A Troublesome Pair

I find koalas and echidnas difficult to paint.  It’s a hit and miss situation.  More often than not, I’m not totally happy with what I’ve painted… but are artists ever 100% happy with what they’ve painted???

I’ve often told myself, that’s it, give up on these marsupials and monotremes but there is something about the challenge and their cuteness that draws me back again and again to try this troublesome pair.  I once read, but unfortunately didn’t take note of who was imparting this wise piece of advice, ‘don’t strive for mastery. Strive for prolific and the mastery will come’.  In other words, practice.

Here’s this week’s attempts.

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An echidna hoping this log is hosting an ant party
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This week’s koala painting

Some previous attempts.

and more

For now, I think I will go back to painting birds, but I’m sure something will draw me back to trying to paint this problematic pair again.

Thanks for reading and I hope the upcoming week is a good one for you. 🙂


My Dog LOVES my Art!

Meet Charli, my small American Cocker Spaniel that is now almost 12 years old.  I’ve had her since she was a puppy.  Don’t let this cute little face fool you.  She is mischievous and requires an eagle eye on her at all times.

There are a few tasty items that she finds scrumptiously tempting beyond self-constraint. Each time, after she commits the crime, she hangs her head in shame, but to no avail… she cannot resist the tasty chewiness of paper products, especially the extra delectable, mouth-watering 100% recycled cotton rag paper kind.

I was photographing this painting, titled “don’t look up” and had placed another painting on the chair beside me.

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Don’t look up

My phone pinged and while I was texting a reply, I thought I saw something black pass behind me but when I looked nothing was there (she’s very sneaky) and then I heard the familiar sound of trouble – chewing!  Charli! I called out but it was too late… she was already internalising my art work.

Charli loving my art 

I’ve tried to rescue the remainder of the painting.  What do you think?  Is it salvageable?

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I framed the remainder of the painting

Thanks for visiting and hopefully you and your art have a safe week.

Changing Style

I started this painting last year, actually about 18 months ago.  I have a lot of paintings that I start and then put aside to work on a commission painting, for example, which often ignites another idea that I go on to paint, and then abandon it to start another painting and so on.  This is ridiculous, I’ve told myself, and have set a goal to start finishing incomplete paintings.  The problem is that the way I paint is always evolving and changing.  I have a changing style.  I can’t remember the technique/s I used to get certain effects or some of the colours I mixed together, or I just paint differently now. Does this happen to anyone else??

Barn Owls wing
Close up of my wing detail

Note to self… finish a painting before you start another, before your style changes again.

Thanks for visiting.  Cheers, from pjpaintings

PjPaintings at Salamanca Market July 28, 2018

I briefly saw the blood moon, the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century, on my drive to the market this morning.  It looked quite small from where I was seeing it.  I had planned to take a photo of it but didn’t because I thought it would look rather insignificant taking it just with my phone.

It was a warm and clear blue sky day at the market today.  Quite a few stall holders were away enjoying a holiday, and so were many visitors, enjoying a Tasmanian holiday, including a few people from Launceston, the north of the state. A mother, visiting from Brisbane, bought a whale print of ‘Weightless’ to take back and give to her twelve year old daughter.


‘Beachside Chatter’ was purchased as a gift for a niece.  ‘Helping Hands’ is going to a mother, and a dog sitter this weekend, who lives in Melbourne. She has a bird feeder and Superb-fairy wrens regularly visit her back garden.

Beachside Chatter
Beachside Chatter
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Helping Hands

A ‘Salamanca Saturdays’ tote bag was bought for a well-travelled sister, who lives in Sydney. Salamanca Market is her favourite market.

Salamanca Saturdays Tote Bag (made in Australia)

A lady from North Carolina, USA bought the Tasmanian series: ‘Retail Therapy, Salamanca’, ‘Salamanca Fresh’ and ‘Richmond Bridge, Tasmania’.  A retired teacher, from South Australia, purchased an original painting of a Yellow-tailed black cockatoo and a couple owl prints.

A couple from NSW purchased a few platypus paintings to hang up in a cottage on their property. They asked for them to be framed.  They said that their adult son loves platypus and they laughingly said that they will write on the backs of the framed pictures that they are for him when they die.

The whale prints and original platypus paintings were the most popular this weekend.

A thought to ponder:  “Tell your own story, and you will be interesting, Louise Bourgeois 

Wishing you a creatively happy week, from the Pjpaintings stall #30 at Salamanca Market.

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

PjPaintings at Salamanca Market July 7, 2018

It was somewhat difficult to enthusiastically approach today with the bleak weather forecast of rain and strong winds but it turned out to be much better than what was predicted. There were short bursts of rain and light winds but nothing severe. I think the weather forecast put many stall holders off because there were a lot of empty sites today.

Despite the poor weather forecast, there were a lot of people about, maybe because Hobart is hosting the Festival of Voices? One of the first visitors was a young couple, she was from Brazil, and he, from Germany. I had to pass on my condolences for the World Cup Football (soccer) as Belgium defeated Brazil. I overheard three women speaking French while they were looking at my art. They were visiting from Quebec, Canada, so I took the opportunity to give my French a short workout.

I met a lovely lady from Ballarat, who also participated in the 30x30directwatercolour Facebook challenge, and her daughter-in-law, who lives in Hobart, originally from Lithuania. We decided that we have the love of urban sketching in common.  Urban sketching is rather new to me.  Here’s one of my most current sketches.  I’m not sure what to do with the tree in the extreme foreground, so I’ve just left it blank for the time being.

A family from Sydney, whose son plays the saxophone in the Sydney Youth Orchestra, purchased a ‘Black & White + One’ print for his music teacher or conductor. I can’t remember which one.

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Black & white + One (the red is a much brighter red than in this photo).  I collaged the background with bits of sheet music and treble clefs and then applied three coats of water colour to achieve a rich red background.

A senior lady, from Launceston, Tasmania, bought a ‘Glamour Girls’ print for a member of their “Hens’ Group”. They have been meeting fortnightly for 56 years now! She said that she was the young one and she is in her 80s. Another ‘Glamour Girls’, along with an ‘Outback Glamping’ print, is heading to Victoria, and another ‘Glamour Girls’ print is going to Sydney. The original Glamour Girls painting is going to Jakarta, Indonesia. It was bought at the very end of the day, in the midst of packing up.

Glamour Girls IC
Glamour Girls I

A lady bought prints for her two friends’ 50th birthday. ‘Poppy Fields’ is for a friend living in Hong Kong and ‘Glamour Girls’ for her friend living in Australia. A ‘White Faced Scops Owls’ print is journeying to the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. The organiser of the New Zealand and Australia Health Educators Conference in Hobart stopped by too. She said that she was too exhausted to go sight-seeing. She bought a small print to take back with her.

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Poppy Fields

Often children are given a few dollars to spend at the market. I thought it would be nice to have something available in the small-change price range. I was able to source stickers and debuted them today. Some children bought them.


Tote bags arrived during the week and they went quickly again.

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One of the tote bags with my painting of Scarlet Robins 

This week’s most popular print was ‘Glamour Girls’.

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Glamour Girls (I’ve put one in foils in this painting)

A thought to ponder: “The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.” ― Dieter Uchtdorf

Wishing you a creative and happy week,
from the Pjpaintings stall #30 at Salamanca Market.

26 + 4 = 30: finishing the 30×30 challenge

Surprisingly, I finished the June challenge of producing a daily paint-only painting.  I was doubtful that I would be able to go the distance, but I did!

Here are my final paintings:

On June 26, I painted another echidna.  It’s the biggest echidna out of the echidnas that I painted (painted on a 20 x 20 cm paper made 100% from recycled cotton rags).

A hungry echidna

Next, I painted a platypus diving into cool, refreshing Tasmanian water.

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Platypus diving session

On Day 28, I quickly painted a kangaroo and joey.

June 29 kangaroo
I’m watching you!

On day 29, feeling buoyed by what I have been able to paint without using a single pencil mark, I thought I would tackle the BooBook Owl, an owl that I have been wanting to paint for a long time.

June 28 Southern Boobook owl
Southern Boobook Owl

On June 30th, the final day of the 30 x 30 challenge, I tried the Boobook owl again.  I didn’t quite finish it, but I think I did enough for it to count as my final painting of the challenge.

June 30 boobook
A Boobook pose

So, what did I learn from this challenge?  Well, I can no longer use “I forgot my pencil” as an excuse to not paint!

One benefit of participating in these types of challenges for me, is that I always paint something I’ve never painted before. I get quite desperate trying to find things I can paint quickly to meet the quota.  This challenge’s newbies were bees and an octopus.  I have had an unsuccessful attempt with an echidna prior to this challenge, so echidnas were a winner also, and falls into the new category for me.

I’m surprised that I could paint as many things as I did using no pencil.  From my understanding, the premise of direct watercolour painting is to assist in producing ‘loose’ paintings.  Without a few pencil guidelines, I found myself concentrating and giving more thought of where to put the paintbrush on the paper each time.  It impacted my painting choices and my looseness.  I think I paint looser when there are a few pencil lines to inform me.

All in all, in was a great experience and I loved seeing the posts of the amazing direct watercolour paintings from the participants in the #30x30directwatercolor2018 challenge.

21 + 4 = Day 25 of 30×30 challenge

Hello everybody!  I’m somehow keeping up with producing a direct water colour painting every day but have fallen behind in the posting, hence five paintings in one post.  Most days I’ve painted things in my comfort zone due to lack of time and/or motivation.  Last week, I tackled a never-been-painted-by-me-before octopus and this week I’ve attempted to paint some little beasties.

But, firstly, for Day #21, I painted a humpback whale with swirly, plant-like unfurling things.

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Day #21

On Day 22, I revisited echidnas.  I drew little ants on some of the quills again.

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Day #22

On Day 23, I decided to try to paint a bumble bee.  I looked up the anatomy of a bumble bee.  It basically has three parts, a strange looking long tongue, which I chose to omit, a large compound eye, hairy legs with definite connection points and wings.  I was hoping to produce a watery, fluid looking bumble bee but have yet to achieve this.

The first bumble bee on day 23 was, and is, a disaster.  The paper was too damp and everything went yuck.

Day #23

Another day, another attempt.  This one worked better but it’s too tight for my liking.

June 25 bee
Day #24

… and the painting I just finished less than an hour ago.  I’m not happy with the legs but it is what it is.  Another attempt is required…

Day #25

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope your week goes well.



Day 20 of the 30×30 direct watercolour challenge

After painting echidnas five days in a row, I felt motivated to try to find something new to paint!  Painting without any pencil drawing makes picking something to paint more difficult.  I thought I would try an octopus.  I’ve never painted one before but I didn’t think you can go too wrong with them seeing as they are squishy, boneless, ever-changing-shaped sea creatures.  Mine has quite an alien looking resemblance.  The photo has accentuated the purple tentacles (they are a little more subdued in the painting).

June 20 octopus
An Octopus for Day # 20 of the challenge

It’s actually given me an idea for another painting.  Yikes, not another idea!

Thanks for visiting.  Wishing you an awesome rest of the day.

It’s raining Echidnas

Well, one would think that I’d be sick of painting echidnas by now but because they seem to have the upper hand, I still want to keep trying to paint them. I like the echidna I painted for Day 2 of the 30×30 day direct watercolour painting challenge.  I regret selling the little guy, a short-beaked Echidna. It is an Australian egg-laying mammal, a monotreme. It had a face that I fell in love with (photo above).  I don’t often form an emotional attachment with paintings but I did with this one and I miss this little echidna.

On Day #15, I tried to paint his brother or sister with ants fleeing the scene.

Echidna #1

On Day #16, I had another attempt.  Ants are trying to stay out of sight and hiding in the bottom corners.

Echidna #2

Day #17’s echidna is rather a disaster.  For some reason, I thought it was too light and darkened the whole painting.  What was I thinking!!

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Echidna #3

On Day #18, I attempted to paint another echidna.  I’m not happy with this one either.

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Echidna #4

This morning, I painted tomorrow’s painting for Day 19.  I decided to return to my preferred background for watercolour paintings, white paper.  Echidnas mainly eat termites and ants. A few ants thought that hiding on its spines was a wise strategy to avoid becoming a light afternoon snack!

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Echidna #5 Products with this little echidna are available at https://www.redbubble.com/people/pjpaintings/shop?asc=u 

Thanks for reading and I hope that you aren’t inundated by echidnas in your dreams tonight. 🙂