Week 10. Water, Reflections, Houseboats and Plonk

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Well what a cracker of a day for our last days of Term 2.

We are sketching at a narrow neck of beach and boating called The Spit.  Connecting two suburbs is a bridge which rises in the centre to allow passing boats to go from one side to the other.

It’s always fascinating to watch unless you happen to be the one impatiently waiting in your car to get across.


Once everybody had arrived we walked along the foreshore next to see-through clear water to a kiosk on the Marina.

The morning chill was being chased away by the sun warming us, as we sat at the perfectly placed outdoor tables, looking out at the sparkling harbour.

This was where our warmup ( sun, warming up, get it!) sketch would start.  Find something around you and take time to observe. Look at it as shapes.  Put your biggest ones down and go from there.

Both Christy and I were working with everybody today, so questions about how to show all those white boats, colours for the water and so on cropped up often.

At one point I did a quick water demo, to show how much white space you need to leave.  So many examples of water reflections everywhere to illustrate the point.

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Time then to wander back along the foreshore walk to the far end of the bay and the Houseboats.

There are 3 only allowed to be here, and another on the other side of The Spit.  Most of the sketchers didn’t know they were here.

One houseboat in particular is a beautifully proportioned little one with an upstairs dormer window.

People sat on the grass or on the seawall and sketched across the water with the big gum trees framing it from the back and a view of the sandstone cliff faces beyond.

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Tummies were rumbling so we trailed back, under the Spit bridge to Plonk Beach Cafe, our waters edge destination for lunch.

Wow what an amazing position is this. So well placed for kayakers to drip their way in and ‘plonk’ down and have a drink. Or the well dressed locals looking for a quiet but delightful lunch beside the sand. And then then are the sketchers! We like the best of everything!

We ‘plonked ourselves down at out tables and took time to take a look around at this awesome sketch location.

Coffees, wines, and delicious dishes were ordered and sketches completed.

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Todays work was very much capturing the moment each sketcher was in. To get something of the feeling of the place where you are.

Where else could these sketches be! Not the Simpson desert to be sure.  Fab work everyone.

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What a treat to go to such a glorious location for our final day of term.

The Spit was our chosen spot and we all cheerfully met up in the carpark on Pearl Bay. The Advanced class were joining us so we were a much larger crowd than normal.

Erin decided she’d not only have us out and about on location but whilst we were at it we might as well get a bit of a workout and put our leg muscles into action as we trotted off up and down the foreshore throughout the morning.

No problem we like the exercise.

So first jog was up via the coffee shop to the Marina at the North end. Got to get a coffee in if we get half a chance – I’m sure the caffeine assists the sketching (or that’s our excuse anyway).

So we chose a spot at the end of a jetty next to the petrol pumps (nothing like the smell of fresh air eh?) and sketched the glorious scene in front of us – boats, jettys, reflections and the far shore. It was so hot it felt like Summer.


Before we’d had time to blink we were off again, this time trotting to the opposite end towards the houseboats which are a lovely subject, one of them just looks like a cottage floating on the water.

We practiced reflections ensuring we used chinagraph to catch the ripples and lots of darks and lights in the water.

Jeepers we were off again! Back up the other end , under the bridge and we plonked ourselves at Plonk Beach Cafe. What a dreamy location overlooking all those zillion dollar boats and out across the harbour.


Lovely food, lovely company and ooh lovely wine (thanks to Jane who treated us!) and we were a very happy group. Lots of hugs and thankyou’s all around.

This has been a great term, new friendships were made and great progress was made with sketching too. Thanks everyone you’ve been a wonderful group. Roll on next term!





Our sketchers arrived by bus, vehicle or out of the bushes! Hi Alissa, so you bush bashed your way down from above and found us looking at the houseboats.

Good Morning everyone. Are we awake. Goodo. Lets head to Sand Bar Cafe, on the Middle Harbour side of The Spit.

We were sketching this side of The Spit, so that over the 3 days, we’ve worked our way around some of the glorious spots there are to stop and take in the tranquility of clear water lapping gently on the sand.

This was another excellent chance to work with which colours to use for the sea and reflections. In the demo I could also show just how damp each layer should be, before layering on your next colour. Of course a few squiggles of chinagraph means you’ll maintain the whites.

After we’d had a good coffee, and done our warmup sketch we wandered along the foreshore to where the kayaks are lined up on the beach.


Alissa of course is always a fascination to our sketchers with her line and watercolour pencil technique. Her work is quite different from ours, yet to see another way to Travel Sketch is very intriguing. Little things she does may even spark something in your own work.

Questions such as ‘How do I get the kayaks to look as though they are ‘going away?’ or ‘what colour would you use for the shadow under the kayaks?’ This was a good time to see what was there, and simply put down what you see. And by golly it works. Don’t over think it. You’ll confuse yourself.

The sketches were all getting the look of sand sea and reflections. Watercolours were blending and dripping  OOooooh love it.

Oh it looks like we better get along to the restaurant. Where does the time go!


Once inside it was menus to peruse, what drink to order and where’s my best view. Also a good chance to dot or dash a bit more colour into a previous sketch.

So it was very pleasing to see everyone do another sketch. What a good day. We so enjoy our sketching together, learning from each other, and hearing others compliment you on your work. Well done you all deserve a pat on the back. Look what you can do now.

Thank you too to Alissa for coming so far and sharing her talents with us.

Thank you to everybody in our classes this term. Your tutors are bursting with pride. We can’t wait to see you next term.

Happy Sketching.


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