Port Macquarie Beach Artists Create Joy in Coastal Community

On a sunny afternoon at Port Macquarie’s Oxley Beach, artist Alex McNaught, finds his inspiration – a vast stretch of sand exposed by the low tide. Armed with just a rake, string, and a stick, he transforms this blank canvas into a striking geometric pattern, all within an hour.

“It’s art in an hour,'” Alex says, describing his process. “a rake, a stick and some string at the beach, that’s it.”

Supplied: Facebook (Alex McNaught

A photographer by trade, Alex discovered the joy of sand art as a way to express his creativity between jobs. He meticulously uses geometry to design and create his large, symmetrical works. What began as a hobby has blossomed into a passion project, with Alex planning to expand on his designs.

“Sand art is easy for me,” Alex explains. “just drawing lines and making pleasing shapes turned out to be so good.”


The impermanence of his art adds another layer – each creation exists for only an hour before the tide washes it away. Yet, this impermanence is part of the charm.

“People often thank me,” Alex says. “Visitors, locals, even teenagers – they all give me the thumbs up.”


During the Easter holidays, Alex took his art to a new level, creating an interactive sand maze that families enjoyed exploring.  His work has even caught the eye of local residents. Sue Schubert recently commissioned Alex to create sand art hearts for her daughter’s wedding on Oxley Beach.

“It’s great to come across some art in the sand … the kids have been running through and laughing and having a good time and we’ve enjoyed it ourselves as well, it’s been lovely,” Sue says.


As Alex hones his craft, he hopes his beach art becomes another reason for people to visit Port Macquarie. “There are so many great things about this place,” he says. “I like to think my art adds to that.”

Further down the coast, another beach artist, Rick Thomson-Jones (known as “Rainbow Rick”), brings smiles with his quirky installations on Shelly Beach. Rick uses natural elements to create playful works that mark holidays and special occasions.

“It’s all about making people smile,” Rick says. “Even though the sculptures are simple, they seem to bring joy.”

A retiree who has become a local icon, Rick began creating his art eight years ago.

“People stop me everywhere, thanking me for my work,” Rick says. “It’s truly heart-warming.”



Rick’s artistic journey began while caring for his father who could no longer enjoy beach walks. Rick created sand designs to brighten his father’s day, sparking a passion that continues today.

Rick often works through the night to complete his intricate pieces, ensuring they’re ready to greet beachgoers on holidays.

“One day, a man told me I was ‘called here’ to do this,” Rick reflects. “I truly believe him. I feel connected to nature and this art form.”

From Alex’s geometric creations to Rick’s whimsical displays, Port Macquarie’s beaches are a canvas for artistic expression, bringing joy to locals and visitors alike.

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