PMQ22 Part 2: Two Solo days

November 18, 2022 | 6 Comments

After a really wonderful Lord’s Day (Sunday) worshipping at a church in Wauchope, I was looking forward to a big week of sketching and socialising. 

I was on my own for the first two days and had lots of plans! And yes beaches and cafes were to be part of that! 🙂


I normally work sequentially in my sketchbook and start a new day on a new double-page spread but this first spread breaks those rules. On the left you have an overflow of my sermon notes from the Lord’s Day, then my normal morning Bible texts. On the right you have a beach sketch done after a cafe visit (see below).


The first sketch of the day (after a slow start) was the iconic rocks in the middle of Flynn’s Beach. On every trip to Port Macquarie, I do multiple versions of these rocks.

This sketch was done from the passenger seat of my car. I was sitting facing outwards with the door open until the rain got too heavy and I then had to complete the sketch from inside the car. But I did manage to get some fun rain texture.


The next stop was Roam cafe and the first Smashed Avo of the trip. (Note: I prefer mushrooms on toast but if that wasn’t on the menu I would choose avocado on toast). This version is the prettiest I have seen and some hot pink and alizarin madder markers were perfect for the pickles and beetroot.

(I returned to my car and sketched the above view with the sun out!)


I then went in search of some white gouache – the last tube in the Alice in Paperland store. 

Afterwards found myself walking down the river and ended up at another cafe – Little Shack. Just getting a coffee and lunch before the cafe closed. This is a great spot to spend a few hours in the afternoon.

More out-of-sequence pages… I sketched the coffee (above) and then the food (below). After eating I stayed on and sketched the view looking down at the tables and umbrellas (above).


I then left Little Shack and did a quick line drawing (left).


Time for some architecture… and a James Barnet (JimmyB) building in fact! Lots of fun layering markers and coloured pencils under some watercolour. And once again a lavender marker is visible!

I intended to finish the afternoon with some more beach sketches but a little trouble with my back meant it was a much quieter evening than planned.


Taking it slowly the next morning meant a chance to do a few swatches testing watercolours and ways of using a white resist (Lumocolour Permanent pencil vs Crayola Crayon) under watercolour. Thankfully my back was feeling better so late morning I was able to go out for a walk…


… back at Flynn’s Beach and Sandbox cafe. This sketch was started while waiting for my order to arrive and then completed after I had eaten.


Another Smashed Avo and Flat White sketching in the bright sun. A few conversations with people who saw me sketching. (BTW two people recognised me on this trip).


I then needed to get some shade so walked to the northern end of the beach where there are a few benches under Norfolk Pine trees. (Aside: As well as the highly sketchable rocks at PMQ beaches there are also numerous shady spots where you can sketch the beach without having to get sand on your feet!)

I was a little heavy-handed with the markers on the left so I did a second version on the right to remind myself to limit marker use to shadow areas. Dots of colours record the marker and watercolour colours I used in this second sketch.


I was feeling on a roll now so I drove to another beach – Shelly Beach – and sat on another shady bench for this sketch.

Here is a photo taken at the end of the ink, coloured pencil and marker stages.


And a photo of the bench when the sketch was finished. I’m definitely carrying a few more tools these days! 🙂

Note: I started using a 1/4 inch dagger on Monday which helped me get used to the smaller size sketchbook. I used my usual 1/2 inch dagger for larger washes but the smaller brush was my go-to. And also… I was totally used to this 9×6″ sketchbook by this stage!


One more sketch of Shelly Beach rocks.


Some lovely colours and textures in this one. Can you understand why I’m having so much fun lately?


Time to think about dinner and I ended up grabbing a burger from Astys. (Burger No. 2 for this trip). I did the drawing of the building standing up and then added markers from a seated position all while waiting for my order.

I then drove back to Flynn’s Beach where I ate my burger and sketched the view from the driver’s seat.

Another two good days of sketching. I had hoped to do a few day trips out of Port Macquarie (Kempsey, Wauchope, Comboyne) but due to my back, I needed to walk and not sit in my car. But hey, being able to sketch PMQ beaches makes me very happy! So those day trips can wait till next time.


  • Rob says:

    Hi Liz,
    Looks like a stunning trip. Just curious if you are using the gouache for the braking waves?

    Enjoy the rest of your time.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Rob – mainly using a lumocolor permanent white waxy pencil under my paint. But there are some sketches with a little white gouache.

  • maria bergman says:

    Lovely Liz!
    Do you ever get nervous being alone on a trip? I would be obsessing about getting lost or my safety and then rushing my exploring to get back to the safety of my hotel. I admire your sense of adventure.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Maria, This particular trip was super comfy being in a relaxed country town but some of my overseas trips are much bigger solo adventures. I’m very happy to travel on my own but am very much aware of my surroundings and stay in busy areas…especially if in a non-English speaking country. But always very conscious that God is with me!

  • Jacqueline Toh says:

    Hi Liz,
    You are such a great testimony for Him. I love your discipline in His Words, in your art, and most of all in documenting your life. I have followed you, on and off (yes, being disciplined is definitely my area of growth), since you started (10 years or more!) and I truly see how He has filled those who are faithful to Him. And I thank Him and thank YOU for the blessings your bring to me. I thank Him for you! And thank you for being you.

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