Derby, the little town that could

A few years ago, Derby, Tasmania, was a typical dying town with few job opportunities, a declining population and bargain basement real estate. Derby was an old mining town.  The mines closed in the late 1990s and there was a downturn in the forestry industry.  The unemployment rate more than doubled between 2006 and 2013, and residents and investment left.  Shops along the main street closed up and real estate prices plummeted.

Funded by a Federal Government grant, Derby has carved into the surrounding hills 40 km of bike trails with 40 more to come.  Some are calling it the mountain bike capital of Australia.  One local teenager said that, “it’s exceptional just to know I live in what once felt like a ghost town to me, now is a booming town where people come from New Zealand, Canada, all around the world just to ride our tracks.”

The many bike trails of Derby

An essential component of the mountain biking trails being able to come into existence, is Farmer Derek Hayes. He has lived in Derby for 60 years and reluctantly sold his land, “I thought it would be better for Derby to have the land than me. That is why I did let it go in the end… I don’t know what to make of it.  Just let it go and hope the mountain bikers make a good show of it,” he said.

A track that leads to a hub of bike trails
A bike washing bay

Since the bike tracks started going in, Derby has transformed and continues to transform.  Stacks of people come from everywhere to ride (speaking of stacks, I had a go on very tame tracks and had a few tumbles).  There are tracks for different skill levels, including seriously very, very good riders.  The world’s best mountain bikers have heaped praise on Tasmania’s Blue Derby trails at last year’s Enduro World Series, where thousands packed into the small town of Derby to cheer on professionals and enthusiasts tackle the harrowing trails snaking through the hinterland.

a part of a bike trail that weaves over and around a creek

I visited Derby during a week day, when there was no event or public holiday, and the campsites were full and the trails hosted bike riders all day long.  As trails are one way traffic, there are vans to shuttle bikers.


Mountain bikes have become part of Derby’s DNA.  Bikes decorate everything, including fences, Derby’s Post Office and more.  I had a go at drawing the post office.

In my wandering around the town, I saw that the old Methodist Church is being inhabited, judging from the view of the backyard, by bike enthusiasts.


A rider from Queensland, who came to Derby in its earlier days, found that there was nowhere to eat dinner, so he bought the old butchers shop and turned it into a woodfire pizza place called The Hub.  A lovely young couple run it now and their bike injury stories are not for the faint-hearted!


And there are new businesses and buildings being established along side the locals.


If you are a mountain bike enthusiast, I suggest you that you put Derby on your bucket list because it will not disappoint you.

Thanks for visiting and take care.


PjPaintings, Salamanca Market January 27, 2018

I found yesterday’s heat rather taxing so when I got home, I went straight to bed. I didn’t even unpack the car. I can’t remember if I’ve ever not unpacked the car immediately, but thankfully I was able to re-energise myself enough to go to a friends’ beautiful home for dinner. She has lots of books in book cases. The book cases have built in narrow-in-height horizontal shelves for big picture books that are cleverly designed to serve as rests for book browsing as well. (I should think like a blogger and have taken a photo of it!!  Apologies).
Friday was Australia Day, a long weekend in Australia, and a hot one for most of the country. Despite the heat, people came out to peruse the market. I met three different couples that had bought prints earlier in the week from Made in Tasmania, a brilliant shop in Salamanca Place, that has supported my art from when I first started producing prints and greeting cards, five years ago now. One of the couples were from Western Australia (WA). From the stall, they bought “Spanish Eyes (Yellow) for a friend and “Hayride” for themselves. He’s a farmer and said that he will have to attack weeds upon his return. With the rain, and then the sunshine, they will be growing in abundance. He was not looking forward to it.

Another couple, from California, USA, purchased “Spanish Eyes (Yellow)” and “Off to the Races” prints from the Made in Tasmania shop.

Off to the Races IIsm
Off to the Races! II

I met a lady, who is originally from Hobart, now living in Brisbane. She’s upgrading her science degree that she did at the University of Tasmania, and she’s doing an IT degree. She’s attending university with her daughter and son. She also has a 15 year old son, who is academically, musically and artistically gifted. She bought two small owl prints.

I have painted a Ducati, Harley and Triumph motorcycles. I met a Sydney couple that have owned all three. They ended up purchasing “Joy ride!” and “Bonnie & Me”.

A lovely couple from northern England, that spent quite a bit of time deliberating, eventually chose a small “Who, Who, Who are You?II” print. He was telling me that people have told him that Tasmania is similar to England but he thinks it’s nothing like it. He drove through the midlands and said it is so dry, like the land is burnt. We really do need rain. Apparently, we should be getting rain tomorrow. We hope so.

A family from Ankara, Turkey, narrowed down the print choices to “Off to the Races!” and “Glamour Girls”. They asked me which one I thought was the best picture, which I think is a quite a challenging question to ask the creator of the pictures! My response was that I find it too difficult to choose because I like them both equally, therefore, I think you should purchase both. Ha-ha, they thought that was funny too. They ended up choosing “Glamour Girls”.

Glamour Girls.jpg
Glamour Girls

An Austrian and Swiss girl, travelling together for a year, only one month left, stopped at the stall. They worked together in a lawyers’ office in Europe. I asked them what they were going to do upon their return. They had no definite education or training plans. They were in agreement that they didn’t want to go back to office work. I gave them my little, which turned out to be rather pro-longed, passionate pep talk, about not limiting themselves, that they need more women in science, engineering and similar fields, that there are 100% women construction and electrician businesses now and more. They thanked me for the inspirational and motivational speech. It was funny, we all laughed, but yet I meant what I said, which I think was understood by all.

A couple from Warrnambool, Victoria, bought a “Suspended” print to take back for their daughter. A couple from Port Macquarie, NSW, bought “White Faced Scops Owls” and “White Faced Scops Owls II”. A young Sydney couple purchased two small original paintings, a Sulphur crested cockatoo and Yellow-tailed black cockatoo. A young lady from Melbourne, purchased the Glamour Girls II original painting. Now there are only two originals from the series available for purchase, “Glamour Girls” and “Glamour Girls I”.

A couple that live here in Hobart, she being originally from the UK, visited the stall again. She sent “Salamanca Fresh” to her two sisters in the UK. She said that they just loved them so she was looking for more three-emu pictures. She chose “Outback Glamping” and encouraged me to paint more three-emu scenes.

Outback glampingsml.jpg
Outback Glamping

This week’s most popular prints were the whales and owls, “Suspended” and “White Faced Scops Owls” in particular.
A thought to ponder: “Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso
Wishing you a lovely week, full of creative opportunities, from the Pjpaintings stall #30 at Salamanca Market.


Three Days of Mofoing

It can not be underestimated what David Walsh, creator and owner of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), has done for Tasmania.  He has single-handedly put Tasmania on the map and boosted tourism with his events, ingenuity and creativity.  I attended the Hobart part of the three-day MONA Mofo music festival.  The festival hosted a range of performances, ones I would classify as eccentric and strange to awesome and memorable.

On site, there was ‘mobile music’.  They played at various spots around MONA and while they were moving to a new location.

mobile band DWalshandwife
Music-on-the-go with David Walsh, wearing green pants, and his wife, wearing a jean skirt. 

One of the first performances I went to was Breadwoman.  She moved in very slow motion (sort of leavening and de-leavening (this is my interpretation.  There was an hour artist talk scheduled about this performance the next day, but alas, I missed it because I had to  work)) while the co-performer made quite cool cracking, stretching and similar noises using everyday sorts of items.

Bread woman 2
Breadwoman with her baguette
bread woman
Breadwoman revealing her face

I then listened to the Brian Jackson & the Southern Gospel Choir, which, for me, wasn’t a stand-out performance.  I thought it would be more engaging and moving.

Brian Jackson southern Gospel Choir
Brain Jackson & the Southern Gospel Choir

One of my favourite performances was Filastine & Nova, from Indonesia and Spain.  They were awesome!!  I love it when people play an instrument in an unconventional way.  For example, usually when the triangle is played, it a well-timed ‘ping’ here and there, well she played the triangle at a manic speed.  They also played unconventional ‘instruments’.  He played the ‘shopping trolley’, also very energetically.  The visuals behind on the big screen were stunning, moving and tastefully delivered very powerful environmental and refugee messages.

I enjoyed the all-girl, improvisational six piece band, Philomath.


I felt particularly moved and proud to hear Ajak Kwai’s performance.  She is a former TAFE student that I taught.

Ajak Kwai
Ajak Kwai

Karim Wasfi’s cello performance was as amazing as the setting of the Nolan Gallery.

Karim Wasli
A stunning cello performance by Karim Wasfi

I couldn’t get in to hear and see Vocal Womb.  Fortunately, my friend, Sarah, was able to.  Eve Klein, inserts a laryngoscope into her nose and down, so that the audience can see the workings of the voice from inside a singer’s body.  It is a multimedia opera performance.

Eve Klein Vocal Womb.jpg
Eve Klein’s progression to her next performance

I loved Kardajala Kirridarra’s music.  Their harmonies were beautiful.  At one point, the local rooster cock-a-doodled-doo, and it seemed to be in key and at the right point of song to do it.


Kardajala Kirridarra

The MONA rooster

The Chakam Ensemble played.

Chakam Ensemble

Then the mesmerizing performance of Emel Mathlouthi took place.  She said not to underestimate the strength of the bare-naked voice, and you could NOT underestimate hers when she sang without any instrumental support.  Her voice totally captivated the audience, even though it was sung in a language that most of the audience didn’t understand.

Emel Mathlouthi

The final band on Sunday evening was the heavy metal band, Mayhem, from Norway.

mayhem norway heavy metal

David Walsh hosted a pre-Mofo event in Launceston where onesies were given away.  Those who wore the onesies to the Hobart Mofo event, were given free entry. So, you saw quite a few onesies around.

Heaps of people got into the spirit of the event by wearing weird and wonderful outfits.  Here is a small fraction of them.

Mofo ended for me last night when I saw the Violent Femmes and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, hosted by MONA, at Hobart’s Federation Concert Hall.  That was a stunning performance.

Well, that’s another MONA Mofo done and dusted.  It is a unique festival and so much fun.  The wild outfits, venues, food and performances make it an awesome event.

Thanks for visiting and I hope the rest of the week goes well for you.

PjPaintings at Salamanca Market January 20, 2018

I started at Salamanca Market rather sleepily after spending Friday, Day 1 at MONA Mofo. I’m writing this week’s update on Sunday because after the market on Saturday, I attended Day 2 of MONA Mofo. Day 2 ended with the most awesome band. Their visuals on the big screen behind them, music and message were amazing. I will write a blog post about my three days at MONA later but for now, I will focus on yesterday at the market, do next week’s order and then head back out to MONA.
The “Fairy wrens” and “Scarlet Robins” prints were incredibly popular yesterday. Two are going to Salt Lake City, Utah. Another one was purchased by a couple that had done Tasmania’s Three Capes walk and saw lots of Superb Fairy wrens along their way. She was from Brisbane, Queensland and he was from South Africa. Another one was purchased by a lecturer at the College of Nursing in Bozeman, Montana, USA. I can’t remember were the others were heading off to.
Three generations, a father, daughter and grandson, originally from France visited the stall. The daughter now lives in Melbourne and her father lives in Frontiere, a town on the French/Belgian border. She bought “Who, Who, Who are You? II” to take back home. Another family of three generations visited the stall, this one originally from Italy and the daughter moved to Tasmania only a year and a half ago. She was at the stall with her teenage son and mother-in-law. She bought a “Scarlet Robins” print and an original painting of platypus and a platypus visitor.
platypus turtle Jan 18th
Platypus visitor
“Poppy Fields” is going to a bush property in Rihanna, Gippsland. “All ears” and “Kookaburra Rescue” is going to be posted to nieces living in England. “Glamour Girls” I, II and III were bought for herself and two girlfriends. The three of them are great friends and she wanted all of them to have a print of ‘them’ at the hairdressers.
A lady, from Brisbane, Queensland, who attended a Native Plant Conference in Tasmania, bought a card. She raved about the conference. There were five days of lectures and then five days outdoors examining nature. She inspected plants at Cradle Mountain and on the west coast of Tasmania. She said that she was so impressed with the depth of expertise and knowledge in Tasmania, especially that it is drawn from a fairly small population, hovering around 500,000.
A couple from Sydney, who came to Tasmania specifically to escape the 47 degrees Celsius heat that they were having in their suburb in Liverpool, Sydney, purchased “Double Date”, “The Three Amigos” and “Kiss me please”. Many regions on the mainland are getting temperatures in the high 30s and into the 40 degrees Celsius range this week.
Kiss me please
Kiss me please
“Barn Owls” and “Tu-whit & Tu-Whoo” are going to the USA and “Thunder” is going to New Zealand. “Suspended” and “Sea Life” will be residing in Perth, Western Australia.
elephants 2015xsml
This week’s most popular prints were the whale, Fairy wrens and Scarlet Robins prints.
A thought to ponder: “Every artist was first an amateur” — Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Warm wishes of creativity from the Pjpaintings stall #30 at Salamanca Market.
Thanks for visiting. 🙂

Frank’s in Franklin



Franklin, located in southern Tasmania, is named after Lady Jane Franklin, who subdivided a large property to settle teetotalling families of modest means in 1837.  In this quaint town of Franklin, nestled along the Huon River, is Frank’s Cider Bar & Café.  It’s a very cool place.  There are couches outside and inside, large barrels of fresh herbs growing in the entrance and rocket growing inside.

Frank's top floor seating area
Frank’s cosy interior
A herbal greeting committee
rocket at Frank's
Indoor Rocket-growing


The goat-minding dog on duty
Frank's WWI display
World War I display

It serves up delicious food and history in the one location.


Lady Franklin
Lady Franklin exhibition

jane FRanklin's pianosml

It also served up the awesome Belle Miners, three Canadian singers and their stunning harmonies and music.  It was such a great venue for their concert.  There’s something special about hearing music in a wooden building.  It’s a distinctive relationship.  Also special, was hearing the stories behind the songs they sang.  It was much appreciated by me and I felt privileged to be given a window into their lives and humanness.

Belle Miners singers
The Belle Miners

The Belle Miners have received lofty accolades from musical people of note saying things, such as, “a living, breathing quality like the best of Missy Higgins – breaks your heart and mends it in the same breath” and “a shimmering sound and awe –inspiring set”.

Here’s their latest CD of wonderful music, Powerful Owl, artwork by Marla Wilson (owls that I would like to have a go at trying to draw!).

powerful owl CDsml


Thanks for stopping by.

powerful owlsml

PjPaintings at Salamanca Market, Tasmania, January 13, 2018

The word that characterises today is “rain”. Thankfully it came intermittently and there were only a couple torrential, bucketing down rain periods, and no wind. People came out when the rain subsided. I met market-goers from Brazil, Chicago, Portugal, Germany and many different parts of Australia. I may have met some runners who are taking part in tomorrow’s Cadbury Marathon too.
I painted three cockatoos during the week and all three went today. The Yellow-tailed black cockatoo to a young lady from Bulgaria, the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo to a lady living on the mainland of Australia and the female Red-tailed black cockatoo to a lady from Ontario, Canada. So, all three will be flying to their new homes.
yellow-tailed cockatooJanuary
A Yellow-tailed black cockatoo, the only black cockatoo native to Tasmania
yellow sulphur crested cockatooo
A Sulphur crested cockatoo, not native to Tasmania but here in abundance nevertheless
female re-tailed black cockatoo
A female Red-tailed black cockatoo
A Tasmanian, who is travelling to Germany next week, purchased “All Ears” to take as a gift for one of her friends. “Scarlet Robins” is going to Chicago as a souvenir of Tasmania. “Double Date” is going to settle in Orange, NSW.
All Ears
All Ears
A lovely young couple, that unfortunately, on their second day in Tassie, at a bush walk rest area in Bicheno, she slipped and broke her arm. It was a really bad arm break that also pushed her hand out of position. They had to walk two hours back out of the bush to their car, which thankfully they had because they came across the Bass Strait on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry. They went to the Bicheno Hospital, where they were told they had to get it treated at the Launceston Hospital, which is a more than a two hour drive away. Then they had to drive back to Bicheno. They said that they drove most of the way back at 40kmph because there was so much wildlife around. They even saw a young Tasmanian Devil along the road. That is a rare sight.
A man, wanting to surprise his wife, daughter and granddaughter, snuck in and bought prints featuring birds for his daughter and granddaughter and “Thunder” for his wife. He said that his daughter and granddaughter were born one week apart, January 18th and January 26th.
elephants 2015xsml
The most popular prints today were the whale and glamour girls prints.
A thought to ponder: “Creativity is allowing oneself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” — Scott Adams, The Dilbert Principle
Warm wishes of creativity from the Pjpaintings stall #30 at Salamanca Market.

Hobart has everything

Yesterday, I started the day with a coffee and a walk along the shores of Sandy Bay, Hobart, Tasmania.

Sandy Bay walkway.jpg
Sandy Bay Walkway

Then I met the Hobart sketching group on the other side of the Derwent River at Kangaroo Bay.

Kangaroo Bay on the Eastern Shore of Hobart

I drew three houses facing the bay.  I didn’t get a chance to apply paint because I had a game of disc golf to play.

KangarooBay Jan2018
Houses facing Kangaroo Bay, Bellerive, Tasmania

Hobart has had a disc golf course for about 30 years and regularly hosts state championships and has hosted international championships.  Disc golf is like traditional golf except you throw a disc that is similar to a frisbee but it is heavier, smaller and has sharper edges. Like golf, you aim to get it in a basket in as few of throws as possible.

The golf course is located in Austins Ferry in the Poimena Reserve, Tasmania and has stunning views.

disc golf view
A view of the Derwent River from Poimena Reserve Disc Golf Course
First throw towards a basket

Putting …



… and the happy smile when success is achieved

Thanks for visiting. 🙂

PjPaintings at Salamanca Market January 6, 2018

There seems to be more than usual happening in Hobart this weekend.  Firstly, a big cruise ship sailed into the harbour last night.

Derwent cruise shipsml
A cruise ship entering the Derwent River on the evening of Jan 5, 2018.

The past few days I’ve been watching the extra amount of boats on the Derwent River practicing for this weekend’s SB20 World Championship.

Derwent River

yachts on the Derwent River on January 5, 2018

Also, the Hobart International Tennis Women’s Singles championships are commencing tomorrow, along with women’s and men’s 20/20 cricket games at Blundstone Oval.

Blundstone Oval
Blundstone Oval with the Derwent River behind it

The morning started a little on the cool side with a brief shower and then the day heated up to 36 degrees Celsius.  The inside of the gazebo felt a little like a sauna! Thankfully, the wind and storm-like conditions made its presence felt in the evening, not during the market.

Early in the morning, a young girl gravitated to the “Garden Roses” print because her name is Rose.  Her Grandpa told me that she loves roses and collects rose items.  Her grandfather bought her the print.  Another visitor, later in the day, bought a “Richmond Bridge, Tasmania” print because she collected Richmond Bridge things.

The little frog original painting I did and a print of “Kiss me please” went off to Leslievale, Tasmania.  Another “Kiss me please” with a small original platypus painting will be making its home in Hong Kong, and an original painting of a Yellow-tailed black cockatoo will be settling into a home in Mauritius.

Parents purchased “Family Outing” for their daughter, as a red mini is her dream car (we have that in common).  She lives on Hamilton Island, Queensland. Another set of parents bought “Helping Hands” to give to their daughter’s pre-school teacher.

Recently engaged Emily Pitchford, from Adelaide, visited the stall.  She has completed a two year Graphic Arts, specialising in illustration, TAFE course. Growing up on a farm, her artwork features gloriously quirky farm animals. Her web address is She settled on the “Helping Hands” print to take back to Adelaide with her.

Emily’s business card

A lady, who visited the Pjpaintings stall and bought some prints four years ago, returned and bought two little original platypus paintings.  Kelly and Kirsty, that were married on Wednesday at Sisters Beach, the first Tasmanian gay wedding, bought a “Scarlet Robins” print.  A quiet gentleman bought “Salamanca Saturdays” to take back with him to South Korea.  A Tasmanian couple, that are already enjoying three Pjpaintings in their house, bought an original painting of a platypus.  They said that they’re able to double enjoy the prints because where they are hanging they are reflected in mirrors.  They commented on how they like living with the happy images and that their visitors enjoy the happiness that they convey too.

Morag’s, originally from Scotland, who I met at the market and has been a wonderful supporter of my art ever since, son dropped by with instructions to buy the Yellow-tailed black cockatoo, but it had already sold.  Sorry Alistair and Morag.  L I painted it yesterday (Jan 5th).  I’ll try to paint two this week. J

All the A-4 sized prints of “Sea Life” sold today.  The last one went to a young lady from Townsville, Queensland, who said that she already had a frame waiting at home for it.  “Emus can Fly!” and “Salamanca Fresh” is heading to Western Australia.

The most popular print today was:  Sea Life

Sea Lifexsml

A thought to ponder:  “The reason that art is valuable is precisely why I can’t tell you how to do it. If there were a map, there’d be no art, because art is the act of navigating without a map.” ~Seth Godin

Thanks for visiting.  Happy New Year from the Pjpaintings stall at Salamanca Market.

Allen’s Rivulet Track

There’s no better way to start a new year than a walk in nature.  It’s calming and soothing.  I started the new year with a walk in Allen’s Rivulet, Tasmania, Australia.

hollow tracksml

On the way to the track, I came across this comical character.

Hollow track llamasml

The track takes you through Tasmanian bush, passed a large hollow living tree, to a rivulet and back onto the street.

One of the views from inside the tree
The middle large tree trunk in the photo has the hollow base
hollow tree me
Allen’s Rivulet Track’s hollow tree

It reminded me of the most famous and photographed tree in Vancouver, Canada, the Hollow Tree in Stanley Park, which I have played in many times as a child.

Stanley Park’s Hollow Tree

It is arguably the most famous tourist attraction in Vancouver for over 100 years.  There are many historical photos of this tree.

1917 Duke of Devenshire and Dignitaries
A 1917 photo of the Duke of Devenshire and dignitaries


Unlike Allen’s Rivulet’s hollow tree, which is a living tree, the Stanley Park one is a 600 to 800 year old Western Red Cedar tree that died, but left a huge hollow stump.  In 2006, there was a severe windstorm that caused significant damage to many trees, including the famous Hollow Tree, causing it to lean precariously.  The Vancouver Parks Board considered taking it down but there was a massive public outcry resulting in some ingenuity to save the tree.

The brace installed to help keep the stump stable and upright

I spotted this most unique little nest too!

hollow Grey fantail
A Grey fantail in its nest

The nest is really small, the size of a tiny cup and it had the mum bird, a Grey fantail, sitting in it.  Most of her body is outside the nest because the nest is so small.  A bird book describes the nest as looking “like a wine glass without a base – a tiny cup of plant fibres liberally bound with cobweb.”

Thanks for stopping by. I wish one and all an awesome upcoming new year!