by Liz Steel in Norfolk Island (Australia)
I am just back from a wonderful two week trip to the remote Norfolk Island which is 2.5 hours flight from Sydney and 1.5 hours flight from Auckland. It is a stunningly beautiful island with a fascinating history and the intention of my trip was to have a rest – a true vacation. This is something I rarely do these days as most of the time my trips are intensive sketching sessions. But the slow relaxed pace of the island, the lack of exciting tourist attractions and my own limited quota of three sketches per day meant that I only did a fraction of the sketching I would normally do.
There are a lot of fascinating things about the island both its history (settled by the descendants of the mutiny on the Bounty) and the unique aspects of island life due to its remoteness but I was rather taken with one small part. The Kingston precinct includes a beautiful beach, a fishing pier, and constantly changing light a collection of historic colonial buildings - what more could a sketcher want? I returned to this area over and over again to sketch different aspects, different views and in different times of the day.
Another feature of the island is the native tree, the Norfolk pine tree. These majestic trees are everywhere and are a major part of the beauty of the island. I don't think I have ever had such a feast of beautiful subject matter from which to sketch.
I will just share a few of my sketches here in this post but you can find them all over on my blog. You can also find out a little bit more about the island (including photos) on this post and a little bit about how I enjoyed totally unplugging from social media for the entirety of my trip.
One of the major parts of my trip was the fact that I took an untested sketchbook. I was given a Pentalic sketchbook by Stephanie Bower and I thought it would be a great occasion to use it. I had a few challenges initially which I described in detail on this post but managed to develop a way of using the book to suit the way I paint. Thankfully I took an emergency sketchbook as well which gave me a chance to do some loose sketches while I worked out how to get the results I wanted in the Pentalic book. I have just done a detailed review comparing the Pentalic paper with the moleskine paper on my blog here.
I really got addicted to this particular grouping of buildings around the Kingston Pier area, the space between the buildings was really interesting and I did at least one sketch every day I was in the area.
The most famous Norfolk pine tree on the island is referred to as Lone Pine - I think this is a poetic symbol of how this little island supports itself in the middle of the ocean.
Despite how remote the island is, I am pleased to report that there is one urban sketcher on the island. Bronny from Adelaide moved there year ago so it was great to have someone to hang out with towards the end of my stay.
I do hope to return there one day – it would be a great venue for a group sketching trip.