… is all that matters here!

Moffat Beach from “Visit Sunshine Coast”

It is a beautiful hot sunny Spring day here on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland so hubby, son and I set out to Moffat Beach for a morning of sun, sea and – for me – sketching.

Rather than drown, I drew

I’m not the most buoyant in the water and while my son snorkelled and my husband scuba dived with his local dive team, I retreated to the safety of the sand after my customary five minutes of panic-breathing and treading water not much deeper than my height.  It was actually a lovely calm ocean today, sad for the surfers, but I was happy. It meant I got more than my ankles wet.

I’ve never been a strong swimmer and in Australian oceans I really don’t feel at home, unlike in the balmy Mediterranean or Aegean Seas of Europe.  However, rather than put on a brave face and pretend I’m better than I am, I am at least honest these days.  So when the scuba divers came back with tales of what they’d seen several metres below, I admitted how I’d only just managed to get my face submerged once.  Of course my teenage son added painful details immediately, and with a little too much glee for my liking, so honesty was really the best way to go, rather than trying to save face.

I came into my own though, when I whipped out my sketch book and proudly showed the water babies that my own strength was in capturing, rather than immersing in, the sea. The sketch got a few raised eyebrows, approving gestures and “You did that just now?”, so I think I regained some ground that had just been swallowed up in the watery depths of my swimming!

The sketch

Pastel sketch of Moffat Beach

Pastel sketch of Moffat Beach

I used pastel pencils that I bought recently from a local shop, and a small sketch pad that fitted nicely into my beach bag.

When we chose our spot, it was in the quieter end of the beach with one or two couples around, but not too close.  I had an unimpeded view of the headland and happily got into testing the new pencils.  I quite liked them, they were easy to use in the environment and didn’t need anything other than a few clean finger tips to smudge.

However, I’d got as far as sketching the sky and smaller tree when my world became crowded with one family of three generations perching on the rocks right behind me, and another couple who stuck their sun brolly into the sand right in the centre of my line of sight.

Photo of Moffat Beach with a sunbathing neighbour.

Photo of Moffat Beach with a sunbathing neighbour.

I felt like getting angry, then remembered I didn’t actually have sole rights to the beach, so chose to ignore it all and got on with sketching.

Occasionally I heard members of the family behind me saying, “that looks so realistic”, “I wonder if she teaches”, “she’s got the colours just right.”

The Leo in me quite liked the admiration, so I turned and smiled and we ended up having a nice chat.  Their feedback on the colours I was using was actually helpful, because the sun was so bright, it was hard to tell what was dark blue and what was dark green.  It was also encouraging when they asked if I did this for a living and did I teach it.

When it was time to leave so the divers could gain access to their towels etc (I held the car keys), the family told me to keep painting and using my talents.  I took that as encouraging advice from the Universe, wished them a wonderful day and trudged back over the sand to the diving team with my son.


For a sketch done in an hour or less, with a new medium and in glaringly bright light, I am happy with the little painting.  I sprayed it with some matt fixative so it won’t smudge and am considering taking my pad along tomorrow when we go to the beach again.


Comments on: "Pastel Sketch of Moffat Beach" (5)

  1. Like how you’ve done the waves. Will try using pastel pencils, but get put off when people look over my shoulder at what I’m doing when sketching outdoors so mainly use just a camera these days.

    • Thanks! I have to admit I usually paint or take my inspiration from photos myself for the same reason as you. My brother who was an art lecturer used to tell me when I was young to ‘go outside and paint direct from nature’. But I was always too shy and felt awkward if people wanted to look. I probably wouldn’t have even done it today, but I didn’t have anything to read on the beach and picked up the pencils and sketch pad on a whim! I’m glad I did though, because I wouldn’t have realised that other people looking don’t bother me now.

      I think one thing that may have helped me ‘work through’ that issue that springs to mind is when I painted some lettering on a sign for my boss a few years ago. I am the first to admit that my sign writing is average at best, but I was doing the best I could when a local sign writer turned up and started watching me. I could only imagine what he was thinking when he looked at my work, but I struggled on – what else was I going to do? Run away? lol. I wanted to. 🙂 After a while he said told me it wasn’t bad, and then offered a suggestion on doing the “N” better. I appreciated that feedback, and the tip. But I think mostly I overcame a huge fear of having my work judged. My worst critic that day was in my head, not his and I managed to live through it.

      Well, that turned out to be a trip down memory lane lol. Thank you for commenting Linda, I appreciate it. 🙂

      • Glad you now feel over being judged about your work.:)

        Just wanted to clarify that that wasn’t the reason I don’t like people entering my space when I’m creating outside (actually don’t care if someone likes what I’m doing, as my half finished projects on my blog will confirm, lol).
        There are just times i prefer not to be disturbed and I guess that’s one of them, despite any compliments I may receive. Feels intrusive, but that’s just me preferring my personal space at times rather than any feeling of awkwardness, shyness or lack of confidence in my work.

        Was once surrounded by about 6 teenagers when sketching in the park. They said nice things about it, but had not been invited to peer over my shoulder.
        On my blog, on the other hand, I invite feedback even if it’s not positive as I don’t really identify with my work in that way, I can be objective about it without it reflecting on me and my abilities.
        But I realise we are talking about two different issues here, mine being privacy/boundary related as art is my therapy and relaxation and I’ve never understood why it attracts passers-by like moths to a flame when I just want to be left alone.
        Nothing wrong with welcoming it either though. 🙂

      • Yes, we do have two different reasons for wanting space to create, although I am totally with you when you say art for you is a therapy and relaxation. I find that too. For me it is like entering a zone where it is just me and my creation.

        Also, I have found when I’m working at a friend’s studio, there is a time where we chat and ‘doodle’, and then there is a time when we both retreat to our different areas of the studio and get on with our own thing. At that point, trying to hold a conversation or relating to the other person as well as trying to create would be counterproductive.

        I’ve enjoyed this conversation! You have helped me clarify another reason I didn’t mind the feedback on the beach yesterday; I was really doodling/sketching to pass the time. If I had been in the process of making some piece of felt or something that required my whole presence of being, I would not have wanted them interrupting my train of thought and act of creativity.

      • Ah, that makes sense. Good observation.

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