches below. We also had a sketcher who was using his ipad and an apple pencil. Wonderful results for a brand new sketcher! Well done everybody. 

Blue Mountains Travel Sketch Class

The students whom have already completed the Introduction course and have returned term after term had an extra lesson today. It was a wet dark day in The Mountains, so we stayed in the studio and explored styles and mediums with the over arching theme of "animals". Looking at the many different sketchers and illustrators in already published books (many of them childrens books) as well and testing out new materials such as a giant set of coloured pencils took them to new places. Do you really want to be a studio artist? How much time to spend on a travel sketch? What level of detail is needed so I am happy with my sketch? The free and simple sketches have movement and joy, how to make sure I can achieve that? We drank tea and shared homemade cookies and fresh fruit. A lovely way to end Term 1. Now taking bookings for Term 2 here

Blue Mountains Travel Sketch Class

We challenged ourselves for our final class of the term. It was time to put those sketching skills to the true test. We went travelling. Meeting at Katoomba station and travelling to Mount Victoria via train was a fun thing to do. Sketchers learned about page design, capturing the essence and telling the story of our travels simply via vignettes. The beginnings of life long travel sketching has commenced. Its been a fun class with new friendships formed and many students returning next term to further advance their skills. you can book an ErinHill Travel Course in The Blue Mountains here


Nature Journal

The joy of The Blue Mountains in Autumn has been felt already. The fungi has popped up, the clear blue skies, the cooler days and the smell of wet earth as the drizzle and mist comes more often. Capturing my days in a journal is like writing a gratitude list. Its refocussing my attention to all that is delightful about life. 

Blue Mountains Travel Sketch Class

A misty Autumn day put a stop to our plans to draw the views over the Valley from The Hydro Majestic in Medlow Bath! We are blessed to have such a gorgeous venue to immerse ourselves in, all the while drinking great coffee and enjoying delicious food. The cabinets and gift shop are full of curiosities from bygone days, and we certainly explored our abilities to create vintage colours and some wonderful nostalgic sketching pages. The new sketchers tackled the sketching of a rattan bike up on a shelf. They did well! 


Nature Journal

The joy of walking in the bush. The smell after rain. The new flower, spotting a butterfly, a Lyrebird scratching in the leaf litter, the sound of the Black Cockatoo. Curiosity has been awakened and nourished. Regeneration is happening. This is why I journal. This is life. 


Blue Mountains Travel Sketch Class

We had a great day learning how to sketch people in a popular tourist spot near The Three Sisters at Echo Point, Katoomba. Always lots of people about at The Lookout Cafe. It rained the whole day, so the travel sketchers stayed indoors, ordered coffee and had a ball. Take a look at what they achieved!


Blue Mountains Travel Sketch Class

The fun thing about learning to travel sketch is learning how to sketch the basics that we come across frequently on our travels. Houses and buildings change in appearance the world over, however the basics of perspective remain the same. The class this week were challenged by "1 point" perspective and "eye level" perspective. I am impressed by how well their sketches came out. Take a look at our fun day!



February was Malaysian Sketch&Lunch. We had a ball in Chinatown, Sydney. The Nasi Lemak at Ho Jiak (a relatively new Malaysian streetfood restaurant on Hay St) was absolutely delicious! The wagu beef rendang was to die for so was the the Char Kway Teow (a rice noodle dish with king prawns and the "breath of the wok") We ate with relish whilst learning to sketch ellipses and capturing the cups of tea and coffee Malaysian style. 

Next we headed out to capture the energy of the street. The main street of Chinatown is a walking street, so its a perfect place for people sketching and a great place to stop and learn all about 1 point perspective. 

Next it was time to eat again! We were not hungry, but we had Roti to try. I was particularly looking forward to the Roti with Kaya (a coconut pandan flavoured jam). I finished with a delicious "pulled tea" Teh Tarik, and the others has a lemon barley drink and a hot milo (classic malaysian beverages), and we settled down to some more sketching. Fun! Take a look. Next Sketch&Lunch is Korean in Eastwood. Limited small groups only. You can book here


Blue Mountains Travel Sketch Class

An extra lesson today for some of the students. I was keen to try the community space at Lyttleton Stores in Lawson. This is a heritage building that is now operating as an organic store, garden, workshop space,  and local designers atelier. I heard that Cherry Moon chef extraordinaire recently started baking here, so I knew that the cakes, tarts and foccacia's were going to be divine. The peach tart with her hand made puff pastry made with her hand made cultured butter was better than good. Fresh hot hand baked sourdough (spelt and amaranth) right out of the oven! Tea and coffee is "serve yourself" and pay by donation. The tea we choose was organic "wet" rooibos chi with turmeric. We sketched, we flicked through magazines and books such as Flow and Slow and Permaculture by Bill Mollison, and we shopped. What a fun morning! After the day started to warm up, we headed out to the old tower of the Stratford Girls School, which is preserved now after a fire and partial demolition (and right next to Lawson library). 


BlueMountains Travel Sketch Class

We met at the magical Gingerbread House in Katoomba and were warmly welcomed by staff with delicious hot chocolates, coffees and breakfasts. What a treat. Due to the sudden cold snap and early arrival of Autumn, we decided on undertaking our sketching as much as possible on the lovely big tables next to the heaters, beside the Christmas tree. The new sketchers worked on their colour dropping, Erin Hill style with watercolours, and the more accomplished students were challenged with more complex perspective sketches. Do we use the grid or do we use our eye? How technical do we want to go with our sketches? Are we enjoying ourselves? Travel sketching courses are all about learning new skills, whilst always always always enjoying our new accomplishments. and each others company. What a lovely morning. 


Blue Mountains Travel Sketch Class

A cold then hot then windy then sunny day by Wentworth Falls lake. Late summer in The Blue Mountains at its best. Travel Sketchers came prepared, and we delved into the class. Today new sketchers learnt about how to simply sketch water. We usually always have water in our itinerary when we travel. A lake, an beach a river, a stream. They learnt the basics, and how to adjust techniques depending on location. Returning students learnt about watercolour techniques for sandstone, and practiced on the nearby sandstone sculptures in the reserve. We also had a play with brush pens and ink and dip pens. 


Blue Mountains Travel Sketch Class

We met this week at Big Beet cafe in Katoomba for some great coffee, and still life sketching. The class learnt about round shapes, and learning the Erin Hill method of keeping the tops and sides white. The more advanced students worked on cross hatching skills. One of my students who comes all the way from Orange for the class, brought the most delicious locally grown peaches thank you Alison! What a treat! After our exercises we headed to the park to learn how to sketch trees. Take a look at the fabulous results! I am always so impressed by what beginners are capable of so quickly. Also the magnolia tree was in bloom! Look at the magnificent sketches using cross hatching skills by the more advanced students. Just love them all. 

Blue Mountains Travel Sketch Class

We had a warm and friendly start to the year with 5 students returning, and 5 new sketchers starting for the first time. Coffee and tea, introductions to each other and we were ready to get cracking. The first week always has so much on. New sketchers were introduced to their sketch kits and and the first sketch was completed within an hour! General sketchers were given some revision and then it was time to sketch the local laneways before heading to The Conservation Hut for practice sketching ellipses, and adding colour off location using our colour blocking task as a prompt. Well done class on your first day of the year!



The first Sketch&Lunch of the year was held in Sydney's Cabramatta. I absolutely love Cabramatta  and Vietnamese food, so this Sketch&Lunch day is one of my favourites. First we started with a Vietnamese coffee at the best Vietnamese cafe in town. Cafe Xua. The coffees taste pretty much just like a ca phe sua da you would buy in Vietnam. Ivy, the owner is a delight too. We learnt about Vietnamese herbs and sketched them in our food journals labelling with the Vietnamese names. Next we headed to the supermarket for a look at clay pots for cooking our recipe, and the best fish sauces to purchase. A sketch of the fish market was all about capturing the energy and the impression of the environment. We looked at perspective and repetition of shapes too. Much relief was felt as we walked into our air conditioned restaurant of choice to try our recipe of the day. Ca Kho To. Its a clay pot fish dish. The restaurant we visit does one of the best Ive tried, so here we enjoyed the food whilst sketching it! A fun day as always. If you would like to book for the next one, they are usually held on the last Monday of the month. email me at

Open Day Fun

We had a wonderful Erin Hill Studio Blue Mountains Sketch Meetup and Open Day today at Big Beet Cafe in Katoomba. Blue Mountains students of 2017 were invited, and we had many students visit us from the Erin Hill Manly Studio too! A catch up for some of us that went of the Vietnam tour and some new friends made too. We warmed up our sketch books and are all ready as ever to begin sketching again for the year. Coffee, service and food is always good at Big Beet. Thankyou for hosting us!


Vietnam Sketching Holiday

Art Food Culture designs and leads tours in Vietnam. In December 2017 Anna Barnes designed, implemented and personally guided a tour for 12 Erin Hill Sketchers. She adapted her adventure, streetfood and cultural immersion tours to suit the needs of the Sketchers. She took them to varied and interesting locations to sketch daily, as well as to good coffee shops, food markets and  authentic restaurants throughout Hoi An. The itinerary included everything from a Vietnamese coffee in the locals only markets to lunch at The Intercontinental in Danang. They experienced talks by local artists Bridgett March and famous French photographer Rehahn who's projects recognise and empower the Ethic groups of Vietnam. The group were taken to see the Pottery Village, the Herb Gardens, the Fishing Village, the Silk Village and the historical buildings of the UNESCO town. They experienced a locally run cooking class amongst the bamboo huts in the Water Coconut village. A fun day was had with the locals paddling around in the basket boats. They had a chance to do some pottery on the wheel, explore the caves at Marble Mountain, watch the silk weaving process on traditional looms,  and wander and sketch the ancient Cham ruins of My Son. Early mornings saw the chance for them to join Anna on the streets for a locals breakfast, and evenings meant another chance to try the delicious street food. Many opted for the fabulous restaurants in the Old Town by the river under the pretty lanterns. Here are some of the highlights.


If you like the look of this tour, email for more information on scheduled trips.