Norfolk Island Part 5: Trying to stick to my quota

November 13, 2015 | 3 Comments

Continuing my series of posts from my recent trip to Norfolk Island.
Part 1: Summary of my Trip
Part 2: Unplugging and having time to think
Part 3: Struggles with a new sketchbook
Part 4: Establishing a Rhythm

Day 9: I was starting to realise that my days of Norfolk Island were rapidly coming to an end. So I decided to go exploring to some parts of the island that I hadn’t been to. Very steep rough unsealed roads prevented me from going to an area that I planned, so instead I just drove around for an hour or so and then ended up at The Olive Café for lunch. So effectively I had a sketch free morning, except I drew the cafe exterior from the table – another of the usual A-frame buildings on the island.

On my morning drive I realised that I had never gotten around to drawing a map of the island. So instead of reading after lunch, I had fun drawing the map and working out which roads I had not yet driven on.

I decided that I’d better start sketching some scenes from my cottage, so I started the main outlook from my balcony. I had spent hours looking at this view, the trees, the ever-changing (rapidly changing!) sky and the colour of the ocean. It was a beautiful calming view – not spectacular, but remarkably relaxing. The constant sound of birds and the occasional rooster crowing and cow bellowing added to it. While I was waiting for my first pass to dry, someone knocked at my door. It was Bronny, an urban sketcher from Adelaide who now lives on Norfolk. We went out for a coffee (no sketching although we swapped sketchbooks). It was so nice after more than a week of a completely solo existence to be social again. And just for the record, I stuck with my quota this day!

Day 10: Following Bronny’s advice (I got lots of good local tips from her the afternoon before) I went to a part of Kingston that I hadn’t discovered – a lookout with a great view of my favourite collection of buildings! This was just a warmup sketch before making the incline, you might notice the notes about the angle of the base of the building, and my realisation of where my eye line was. One of the great things about Norfolk Island sketching is that you could nearly always see the horizon to check your eyeline!

And this was the view from the lookout.

In the afternoon, Bronny took me to the lovely Anson Bay. We walked down a steep hill and then sat in the full sun on the beach in the sand. Sketching landscapes in the full sun is a real challenge for me, not to mention how much of a shock to the system it was for me to be sketching alongside someone and having a good chat at the same time.

Here is a second sketch I did, while the conversation still flowed. Ah! Always so special to have a sketching companion. Oops!! It looks like I exceeded my quota of three sketches per day, but only by one!


Day 11: My final full day
The panic started to settle in, realising that I hadn’t sketched everything I wanted to. I never seem to have the time to sketch my accommodation, even when I had a two week trip ‘doing nothing’ it still didn’t get done! So I had to resort to drawing a floor plan and only sketching the most significant part of my cottage, the sofa where I sat and read a lot of books.

Amazingly the first wet day of the trip, but this was perfect for me as I had Devonshire tea on the agenda.

Just to go back to my first evening on island, I had dinner at Hilli and as a result of the lovely owner of the restaurant enjoying watching me sketch my dinner, I was given a complimentary Devonshire tea – thanks Justine! At the time I told her that this subject matter (tea and scones) was my specialty, but imagine my amazement and delight, when I turned up and was told that she had organised for me to drink my tea out of at and hand-painted cup from Guava Gallery next door. Wow, I was blown away.

The scone was amazing and the beautiful cup painted by Tracey Jager with the native Pacific Robin made the occasion very special. So of course I had to do a second sketch of the teacup.

I suddenly realised that I hadn’t sketched from the most popular lookout on the island, Queen Elizabeth Lookout with a great view of Kingston below. It was an overcast day (at least the rain had stopped) but this was still fun to sketch.

As per my usual routine, I spent a number of hours in the middle of the day in my cottage reading and then headed out to Kingston for my afternoon walk and sketching session. This panorama includes all the important bits of this area – the things I loved the most. The group of buildings by pier, the pier itself, the dramatic lighting, Phillip Island, the waves crashing on the reef and last but certainly not least, Lone Pine and Emily Bay in the distance. The light was changing so quickly that at the time I wasn’t sure I had captured it, so it was nice when I looked at my sketch later to realise that I had indeed recorded the light on the buildings and then the dark clouds appearing. As the eye moves from left to right you can get the sense of the passing a time as I sat and sketched.

I found the smaller book a little hard at times, and I really loved the spaces between the buildings at Kingston Pier, so I did another sketch from the same spot just of the buildings.

It was almost time to meet Bronny for dinner, but I needed to do one more sketch. I wasn’t sure whether I would get a chance to return to Kingston in the morning before I flew out, so I thought it was important and significant to sketch Lone Pine one more time. And that’s what I did!

Day 12: I had a great dinner and evening with Bonny, spent time packing the last night and then showing my sketchbooks to my neighbours and the owners of my accommodation as I got ready to check out. I then had 1.5 hours for a final sketch(or two?) before I had to make my way to the airport. So, back down to Kingston again. One last sketch of the Pier Store building, the most interesting view was from the middle of the road, but I sat right on the edge instead.

And then one more sketch (how often do I say this?) of a view that I hadn’t done before.

Despite visiting Kingston over 20 times during my visit there was still so much more that I could have sketched. This last sketch in the Pentalic sketchbook used this strategy I had developed earlier – a quick first pass of loose washers trying to achieve texture by adding water and then leaving that to dry and finishing it off later. This meant adding the second pass using an iphone photo reference on the plane as I flew home.

And that’s it! All my sketches from my 12 days on Norfolk Island.

One more wrap up blog post to come….


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  • Deborah says:

    Have so enjoyed all your posts about Norfolk Island Liz! Small islands are very special places – it's been wonderful exploring this one with you through your sketches and commentary, and so interesting to hear about all the technical stuff – sketchbook paper and so on. Thanks!

  • Liz Steel says:

    thanks Deborah! and yes I agree small islands are very special!

  • I have just found these pictures of Norfolk & of my Olive Cafe thanks so much they are wonderful

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