You call that a hedge??!

After Friday’s inspirational walk in Lenah Valley, besotted by hedges, I wanted to re-visit a well-known hedge in my neighbourhood.

I got up early on Saturday morning and set out with my sketching gear. It was a balmy 4 degrees when I left the house and as I was making my way down to this house, I spotted a familiar friend, the Bridgewater Jerry.

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The Bridgewater Jerry on the move

During the winter, the Bridgewater Jerry occurs, on average, once or twice a week. Tasmanians like to think it is unique but in reality a lot of places around the world experience similar fogs, it is just that we have named ours. It is believed the term “jerry’’ came from London where it was thieves’ slang for mist or fog and the term was transported to Tasmania with the convicts.

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creeping towards kunyani

This weekend’s fog had fuzzy edges but sometimes the edges are so sharp and crisp, giving it such an amazing 3-D appearance of a ribbon curving and winding its way in front of kunyani. It looks so incredible that I forget to take a photo of it each time!

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A visitor is coming, kunyani

At night, in the cooler months, cold air drains down the mountains and collects in the Derwent Valley. Fog will form if this air is moist and cool enough. Then Bridgewater Jerry drains out of the valley in the mornings. The fog mainly affects the Derwent, northern and western suburbs of Hobart, but occasionally it reaches the Eastern Shore. I have seen it once travel all the way across the river to Tranmere.

Some of the hedges I saw reminded me of the Crocodile Dundee knife scene, “You call that a hedge? This is a hedge!”

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A nicely trimmed, manageable hedge
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 This is what you call a hedge!

There is a house along the Esplanade and Derwent River in Bellerive that is referred to the “wave-hedge house’.

My fingers were numb so I sketched it as fast as I could and painted it when I got home.

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The wave hedge house in Bellerive

I wanted to exaggerate the colour of the hedge, almost give it a bit of an abstract look and make the hedge the dominant feature of the painting. I wish I had drawn it from a more side on angle… another time.

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My sketch of the wave hedge house

Thanks for joining me on my art journeying.

Take care and stay safe.

Going for a Walk in Lenah Valley

Two days ago, my friend and I went for a walk in Lenah Valley, a suburb in Hobart, Tasmania. The sky was a brilliant cobalt blue, the sun was sparkling, the greens were singing and as we walked by houses, they were beckoning “sketch me!”, “sketch me!” but we were going for a coffee and a walk, so we tried to ignore them.

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Glorious kunanyi from the Lenah Valley perspective. Look at the sky!

We came across this round-about, which started as a wool-bombing spot and has remained as a community sculptural/art-communication spot. The decorations and little driver is regularly changed.

And then we came across this house.  There was something about this scene that made us pull out our sketch books. The angle, the leaning mailbox, the sheep and the juxtaposition of the tall tree behind the house.

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The house that said, “Sketch me!” “Sketch me, please!” the loudest
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the sheep and leaning mailbox

I ran out of room to really show how small the house looked in front of the huge tree behind it.

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My sketch, drawn on site, painted at home

Then we continued our walk and we were awe-struck by hedges. They seemed alive,  moving, writhing green waves. They were entrancing.

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Massive hedge that hid house from view
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Friend standing in front of hedge to help establish how tall it is!
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Gorgeous, swirling hedge in front of a charming house and tree. I’d love to draw this too.
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House playing peek-a-boo! in Lenah Valley

There are so many gorgeous suburbs in Hobart with glorious houses to sketch. I hope that if you haven’t visited Hobart, that one day you will be able to.

Stay safe and take care.

Thanks for visiting and sharing the unfurling artist’s journaling and journeying.

 

Beautiful Collinsvale

I had an appointment in Collinsvale, Tasmania. I thought it would take about an hour to get there, but it only took 27 minutes! Collinsvale feels like a whole different world, like you’re in the wilderness, but it’s so close to the city (closer than I remembered!).

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The road through the countryside of Collinsvale

The beauty about being an urban sketcher is that if you’re early, or if the person you’re meeting is late, you always have something productive to do with your time. I parked in front of this house, which is located on the main street, just after the primary school, and sketched it.

Collinsvale house

I approached sketching it in my usual manner by firstly drawing the big shapes with a water colour pencil, then inking it with a Fude ink pen and then adding the washes. Liz Steel has often said that drawing too much roof is a common error, one that I frustratingly find myself repeatedly doing. I have to try to keep this in the forefront of my mind. I think if you can nail the roof, then the rest of the structure more accurately reflects the real life building’s perspectives and sizes of the different sections. What is your urban sketching Achilles’ Heel?  

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My sketch

I really couldn’t see what was happening with the front door. I think it had stained glass but I was too far away to be able to see.

It was lovely to re-visit Collinsvale. I hope that one day you are able to take the small detour from Hobart and visit this quaint suburb.

Stay safe and thanks for stopping by.

Every Beach Should Have This!

Having been in lock-down for several weeks, Kingston, and its beach, was an enticing location to personally deliver a website order. There were a lot of people out and about! While doing the beach track, I came across this! Something every beach should have! It is awesome and gave me joy seeing that the council fostered such a creative and beautiful approach to a common problem.

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a quirky Lost & Found receptacle 

 

The Kingborough Council came up with an innovative response to residents’ request for a Lost & Found receptacle for goggles, towels and such things left behind on the beach. The council asked local students to design a dual purpose sculpture. The students endeavoured to have the sculpture reflect the local land and sea scape, culminating in a stylised light house concept, which includes some smaller collection spaces for little items found. The choice of colour was inspired by the Southern Aurora (Southern Lights) that puts on a spectacular show of green lights.

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the planning stage

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a place to deposit smaller lost items

Lets have a look inside….

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A few precious items awaiting reclaiming

The students also wanted to reflect the traditional owners of Iutruwita/Tasmania, and use reclaimed She-oak (Allocasuarina verticillata) for the sculpture. A She-oak limb that was broken during an extreme storm in 2018, was retrieved from the beach, and used. She-oaks were an important resource for the Tasmanian Aboriginal people for food, shelter and fire.

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Too often a problem is addressed in a boring, conservative manner. Art, and its economic contributions, are being better recognised and valued. It gives me such joy to see more public art and that these teenagers had an opportunity to produce something so quirky, beautiful, unique and useful.

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Kingston Beach, Tasmania

Thanks for visiting. Take care, from PJ Paintings

My Favourite Painting

I did an indoor-urban sketch of a corner of my lounge room. In this corner, some of my favourite things are displayed but they are difficult to see.  So, I would like to introduce them to you and tell their stories, starting with the painting sitting on the coffee table.

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Painting sitting on my coffee table

I bought this painting when I was visiting my son when he worked for three years in Ethiopia. I asked his driver if he could take me to to an art supply store.  He told me there wasn’t any in Addis Ababa and he took me to what may have been the only art gallery in the capital city. In the entrance, photos of past American presidents visiting the gallery greet you, giving the immediate impression that the gallery is highly esteemed and has a good reputation.

This painting moved me and I immediately connected with it. I think the composition is brave. I’m not sure what it is, on the side background but I think that is a courageous way to deal with that space. The lady’s face looks so strong and confident, yet there is a tear balancing on a lower eyelid. Her face holds my attention and I find it difficult to take my eyes away from hers. I like the colour scheme of black, blue and red too.

I decided I had to buy it otherwise it will be a lifelong regret. When I was paying for it, I asked if I could have some information about the artist. She replied that she didn’t know who the artist was. She was the lady in the photos standing beside US President Clinton and Obama, so I was rather surprised that she didn’t know who the artist of a painting she was selling was. I asked if she could find out and email me because I’d really like to know. I never did find out. I also, asked if they had bubble wrap because it was going back to Australia and to my horror it came back wrapped in newspaper. There are some marks on the painting from the newspaper but I don’t mind because it just adds to the authenticity of the African experience and I love it.

I loved my time in Ethiopia and i love my souvenir painting.

Thank you for letting me share it with you.

A Bolder Love Affair

Walking on Kunyani, the Aboriginal name for Mt. Wellington in Hobart, Tasmania, for me, is like meandering through an art gallery. For some, the highlight of kunyani is scaling the organ pipes or the spectacular views but for me it is kunyani’s sculptural boulders, proud, bold and sculpted by centuries of weather.

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A blossoming eucalyptus on kunyani
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my quick sketch of a clump of boulders
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a field of boulders, one of many on kunyani
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Me at the Municipality Cairn, the intersection point of three municipalities: Hobart, Glenorchy and Kingborough

An earlier painting of kunyani boulders.

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I introduced water colour painting, adding salt while the paint is still damp to create a grainy look and using a cotton bud and methylated spirits to create a lichen appearance on kunyani boulders to the Men’s Maximum and Medium Security inmates at Risdon Prison. I told them that nobody can say that you’ve drawn a rock wrong, to help them move out of their comfort zone and give painting a try…. and they did…

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lichen growing on a kunyani boulder

… including giving writing poems a go. They were really pleased with their efforts. For the poetry writing, I asked them to write five words (nouns) about kunyani and then put some describing words (adjectives) around those words and then ta-da! – poems emerged effortlessly.

dipped in rust, proud large boulders

stunted bendy trees cling onto rocks

tweeting birds diving

buzzing insects darting

snow, sparkling white

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… and who put a whale on the mountain!!?!?

I hope that one day you can experience the kunyani magic.

Warm regards, from PJ Paintings

Coffee Table Feature

A miniature one of these would be cool to have on a coffee table. This art producing machine is wind generated.

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Windmill at MONA (Museum of Old & New Art) in Tasmania

The windmill turns , which in turn, turns some wheels, which in turn moves the Artline pen in a circular motion and turns the turntable which moves the paper very slowly along.

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Wind powered drawing at MONA (Museum of Old & New Art) in Tasmania

The windier the day the darker and denser the drawing is. A pen a day is used and the roll of paper lasts two weeks before the piece of art is finished.

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Pen at Work

It is quite mesmerizing and relaxing to watch, which is why I think it would be a great coffee table feature, and not to mention, a conversation starter.

Thank for stopping by. Keep your pens moving and producing art. 🙂

Oliver on Granville Island

Part One

I loved the two urban sketching sessions I did with Oliver Hoesser in Vancouver, Canada in the Opus Art Supplies store on Granville Island!
Some concepts were refreshed, reinforced and introduced.  It has excited and reinvigorated my enthusiasm to continue developing my urban sketch skills.
Oliver’s philosophy is to master drawing contours then you can become fearless about drawing anything because you can break down any complicated scene or object into a section of contours.  So, we began the first session as most art sessions begin, with some contour drawing exercises. I chose my pencil case and then a water bottle.
Oliver encouraged us to hold are pens far back from the point to create looser drawings.
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Contour line drawing (the bottom pencil case has some shadows drawn in with a grey texta)
Some of the takeaways for me are:
1. Connect by overlapping (composition & contour). 
This contained a Light Bulb moment for me. Oliver said that, for example, when he’s in a town and he likes two buildings that are far apart from each other, “no problem!”, he just draws them side by side.  (Throughout the course Oliver repeatedly said, “no problem!”).
I’ve often wanted to draw the old McCanns building on Elizabeth Street in Hobart, Tasmania, and the new university residential building (divided by a road going between them) because I think the juxtaposition of the new and old would be quite interesting but didn’t know how to handle the road. If I keep the road in the drawing, I would split the drawing, creating two pictures on one page and the composition would really not work.
When I read the International Urban Sketching Manifesto it seemed quite rigid about drawing accurately the scene.
International Urban Sketching Manifesto
  • We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.
  • Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.
  • Our drawings are a record of time and place.
  • We are truthful to the scenes we witness.
  • We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.
  • We support each other and draw together.
  • We share our drawings online.
  • We show the world, one drawing at a time.
Injecting creativity into the drawing seemed to be discouraged.  I didn’t think I could just omit the road but, not only is it permissible, Oliver encourages this for the sake of composition and creating an end-product that is interesting and draws people into the picture!!! This interpretation is HUGE for me and really renews my excitement for urban sketching.
He showed us several examples from his sketch book and this example from a magazine:
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2. If don’t want to overlap two unrelated objects, find something in the environment to use as a connecting design (a train, boat, buildings, banner, cast shadow, cobble stones and so on can be used).
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two unrelated objects connected by the background pattern and shadow

Stay tune for Part Two, where I will reveal another Light Bulb moment and more clever composition strategies…

Until then, take care and thanks for stopping by, PJ Paintings

Purging Fears

Hobart, in Tasmania, must be fast becoming the bravest city in the world, as more and more of our fears and worries are getting burned into oblivion, with another Ogoh-Ogoh being burnt to a crisp on the last day of the Dark Mofo Festival.   During the week, Hobartians were invited to write their fears and worries down and deposit them into Ogoh-Ogoh.

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Ogoh-Ogoh procession

The annual Balinese festival has been adopted by Tasmania, with a bit of adaption. The Balinese festival aims to restore alignment between the seen world of humans and animals and the unseen world of the spirits.  Large and often ugly Ogoh-Ogoh figures are jostled and turned in circles to confuse them and then burnt, sending the spirits off with the smoke. Then the whole island of Bali observes a day of silence.

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Ogoh-Ogoh’s nest and tree

Hobart’s Ogoh-Ogoh this year is the swift parrot.

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Hobart’s fear container being moved into position
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Nestling in – poor thing doesn’t know what is about to happen
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The base of the tree is lit and the loudest procession of fire crackers and fireworks go off
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the burning

… and then everything burns and we exit fearless and brave, with our ears ringing and dodging large bits of falling burning embers.

Wool Bombed!

A frosty morning at Franklin Square in Hobart this morning.

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Frosty morning

Lucky the trees are warm and cosy.

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Wool bombed!

I like the added colour.

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Wool bombed Franklin Square trees
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beautiful mornings in Hobart, Tasmania

Some beautiful scenes of light hitting historic Hobart buildings. I just wished I was able to sketch instead of heading into work!!!

Wishing everybody a great week with time to hug a tree. 🙂