After a breakfast fry-up to feed the boys up, both Vinnie and Steve set off for the 115km journey to Ravensthorpe – along a basically long straight road that undulated through mostly wheat fields and the Fitzgerald National Park on the seaward side. I, in the meantime, set up for my daily drawing on site – the rusting old plough was an irresistible subject in amongst the scrubby trees of which there were many. The manager of the Jerramungup Caravan Park had told me Jerry (as it is known by the locals) was the home of the Yates trees – not sure if that was what I was looking at, but could be as there were so many!
I decided to try out a new medium, liquid graphite, with a sepia pen to provide linear highlights. Pretty happy with the effect and my pic got quite a few instagram likes, so a worthwhile experiment. I am mixing it up with the media I use for daily drawings/paintings to hopefully provide interesting variety for my art project, and to get some practice using different media.
The way the project is evolving is that I spend between 1-2 hours a day on creating a drawing/painting, some that are completed in that time, and some I will work on more for a resolved work. They are not meant to be highly finished works though as I am hoping that I am creating works that are fresh and simple while providing a visual record of our journey. I am also hoping to complete at least one plein air 8×10” oil painting each week during our travels, and when we stop for a few days in a place I plan on doing some larger oil paintings (I have brought along eight large canvases to work on in a specially made carry box that Steve put together and resides in the back of the car). I have also collected pigments from a few of our stops to experiment with making my own oil paints to complete a series of major works based on the trip when we eventually get home.
Once my drawing was progressed enough I set off to catch up with the boys for a lunch break just outside Fitzgerald – which was basically a sign in between Jerry and Ravensthorpe! This seems to be the case quite a bit – we think there will be a small township, but instead find that it is just the name of a region or something, who knows? Anyway, with the help of the spot checker I am always able to have a good idea of where I will find them. A few sandwiches made in the handy kitchen at the back of the pod, refill the water bottles and they are on their way again.
I arrived in Ravensthorpe by 1pm and nearly missed the caravan park – started off the road to Hopetoun before realising that I needed to backtrack. This is still a bit of a potential worry for me – I have yet to become proficient in backing with the pod on the back, so am always looking for suitable turning around spots, which might mean travelling for some distance! Luckily in this instance I was quickly able to turn back and head into the Ravensthorpe Caravan Park. As the office didn’t open until two, I scouted out a nice spot and got the pod in place, unhooked and then it was time to check in.
Whenever I check in to a park I tell them what we are doing and ask to leave a few of our leaflets in their info racks. We are finding that the smaller, less popular parks tend to be very generous with discounting or waiving the fee altogether – in this case they gave us a discounted fee, saying they would like to do more but were operating on little profit. We are so grateful to the support these small parks show – it really makes a difference.
Not long after that Steve and Vin rolled in, it had been a good ride though Vin was suffering a slightly pulled thigh muscle for the last 20 km. Once they had recovered and showered we went to check out the local lookout as I wanted to do a plein air the next morning. It turned out to be about 10 km out of town along a dirt road – great view across wheat fields to some mountain ranges in the Fitzgerald National Park. The flora was magnificent, beautiful banksia trees and such variety of foliage and small flowers – truly lovely. While I was initially keen to return the next day to paint, this didn’t eventuate due to the threat of rain which meant I didn’t feel so confident driving on the rough dirt in the Commodore – yep, I’m a chicken.
Once we returned to the campsite, knowing I would be painting in the morning, I did a drawing looking across a small billabong that was home to many rather noisy frogs. Steve meanwhile cooked our favourite lentil, sweet potato and lemon soup in the Thermomix – very handy when there is a nearby camp kitchen. We do have power in our little van, but it is battery power converted to 240V mains power using an inverter and we try not to overwork it.
Another day done…beginning to feel like we have been doing this for ever!