Strolling in Knocklofty Reserve

The capital city of Tasmania, an island state of Australia, is Hobart.  Home to approximately 220,000 people, the small city has beaches and reserves easily accessible and both extremely close to the city.  Yesterday, after work, I walked about 5 kilometres in Knocklofty Reserve located in the suburb of West Hobart.

I came across a very iconic Australian bird, a kookaburra.  It looked like it was a juvenile kookaburra. It was sitting at my eye level on a branch very close to the bush track.  The kookaburra presented several poses for me to photograph, which was very kind of it to be so accommodating, because the photos will serve as a great resource for future kookaburra paintings.

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Isn’t this just the cutest looking little kookaburra face!
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A more standard kookaburra pose

Here are three kookaburras that I painted last year.  The painting is titled “The Three Amigos” and is available as a limited edition print at http://www.pjpaintings.com  I mixed a tiny bit of Aquarelle water based ink into blue watercolour paint to try to more accurately capture the brilliant blue on the kookaburra’s wings.

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The Three Amigos

Birds make a great subject to paint and I feel lucky to have come across a photogenic kookaburra during my stroll in Knocklofty Reserve, Hobart.  Bye for now and thanks for reading my blog.

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Composing Composition

About five years ago I relinquished my management position and moved into a teaching position (both full-time positions) so that I could devote more head space to my art. I then went part-time because I needed ‘time’ to paint.  I also secured a permanent market stall site (#30) at Salamanca Market in Tasmania.  Working part-time and having a stall is somewhat of a game changer.  My art has to supplement my income, and now I find myself in the new realm of managing the tension between what I want to paint and painting what sells.  There are plenty of positives with this but sometimes it feels a little like a conflict-of-interest inner struggle is happening.

I painted these two paintings pre-part-time employment. One sold like hotcakes and the other not.  Can you guess which the best seller was?

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Beauty Queens
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Beauty Queens I

I sell 100/100 limited edition prints.  I quickly sold 100 Beauty Queens and about six prints of Beauty Queens I.  I’ve painted a replacement Beauty Queens and now with only two left, I’m painting it again as this is a popular print.

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Replacement Beauty Queens

I’m in my comfort zone painting emus at the hair salon and it’s fun to paint. I’ve decided to mix it up a bit this time otherwise it starts to feel a bit too comfortable, which actually makes me feel uncomfortable with my art.  For me, probably the most challenging part is composition.  My favourite emu in the Beauty Queens I painting is the emu with the row of curlers down her neck.  I’m painting three versions and then deciding which one I think works or doesn’t work.  I find it too difficult to be able to predict which composition is good until I see how the colour and form work together.

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Beauty Queens V
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Beauty Queens VI
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and then one in the same composition…. just in case… Beauty Queens VII

Which one do you think works best?

Thanks for reading my post.  I’d love to hear from you, about your art, earning a living from art, composition dilemmas or ….

PjPaintings at Salamanca Market August 26, 2017

The morning started calmly and the temperature was lovely but by lunchtime, gusts of wind rolled in and caused havoc. You could hear gazebos flapping violently and items crashing and banging. My table got upended and miraculously I caught a crate full of prints! The day is so much more tiring when there is wind. You are forced to stay on high alert and hope that your reflexes react quickly enough to save things from being blown away. Because of the wind, most people started packing up early, and so did yours truly.
Before the destructive wind made its presence, I enjoyed many-a conversation with visitors and locals. Well before 8 am, a local came to buy two prints for her partner to give to his friend. The friend had bought “Family Outing” and had mentioned that she wanted “Thunder!” She also bought “Salamanca Fresh” for him to give to her.
Another local arrived at the crack of dawn and bought “Surfing Clifton Beach, Tasmania” for her granddaughter and “Beauty Queens III” to give to a friend who needs cheering up. Her friend is a hairdresser, sole income earner of the family, and is an older lady who finds the standing and cutting hair physically taxing.
A couple attending an optometrist conference, which apparently is held annually in Tasmania, this year in Launceston at Grindelwald, bought “Hayride” for a friend that collects toy tractors and all manner of tractor themed items.
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Surfing Clifton Beach, Tasmania
Beauty Queens
Beauty Queens III
I met a couple from Finland that have moved to Binalong Bay, Tasmania three years ago. They absolutely love it and told me that they walk on the beach each morning. They said that they are glad when they see the Australian map on the news without Tasmania because they want this gem of a place to be a secret. I met another couple who told me that his nickname was ‘Emu’ and hers was ‘Owl’. They wanted to buy “Who, Who, Who are You? II” and said that they would pick it up on their way back, but I didn’t see them again. There are 353 stalls at Salamanca Market and I think that by the time people get to the other end of the market they are kaput!
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Who, Who, Who are You? II
Another couple were having a long awaited weekend away, without children. They bought a “Cheer ‘em Up” pack. A lady from Newcastle, Australia, purchased a print of her dream motorbike, a Ducati. A New Zealand couple departed with a “White Faced Scops Owls” print and another person got one for her sister’s birthday. “Café Paris” is going to the Sunshine Coast and “Poppy Fields” is off to Washington, D.C., U.S.A. She travelled to Australia for work, commencing her travels in Sydney. She attended a few meetings here and an Agricultural Economics conference. She was going to catch the ferry to MONA and try to get out to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary to pat some marsupials.
Today’s best seller were the motorbike prints: “Who says emus can’t fly!?”, “Bonnie & Me” and “Joyride”.
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Joy ride!
A thought to ponder: “Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” ― Rainbow Rowell The motto of my art is helping put smiles on faces. I hope it does and that people feel happiness when they view it.
 
Wishing you many happy, creative moments, from the Pjpaintings stall #30 at Salamanca Market

Why I Like Being a Stallholder

Yes, there are some cold, dark, Saturday mornings in the winter that I moan and groan with the thought of struggling all day to keep my toes warm, despite wearing three layers of everything.  It is really not an enticing prospect to help motivate me to get out of bed but most of the time this is not the case.   I really like having a Pjpaintings permanent stall at Salamanca Market.

Setting up and taking down each Saturday is not as bad as it sounds and it is a source of weight lifting and exercise without the gym fees.  During the setting and packing up time, before the gazebo walls go up, is actually the easiest time to chat with your neighbours and the market community around you.  Close bonds are developed as we get to catch up every week over many years.

The best thing about having a stall is the conversations with people from all over the world.  Salamanca Market is a major Tasmanian tourist attraction that gives me the opportunity to meet and interact with people from everywhere, including Canada and Belgium, where I have spent some of my life.  I sometimes even attempt to have a conversation in French.

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Meeting a fellow Belgian

Art exhibitions or galleries’ privacy clauses prevents me from finding out who bought, or where my art work went, whereas at Salamanca Market I can interact with those that are taking home my artwork.  It is such a buzz to be able to talk about your art work with those that love it enough to buy it, to hear how they connect with it and their stories.  For example, a couple who sold their house in Brisbane and moved to Emu Park, Queensland, were looking for a piece of artwork featuring an emu and were thrilled to discover my stall-full of emu art.

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Family Outing

 

The motto of my art is “helping put smiles on faces”.  It is lovely seeing all the smiles at my stall and when people see the perfect gift for a baby, daughter, son, family members and friends or gifts to take with them to give to hosts when travelling and relatives abroad.

 

Also, you meet many people that are attending all sorts of conferences, competitions and events in Tasmania that I would have never had known about, if it wasn’t visitors telling me about them.  I am amazed at how much we host here.  Recently we’ve hosted the Australian Society of Micro Biologists Conference, Sausage Conference, Underwater Hockey Championship and much more.

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Some sort of event taking place in Hobart

And finally, all the great stories I hear on Saturdays and the interesting characters I have the privilege of meeting, makes great weekly writing material and another avenue of connecting with people through the written form.

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Regular bagpipe group meet-up at the top end of Salamanca Market

Resist!

Defend – Conserve – Protect.  Do you know whose slogan this is?

If you guessed the Sea Shepherd, you guessed correctly.  The Sea Shepherd movement involves defending, conserving and protecting our oceans and marine wildlife, combating illegal fishing, sea life rescues and many years of pilot whale defense campaigns, actually virtually forty years of campaigning.  Their 40th anniversary is quickly approaching and one of the ways they are marking this momentous occasion, and organisation, is by hosting an art exhibition at the Waterside Pavilion at Hobart Docks, Tasmania, commencing Monday 2nd October through to Sunday 8th October.

I was thrilled to have been asked to participate.  The theme is quite broad – conservation. I thought I’d have a go at what most people associate with Sea Shepherd and that is whales.  I’ve never painted a whale before and I have always found painting water particularly challenging.  So, my first plan of action was to buy paper that had some resist (unfortunately I didn’t take note of the name of the papers I bought.  I just went with feel but I will go back to the shop, buy more, take note of the names and will come back to report my findings).

Watercolour paper absorbs the paint too much for the watery effect that I’m seeking. This is a painting I did two years ago on Daler & Rowney 300gm Aquafine Aquarelle Watercolour paper.

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Unfurling

I wet the paper and then applied watered down Ecoline ink to create a watery background.  Aquarelle paper has quite a bit of resist and this lack of absorbency allows you to create this look.

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liquid watercolour

I tried doing the background for a whale painting on the Aquarelle paper and I wasn’t impressed with the first coat.  It doesn’t have as much resist as I would like. I wet it all again and tried lots of splattering.  I’m happier with this and will give it a go.  I’ll see what the end outcome brings.

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background painted on 300gm Aquarelle Watercolour paper

I painted this humpback adult and young whale on a paper with a lot of resist.  It feels like it almost has a plastic coating.  It was so much fun to paint on.

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Humpback Whales for Sea Shepherd Art Exhibition

I wet the paper and then applied the watercolour paint.  It was really, really wet so I left it to dry and went upstairs to make a nice cup of tea (I love hot cups of tea!).  A couple of hours later, I checked on it and discovered the paint in the bottom part of the painting, had formed the coolest bubbles ever!  They are soooo cool.  I’m just in awe of them.  Had I known this was going to happen, I would have applied this colour to a lot more of the painting.  I think this colour may have also helped to make the whales look more like they are underwater too.  Unfortunately the photos don’t accurately capture the life-likeness of the bubbles created.

 

I’m going to continue to try a variety of papers with resist and I will let you know how this goes.  Do you think I’ll have a repeat of unintentionally creating the coolest bubbles ever?  Has any of your painting experiences resulted in cool bubble-making??  I’d love to hear about it!

Thanks for reading,

by Patricia (Pj), the unfurling artist

Bad Ink

I’ve started using ink a lot more since doing the Inktober Challenge in 2016.  I mainly use it to outline Australian native animals that I draw.  I mix Indian and Quink ink together and use a reed to apply my outlines.

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My inks and reeds

I usually have a few on the go so one of my kitchen counter tops has been taken over by these.  Having them accessible lets me add to them during those short down times.  For example,  while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil, I paint a few blades of grass or I use it as a motivational tool before I try to make myself start making dinner. For example, I’ll allow myself to only paint a platypus’ beak and then I tell myself I can paint more when I finish making dinner.

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The kitchen counter top with three platypus drawings in progress
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Platypus I was inking up before going to work

I was inking up these platypus before work, and hadn’t quite finished the third platypus in the top drawing, when I realised that time had gotten away from me.  I quickly started packing up.  Ink is a fantastic median on paper to work with because it is bold, dramatic and versatile but when it gets knocked over and spills everywhere, ink is bad, which is what happened.  It fell off the kitchen counter onto the floor, splashed up onto the cupboard doors, dining room chair, dining room table and me.  Charli, the dog, immediately wanted to smell it.  I chased her out the door, tried to clean up the best I could and threw my clothes into the washing machine to soak before I rushed out the door.

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ink clean up
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Anyone for yummy ink soup??

I got to work and discovered I hadn’t got all the ink off of me and that my shoes had taken on a more authentic artistic look!

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Ink work that I didn’t have to pay for
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My shoe taking on a more artistic look

I’ve had other unfortunate experiences with ink.  A while ago, I placed my art bag on the front passenger seat and when I removed my bag I discovered that my ink bottle had leaked.  So, as a result, the front passenger seat has a permanent rather large ink spot on it.  Another time, an ink bottle leaked in my generous sized pencil case.  What a mess that was, and a job to clean!

Despite my bad ink experiences, I’m still a big fan of ink and use it almost daily.  Has anyone else had any “bad ink” experiences???

 

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inking finished and watercolour being added
August 2017 platypus
painting finished despite all the drama!  🙂

PjPaintings at Salamanca Market August 5, 2017

It was a fairly slow day under blue skies and temperate temperatures.  Early in the day, the stallholder from the upper part of the street exercised his creative flair with some street and tree art.

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Colourful Salamanca Market personality making his mark
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He also decorated the tree near his stall site

A lady, attending a vigil marking the atomic bombing of Hiroshima seventy-two years ago on August 6th, bought a platypus original painting for a baby’s gift.  A grandmother from Western Australia, expecting her first grandchild, which they have named Baby-locks while it is in the womb, chose Duck Crossing.

I met the son of my friend who bought some of my very first paintings.  She has been a great supporter of my art over the years.  Her son bought “39 Keys to Life”.  I gave the painting this title because I painted 39 piano keys.

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39 Keys to Life

A father purchased “Joy ride” for his young son.  The print is going to make its home in China.  Two ladies, visiting from Sydney, bought a “Who, Who, Who are You? II,” “All Ears” and “G’Day” print.

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Joy ride!

I met two young ladies from Newcastle, Australia.  They are planning to watch the Matilda soccer team play Brazil in Newcastle.  It should be a great and competitive game.

Four pjpaintings prints went to be auctioned to raise money for the Stay ChatTY not for profit charity that works to help prevent suicide by spreading the message that nothing is so bad that you can’t talk about it.

Today’s best seller was: Who, Who, Who are You? II

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Who, Who, Who are You? II

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

Wishing you many happy, creative moments, from the Pjpaintings stall #30 at Salamanca Market