Port Macquarie Trip Part 1: Using my watercolour pencils

October 26, 2020 | 4 Comments

I’m just back from 2 weeks holiday (vacation) at the beach. I went north to Port Macquarie for the first week and then headed south for the second. Port Macquarie is my go-to holiday destination so it was nice to return and catch up with some good friends while I was there. I had a lovely relaxed time – socialising, enjoying beautiful weather, walking along the beach, reading books about water/waves and clouds and doing a little sketching. I didn’t put any pressure on myself to do a lot of sketching but did manage to do a number of beach scenes each day.

As mentioned a few weeks ago – I pulled out my full watercolour pencil set in response to Lesson 1 of SketchingNow Foundations, which we are going through at the moment. I normally do my beach sketches in paint only but for a change I started using watercolour pencils as well.

All my sketches were done quickly (as usual!) and many of them were done sitting in the direct sun. I don’t like sketching in the sun – apart from the heat (even though it was only 24C the sun felt hot) there was a lot of glare and on a number of occasions I had to wear sunglasses (something I try to avoid when sketching).

Here is a collection of sketches from my first few days in Port. Note: I was using a A4 portrait format Moleskine so most of my sketches cross the gutter.

Direct watercolour (paint only) of Flynn’s Beach (sitting in the sun)

Next beach south – Nobbys beach and then a lovely lunch at Bandwagon (the nice cafe which replaced the wonderful tearoom – Tea and Treasures.)

End of the day sketch at Shelly beach. Note this was done on the more textured side of the Moleskine paper.

On the next day I started using my watercolour pencils. Note: For some reason I stamped the month incorrectly for the whole trip – it should be 10 not 09!

Quick sketch at Coast (a nice cafe at Lighthouse Beach) while having coffee with a friend, and then another sketch of Shelly Beach.

First visit to Town Beach and then a little ink drawing at Town Green overlooking the river while waiting for our fish and chips. There is a lot to sketch at Port!

Back at Town Beach sketching the dark volcanic rocks in the sun. I was recognised by a sketcher from Sydney who was passing through Port Macquarie.

This is a transitional sketch as I started using another tool in my kit – The Eradicator! I then used it for the rest of my beach sketches. But that needs a separate article… so stay tuned for Part 2.


  • Kimberly Ester says:

    Welcome back! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed your holiday. I love all of your holiday sketches. I’m so inspired by them. The colors of the sea and surrounding landscape look so right to my eye. I like looking at the variations brought on by different conditions, some show the sparkle of the sun. Just lovely all of them.

  • Jane Varley says:

    Hello Liz,

    Looks like a wonderful holiday! I’m interested in how you have incorporated the use of watercolour pencils into each sketch all of which blend beautifully. Rarely have I been satisfied with the results I’ve achieved with WC pencils, often having pencil marks that don’t blend in after wetting – most likely me being too heavy handed. However, having seen how effective yours are, I’ll have another go

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Jane. When it comes to watercolour pencils I apply them boldly and then paint over the top. They work best for textured objects IMHO 🙂

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