Final pages of the sketchbook, Townsville to Sydney

Home again now, the expedition is over and time to gather our thoughts and memories.

The last post ended at Mission Beach, a long beautiful beach and small, unassuming township. From there we continued south down the coast, heading for Townsville, but came upon a small national park called Big Crystal Creek and decided to have one last bush camp. There was a large rock hole in the creek, finally a chance to swim! The weather was warm, the water was cold, altogether delightful. One last damper on a campfire, then Townsville the next day. We booked into a caravan park right on the beach which proved to be a good choice as we could walk into town along a beautifully set out track, up and over a headland, with lots of information about the military history of Townsville. I knew there was a large army base and an air force base there, but had no idea that the military involvement went right back to the 1860s, and the first contingent of Australian soldiers left from there for the First World War. The Battle of the Coral Sea happened close by in the Second World War. In town we visited the Regional Gallery and found a wonderful exhibition by a local artist Jo Lankester. She had made very large abstract collagraph prints using the rocks and landforms of the area for her inspiration. Each print was made up from between 10 and 15 colour plates. I bought the catalogue, and came away inspired to revisit collagraphs.

Having enjoyed Townsville far more than we expected we were disappointed in Airlie Beach – lots of grey nomads escaping the cold of the south and lots of backpackers crammed into hired campers or old station wagons. The beach was not beautiful, the town was tired with uninspiring cafes and shops, we found it difficult to understand the popularity. So now we were ready to come home. Leaving the warmth of the north, the temperatures dropped quickly – by the time we arrived in Toowoomba it was freezing, out came the blankets, jackets and beanies! Then, straight home, 11 hours of driving, but it was worth it to save camping in wet and cold. Great to be home, but so many great memories!

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Author: anna warren portfolio

I draw, I paint, I am a printmaker. Always searching for the interesting detail in the world around me.

24 thoughts

  1. I can imagine that the joy of camping isn’t so joyful once it gets cold. You weren’t tempted to just pop into a warm hotel or motel for the last night? 11 hours straight is a LOT of driving. I couldn’t do it.
    What is a collagraph print?
    As usual, I can see the love which goes into your journal. The items on the first page almost look like they are dancing. I like how each object has its own shadow.


    1. Actually, cold I can cope with, it’s rain that I want to escape from, and we did have more of that (surprisingly) than expected. All our cooking, food preparation and sitting space is outside so rain makes it difficult … we did promise ourselves a night in a hotel if we needed it, but it didn’t happen! The idea of driving for that long is horrendous, but this one happened unintentionally, in that we got to the place we intended to stop just after lunch, it was cold and threatening rain, so the choice of driving on became an easy one! But it was tiring.
      A collagraph print is made on card, usually mount board, and you can add texture with gesso, paint or aquadhere glue, you can glue thin items such as thread, leaves or paper to the surface, or cut in, making lines or peeling off layers. It is then sealed with shellac and inked up, either like an etching with the ink rubbed in, or rolled on. Its a really versatile printing medium. This artist was masterly in her use of it, overlaying numerous plates to build up rich colour and texture. There are two collagraphs on my miniatures page, one of caribou crossing an arctic landscape and one of camels crossing the desert, but these are both very simple ones. Often the plates are an artwork in themselves! Thanks for your lovely comments Julie!


      1. I can imagine some of your sketchbook pieces being inspiration for a new set of collagraph prints, Anna. BTW – I haven’t written to you yet (as you must have noticed). It is due to being in pre-exhibition mental fractured state. ie don’t have a lot of concentration right now. About all I’m good for is commenting on blogs and facebook…embarrassed to admit!!!


        1. I’m thinking along the collagraph lines … but I don’t want to be too influenced by the ones I saw. Don’t worry about not writing, I was feeling the same, trying to get things together! I can imagine you will be thoroughly preoccupied by the exhibition until the opening at least. It is an all-consuming thing!


  2. Lovely memories Anna ..( your sketch book must surely be bulging at the seams ! )
    … some of mine from our trip are vivid others are rather sketchy (!)
    I checked with BB , and I do believe once again we stayed in the same campsite . It was a memorable night πŸ˜€ . One where it felt difficult to even breathe because of the humidity . Oh My … morning couldn’t come soon enough .
    Mistletoe flowers ?? Must look that one up ….


    1. I’m amazed that there is room for another trip in the sketchbook! But yes, the sketches help bring everything back. What a co-incidence if you were in that campsite! At this time of year it was cool at night, so no problem with humidity, but I can imagine a little later in the year I would have wanted to just stay in the water. Those kind of nights are really hard to deal with, no escape! The mistletoe flowers surprised me too, I discovered them on our last trip. They are rather beautiful, and I have found that there are a lot of varieties too. Thank you Poppy!


  3. I found you through Poppytump – oh, how I love botanical illustration and sketches. These are fantastic – so full of life, yet still accurate. That’s a hard thing to achieve. Even your shells look like they’re dancing! Yum! I must look around some more!


    1. Ah, not so perfect when you look closely! The drawings are pretty loose and scratchy and the handwriting is quite messy, but I really appreciate your comment, I’m glad you get the impression of those classic old journals, it’s a great compliment!


  4. Your writing and sketches are so lovely. And I would say your handwriting is too! πŸ™‚ If you have time, what type/brand of art supplies are you using? Thanks (and thanks for visiting my blog and giving me a like)!


    1. Thank you Kristin! I use water resistant pens, several brands, I don’t have a particular loyalty to one brand, but my paints are Winsor & Newton artist quality in half pans. I bought a travel paintbox which opens out with little palettes, it has a water container that clips in the side and a flat bottle for carrying water. It does have a paintbrush but I carry a travel brush as I find the one in the box is a bit small. Hope that helps!


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