Lyndhurst Avenue

Yesterday, we had a great turnout, and hence, an invigorating urban sketching session, reinforcing the saying “the more, the merrier” as was such the case. We dispersed, picked our building to tackle and went to work.

I tried this duplex on Elizabeth Street. I took the photo about an hour afterwards, so the shadows had changed somewhat. I still ran into some perspective difficulties, but such is the learning process.

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Duplex on Elizabeth Street directly across Lyndhurst Avenue
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I sat under the shade of a large fig tree to draw the duplex

Afterwards, we had a coffee and our throw-down at the State Cinema, a very cool, stylishly restored cinema that has been screening moving pictures since 1913. Most of the Hobart sketchers group took on the Lyndhurst ornate house (feature photo). We had two new participants and a sketcher return from “their best holiday ever”, visiting Iran. We took turns perusing her amazing travel sketchbook and photo book. Stunning.

Upon my return home, I found myself still in the painting mode. So, I painted an orange-bellied parrot (thanks to Stuart J. Smith for giving me permission to use his photograph). Orange-bellied parrots are critically endangered with less than fifty parrots thought to exist in the wild today. With all the horrible bush fires, I wonder if they’ve fallen victim to the ferocious flames and if that number is even lower now?

They are not endemic to Tasmania but it is one of only three species of parrot to migrate. The orange-bellied parrot breeds in Tasmania and it winters in South Australia and Victoria.

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Last year, at Salamanca Market, I met a retired university professor from the US and he is an avid birdwatcher. He has come to Tasmania every year for two or three decades. He bought virtually all the original paintings of endemic birds I painted. He’s back in Tasmania and sought me out at the market on the weekend. He said that all my paintings are framed and hanging at his residence. He’s 83 years old. He told me that they won’t let him rent a car/drive but some Tasmanian University contacts are taking him birdwatching and he’ll be doing some work there. Anyways, he was disappointed I didn’t have any original bird paintings and asked me to paint “lots” during the week. The Orange-bellied parrot is the first. It’s a start…

wishing everybody a safe week

 

Last day of 2019

It is the last day of 2019, and among other things, I’ve spent some of it doing something that will hopefully put smiles on faces in the new year.

I did some more work on this commissioned piece for the Rotary Club’s 200th anniversary. They have chosen The Great Gatsby as their theme to celebrate this significant milestone. Seeing this finished will bring a smile to my face and hopefully theirs!

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I added the finishing touches to this painting. This is the first painting of a series of three. These paintings will be great for a beach shack.

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The title of this painting is: Holding Hands II

My new Sailor Fude pen arrived today.  I couldn’t wait to try it, so out I went and drew this house.  I should have set myself up on the footpath (sidewalk) but I couldn’t motivate myself. The steering wheel really got in the way. I couldn’t really get the hang of making different line thicknesses with the pen but with a bit more practice, I should be able to.

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First drawing with new Fude pen

Once again, I got the right side of house’s perspective wrong…. but I’m happy with the liveliness of the picture.

Happy New Year everybody! I hope 2020 provides the world with a lot of things to smile about.

18 York Street

I’m trying to stick to my goal of drawing Bellerive houses. I postponed venturing out onto the footpath (sidewalk) until later in the evening on the 24th of December to avoid all the foot traffic from the Hurricanes Big Bash game against the Melbourne Renegades at the Blundstone Oval, which by the way, the Tasmania Hurricanes were the winners. 🙂 Often, I’m at the oval watching the game but not this time because my cricket-bud is overseas visiting England.

Anyways, I settled myself on my stool, and no sooner than after drawing my first couple lines, a car, towing a boat, pulled up just behind me, which entailed a lot of unpacking, unloading a dog and consequently dog-barking activity. Eventually, the dog was brought inside because it was not happy with me sitting in front of its house and wasn’t about to stop trying to communicate this to me.

After all the Lamy pen bleeding debacle with my last drawing,

this time I tried a different approach and drew some initial lines with a water colour pencil and then inked it with an Artline pen. Using an Artline pen is nowhere near the pleasure of using an ink nibbed pen. I might give myself a belated Christmas present and order a Fude pen (a Liz Steel, Australian urban sketcher guru, recommendation).  I’m not very happy with this drawing (got the side perspective wrong again) but it is part of my skill-development journey, whether I like it or not. Also, Liz Steel says that one of the most common mistakes people make is draw too much roof. I concur.

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an imperfect drawing of 18 York Street, Bellerive, Tasmania

I hope you’ve had a pleasant day digesting and working off Christmas lunches or dinners, or both.

York Street, I’ll be back!

Settle down, Lamy!

This year, our new CEO decided to increase our parking fees from zero dollars per year to $1500 per year. Consequently, I decided to park and walk to work.  There are a few free parking places along some of the streets on the Glebe in Hobart, Tasmania but you have to be early to get them. Consequently, I find myself arriving at work ridiculously early, a few minutes after 7 am! I decided that I should try to smell the roses and draw on my way to work. A lofty idea but it’s turned out to be more difficult for me to do than I thought. But this morning, I did stop and smell some roses and drew this house on Shoobridge Street.

Because there was little planning involved, I did the drawing while standing, which adds to the difficulty, the sun was shining at a low, diagonal angle so I drew the house straight-on (so I could see!!) and I only had my Lamy pen on hand.

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Initial lines done in watercolour pencil and then inked with a Lamy pen. The lack of any visible roof does help convey that I was looking up at this house, despite not getting the perspective correct. 

I wish Lamy ink didn’t bleed so much.  A little bleed is nice but too much is not. In other words, settle down, Lamy! As soon as water touches it, it turns the area inky.

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Detail lost due to Lamy pen bleed

The perspective was particularly challenging and my picture doesn’t convey how much I was looking up at the house but hopefully it has captured the essence of  one of many Hobart’s charming houses. I’ll keep trying.

Cheers and thanks for visiting.

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Once loved…

Around the world, it’s a familiar story. Older houses, full of character, that are purchased and/or inherited by the next generation, are being bulldozed down and replaced by sterile lots of four, eight or more units. Historic houses are disappearing at the rate of knots, and with them, the charm of neighbourhoods.

I live in Bellerive, Tasmania, where there are many gorgeous houses with iron laced verandahs and decorative facades. When I was walking and admiring the houses in my neighbourhood, I saw a very senior lady using a walker to slowly make her way around her large yard. I thought to myself, whoever inherits this will probably knock it down and sadly replace it with twelve units. At that moment, I decided I should try to capture these houses on paper before they disappear. I’ll be posting my  drawings here if you’d like to follow my progress with this project – Houses of Bellerive.

Today’s house is this one that I found on York Street. Judging from the carefully chosen and painted colour scheme, this house was once loved.

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I started the drawing with a Copic grey texta and then added ink and paint to some of the house for the focus to be on the care this house once had, evidenced by the carefully painted pink, burgundy and green front of the house.
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House on York Street, Bellerive that I drew today

Take care, from Pj Paintings

Sketching in Bellerive

I met up with Hobart’s small urban sketching group this morning on the sunny Eastern Shore of Hobart, in Bellerive at the Blundstone Oval.

I settled in to draw this quaint house directly across the street from the Blundstone Oval.

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My morning’s sketch

I want to loosen up my drawings, so I went started straight in with a thick grey texta.

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Apologies for the photo of loose grey texta initial drawing. The sun was very bright and in the shade it wasn’t quite bright enough for the photo.

To add some detail, I inked over the drawing and then painted the entirety outside. I’m starting to do that more often, so I must be speeding up!

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Bellerive house with kunyani/Mt Wellington in the background

We finished our sketch-meet with a well deserved cuppa at the Hurricane Cafe.

Cheers and thanks for visiting.

Morning Sketch

I spent about an hour and forty minutes drawing and painting this outside today. Usually I draw outside and paint inside. This is the historic fire station on Argyle Street in Hobart, Tasmania.

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Hobart Fire Brigade

My thoughts are with those in New South Wales and Queensland where bush fires are raging. Three lives and over 150 homes have been lost. I hope the wind changes direction to stop the fires in their track and that good soaking rain falls upon the scorched and blistering dry land. Take care, everybody.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope that the upcoming week is kind to you.

Cheers, PJ Paintings

 

Hobart’s Historic Fire Station

I arrived back in Tasmania from Canada on Monday. Two days later, and still rather jet-lagged, after work, I walked up to pick up prints I had ordered. I passed the historic fire station and thought I should quickly try to draw this. Ten minutes into the drawing and I had had enough.

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When I was in Canada, I did two urban sketching sessions with Oliver Hoesser. He introduced the grey texta (felt pen), which you can paint over. This captured my interest A LOT.  This is potentially a much quicker way to apply shadow. I trialled it with this quick sketch and my conclusion is that this is a great tool for sketch books, especially holiday sketching when you’re trying to capture scenes, events and people on the fly! It can really be a time-saver not having to wait for paint to dry to add the next wash.

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grey textas

For new urban sketchers and/or watercolour, this removes one step, simplifying a challenging medium and task. Urban sketching is a bit like learning to drive there are so many things to think about and check, you can feel mentally exhausted after an hour! So, if you can simplify adding shadows that can really help people from becoming too discouraged when learning. Watercolour is a challenging medium to control, whereas, a texta is much easier to handle.

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Water colour pencil, Artline pen and grey texta blocking in some of the shadows. I chose to ignore the large shadow on the bottom half of the building.

I usually draw in the shape with a water colour pencil (learnt this from Liz Steel), then add pen and paint. I found that my watercolour pencil lines on the Stillman & Birn paper acted as a resist and kept pushing the paint away. I had to keep applying paint to the edges of the watercolour pencil before it finally more or less accepted it.

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Added paint at home

The historic fire station on 79-81 Argyle Street, Hobart is a whole street block long! Since 1911, for 92 years, it was the Fire Brigade’s operational headquarters. It is now a museum and the restored building currently contains a wide range of historical firefighting equipment ranging from hand drawn firefighting pumps, turn of the century firefighting trucks, antique uniforms and historical documents and photographs.

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A historic fire engine stored at the station

Cheers and thank you for stopping by.

 

 

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

Kempton & Big Hill, please

I accompanied my friend to the historical town of Kempton, Tasmania today. Rain was predicted but blue skies prevailed.

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We took the back road to drive into Kempton. There were lots of sheep dotting the countryside, all facing away from the wind.
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Beautiful, smooth, green slopes on the way to Kempton

 

We stopped at the Old Kempton Distillery for a cuppa, a yummy bowl of pumpkin soup and a painting drop-off.  The Distillery is hosting the Artlands 2019 exhibition, running from August 25 – September 29, from 10 am – 4 pm daily (free entry). My friend has entered two gorgeous long and narrow paintings of scenes of the southern midlands.

There are many interesting old buildings and houses along the main street.

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A church converted into a home, Main Street, Kempton
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Big House with Big Hill in the background.  The hill is literally named “Big Hill”

I wanted to paint “Big Hill”.  I thought I would draw a picture with Big Hill dominating the composition but it didn’t turn out that way.  I’ll have to come back to do “Big Hill” justice.

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House on Main Street, Kempton with Big Hill
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My drawing spot

I raise my glass and toast the Artsland 2019 exhibition at the Old Kempton Distillery. May many people explore the historical town of Kempton, including the Distillery, a really impressive, grand old building, and feast their eyes on art capturing this special part of Tasmania.