Runaway Bay

When in Rome do as the Romans do, when in Queensland sketch a koala while travelling on a train from the Brisbane airport to the Gold Coast.  This little koala was sketched from a travel brochure I picked up at the train station but I did see a koala in the wild the next day.  The koala was darker than I expected.  I am a somewhat concerned about its tree-choosing skills.  It was snoozing in a low spot, in a small, short tree that was extremely close to the road!

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A bumpy sketch while taking the train to the Gold Coast

I’d like to try to sketch, Marlo, the Gold Coast Labradoodle.  Such a cute face!

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Marlo

Runaway Bay is a picturesque suburb on the Gold Coast in Queensland.  Winter is a nice time to visit Queensland, when it’s not too hot.  I stayed at the clean and spacious Runaway Bay Motor Inn.  It’s not flash but I liked the vertical lines of the palm trees, so I quickly drew it up while I was waiting for my ride.

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Runaway Bay Motor Inn
Runaway Bay Motor Inn
My sketch of the motor inn

I also visited Mullumbimby to deliver some of my art prints and greeting cards to the Tinker Tailor Dancer Tailor shop located on the main street.  Niyati, the owner, introduced herself to me at Salamanca Market last year when she bought some prints and cards for her business.  Here’s a small sketch of her shop, with cars (usually I try to avoid drawing cars :-)).  It’s a busy main street with a surprising amount of parked cars everywhere, including a long way down all the side streets.

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Main Street, Mullumbimby

A chair and plant I sketched when I had a few minutes before I headed back home to Tasmania.

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Thanks for visiting.  Wishing you a good week.

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Orford Getaway

I’ve just arrived back home from an awesome and fun five-girlfriend weekend away, staying at one of my girlfriends’ shack in Orford on the east coast of Tasmania.

 

A view from the shack. (I didn’t take the photo from the exact same spot that I did the quick sketch).

We walked along the track at the back of the shack which led to a stunning beach.

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Along the way we somberly paused at sheer quarry walls that convicts, living on Maria Island, were brought across the water to quarry.  It must have been brutal work and lives lost at the site. The sandstone quarried here was used for buildings in Hobart and Melbourne, including the Melbourne General Post Office, Town Hall and Melbourne Law Courts. The quarry operated in the area from 1870 to 1890.  The remains of the tram lines used to transport stone from the quarry to be loaded onto ships are still visible at Shelly Beach.

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a view from the walk
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Along the track, information posted about the whales that visit the region.  More whale species for me to paint! 🙂

In the evening, we stayed up late, talking, reminiscing and laughing over dinner and a glass of wine.  In the morning, we walked The Old Convict Road.

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We wandered through remnants of a harsh existence for the convicts building the Convict Road.

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Sarah trying out the convict cell.  The doors of the row of convict cells alternated on opposite sides.
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It was later decided that the other side of the Prosser River was the better side to have the road.  All of the brutal work and working conditions to no avail.
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Beautiful lichen patterns on rocks along the Convict Road.

We had one final piece of Liz’s to-die-for flourless chocolate and hazelnut cake and then parted ways.

 

Fear Burning

Hobart’s winter festival of Dark Mofo, created and funded by self-made multi-millionaire, David Walsh, and the Hobart City Council, came to a close, ushering in the Festival of Voices. David Walsh is the founder of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and single-handily put Tasmania on the map and increased the state’s tourism.

Each year, a massive sculpture for Dark Mofo is created, to make a large fear-jar, so-to-speak, for people to write and deposit their fears into. This year’s sculpture was a huge spider.  People’s fears were collected and stored in the spider’s egg sacks.

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A large fear-jar

With much-a-do, music, dance and costumes, a procession walks the sculpture, and the fears of Hobart, down the city streets for it to be annihilated by fire.

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I found it to be quite powerful imagery, and the act of articulating your fears then witnessing the burning of it, gone, ka-poot, liberating.  The ball of fire was enormous when the spider caught fire.  Here’s a couple of photos of the spider’s web and egg pouches burning.

 

I like Salvador Dali’s gem of wisdom, “have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.”

Soledad O’Brien is quoted saying that “I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom – how great is that?”

On that note, here’s to fear-burning, whatever the fear/s may be.

PjPaintings at Salamanca Market June 23, 2018

Hobart is feeling energized by redness and Dark Mofo. The procession to burn a massive sculpted spider that has been collecting the written fears of Hobartians and visitors alike takes place tonight. The procession will be snaking its way around the waterfront to the ceremonial fire, where ogoh-ogoh, and our fears with it, shall meet their fiery end.  I’ll be putting on my ‘Salamanca Market’ layers to attend this lively event tonight.

At Salamanca Market’s stall #30, a visitor, from the suburb of Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand, purchased a ‘Scarlet Robins’ print for her mother’s Christmas present.  You have to admire people that have a well-in-advance Christmas presents buying methodology/practice.

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Scarlet Robins

The original painting of a little octopus attracted a lot of attention very early in the morning and sold before 9 am!

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A young mother, who is visiting Tasmania on her own with an under one year old and a four year old, bought ‘Retail Therapy, Salamanca’ to take back to Washington, USA. She told her husband, who stayed behind, that if she ever comes up with the crazy idea to travel on her own to Tasmania with children, to stop her.  She tries to come her every 9 months or so!!!  That is dedication! It is a gruelling, long, long flight.  She must have a family connection here.

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Retail Therapy, Salamanca

A woman bought a little 5×7” ‘White Faced Scops Owls’ print for her sister-in-law living in Indonesia.  A young couple, from Sydney, expecting their first child, bought ‘Hayride’ to hang up in the baby’s room. Another young couple, from Hong Kong, bought a ‘Sea Life’ greeting card.  She spent a long time deliberating between two cards.  Even though I couldn’t comprehend the spoken language, I could understand that she wanted to buy the two cards and each time she asked, he told her to choose one. She eventually chose the whale and graciously told me that she loves my art and will treasure the card.

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Hayride

The manager of the Tinker Tailor Dancer Trader shop in Mullumbimby, NSW, stopped by.  She has sold out of my art work and wants to order more for her shop. That’s a bit of nice feedback to receive.  🙂

Then sudden and unexpected wind gusts came and wreaked havoc.  Prints flew everywhere and in all directions, a crate of prints and a card stand blew off the table. All sorts of people chased after prints and cards and a thank you to all that I didn’t get a chance to thank during the chaos.  It brought an abrupt end to the day as a quick pack up ensued.  Thankfully, very minimal damage occurred.

This week’s most popular print was ‘Suspended’.

A thought to ponder:  “That’s the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.” ~Ray Bradbury

Thanks for reading. Wishing you a creative, happy week,

from the Pjpaintings stall #30 at Salamanca Market

P.S. Prints of images are available at http://www.pjpaintings.com (except for the octopus.  There are no prints made of this original).

 

Creative Juices are Flowing!!

The car parks, and creativity, were overflowing on a brilliant blue sky winter’s day at Birchs Bay Art Farm’s Sculpture Trail in southern Tasmania.  The farm grows and harvests native pepper, thousands of bunches of Dutch Iris each year and has a large organic vegie patch on its more than 100 acres of diverse native bush land.  It also has a growing and thriving sculpture crop, as each year it purchases and adds to its collection of permanent sculptures.

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King Lizard by Jivanta Howard is one of my favourites.  It is made from recycled truck mufflers, mower blades and the toes are trampoline springs.  It is the coolest bench around!!  The farm has purchased two sculptures, this being one of the two.
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I love this one too.  It is called Rumple Steelskin, made by Richard Whitaker, stating that “this sculpture possesses no underlying message.”
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This is a stunning sculpture.  The photo doesn’t do it justice. There is so much exquisite detail in this piece. Near her hands there is a little person with an umbrella.  This piece, sculpted by by Pirjo Juhola, is titled Weather Girl .  The Kingborough Council purchased this sculpture.

Mr. Pelican by Jivanta Howard is a large fun piece.  The pelican patiently obliged to the many photo requests.

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Raven’s Return, made with ceramic, glass, beads and steel, by Wendy Edwards. 
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The good old Hills Hoist featuring in this sculpture titled: Remnants of a suburban forest by Dan O’Toole.  Once endemic to Australian backyards these iconic structures are disappearing and becoming an endangered species.  Birchs Farm purchased this piece too.

These steel sculptures made by Mitch Evans is titled Pagan Spirits.  To my eye, they have a Picasso feel to them. Very cool.

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The Frame by Anna Williams made with angle iron and steel rod

These are some sculptures from previous years acquired by the farm.

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I didn’t get very far trying to draw Sparky the Ewe.

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There are many more sculptures.  It’s well worth a visit to see all the works of art.  The bush, trail and art is truly wonderful.

Thanks for visiting.

art as mania

Delivering artwork to the “art as mania” involved staying overnight in Deloraine, Tasmania.  Art as mania  is a large gallery that houses a lot of art, community activities/groups and some very cool massive refurbished furniture.

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It now houses some art featuring adventurous emus.  Art as mania Gallery is located on the very appropriately named street – Emu Bay Road.

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One of the window displays featuring my paintings at “art as mania” Gallery in Deloraine, Tasmania

I stayed overnight at the Tarcombe House, built around 1898 on a land grant to Thomas Reibey, a once prominent politician, Premier of Tasmania and Colonial Secretary.  The house was also a birthing hospital for two decades from 1929.

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The Tarcombe House

The temperature dropped in the evening, so the roaring fire and fresh walnuts from the walnut tree in the front yard was lovely.

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My sketch of Tarcombe House

Thanks for stopping by and I hope that the rest of your week bubbles along nicely. 🙂

Rescue Mission

I recently visited my hometown of Vancouver in Canada.  Things have changed, as expected.  For example, these colourfully painted silos near Granville Island, which brought art’s rescuing powers to the forefront of my mind.  These were an eyesore and now, despite their dominating size, are fun and intriguing.

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Graville Island silos

It reminds me of “the little town that did”, Chemainus, which I visited on Vancouver Island, many years ago.  For years, it believed that the forestry sector was the backbone of its economy

In 1983, after operating for 120 years, the mill closed. Almost 700 people became unemployed in a community of just under 4,000. Businessman and Chemainus resident, Karl Schutz, came up with the concept of painting history on the walls of Chemainus. There were many who were against turning the town into an Outdoor Art Gallery. In 1982, the first five murals were painted.  As word spread, international artists transformed Chemainus into the world’s largest outdoor art gallery with 33 murals and 8 sculptures completed by 1997.  Over 70 new businesses, a museum and dinner theatre have opened, with plans for a hotel, marina and more.

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Me standing in front of one of the first large Chemainus murals 

On the other side of the globe, Sheffield in Tasmania was experiencing a steady economic decline. A committee was set up to try to stem the negative impact of the situation.  Soon after its creation, it began pursuing a suggestion to explore Chemainus’ successful strategy when it faced similar economic downturn in traditional industries. The murals were credited with rescuing the town.  Sheffield followed suit.  Now, it annually hosts the famed International Mural Festival and boasts the mural capital of Australia.

A similar, more recent story, has unfolded in Coonalpyn, 200 km from Adelaide, with a population of about 300. The struggling farming town set out the ambitious project of have its 30 metre operational silos painted.  The silos were painted by Guido van Helten. It features children from the local school, hoping to inspire those children, and the community, to consider creative industry pathways and entice tourists to the town.  The art has attracted more visitors and now the main street, which was dotted with closed shops, has three new businesses. Art rescued this dwindling town.

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Coonalpyn silos photo taken by Andrew Burch 

Art not only rescues towns.  It also rescues and helps people through really difficult times.  I recently did a session with sketchbook artist extraordinaire, Danny Gregory.  He described a difficult time in his life. During that time, for some unknown reason, he drew his wife lying on the couch.  It was true “mindfulness” because while drawing, he wasn’t able to think about the past or the future. When drawing, you are definitely in the ‘present’ trying to figure out how to draw hands, arms, eyes and so on.  He got hooked on drawing and now art and teaching creativity is his full time profession. “I enjoy talking to people who are looking for ways to expand their creativity, see the world in fresh ways, or to heal themselves.”

I’ve heard many similar stories where art has come to the rescue.  I gave birth to my Cheer ‘em Up series during the hardest time in my life. Painting the Cheer ‘em Up series gave me solace during my distressing time and helped me come out the other end stronger.

Art is a well-qualified rescuer and I am forever grateful (and so are towns, communities and tourists).

Gold Creek

We did a family walk along the scenic Gold Creek in Golden Ears Provincial Park, B.C., Canada and saw lots of interesting things along the way.
In the forest we came upon this scene – a tree piggy backing on the back of a stump.
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The colours and upward streaks on the stump reminded me of some paintings that the famous Canadian artist Emily Carr has painted.  I love the way she has depicted the west coast’s forests.
The moss on the tree created some funny cartoon like images.  This one looks like a bird that has been flying for a very long time, wearing a pilot’s cap with ear flaps and has snow (green snow) building up on its beak.
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This one looks like a hand puppet.
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 And this one, this is stretching the imagination, but I think that some of the moss clumps look like koalas.
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 We came across a water-logged fungus, a Salamander, Canada Geese, squirrels, orange breasted robins and we saw a Bald Eagle flying over Alouette Lake.
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a very water logged fungus
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A Salamander
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Canada Geese

At the start of Gold Creek, we came across this very typical Canadian scene that often adorns the front cover of magazines.

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 Gold Creek is fed by water from glaciers and in some parts the creek is a stunning emerald and turquoise colour.  The walk is about 1 km to reach the lake at the end of the creek.
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Gold Creek
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Gold Creek

It is a really scenic walk for all the senses: beautiful sights among the smell from cedars and Douglas fir.

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Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Park where we saw the Bald Eagle flying 

Thanks for visiting and I hope the upcoming week is a great one for all.

 

 

An Eventful Train Ride

My ride from Vancouver to Edmonds, USA (a suburb in Seattle) was quite memorable.  The train was scheduled to leave Vancouver at 5:30pm.  When it got closer to 6pm, it was announced that the brand new locomotive wasn’t communicating to the older control system, so the train was going to be turned around and they will drive the train to Seattle using the back locomotive.  So, we travelled to Seattle backwards.  All our seats were facing forward but now they were backwards, which didn’t matter much because it wasn’t long before it was dark and you couldn’t see the passing scenic views.  The seats were comfortable and spacious.  Heaps of leg room compared to flying!

When travelling, the cars on the tracks do sway quite a bit and I found it difficult for painting or drawing, but I did this quick sketch of the passenger sitting across from me.

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When we arrived at the US/Canadian border, at the Peace Arch, the American border guards came on board to collect train passengers’ Declaration documents and sight passports.  When a border guard collected the man’s, sitting across from me, Declaration card, they asked him what kind of meat is he bringing into the country?  He answered, “what do you mean?”  The border guard answered, “you’ve ticked meat on your Declaration card.”  He replied, “oh, that was my meat sandwich! I ate it.”  That was rather funny.

About an hour out from Edmonds, the train came to a screeching halt.  An announcement was made reporting that “we have a situation”.  I immediately thought that there might have been a person on the tracks.  Many train drivers suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from this type of extremely distressing situation.  Thankfully, after a while, they announced that there was somebody on the track but they were able to stop in time and he was not injured in any way.  We waited for the police to come and safely remove him, did a brake check and then we were on our way again.  I was really amazed that we were able to stop in time, with presumably one less braking system when travelling with one non-functioning locomotive, and with the diminished visibility with the darkness.

The train arrived in Edmonds, without further incidences, an hour late.  Despite the delays, I prefer travelling from Vancouver to Seattle by train than plane.

 

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.

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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!  🙂

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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.

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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.