SketchingNow Adventure: Palm Beach

November 19, 2014 | 1 Comment

Last Friday I headed north to Palm Beach for my second SketchingNow Adventure. The week before I had gone south to Kurnell and Cronulla so I have now created the north and south boundaries of Sydney along the coast.

Palm Beach represents the top of the Northern Beaches region and the beach is a isthmus – a narrow strip of land with the ocean on one side and Broken Bay on the other. This is a favourite spot of mine to take overseas visitors but I haven’t done that for years. The last time I was in the area was January 2012 and you can see my sketches here.

It was a glorious warm day perfect for a few hours at the beach, especially as it was a very hot 39C  back at my home!  However my first destination, after my hour long drive was The Greedy Goat cafe.

I had a late second breakfast (which turned out to be an early lunch) sketched my food and the cafe view.

This is a very restrained sketch for me and quite out of character in a number of ways. It was good to take my time and attempt a calm rambling sketch – to say that the last few days had been frantic would be an understatement and I had a lovely chat to Emma who works there as well.

Time to head for the beach? No, wait – lets do a quick sketch of the cafe from across the road first!

I hadn’t really planned what I wanted to do but as soon as I made it to the sands of ‘Palmie’ I had a sudden recollection of a pencil sketch I had done years of the rocks at the northern end of the beach. So, naturally I headed off in that direction. I am not sure why, but I have a little obsession with revisiting and re-sketching the same scenes.
I can’t remember exactly when I did the previous sketch but think it was during first year at university in 1989… so it was a few years ago. Isn’t it amazing that I remembered that I had sketched this location before? No, not really there is a special connection with place when you draw it!

I normally find sketching at the beach very relaxing but this particular sketch turned out to be the reverse. I was a little anxious about being in the burning midday Australian sun for too long (I try to avoid it in the middle of the day even with sunscreen on) and just after I had started my sketch, I realised that the tide was coming in and I was too close to the water! So had to make a quick re-adjustment of my position and managed to get sand everywhere… that seemed to disrupt the nice calm state I wanted to be in for my sketch. I worked fast and looser than I was planning and then thought I better get out of the sun.

The long walk back involved buying ‘my favourite’ ice cream (big associations with my childhood and summer holidays) and taking a photo of ‘that soap opera’ sign – sorry I don’t want to include its name on my blog!

I headed on immediately to Whale Beach for another sketch and a swim. It was one of those days when I continually felt as if I was running out of time, as I wanted to be on the road ahead of the peak hour traffic on the way home, but I was determined that I would have a quick swim.

I rarely make it into the ocean and when I saw a row of blue bottles on the sand was a little disheartened – I want to keep my record intact of never being stung by one. But I headed for the rock pool and managed a swim and two sketches.

The Australian sun in the middle of the day is fierce and casts very strong shadows and I felt this sketch was a little heavy handed at the time –  but the shade/shadow areas were dark! Big drops of water from the overhanging rock above me was causing me some concern but thankfully the ones that did land on the page didn’t do any damage.

It was lovely to have a quick swim and then an even quicker final sketch of the rockpool.

 This entire sketch was done with a single continuous line – I have never done that done. (Those of you doing SketchingNow Foundations might find that amusing in light a statement I made in this week’s lesson.)

And just a few more photos from Whale Beach: two signs,  more blue bottles and my green juice – no tea and cake for me today

South then north… where will I head this Friday?

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1 Comment

  • Trina Warren says:

    Your watercolor of Palm Beach is so vibrant and alive! I really like the looseness of it, the colors and the sunlight on the rocks. I’m going to use it as inspiration the next time I go to Pescadero Beach near where I live – there are rocky outcrops there too and I haven’t known how to begin to approach painting them.

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