A few weeks ago I had 2 wonderful relaxing weeks at the beach - at Port Macquarie (4 hours drive north of Sydney). I do not fit the classic picture of an Australian as I rarely get to the beach so you can't imagine what a treat it was to be offered my aunts flat for a fortnight. I swam more times in the first week than I have for a decade (yes, once a year swim is all that I manage to do- shocking) and felt so incredibly refreshed and revived as a result. Each morning for the first week I would go for a walk, a swim before breakfast and do a sketch (of course) This is a sketch from my first morning.
I have always had a love for rocks - and the beaches at 'Port' are dominated by dark and dramatic rocks. I soon became addicted to sketching them morning and afternoon.
I realised during that week that I wasn't quite sure the best way to handle beach scenes and waves but as the week progressed I observed more and started to work it out for myself. This is one of my more abstract pieces that first week.
Then we got hit by the end of the terrible storm (Cyclone Oswald) that struck Queensland on Australia Day.
The sea got rough and brown and sea foam appeared on the beaches (not covered metres high like other places got) This ocean was mainly white so I approached my paintings a lot differently...making sure that I used the white of the paper more.
By the end of that second week I could swim again but regardless of the weather I went out to paint. The full set of my sketches is here on flickr.
I know that these are not really 'urban' but I really learnt so much during this vacation that I am sure the benefits will be apparent now that I am back to my urban life and sketching. I did intend to be using the beach for life drawing... but early morning and late afternoon the beaches were so deserted (something I am NOT going to complain of). I am not even going to mention that there was a nearby tearoom as well that I visited nearly every day.....
I wish I was back there now (I can't express in words how relaxed and buzzing I was at the same time doing these paintings!).... Actually I just have to find the time and start my beaches of Sydney series! After all Sydney has the most impressive collection of beautiful beaches - supposedly well over 100 beaches - some surf some harbour beaches! wow! that will keep me going for a while!
I hope these sunny scenes will warm those of you in cold conditions right now! And if I could I would send you some of the Port Macquarie sun your way!
On the flag: Johannesburg sketcher Cathy Gatland sketching outside Kippies Jazz Club in Newtown.
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