Everybody can sketch," artist Erin Hill says with a smile as I arrive at her lovely sunlit art studio in Manly. That statement puts me at ease, as I've never been terribly good at drawing. Yet I'm very much looking forward to the unique experience of a sketch class combined with a French lesson. The class beings with a one hour sketch lesson, then the second hour is spent learning French with professional French teacher Adeline Dias.
Today's sketching subject is a gorgeous platter of handcrafted cheeses made at The Cheesemaking Workshop, complete with baguettes, round green apples and lush grapes. I could almost imagine myself in France eating delicious cheeses as I sat there. But I'm getting ahead of myself, first we sketched.
The class begins with holding your sketch book and black ink pen to get the initial impressions of the image. Erin says that at whatever angle you sit at the table, you start to see the shapes as they connect, to look at the angles and draw your impressions. Her words really begin to make sense to me as I get into 'the zone' as she calls it, of sketching. I never thought I could draw very well, but I was able to see the images and sketch a pretty decent rendition for my first try. Erin says sketching is intuitive and I began to believe her that every one of us can sketch.
My favourite part was adding the touch of colour with the water colour pencils. She taught us how to blend and add colour to the different parts of the sketch, and then adding just a bit of water to make that lovely watery image, that made even my sketch look great. Erin is an excellent teacher, she was so calming and friendly that it was a real pleasure to try my hand at sketching in her class.
For the next hour we moved onto the French lesson (after sampling some of the delicious cheeses) with Adeline. Adeline gave us a great French lesson, that was very thorough and prepared. We were given handouts that focused on French vocabulary in restaurants, which is incredibly useful language to know.
I brought out my rusty high school French and she encouraged me to speak and improve my French accent. During the lesson she also taught us French customs and cultural do's and dont's, such as how to properly cut the cheese with the knife, which is very important etiquette in France. I felt very comfortable practising my language skills with Adeline and the other students, and I felt I learned important language skills for my long awaited trip to France.
The class ended with lots of laughter and smiles as we all had enjoyed the sketching and French lesson so much.
Erin says, "The Sketch and French class is lighthearted and fun, it's entirely for you and it's your own personal journey, a moment in time, where you can look back and remember the sketch you made."
I have glanced at my sketch several times since I did it, and I have to agree with her, I have such fond memories of the experience and the day when I look at it.
I highly recommend going to Erin and Adeline's Sketch and French class. It's a magical experience you won't find anywhere else in Sydney.
Go here to learn more about the Sketch and French class and the many other amazing classes she offers.