Where are the Clowns???

For over 100 years, the crowded working-class cottages in Arthur Circus housed large families whose livelihoods were reliant on the waterfront.  Each cottage is now valued over $1,000,000. It is a postcode held in high esteem, close to the city, waterfront, and in such a quaint, well-kept, prestigious, historical suburb of Hobart, Tasmania.

Arthur Circus Bsml
One of the quaint cottages surrounding the green space of Arthur Circus

Arthur Circus is located in Battery Point.  Battery point derived its name from the presence of a battery of cannons placed around the shoreline to protect the Hobart coastline. The cottages surrounded the village green of Arthur Circus, where children used to gather in the 1930s to play marbles, were built for officers of the garrison.  When the cottages were originally built in the 1800s, they probably consisted of just two main rooms. Who knows, maybe a clown or two visited visited the grassy area to join in with birthday celebrations. I like Tasmanian’s cartoonist, Kudelka’s Arthur Circus’ cartoon.

Arthur Cirsml
Houses are built around the green space of Arthur Circus

They are in stark contrast to some of the extravagant houses in the Battery Point neighbourhood, many that, including the Arthur Circus’ cottages, are heritage listed by the National Trust.

A grand house very close to Battery Point and my attempt at drawing it. I completely got the lean wrong, I drew it learning the opposite direction it should be leaning!

Arthur Circus is reportedly the only street named “Circus” in Australia.  Given the shape of the street, one would think it would have been named Arthur Circle.  But, in fact, “Circus” is an appropriate name for this special place because apparently “circus”, in Latin means “circle”, a round open space at a street junction.  Piccadilly Circus in London is a busy meeting place, and Arthur Circus seems to serve much the same purpose, especially with urban sketchers as many, many artists paint these cute cottages, and this is where our Urban Sketch Weekend commenced!

Yours truly, sketching in Arthur Circus, before we sought refuge from the rain and wind.

Friday, June 23rd, urban sketchers from Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart met and began sketching in Arthur Circus.

jackman Mcsml
My rained on drawing

The weather started off promising but soon the rains came so we were in and out of cafes, dodging the rain for most of the day.  Regardless, it was such fun and some great sketches were produced.

Inside the toasty warm Jackman & McRoss Cafe, Battery Point, sketched by the very talented Janice from Melbourne
Jane and I were sketched by the very talented Evelyn from Melbourne in Jackman & McRoss Cafe

The day consisted of fabulous food, conversations and sharing.

I ordered, drew and ate a chocolate eclair.

jackman mccrsml
Some of the day’s sketches
In the evening we at at Lighthouse Harbour Cafe. This is my yummy meal, with my paints close by. One of the hazards of being a hard core urban sketcher is that you firstly paint your food and then eat an un-hot meal (I’m not hard-core yet, so I ate mine when it was hot!)

In the evening, there was laughter and joy, as we challenged ourselves to 5-minute portrait sketches of each other.  It was timed, and exactly 5 minutes per sketch and not one second more!  This was a first for me and, I must say, I loved it!

My 5 minute sketch of Angela
My 5 minute sketch of Evelyn
My 5 minute sketch of Marta
Some of the 5 minute sketches produced

We took home the mini-portraits of ourselves.  A nice souvenir of a fabulous and memorable day spent in picturesque Battery Point, Tasmania.

Bye from us…



The Emo Perspective

An international, enthusiastic group of twelve, including myself, enrolled in Liz Steel’s urban sketching course.  On day two of the course, we visited Emo (pronounced A-mo) Villa, in the Vicenza area of northern Italy for the day’s urban sketching assignment.

Emo tour guidesml

While Monica, our lovely tour guide was giving us the history of the building, I did a quick sketch to capture and familiarise myself with this very long building with eleven archways on either side of the central main house.

Emo pen drawingsml

Frescoes adorn most of the inside walls. The “holy” frescoes hang on the north walls above the door in each room.  Many frescoes were painted to create the illusion of making the room look bigger than it actually is. For example, painting three dimensional columns, windows and having legs/feet hanging off balconies.

emo fresco grandsml

In one room, the walls are covered with “Grotesque” art. Grotesque comes from the word, “grotta”, meaning “cave”. Apparently, the ground collapsed in front of the Coliseum in Italy and the men that disappeared into the ground, discovered a large underground room full of this Grotesque style of art. It was a very common art form in the 15th and 16th centuries. I love this image on one of the Emo Villa walls, the shape and the sense of movement with the necks.

Emo Grotesque artsml

The walls in one room was full of frescoes depicting artists working on their various crafts.  It impressed me that all the artists were females.

emo frsco womensml

After our guided tour, we observed Liz drawing Emo Villa, which was designed by Andrea Palladio. Palladio is the only architect that an architectural style has been named after. Other architectural styles have been named after eras, not a person. Palladio means “Protector of the Arts”. Palladio respected Roman tradition and his buildings strictly adhered to symmetry.

emo demonstrationsml

The sketching assignment’s focus was on perspective, drawing vanishing points but not worrying if they go off the page. I’m frustrated that I didn’t take a photo of the end of the building because I am quite certain there was a statue at the far left too. This would have further magnified the perspective and added an element of drama to the painting. I would think that some of the statue would have been above the roof line, which, once again, I think would add drama to the picture.

emo drawing1sml

emo drawingsml

emo perspectivesml

Thank you for reading this post.  I’d love to hear from you.  Have you tried to draw an Italian villa? Do you struggle drawing perspectives? Does your brain try to override your eye?

PjPaintings at Salamanca Market June 17, 2017

This morning was a bit of a struggle, with a later than intended Friday night enjoying Hobart dressed in red and Dark Mofo, and some lingering remnants of jet lag hanging on, but despite this, it was great being back and chatting with people from all over the world.

Dark Mofo 2017
Entrance to The Feast

I met a young couple from Israel.  They’re working on a potato farm in Devonport, Tasmania.  I met another young couple that are living in Melbourne.  He is a Melbournian and she is Swiss.  She’s been living in Melbourne for four years now.  It was nice to be able to have a short French speaking session with her. 

A lady from New South Wales (NSW) bought a Spanish Eyes (Red) for her husband’s office.  Her friend bought Hayride because she lives in country NSW with an emu farm across the street from her.

PjPaintings limited edition print A-4 and A-3
Spanish Eyes (Red)


A couple, with a young baby, living in London, UK, bought a Bonnie & Me! print (emus riding a Triumph motorcycle) to post to her parents that live in Arizona, USA. I wonder how many US states has a Pjpainting now??!

Somebody who bought three prints last time they were in Tassie bought two more and a couple stopped by and told me that they have Beachside Chatter framed and hanging in their bathroom in their holiday house in Terrigal, NSW.  They said that her mother gave it to them as a gift and that everyone comments it.

Beachside Chatter
Beachside Chatter

A visitor bought Duck Crossing to give to friends who live in Geraldton, Western Australia (WA).  They have ducks and emus on their property.

Duck Crossingsml
Duck Crossing

A cruise ship from Sydney was in for Dark Mofo.  It’s leaving tonight and has been docked in Hobart for a few days.  Somebody, enjoying the cruise to Hobart, bought a Yellow Sulphur Crested Cockatoo ink and water colour painting.

yellow-crested cockatoo
Yellow Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Today’s best seller is White Faced Scops Owls 

White Faced Scops Owls
White Faced Scops Owls

A thought to ponder:  “Every artist was first an amateur”― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Until next week, warmest regards from the Pjpaintings stall at Salamanca Market. 🙂

Villa Cornaro Palladiana, Vicenza, Italy

Cornora 2sml
The front entrance of Villa Cornaro

Our urban sketching group visited Villa Cornaro Palladiana, owned by Carl and Sally Gable, who bought this summer “house” approximately 30 years ago. Carl graciously gave us a guided tour of his home.  Here’s a quick attempt at sketching our guide.


When Carl and Sally purchased the property, Carl said that they hadn’t even heard of the architect, Andrea Palladio, 1508-1580.  They have done a lot of research since and Carl delivered a captivating and informative tour.  Usually Palladio designed long and one level structures but because the owners that employed Palladio purchased a square shaped block of land, Palladio had to adapt his design to fit onto the piece of land.  To compromise on symmetry was absolutely non-negotiable for Palladio, so he designed his first ever two story building – the Villa Cornaro Palladiana.

The dramatic two storey designed villa – a first for Andrea Palladio.

Inside, there are grand frescoes and sculptures adorning walls.

frescos2 in Cornora
Sculpted oval frames adorned with cherubs surround sculptures on each wall.

The Villa Cornaro remained in the Cornaro family for 253 years, and then three different families took ownership of it until 1951.  It was then vacant for approximately a decade until a church purchased it and ran a kindergarten in the building.  The church thought that the cherubs’ lack of modesty was inappropriate for the four to five year old kindergarten students, so they had all cherubs’ penises removed!

All the villas we had visited so far, had painted pillars in the frescoes, which gave the impression that the room was bigger than it actually was. In the Villa Cornaro they had large sculptures of family members facing real, majestic pillars in the grand main room.

Cornora statues.jpg
Cornaro statues

In 1969, the Villa Cornaro was once again privately owned and restored over a period of 20 years and then in 1989, Carl and Sally Gable purchased the property.  They are the sixth family to occupy the villa in its 450 year history.  The Gables have published a book about their relationship with this majestic building.  The book is titled, Palladian Days: Finding a New Life in a Venetian Country House.

The front of the Villa Cornaro Palladiana with some of the urban sketchers looking dwarfed by the impressive two storey entrance.

After the tour, we went out back and were given 15 minutes to sketch the house.  I was quite pleased that I was able to draw it up in 15 minutes, as speed drawing is not my forte.  I’m fairly new to urban sketching – about 9 months new, definitely wearing L Plates, so I was happy that I remembered the vertical vanishing point.  My brain seems to more easily remember and work out horizontal vanishing points and completely forget about the vertical ones or allows the brain to override the eye, and win that battle and the brain ends up being incorrect! Lesson to self: trust the eye rather than the logic the brain uses to try to manipulate you to believing it (walls and sides of houses are straight says the brain). Has anyone else encountered this battle?  What is your strategy to avoid the trap of allowing the brain to win against your better judgment (eye)?



The back of the Cornaro  and my drawing of part of the back view of the villa. I applied water colour to the drawing when we returned to our hotel.

A statue at the front of Cornaro

Loving Italy, loving Vicenza! Thanks for visiting.



First and Second Day of Liz Steel’s Urban Sketching Course in Italy

My friend, Annette, and I are rather new to urban sketching.  We both did Liz Steel’s online course and when we saw that she was doing an urban sketching workshop in Italy, we quickly signed up before we changed our minds. 😁😁 The few months before we headed off to Italy, we tried to meet on a weekly basis and sketch in plein air to improve our skill levels.

I had every intention of posting our Italian urban sketching experience daily but Wifi in Italy is extremely slow.  I tried to post this post three times in Italy and each time it failed completely. It didn’t even save it.  Once, I even wrote the entry at 5 am, sitting on the toilet, in order to not disturb sleeping beauty, Annette.  😆😄 After the third attempt, I gave up, hence, the entries are being posted from Tassie.

We started the course under the shade of a  Vicenzan tree at the Ca’ de Memi with some chicken warming up exercises.

Liz Steel, our urban sketcher extraordinaire, and the chickens.

Firstly, we did some blind line drawings, line drawings and put down shapes with paint and then applied pen work.

One of the Chicken Exercises

After our chicken exercises we had dinner and did some more blind line drawings. This is the portrait that Liz Steel did of me.

Liz Steel’s blind sketch of me. I love it!

The next day we had breakfast together and then ….

Breakfast at Ca’ de Memi, Vicenza

a quick sketch of a teapot, cup and Lauren, from San Francisco, U.S….

…and then the group clambered onto a bus with all our urban sketching gear and made our way to Ca’ Marcello Villa.

The grand Ca’ Marcello Villa
A partial view of the front garden at Ca’ Marcello Villa

Marcello Villa was a sustainable working farm on a grand scale. The wings housed the workers. There’s a building at the back that housed over a thousand pairs of pigeons which was the farm’s main meat source.

One of the workers’ wings at Ca’ Marcello Villa.

Everything in the villa was opulent.  I tried to sketch, listen, write down a few notes and follow the tour guide while he was speaking and showing us the many rooms of the main house.

My notes and quick sketches. I loved the swan head/neck bed posts and the extra deep chair seats to accommodate all the material of the full ballroom dresses that the ladies wore a few centuries ago.

The ballroom on the second level had a flexible floor.  I was on the opposite side of the extremely large ballroom, when the tour guide demonstrated the spring in the floor, and I felt the movement under my feet.  It conjured the imagery of men in their finest twirling and lifting women in their full, long dresses off their feet with the greatest of ease.

We went through the villa’s original 16th century doors to bedrooms with bass relief pictures, depicting scenes from daily life, adorning walls.  The plaster is 100 millimetres thick and sculptors would work back into the plaster, carving the images.  They only have first name records of these sculptors because they weren’t considered artists.  Unbelievable because their work is exquisite.  Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photographs inside the villa.

After the tour and lunch, we got down to business.  Firstly, Liz gave us a demonstration and then we had 15 minutes to do our first initial sketch.  It felt somewhat daunting to do our first sketch with a group and time limit, but draw we did.  This is all I managed to get down on paper in 15 minutes.

15 minute sketch of the Ca’ Marcello Villa

Then we had 40 minutes to have another go.

My sketch done with dipping a reed in ink and then applying watercolour.

After lunch, we went to the back of the villa.

Back view of the main house of the Ca’ Marcello Villa

Liz did another demonstration for us and then we chose a garden scene to paint.

Liz demonstrating
Strange creature in the gardens of Villa Marcello.

After the garden scene painting, we climbed onto the bus and headed back to Ca’ del Memi for a quick dropping off of supplies and then we walked to the Villa Cornaro, in Vicenza, where we were met by the owner, who graciously let us into his home… where more history was heard and drawings were drawn…