Needle in the Sky

Although Seattle’s Space Needle was being refurbished, some sections, including the restaurant were closed to the public, it was still worth going up and seeing the view.  I can’t say that the views were spectacular on the day I went but they were impressive. They’ll  be more impressive when viewing from the ceiling-to-floor, and floor, glass observation deck, which is currently under construction.


The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair.  It is approximately 184 metres (600 feet) tall, can withstand winds of up to 320 km/h winds and earthquakes of up to 9.1 magnitude and it has 25 lightning rods.  It is a Seattle icon.

While waiting in the queue for the lift down, I started sketching the view below.  I didn’t get too far with the sketch before being escorted into the lift.

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This is the view that I started to sketch.  A bit ambitious!  🙂



Another view from the Space Needle

I took this photo of the reflection of the Space Needle in one of Dale Chihuly’s large glass marbles.  His art gallery, with garden, is next door to the Needle and it is quite memorable.


While waiting for the bus to go home, I started sketching the building on the corner.  I got a bit further with this drawing, but still have a row of windows and paint to add.  Macy’s is one of the main department stores in US.

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Thanks for stopping by and take care.




One Word

Two years ago, it happened quite by accident, like things falling on your head when you open an overfilled cupboard door, imagery and ideas bombarded me when I read the instructions on a tea package.  The word “unfurl” jumped off the page, accosted me and since that fateful day, it has become my companion.

Instructions on package of tea


I’ve never encountered another word that is shaping me, and hence, impacting my life as much as this word. It is often in the forefront of my mind, urging me to grow stronger and explore places in art that I haven’t tried yet.  “Unfurl” is a beautiful word and I picture a fern unfurling, brave enough to leave the comfort zone of being safely curled up and protected, opening itself to exploring the outside world and ideas.

This is part of my journey with the word “unfurl”.

Initial drawings
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First pencil drawing.  I turned some of the splattered paint into bubbles 
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I did this painting on coloured paper, with more splattering.  I painted the steam fairies with watercolour paint mixed with watercolour pigmented ink.
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This painting is painted on a watery ink wash.  The cups and steam fairies are painted with ink, an Artline pen is used for the word “unfurl” and the furled ferns are drawn in pencil.  

….and I’ve done many more “unfurl” paintings which I will write about in the next few posts.  This is the beginning of my journey.

Has a word influenced your life or art?  Thank you in advance for your comments, stories and feedback.

Happy Easter and thanks for visiting.


I framed two of my three favourite animal drawings.  I did both drawings really quickly.  The pencil drawing, I did while sitting in bed.  The pen drawing I did during the Inktober Challenge 2017, and while I was doing the drawing, I was deciding to quit the challenge.  Producing a drawing a day was taking its toll on me. I haphazardly finished the drawing, not caring anymore because I was quitting and then to my amazement, when I looked at it from a distance, I immediately loved it. (It also inspired me to finish the Inktober Challenge).

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People have asked me if I find selling my paintings difficult on an emotional level, aren’t I attached to the paintings?  There is one painting in particular that I regret selling, my first emu painting but in general no, I have no problems selling my paintings.

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My first emu painting. I named the painting ‘Family Portrait’

But these two little guys, I am very attached to (and I don’t have any particular fondness for rabbits). I definitely wouldn’t want to sell them.  Maybe it is the surprise element of the finished product working out when I wasn’t expecting it to or maybe it’s just their cute little faces. Who couldn’t love this little face!!


Has anyone else ever regretted selling a piece of art work?  I would love to hear your story.




18 + 33 + 10 = 61 People

Day three of the OneWeek100People2018 challenge.  This morning I had to head into the city for errands, appointment and to pick up prints for this week’s market.  I did a grand total of ten very quick people sketches today.  I’m going to have ramp up my effort tomorrow if I’m going to reach the goal of 100.

I stopped at a cafe to do some sketching (I ordered a coffee to look less conspicuous :-)).

This lady was reading.  Her posture was unusual.  Maybe she forgot her eye glasses and was struggling to see the print??
A few more faces at the cafe
A couple more faces.  The man was doing some work on his laptop.  He had quite a protruding Adam’s apple. 
Relaxing with a girlfriend, whose back was to me.
I like this one because I saw this hairdresser through the window and captured her movement in this approximately 5 second sketch

On my way back to the car, I saw four men sitting on stools at a small round table on the sidewalk.  They were all leaning inwards.  It was such a good composition and sketching subject but with my bags, carton of prints and parking meter getting close to expiring, I reluctantly gave it a miss.

I hope I have heaps of sketches to show you tomorrow.  Thanks for visiting and have an awesome evening/day.

18 People

Hello.  Well, I embarked on my first day of the OneWeek100People2018 challenge.   As I had strategically planned, I went to the public library early, hoping to catch a group of people congregating by the entrance waiting for the library doors to open.  I got there and there was nobody!  Now wouldn’t you too think a public library would open at 9 am??!  Well, not the Rosny Library in Tasmania.  It opens at 9:30 am.

So, I went to Banjos, ordered a coffee and tried to discreetly start my people-sketching.  This man was reading a newspaper on a very low coffee table. I used a new ink pen for the first time today and found out the ink bleeds quite a lot when you add watercolour paint.  With some sketches it works, with others, not so good.

Reading a distant paper

Then I sketched this group of three.  I thought they were having a business meeting, but at one point, the lady in the red, said at a much louder volume, “I will tell them I am a slow learner.”  I think they were getting some job interviewing coaching.

Interview skills coaching at Banjos

Then suddenly, I was the only one in Banjos.  I didn’t feel comfortable drawing the staff so I thought I would try the library again.  On my way, I sketched this person leaning on a railing but he abruptly left the scene about 10 seconds after I started drawing him.

March5 council

Then as a bus was pulling up, I started sketching this guy as he was waiting to get on the bus.  I’m surprised in how much I captured in probably under a minute.

March 5 busstop
starting his bus ride to somewhere

At the library, I sketched this woman (the paint has seriously blurred her glasses).  I think she sensed I was drawing her because she kept looking up from her book at me, so I moved and found this gentleman perched in front of a computer.

The library was quite empty so I went to the shopping centre with the thought there might be people sitting on some of the benches or couches.  There were three teen aged boys sitting on a bench, all looking at their phones.  Their postures were great, teenagery slouched positions, but I wasn’t game to try just in case they looked up and took offence to me drawing them.  So, I decided to try another cafe.  I had better luck here, with subjects to draw, not better drawings.  Here are some of the faces.


While waiting for his take away coffee, this man ran his fingers through his beard continuously.

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decision, decisions

I finished my second coffee and decided to head home, even though I hadn’t achieved my goal of sketching 20 people.  I stepped out of the cafe and saw this bloke having a smoke.  I liked his posture so I motivated myself to give him a go.  No sooner had I started, he butted out his cigarette and left.  That’s the main problem with sketching people – they move, and they move a lot!  Tomorrow should be easier because I will be attending a life drawing class.  I’ll sketch the model and the people sketching the model.  I should be able to reach my quota!

butting out

Thanks for reading and all the best with whatever is challenging you.

Drawing 100 People

The OneWeek100People challenge is on again, actually it is five days. It commences March 5-10.

The rules are quite straight forward:  you can use any medium to draw or paint 100 people in 5 days. They can be really loose quick sketches where you are just trying to capture movement or gestures.  Drawing from real life is best but drawing from photos or doing self-portraits are allowed.

Mofo 2017
Quartet playing at MONA, Tasmania, 2017

I’ve attempted this challenge twice, in 2016 and 2017, and both times I didn’t reach 100. The first challenge I drew about five people and last year around twenty. This year, I hope to meet the challenge and draw 100 people, at the bare minimum 50. The trick is going to places where people are and remembering to “see” and acting on opportunities as they arise. I sketched this while sitting in the waiting room at the doctors.

doctor's waiting room 2017
Too bad I mucked up his nose but I like that I quite accurately captured his posture.

Many times while I’m standing in a queue, I remember too late that I could have been doing my heel raises exercises or sketching.  This is an extremely quick sketch I did while waiting in line.

waiting in line2017
It was my turn before I hardly got started drawing

You need to be prepared to take advantage of drawing opportunities when you think “I should be drawing this”. I have a good supply of sketchbooks.  I have some that are coat pocket size, handbag size and so on.  There is a notebook in all my different coats’ pockets and handbags so that I am never caught out without a sketchbook (and a supply of a few pencils, Artline pens and/or coloured pencils).

A breakfast sketch

Sketches of two friends that I ate dinner with.

I am very comfortable sitting on the sidewalk/footpath drawing a building. People walk by and take no interest. I find it less comfortable sketching people so I’ve armed myself with a few strategies:

  1. Draw the backs of people (then they won’t know you’re drawing them)
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    Music festival 2017
    festival goer 2017
    Music festival 2017


  2. Draw sleeping or book-reading people (for the same reason, they won’t know you’re drawing them. Airport lounges are a good place to find these kinds of people).

    festival goer 20172
    Somebody reading a book in a park, 2017
  3. Have a rehearsed response ready. My planned response for anybody taking objection to me drawing them is, “I’m such a poor people drawer (only stating the truth) I doubt you’d be able to recognise yourself or whoever I’ve drawn” and then I’d confirm this by showing them the drawing. Or saying, if you like the drawing, you can have it.

Last year, I was sketching people at a music festival.  A man came up to me and said, “you’re drawing people”.  I was freaking out thinking, oh no, here we go but then he asked me if I could draw his baby.  I thought, you’re kidding!  I can’t draw well enough to draw a baby and have it look like a baby but I said I’d give it a go.  I hardly started and he walked away with the baby.  I didn’t see him the rest of the evening.  That is my one-and-only encounter while drawing people, thankfully.

babyFranklin Square2017
The start of baby drawing

Another strategy is to plan ahead.  There are about 20 people that show up for the life drawing session, and half a dozen for another art group, I attend. During the Draw 100 people challenge, I’ll do a very quick sketch of the model and then try to sketch each person of the group drawing the model.  I’ll try to do several sketches of each person at my art group.  This should help me with efficiency, producing many people-drawings in one location and block of time.

Sydney airport scene2017
Quick drawing at the Sydney airport, 2017

Well, words are one thing, action is what is now needed.  Will you be doing this challenge?  The hashtag is: #OneWeek100People2018

Happy drawing!

Embrace Individuality

Last week, I did a two-day drawing workshop.  In the evenings, I checked out the neighbourhood.  It’s one of my favourite things to do, looking at houses and gardens.  Some people aren’t afraid to express their individuality, actually they celebrate it.


Some yards had very cool things in it, like this three storey treehouse, with three decks.  It is difficult to see the three storeys in my photo, but it has three decks, with each one looking like they are meeting current building regulations.


… and this very cool way to store your firewood.


We had nine participants doing the drawing workshop.  Each person is an amazing artist.  An impressive range of diverse art skills was represented, pastels, penwork Mandalas, woodwork, some imaginative whimsical art and some unbelievable realism.  Often, people that paint life-like portraits wish they could think of imaginative things to paint and lament their ‘lack of creativity’, which isn’t accurate, it’s there, it is just being presented in a less obvious way, and people who have no shortage of quirky ideas, wish they could paint realism, people who paint loose, wish they painted more detailed, people who paint detailed, wish they could paint looser and so on.  From my observation, people undervalue their individual style. There will always be people who may not like a particular style, but there will also be heaps who admire and wish they had somebody else’s style or talent.  My theory is to celebrate individual style and to not allow negative self-talk interfere with the joy of producing art.

We started the workshop by drawing upside pictures to help engage the right side of our brains.

We went outside to find a splotch to turn into an imaginative character.  To my eyes, the blob on the right of the centre looked like a pig with a broken snout.

I’m unsure about this style but it definitely has given me some ideas that I want to explore.

Here’s an unfinished blob from the footpath that I’m transforming into an imaginary creature.

Melbourne 4

Thanks for visiting and for being ‘you’.

New things

Hello. Hope everybody is travelling along well.

Since 2016’s Inktober Challenge, I have been painting weekly little ink and watercolour paintings on square pieces (approximately 20 x 20 cm and 15 x 15 cm) of paper made 100% from cotton rags and selling them at my stall at Salamanca Market in Hobart, Tasmania.

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Tasmania’s native Yellow-tailed black cockatoo

It’s a difficult balance to achieve, painting these and trying to squeeze some time in the other part of your week to work on larger paintings.  Ultimately, one hour per piece is the best but I’m not sure how long I spend on each painting because I am usually working on several at a time and there is the drying time.

production line

I paint the eye and nose and then move onto another painting while that dries and so on.  I’m guessing probably just under 2 hours per painting, but maybe more because as the saying goes, ‘time flies when you’re having fun.’

So when it was suggested I paint kookaburra and wombat paintings, to sell on a weekly basis, I was dubious about whether I could do these quickly enough to make it viable.  I kept the motto “simplifying” and “not overworking” in the forefront of my mind. I surprised myself at how quickly I managed to paint the kookaburra. The next one will probably be better.

kookFeb 21,2018

With the wombat, I have discovered that drawing it with a water colour pencil not only speeds up the process but adds a nice additional glow to the painting.

Being made from 100% recycled rags, the paper has imperfections.  To cover up some of the blemishes I started adding gum leaves.  I love painting these delicate additions.  Also it provides a theme to connect all the paintings.

January25,2018 yellowtailed cockatoo
A Yellow-tailed black cockatoo

I make the gum-leaf green colour with Raw Sienna and Cobalt Blue.

So, little original paintings of wombats and kookaburras will be a new addition at the Pjpaintings stall.

Something else that is new that I’ve recently taken up is life drawing.  Simplifying is critical when you are trying to capture something from the one minute poses and the 10 and 20 minute poses.  Here are some of my initial attempts.

One minute poses

10 and 20 minute poses

Something else that is new is that I’ve sadly had to take my website down.  It has been hacked virtually every other day this month and it is just too compromised to leave it up.  So, a brand new website is on its way.  In the meantime, if you’d like to order a print, please contact me through email (, Facebook or the comments feature here.  All images displayed in the Salamanca Market Diary category are available for purchase.

Thanks for stopping by.  Take care.

Hobart has everything

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

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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.

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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. 🙂

Ink to Colour

Most weeks, I paint a new bunch of platypus to take to the market.  My stack of small original paintings is platypus dominated. This weekend I had requests for echidnas, wombats and I had a young lady from Singapore wanting an original drawing of a Spotted-tailed Quoll.  This is quite an unusual request and ironically I had three at home that I did for the 2016 Inktober Challenge.  I stopped taking them to the market because they just were not selling.

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Spotted-tailed Quoll – Quink Ink, reed and water

I thought maybe if I add paint to my ink drawings they may sell better.  What do you think?

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Spotted-tailed Quoll – Quink Ink, reed, water and with watercolour added
Wombat – Quink Ink, reed and water
Wombat – Quink Ink, reed, water and with watercolour added
Wallaby – Quink Ink, reed and water
Wallaby – Quink Ink, reed and water with watercolour added

Thanks for visiting.  Hope you have a great day.