The Disappearing Emu

Australia’s early settlers hunted emus for food and as a result the emus that were abundant in Tasmania and Australia’s east coast disappeared.  Today, only one population remains in existence, aside from the thriving Australian inland emus, the coastal emu. The New South Wales (NSW) Government, in 2002, listed the coastal emus as an endangered population as its numbers were, and continues to be, in steep decline.

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The coastal emu. Photography by Stephen Otton

The coastal emu is genetically distinct from the inland emu and an important seed disperser. It travels large distances and plays an important role in the regeneration of native species. Other species do a similar service but not to the same capacity. If the coastal emu is lost from the ecosystem it will reduce diversity and populations of species that depend on the plants, not to mention the loss of another emu species.

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The range of the endangered coastal emu population. (Image credit: Coastal Emu Alliance). An estimated 50 Coastal Emus remain in crucial habitat areas of the Clarence and Richmond valleys.

A concerted effort is necessary to save an endangered species with numbers as low as the coastal emu. It is encouraged that sightings of coastal emus and/or nests are reported to The Coastal Emu Register. Identifying nesting sites can help target feral animal control at the local level. Tracking the seasonal movements of the emus, will help build an understanding of the survival rates of adults and chicks, and whether a captive breeding may be required to re-build the number of Coastal Emus found in the wild.

If you are out and about coastal emu spotting, for accuracy sake, please be aware that there are also adventuresome PJ Paintings emus running around.

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Family Outing
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Bonnie and Me!
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Surfing Clifton Beach, Tasmania

Take care and thank you for visiting the unfurling artist. 🙂

PJ Paintings prints are available at http://www.pjpaintings.com

Four Iconic Australians

The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is native to Australia and Tasmania. I often see flocks of yellow-tailed black cockatoos swoop and fly around my house, announcing their arrival with their distinctive raucous call. It is an iconic and beautiful Australian bird and one that I am very fond of.

There is uncertainty whether galahs are native or not to Tasmania. Records show that they were here as early as the 1840s. I thought galahs were rather harmless and not causing too much trouble in Tasmania but it turns out that the north-west Tasmanian council wants to cull galahs!! Apparently they are “costly and dangerous” because large flocks are killing trees and gnawing powerlines around Ulverstone.

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a yellow-tailed black cockatoo and a galah

The sulphur-crested cockatoo is also an iconic Australian bird and it has established itself in Tasmania. They are thought to have migrated over the Bass Strait under their own wing, and there is this same line of thought about galahs. They are a common sight in Tasmania. The sulphur-crested cockatoo is viewed as a pest by many farmers as large flocks regularly settle on fields of crops for a nice healthy feed.

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a sulphur-crested cockatoo

Kookaburras were introduced into Tasmania, in 1906, by humans, to try to reduce snake numbers.  The laughing birds were brought to Tasmania to eat snakes but they also eat native lizards and impact the native birds. They are nest robbers.

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Despite two (or three?) of these four iconic Australian birds not being native to Tasmania, and worrying about Tasmania’s native species, I love seeing and hearing them. Birds are beautiful and I love them.

Take care from PJ Paintings

Prints are available at http://www.pjpaintings.com

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.

It’s Growing!!!

During the first week of February, my washing machine filled the basement with water, instead of the washing machine. Yesterday, the final step of the restoration took place. I woke up early, too excited to sleep, because I could finally restore my art room.

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My desk in my empty art room

Unfortunately, the carpet was still damp and my art room had to wait. So, I turned my attention to my toilet room, which is a small, narrow space (and difficult space to photograph walls in!). Last year, I started hanging some of my black & white drawings (and two bear pictures from a Canadian Artist, which unfortunately I’ve forgotten their name) in my toilet room.

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My wall in the toilet room.

My goal is similar to my succulent garden, where I want my plants to spread so it becomes a solid carpet of succulents and no dirt is showing, I’d like this wall to feature mainly my ink drawings from floor to ceiling – the entire wall.

I added four Pj Paintings drawings today. It’s starting to evolve into an Australian/Canadian wall. That wasn’t the initial plan but I’m happy with this morphing.

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The left side of the group of pictures
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The right side of the group of pictures
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Centre view of the group of pictures

I have others that I could add but I’ve decided that I’ll save them for the market. I really like my little echidna (I feel very immodest when I say that).

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A quick and loose drawing of an echidna

I also like my Zebra Finches but the red beaks don’t fit the lack of colour theme.

What projects are you undertaking during the lock down? I’d love to hear!

Stay home & stay safe everybody.

Thanks for visiting.

I Spy……. a Bear!

… and a mouse, elephant and moose!

A mass teddy bear hunt is under way around the world to help distract the millions of children locked down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Stuffed toys are being placed in windows to give children a fun and safe activity while walking around neighbourhoods with their parents/carers.

Here’s my contribution to the movement…

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My bear, elephant, mouse and moose collection

The grey, green and cream teddy bears are ones that I made before I knew I liked to paint. The three other bears are from Canada. The mouse I fell in love with in my travels on the mainland of Australia. The moose is from Sweden. My son worked three years in Ethiopia and gave me the handmade knitted elephant from Ethiopia. I also added a painting I did of my handmade Christmas teddy bear.

Another act prompted by the Coronavirus Pandemic is that for the month of April, I’ve removed all shipping costs for website orders made in Australia. I have different sized quality prints, some original paintings, tote bags, zipper pouches and greeting cards available at http://www.pjpaintings.com.

I hope my paintings and the window scene brings a smile to many faces.

Take care and thanks for the visit.

Girls Up Front

It’s International Women’s Day and it is well worth celebrating women.

More women are moving into leadership and executive positions in traditionally male-dominated industries.  For the past 30 years, women have earned more bachelor’s degrees than men and are also employed as long as males (McKinsey & Company 2018). Women make up 49 per cent of the global workforce, but only 10.9 per cent have senior executive positions among the world’s largest 500 companies.

Researchers still don’t know exactly why companies with women perform better but it is worth reflecting upon on International Women’s Day.

Stronger business and economic results

Studies support that recruiting women boosts companies’ bottom line. Research into Fortune 500 companies who had more women on their boards financially outperformed companies with less women.

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More job satisfaction for all

Gender balance in the workplace is associated with positive organisational outcomes for all. A study by the Centre for Creative Leadership and Watermark found that more women in the workplace improves work satisfaction for both women and men.

Women make more supportive bosses

One study revealed that both sexes with female bosses said they felt their employer was more committed to their career development, compared to those having a male boss. A study by an American global analytics firm Gallup found those who work for female managers were more engaged in their workplace and suffered less burnout.

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Increased employee retention

Studies have also revealed that organisations with more women also attract and retain more female employees.

Women aid creativity and improve a company’s status

Studies have also identified that companies with women in top management positions experience more ‘innovation intensity’ and produce 20 per cent more patents than teams with male leaders and are also associated with higher status. Fortune’s most respected companies have twice as many women in senior management than less reputable companies.

The radio station I listen to, Triple J, has been celebrating International Women’s Day all week. Their motto for the week is “Girls Up Front”. I love this saying and I often wonder what state the world would be in if ‘girls had been up front’ more for the past three centuries???

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Happy International Women’s Day everybody!

Salamanca Market Feb 15, 2020

I got up in the dark but by the time I got to the market it was light and thankfully calm. The wind is now howling and gusty.

My first couple that visited the stall was from Belgium, Florence (also my cousin’s name) and Antonin. As per my usual tradition, I asked if they would mind having their photo taken with me. They agreed. I’m so disappointed that unbeknownst to me, there was no storage left, so I don’t have a photo of them! Florence was my height, fine bone and dark hair. I think the younger me and her would have often been asked if we were sisters. They bought a “Lazy Days” print.

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Lazy Days

A lively group of four women debated and eventually selected an A-3 sized print of “Afternoon Siesta” for their retiring colleague. They work in a government lab in New Town, Tasmania.

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Afternoon Siesta

A framed black & white print of  a wombat that I drew is going for a long journey to Ontario, Canada.

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A “Fairy wrens”, “Christmas Siesta” and “Afternoon Siesta” print are heading to Poland.

An “Afternoon Siesta” print is going to Winchester, UK. A “Hanging Out” print is going to New Zealand

The most popular prints today were the wombat prints from the Sleepy Head series.

A thought to ponder: “To be an artist, you need to exist in a world of silence” Louise Bourgeois. My day job is teaching, so this doesn’t apply to me but I accept that this is Louise’s perspective about what she feels she needs to make art. I would think that if I did live in a world of silence, I probably would create more art until I found myself way too isolated and craving noise!!

Wishing you a creatively happy upcoming week,

from Pj Paintings, stall #30 at Salamanca Market, Tasmania

P.S. Tote bags, pouches & prints are available at www.pjpaintings.com

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Another day, another bird

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 three or more decades (he’s 83 years old now). He bought virtually all the original paintings of endemic birds I painted. He’s back in Tasmania for more bird watching.  He sought me out at the market again and told me that all my paintings are framed and hanging at his residence. He wants more original paintings of birds. “Paint lots!” he said. Yesterday, I painted the Orange-bellied parrot, today it is the Yellow Wattlebird.

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The Yellow Wattlebird is endemic to Tasmania (thanks to Suart J. Smith for permission to use his photo)

The Yellow Wattlebird occurs only in Tasmania and is Australia’s largest honeyeater. It’s bird call is distinctive and easily identifiable.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope things are chirpy

Salamanca Market Jan 4, 2020

Thirty degrees Celsius was forecasted today but thankfully a cool change arrived in the afternoon. There were two big cruise ships in today and the market filled with people. One of the ships was carrying very dear friends of mine from Melbourne, who came by and gave me a hand at the stall.
 
A lady stopped at the Pj Paintings stall and bought two “Lazy Days” tote bags for her sisters living in England. Another lady, bought a “Lazy Days” bag to post to her sister living in Greece. She used to live in Melbourne. They immigrated to Australia when this sister was seventeen. She missed her friends and didn’t settle into Australia well. So, after doing a degree at Monash University, she went back, met a Greek man, married and settled into family life in Greece.
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Lazy Days small sized tote bag
A young couple touring around Tasmania, purchased a “Bunk bed” print that they’ll be taking back to ‘dreary London’, she said. Another “Bunk bed” print is going to Indonesia.
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“Bunk beds” from the Sleep head series
A lady, from California, USA, bought five prints and thirteen greeting cards, she said for her son’s birthday party.
 
“Hanging Out” prints are going to Ireland and Canberra, Australia.
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“Hanging Out” from the Sleepy head series
“Double Date” and “The Three Amigos” are going to Holland.
There were many others visitors to the stall but I couldn’t keep up with writing notes. Last week, no pouches moved and this week ten went, along with ten tote bags and one small original painting of a galah.
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Original painting of a Galah sitting among gum leaves
The most popular prints today were prints from the Sleepy Head series.
 
A thought to ponder: “Everything you can imagine is real.”Pablo Picasso
Well, in that case, wombats do sleep in hammocks!
 
Wishing everybody a Happy New Year,
from Pj Paintings, stall #30 at Salamanca Market, Tasmania
P.S. Tote bags, pouches & prints are available at http://www.pjpaintings.com

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!