PMQ22: Five Reflections from my trip to Port Macquarie

December 7, 2022 | 2 Comments

It’s time to wrap-up this series of articles with Five Reflections from my trip to Port Macquarie.

1. Non-stop sketching

As mentioned previously, using a smaller book and Alpha paper definitely made a difference to my sketching. It freed me up to sketch non-stop and take risks.

I’m very happy with how much sketching I managed to do without ever feeling as if I was pushing myself. The whole trip had a very relaxed pace. In the first few days, I made a conscious effort to sketch a few scenes even though I didn’t find them very inspiring (see here for more) but it wasn’t a case of pushing myself to sketch when I didn’t feel like it.

As I spent all my time in Port Macquarie itself I didn’t do a lot of travelling/driving so I was able to sketch as much as I wanted all day long without feeling exhausted. In fact, sketching at a beach (especially when you can sit on a bench in the shade) is very relaxing and rejuvenating.

There is something special that happens to your creativity when you get into a non-stop sketching mode. If you have never tried it I guess it’s easy to think that it’s a bit obsessive and over the top. But in my experience, a sustained period of sketching gets the creative juices flowing in a very exciting way and this can lead to breakthroughs and new ideas.  Aside: this is what we will be looking at in Lesson 5 of Watercolour On Location starting today!


2. A few things out of character

Here are a few things that are not typical of my work:

  • Using ink for beach scenes – I normally do my beach sketches paint only or with a little watercolour pencil. It was fun to use some ink for these sketches and determine what parts of the scenes to draw with ink.
  • Using a smaller dagger brush – my go-to brush is the 1/2-inch Series 772 dagger regardless of the size of the sketchbook but this time I used the 3/8″ dagger.
  • Doing more ‘contained compositions’ and sketches with distinct borders. I also painted the sky first which is something I rarely do (those of you who do my SketchingNow courses will know all about why). I think this is mainly due to the fact that they were all landscapes with a distinct horizon. Also, even though I was using washi tape to frame my sketches, the tape wasn’t added until after I had drawn the scene first (working from focus outwards) and I only taped 3 sides so that I still had the freedom to adjust the bottom edge of the sketch as I worked.
  • Almost completing my pages during the day and so nightly homework to finish them off seemed really easy this trip.


3. Mixed media obsession continues

What more can I say… I just love layering coloured pencils, markers and watercolour and creating really lively colourful sketches!


4. Lots of socialising

My trips over the last few years have been solo most of the time so it was a real treat to be catching up with friends and meeting people this time. Even though I often sketched while I was with my friends, I was still very engaged in the conversations. It felt fun to push myself in this way again (reflex sketching) and it also meant that I made the most of solo sketching opportunities in-between all the catchups. This trip contained the perfect balance of solo and social times.


5. It  was so nice to be outside a lot

I’m extremely thankful for beautiful weather (only a few showers of rain) which meant I could be outside practically all day every day! Most of the cafes were out of doors too and even if I was inside a building there were big openings which kept a connection to the outdoors.


I hope that you have enjoyed my sketches and thoughts from this brief sketching trip as much as I have sharing them. 🙂


  • Rob says:

    Hi Liz,

    Sounds like you had a very creative trip. Nice to read your reflections. Very insightful.
    In your text you are referring to a link about sketching even though not inspired about the scene. There is no link between the brackets and I am very curious what your thoughts are on the topic of sketching for the sake of sketching without an inspiring scene in front of you.

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