RoadTrip2021: Mudgee and surrounds

May 1, 2021 | 16 Comments

Mudgee has become a very popular town for Sydneysiders to visit – mainly because of good food and wine plus a number of historic villages in the region.

This is my first visit to Mudgee and I have to say that I was impressed. It definitely would make a good base for future trips!



There is a direct road from Hill End to Mudgee, but I took a longer way so that I could visit a few historic towns. It also meant that I could do a sketch of the countryside on the winding road I had driven along the day before. A little morning fog was still hanging around when I did this sketch.

Next stop was the town of Kandos (where they make cement). There seems to be a very cool museum there but sadly it is closed on Tuesdays so I just did a quick line drawing from the street.

And I drew a map of the main street.


I wanted to sketch this view but felt that it was too wide to draw. Something that I will have to get used to!


The next town was Rylstone which I loved a lot. Once again I was fascinated by the main street – Louee St. This time there were cars parked parallel in the middle of the street under trees. But the most interesting about Louee St was that it had a kink!


I wandered the streets trying to find the best view in order to explain this bend in the road.


And on the way came across this seafood truck from the Central Coast (over 3.5hours drive away!)


Another photo of Louee St – this is a view which I sketched.


I also parked my car under the trees and used my car’s bonnet (hood) as a bench for my sketchbook (hmm, it’s a good height for that.)


And here are my sketches – including a wonky sketch of the Telegraph Office done standing up and a map – of course!

Note: I am drawing a lot of maps, but realising that they take up a lot of room.



Mudgee was more beautiful than the photos I had seen of it. It’s especially nice to see all those red leaves!

The first thing I did on arrival was to get a coffee (there are a lot of good cafes here) and do a sketch (you will see that shortly).


And then I did a 20 minute sketch at the main intersection in town. The signature view of the clock tower includes the church in the background, but in the late afternoon sun, the bank on the opposite corner looked better!


Here is the full spread including my afternoon coffee (and cake!) sketch and a funny juxtaposition with the town hall sketch.


The next day I had breakfast at one of the popular cafes Alby & Esthers.


Very nice and a good way to start the day.


Next, I went back to the clock tower intersection and sketched the view with the church.


After a visit to a honey shop I walked around some wetlands. The signboard indicated that there were platypus in this creek but there was a noisy worker nearby so no hope for me seeing one.

Note: Spotting a platypus in the wild is extremely rare so I wasn’t really expecting to see one.


Here is a little more about these incredible creatures!


A walk around a lake and a quick sketch (coming soon) was a good way to fill in time until 12 noon. I wanted to visit a winery to sketch the views and planned to be there around lunch so it wouldn’t be obvious that I wasn’t there for wine tasting.


Chris had recommended Lowe Family Wine Co. so that is where I went. It was lovely.


Notice the back-burning in the distance (safety measures to help control future bushfires).


I did a number of quick landscapes including this one with a flat brush – intentionally trying to abstract the shapes.


Here is the first spread of landscape sketches from the morning…


and the second one…


plus the final version with text and a map!


The road from the wetlands to the winery was unsealed so my car was a little dirty afterwards!


Back to the main streets of Mudgee – a 10 minute line drawing of Church St.


An unusual building (which I didn’t bother to sketch)


Local art store (Mudgee Art Shed) which had an Etchr Lab section right at the front door. Wow!


And my final sketches of Mudgee: Church St, the grand buildings on Market St and the Guardian Newspaper building in late afternoon sun!

Another wonderful two days of exploring and sketching,


  • lise gauthier says:

    Hi Liz,
    Great trip! … I like so much your layout a mix of painting and B&W drawing bravo! … so I was not a fan about maps but I realise now that is a very interesting part of the layout anyway where we are … it put all the components of your story in an amazing context then we can imagine better the way you have fellow to find different sites or elements to paint/draw during the day … otherwise that stay objects from nowhere … also your maps design are so nice it is a painting by itself … Fan of maps now … Thanks so much to share … Pleasure to fellow your trip …

    • Liz Steel says:

      thanks Lise – hope you are going well. missing seeing you on livestreams 🙂 Glad you are seeing the value of maps – really loving doing so many this trip!!

  • Peggy Bowman says:

    Liz, I love traveling with you vicariously. You are traveling the route and visiting many of the places my husband and I had chosen for last year’s 4-month trip road trip through Australia and New Zealand. Alas, the pandemic ruined those plans, so your posts are a marvelous way of validating our travel plans, and of adding to our list for when we can travel there. Thank you so much for sharing this adventure. Safe travels.

  • Shari says:

    Liz, I am enjoying reading about your road trip with each new update that comes in. I love seeing the mix of photos and sketches, and seeing how you interpret the view in your sketchbook. Keep them coming!!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Shari – it’s great to be able to do these posts more frequently – I’ve always included photos but it’s nice to be able to do more in depth articles this time

  • Barbara Gabriel says:

    I am loving this road trip and more than a little bit envious. My niece lives in Australia and you’ve made me want to visit her and include a road trip of this lovely area. Question for you: What is the mix you used for the Alby & Esther saucer? It’s just gorgeous!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Barbara – I think its a mix of transparent red oxide and French ultramarine to darken it.
      Hope you do make it to Australia one day!

  • melinda mcnutt says:

    I am especially enjoying seeing your use of color block sky/foreground where the overall sketch expands beyond those edges. It’s nice to see your Sketchbook Design ideas in action! I’m jealous of your road trip.

    • Liz Steel says:

      thanks Melinda! Yes using those sky blocks a lot. I used them before the course prep… but definitely getting more out of them now!
      Hope you will be able to do your own road trip some time!

  • Linda Barnhill says:

    Love your drawings and experimentation. Thank you SO much for taking us on vacation with you. Absolutely love the scenery and history lessons. So different from the humid southern USA.

  • Jillayne says:

    I am also enjoying following along with you, learning about the area etc. That 10 minute sketch floored me… as a beginner, my frame of reference is on the very slow side!
    The maps that you are adding to your pages here and there are wonderful and take your sketchbook from a treatise on what you have seen to a Truer representation of the fact that you are on a journey. I love that.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Jillayne – it’s taken me years of sketching as well as 2 decades of working as an architect. to be able to do those quick sketches.
      Glad you like the maps too – such an important part of my travel journalling!

  • Lary Huls says:

    I’m fascinated by your blocked sky with elements of the painting leaked out over the edge. At first I thought you must use painter’s tape but I can’t figure out how you then do the “leaking”. Also, I don’t see any tape in any of the pictures of your kit. I’ve pored through them trying to find it.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Lary – I do have washi tape rolls in my kit (just omitted to include them in my photos). I add the sky shape mid-way through or at the end of the sketch, not at the beginning. This way I can decide about my page composition when I see where my sketch is going! Explain this and much more in detail in my Sketchbook Design course 🙂

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