Art Journal Memories.

Finally I have filled the journal I took with me to the red centre of Australia. The first week it was an art tour dedicated to sketching and painting the outback. I showed you the results of that trip here.

But the second week was 4 days camping.


art journal and garden video 007_4114x3330There was so much to see, the scenery is magnificent. But because of the distances I did not have much spare time for sketching. I did do the sketch of Jake as we drove along and then had time to sit and draw the camp ground once all the chores had been done. But mostly it was taking photos with the plan to finish sketching and finalize the journal when I arrived back home…

I did, of course, blog about the adventure. You can see the posts here.

That was 3 years ago…

Well it takes a pandemic and having to stay indoors to finally take out the paints and look back at the photos and FINISH the journal…002_4753x3084

I had never been to the Red Centre and had long yearned to see the iconic Uluru. So the main purpose of the tour was to see the rock. It was as magical as I was expecting. But totally impossible for me to capture that magic either in a photo or as a very inadequate painting that I tried to capture from a photo.  (here are the photos in the blog )  (and more here) But as I painted the memories came flooding back and I could remember the feeling of awe as I watched the changing colours reflected on the rock as the sun went down and then the pure magic as the full moon appeared from behind this mighty monument. Next morning it was up before dawn to wait for the sun to rise. The air was crisp and clear, we were all wrapped up in jackets, gloves and scarves, it was cold. We stamped around trying to keep warm waiting for that moment when the sun finally appeared and bathed the rock and us in its warm glow.

outback tour jc 313_4000x3000

Next stop was King’s Canyon. With approximately 500 rough and uneven steps to the top, then back down again. Jack and I opted to do the gentler walk along the creek bed.

art journal and garden video 006_4255x3352art journal and garden video 005_4813x3062art journal and garden video 010_4114x3293

We were delighted we did this option, it was quiet and deserted and we had time to actually sketch a few things.

These are a sketches of some of the iconic things seen in the out back. Rusty cars and dilapidated machinery were scattered around. Many of the buildings were constructed of corrugated iron. Not many trees suitable for building and the corrugated iron was cheap and easy to transport. But, oh boy, how hot it must’ve been inside these places in mid summer. No air conditioning back then. And the majestic gum trees called out to be sketched.

4 days flew by so quickly, full of lasting memories. But there was still one more treat in store. On the last day Jake took us to Ellery Creek Big Hole.

last day outback tour pc 095_4000x3000I can still remember the feeling of complete amazement as I approached this wonder of nature. The reflections were mirror-like in their perfection and the tiny figures enhanced that feeling of nature in all its glory.

During this past week I have tried to capture this. I think it really needs a huge canvas to do it justice. But this is my attempt in the A5 sketch book. art journal and garden video 026_4746x3032

Ah the memories that this small art journal brings back


Cathy of “Wander Essence” has a monthly invitation/challenge were she invites anyone to join her in creating, and showcasing their art journals. She has put together a very informative post of ideas and tips about creating a journal. Do take a look and it would be so interesting to see what you can produce.


    • I would like to go back one day and travel independently. A tour group is good, especially if you are with a compatible group. But there is much more I didn’t get to see.


  1. Cathy’s journals are beautiful in a totally different way than yours, Pauline. Your artwork and drawing is truly wonderful. What gifts you have, you and Jack! Magical to be able to bring these moments back to life. I realised the power of photos for me because I’ve been going through old postcards, rolling back the years. The memories they evoke are far less clear than from my photos, but then, we’re talking about a lot of years ago. 🙂 🙂

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    • Thanks Jo for those lovely comments. I get a lot of enjoyment from my sketching. Taking time to really look and study a view leaves a lasting impression (pun intended 🙄)….
      I remember sending those “wish you were here” postcards, that was many years ago. Haven’t got any left now though. But I did like Cathy’s idea of sending herself a pc from each place she visited.


      • I used them as a travel diary back then, but they are now hopelessly muddled. A mountain of them! It’s my task while we were isolating but I haven’t got as far with it as I hoped. And I was playing croquet today! Strange to be ‘out’ again 🤗💕

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  2. Your paintings and entries are lovely! What a great trip that must have been. I love the tent…an old-fashioned canvas camp tent. I’ve always liked those and the camp set up in the 30’s while on safari. I wish I had experienced one of those. 😀

    Do you use a separate journal for each trip?

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    • That tent was surprisingly warm as the nights were quite cool. I do keep seperate journals for the longer trips. But just have a couple on the go that I fill randomly when ever I feel like sketching.

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  3. I always admire your sketches PP and this time I actually know the places you have sketched which makes it all so more real. We spent a week in and around Alice exploring the MacDonnell Ranges, King’s Canyon (we also did the creek trail) and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. I hired a Landcruiser (should have been a Rav 5 but they didn’t have one so upgraded me and I have never been so scared of driving in my life, but within hours fell in love with it) and thoroughly loved driving on the ‘red roads’. Like you say, it is an amazing region. Your journals will certainly help keep the memories alive.

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    • I would like to go back again Jude and hire a vehicle, don’t know about a 4wheel drive though, you were very brave. The tours were fantastic and a good group of people, but there is more I would like to see at my own pace. And do more sketching….


      • Aarrgh… Pressed the button too soon. I also like to be independent when possible as then you can take your time, like you say. I wrote a post on the travel blog, don’t know if you have read it, look under road trips if you want. 😊

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        • After travelling in Matilda for so long I never thought I would go on a tour, but I guess age can change your opinions. Will go check your road trip post….


          • You have seen it before, but now you’ve been yourself it may bring back a few memories. As for tours I also think time and money come into it as well as if you are travelling solo.


  4. How I love your drawings and paintings, Pauline, whether you did them while traveling, or later. They are truly magnificent and capture the amazing spirit of the place. I couldn’t pick a favorite, but I do especially love the Ghost Gums, the hotel, Uluru, Ellery Creek Big Hole, the campsite and the old derelict truck. I need to try to sketch in some of my next set of journal entries, but it would have been so much nicer to try it while traveling. I do love the idea of a dedicated art/drawing trip, where you linger and paint in the moment. So wonderful. My journals pale in comparison, but you’re an inspiration. 🙂 I’ll link this, and another you sent me, tomorrow. 🙂

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    • Thanks for the lovely comment, and thank you for giving me the opportunity and courage, to start show casing my journals. Actually I really love your style of journal Cathy. It is more of an information journal with lots of extras and you do some sketching too. I will try to gather more bits and pieces to put in my next journal, when we eventually start having trips again. In the meantime I still have a couple of unfinished journals to work on…


      • Thank you. I’m glad you like mine, but I really want to start incorporating more sketches into mine. It is nice to collect bits and pieces to put in, although most of the things I find are really too big or cumbersome. It’s fun to do something tactile, though, isn’t it?

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  5. Wow … a journal is full of brilliance … with your sketching and hot vivid colours of the Australian landscape Pauline !
    Love the ghost gum trees .. Uluru… and your photo of the tree branch stretching out in the foreground and people for scale is fabulous . Would love to spend some time camping in one of those old style canvas tents myself 🙂
    Lovely light touch with your pen and watercolours xx

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      • G’day Pauline 🙂 All keeping safe and well here thank you … and yes .. lots more Art with mixed results ha but very enjoyable all the same . It’s been a great distraction along with more attention paid to the garden for a very long time . No running off to the coast with my camera ! … but that time will come I’m sure 😉
        We feel very grateful life has not been turned upside down as it has for many and so far 🤞managed to avoid the virus . Yesterday with one of the new relaxed rules after no visits for about 10 wks we had a lovely walk and catch up with our DD and her slightly mad but fun spaniel Boo . Lots of ways of course to keep in touch nowadays but nothing like the real deal apart from no hugs 😦
        I really must pull my socks up and post on my blog . Have a great week Pauline xx

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        • Pleased all is well for you. Art is a great distraction. My latest project is from my calligraphy group. It is to design 12 bookmarks incorporating calligraphy. I’m finding it quite a challenge. Will look forward to seeing a blog from you. Maybe show us some of your art 🎨🤗


  6. I love perusing travel/art journals so am chuffed to have a peek into yours. Thank you for sharing your journey to this magnificent part of a world I am not familiar with. And to enjoy the fruit of the completion of your journal!

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