Mini Break to Port Macquarie

September 26, 2018 | 2 Comments

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have been sketching quite a lot in the past month and a half since I returned from my big trip. The main reason for this is that I’ve been out and about a lot, teaching and doing a lot of teaching prep. I also had a mini break Friday-Monday up at Port Macquarie with my parents. So I just want to simply share my sketches from this long weekend.



I had been in Brisbane teaching the day before (Thursday) so I started slow, did a little work (including my normal morning cafe visit) and then drove up in the afternoon. The Pacific Highway bypasses all my favourite places now (you can read more about them here) so I didn’t feel inspired to sketch. I also wanted to arrive at my destination as soon as I could as I had some time sensitive work to do at 5pm. Instead of sketching, I recorded the journey by drawing a map.

I had dinner with one of my best friends on Friday night but sadly didn’t bother getting my sketchbook out. This friend was there with me when I started my first moleskine and expects me to sketch, but I was very tired, so just focused on catching up.


A big part of my previous trips to Port Macquarie was my visit to the tearoom Tea and Treasures. Sadly, they closed down last year, and the old cottage has been renovated into a modern ‘hip’ cafe. So I had to go and have brunch there.

I then walked to Town Beach and did a quick sketch of the beach from up on the headland. BTW I’m using Stillman & Birn Epsilon paper at the moment and I’m really loving the smooth surface and the extra hard marks it creates. (And yes, I will write a review about it soon.)

In the afternoon I went with my parents to a Centenary Celebration of the church where my father grew up. I have lots of special memories of worshipping in this building with my family (especially my Nanna and Great Aunt – I miss them a lot). We arrived early so I could do a quick sketch of the exterior from the car.

I then did this crazy loose sketch when we were all assembled in the hall. Someone to whom I spoke later in the afternoon thought it was weird that I was taking notes – not notes, just sketching, It was so lovely to catch up with lots of people from the country congregations of my church – many whom I hadn’t seen for years.

We then went for a drive to visit the area where my grandparents used to live, their house and then the dairy farms where my dad grew up with the extended family. I found an old article from my visit for my Nanna’s funeral which shows an early sketch of the house.

I love hearing Dad’s stories of his childhood including rowing a boat across to an island for school. It’s sad that I have increasingly less reasons to visit this part of the world (more about this shortly).

I had dinner with my friend again on Saturday evening, but this time I sketched the few objects on her coffee table while we were talking after dinner. I wrote down a few quotes too which will be a lovely memory for me in years to come. I find that the random trivial comments are the most enjoyable part of my sketchbooks when I look back at them years later. I remember the big things, but it’s the little things that I have forgotten which make my sketchbook records so special.


On Monday morning I did some work in a local cafe, so did my usual quick coffee sketch.

And then I did a quick stop at Flynn’s Beach for a sketch (from the car as it was raining).

Next I headed to Wauchope cemetery to visit the grave of my aunt. She died suddenly in May – just before I left for my big trip and so I was unable to attend the funeral. I was very sad about this, so it was good to come and do a sketch. I also included her older sister, who passed away over 10 years ago in a similar manner and timing (just before a big trip and I was unable to attend her funeral either).

After a quick visit to my aunt and uncle (Dad’s brother), it was time for me to head home. This time I did manage a sketch on the drive south while I was waiting for my lunch order at Bulahdelah.

All in all, a lovely weekend spending time with family and church folk, and I’m pleased with the amount of sketching that I squeezed in. I really felt the passing of time this trip but I’m very thankful for all the memories which I have recorded over the last 12 years in my sketchbook.

Some of you might be wondering what happened to my sabbatical weeks? Well, all the travelling in the past two years has meant that the periods when I am actually home  have often been naturally broken into work blocks. This trip acted as a mini-sabbatical separating two work blocks.

Anyway I hoped you enjoyed seeing some pages out of my everyday sketchbook. Can you tell that these sketches are done on different paper? (ie. Smooth Epsilon rather than Alpha or the Moleskine watercolour paper?)



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