Urban Sketching with David Steeden

A message came across Urban Sketchers Hobart’s Facebook feed from David Steeden, from Manchester, UK, asking if anybody would like to join up for a sketch when he was in Hobart, Tasmania. I recognised, and knew, that this is a name of significance in the urban sketcher world! I organised a Sunday meet-up at Franklin Square in Hobart, and then much to my disappointment, I couldn’t make it because I had to do gallery duty, which I normally enjoy doing but…..

Luckily, David was available to meet up on Monday, which we did. We had a brilliant, peaceful time sketching in Bellerive, Tasmania. Firstly, we sketched Fair View, an ornate house on Victoria Esplanade, Bellerive.

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This was my view of Fair View

The Victorian sandstone residence was built by the O’May family, pioneers of the Bellerive ferry service. The O’Mays emigrated from Scotland in 1856, settled in Bellerive and in 1864, Thomas and Robert started rowing passengers across the Derwent River in an open boat. The O’May brothers ran scheduled crossings and their reputation for reliability stood them in good stead culminating to purchases of larger vessels.

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Our sketches – mine on the left, David’s on the right

Then we wandered down the street for a coffee. After a coffee at Gastown East in Kangaroo Bay, Bellerive, half a block down the street, we sketched the mounted remnant of the Sydney Harbour Ferry, built in 1911, arriving in 1975 and broken up in 1991.

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The Kosciusko at Kangaroo Bay, Bellerive, Tasmania
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Our sketches – David’s at the top, mine underneath

Some of the helpful tips that David imparted are:

  1. Draw vertical lines for feature corner stone work and then join together
  2. Draw extra ink spots in random corner of pavers and bricks to make them look more realistic and grounded
  3. Draw dark in between fence posts

At home, I added paint to today’s drawings.

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9 Victoria Esplanade, Bellerive, Tasmania
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Kangaroo Bay, Bellerive, Tasmania

Thanks David for an awesome afternoon of sketching.

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

 

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

Salamanca Market Dec 14, 2019

Early this morning, the alarm rang out loudly and rudely, with the relentless noise persuading me to reluctantly horizontally roll myself out of bed. I then peered through the curtains. The wind was howling and I couldn’t see the other side of the river. It looked like a winter’s day when it should be looking like a blue-sky, sunny day, seeing as we are in summer. Thankfully there was no wind when I arrived at Salamanca Place but there was rain.
It was another busy day with tote bags, original paintings and absolutely heaps of A-5 sized prints trotting off to various locations. At the very end of the day, while I was packing up, Gabriella from Mexico bought A-5 sized prints “Nap time” and “What the Devil!?” and a young couple from Germany purchased “Spiky Bunk beds” and “Hanging Out”. I explained the play on words (meaning) of ‘what the devil’. She hadn’t heard of it so the rather clever title was being lost on her. I had another German couple buy five A-5 prints to take with them: “Glamour Girls”, “Devilish Siesta”, “Christmas Siesta”, “Scarlet Robins” and “All Ears”.
A couple visiting from Edmonton, Canada purchased A-5 sized prints: “Hayride” and “Who says emus can’t fly!?”.
A lady visiting from the Shetland Islands, above Scotland, will be travelling back home with a “Spiky Bunk Beds” print.
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Spiky Bunk Beds

 

A young man, consulting with his mother, settled on buying “All Ears” for a 17 year old girl that plays the clarinet. The decision was whittled down to either “All Ears” or “39 keys of Life” and “All Ears” came out as the winner.
A mother and daughter bought “Christmas Siesta” and “Hanging Out” prints. They are from Alaska, USA. The daughter is studying at a university in Perth, WA. They were happy to be here escaping today’s forecasted 50 degree Celsius temperature. The mother was saying it was 41 degrees before they left and that was difficult enough to cope with.
A young Melburnian family are taking back “Hanging Out” and “Spiky Bunk Beds” prints. They are originally from New Brunswick, Canada. He’s a biologist and got a job in Melbourne, so the whole family are living there right now.
A few original paintings sold today too. A painting of Cyclamen flowers is destined for Singapore, “Treasure” is going to Alabama, USA, “Misfit” is also going to the USA and “Tasty” and “Sling” is staying in Hobart. (I forgot to take a photo of the finished “Tasty” and “Treasure” pictures). The lady, who bought “Tasty” and “Sling”, also bought five different tote bags to take with her to Romania to give as gifts. She will be visiting her mother, extended family and friends there.
I hope that a framed A-3 sized “Afternoon Siesta” print will have a safe journey to California, USA. He’s hoping that they will let him take it as carry-on.
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Afternoon Siesta
The most popular prints today were the ones that featured images from the Sleepy head series. The wombats and echidnas in hammocks absolutely blitzed it today.
A thought to ponder: “Art matters because your imagination can change the world.” Neil Gaiman.
Wishing you an awesome and creative upcoming week,
from Pj Paintings, stall #30 at Salamanca Market, Tasmania
P.S. Tote bags & pouches are available at http://www.pjpaintings.com

What colour is an emu?

Apparently there are many correct answers to this question. One could be a green-grey colour if you’re a statue guarding a house in Bellerive, Tasmania.

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or one could be white if you’re the white emu photographed by Nicola Thiele in Snowy Monaro, NSW.

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A rare white emu spotted

According to University of Sydney Associate Professor of avian and zoological medicine, Lorenzo Crosta, the emu is a rare sight but it is not an albino emu.  An animal with albinism displays absolute evidence of melanin in the body, including the legs, which would be pinkish or very light in colour.  Lorenzo’s explanation of the white emu is that it has leucism, which is a partial lack of melanin, and thus the white feathers.

If you’re an emu that I paint, your feathers could be beige, blue, black and turquoise…emuhead

and you’re pretty good at dancing the Charleston!

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Cheers. Hope you’re having fun and kicking up your heels wherever you are.

http://www.pjpaintings.com

 

 

Swinging

I’m getting into the swing of this Inktober challenging daily drawing challenge! (lol) Today’s prompt word is “swing”.

 

I’m giving myself an extra pat on the back because I’m visiting my family in Canada while doing this. (I live in Tasmania, Australia). Doing Inktober while abroad has added an extra layer of challenge.  Thankfully the prompt list was released a month or so early, so I was able to get a lot of ideas worked out and a few rough sketches done before the challenge started.

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“Swing” (21 x 21 cm painted on paper made 100% from recycled cotton rags)

Hoping your week is going swimmingly, wherever on the globe you are, from PJ Paintings

This original is for sale and can be purchased at http://www.pjpaintings.com

Time to Get Inking!

It’s October and that means Inktober and time to start inking! This year’s prompt list is:

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My drawing for October 1st for the prompt word “Ring” is:

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“Ring” drawn with an Artline pen

I put the painted version on display at my Salamanca Market stall and it sold.

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“The Ring”

October 2nd’s prompt word is “Mindless“.  I drew a picture of an emu ‘mindlessly’ watching ducklings swimming in a circle.

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Duckling Mindlessness

The prompt word for October 3rd is “bait“. Hang onto your hat because this drawing incorporates several of the prompt words! This is a picture of an emu who “built” a nest to nicely display her “bait“, topped with an “ornament” to try to ‘catch” a certain emu’s attention.

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Built is prompt word #5,  Bait is prompt word #3, Ornament is prompt word #17 and Catch is prompt word #30.

Tomorrow we tackle “freeze”. Stay warm everybody and thanks for joining me on my journeying, PJ Paintings

Pj Paintings at Salamanca Market May 25, 2019

The mild weather provided a gentle re-introduction to Salamanca Market after being away for four weeks.
One of the first visitors to the Pj Paintings stall was a gentleman, who was wearing the same coloured jacket as me, a subdued teal green colour, which we both noted. Then we quickly discovered that there was a Canadian connection. He lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It’s quite unreal that his employer has sent him to Tasmania for a week to do research work about the facial tumours that Tasmanian Devils are suffering from. He purchased a “What the Devil!?” greeting card. How appropriate!
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A Norwegian mother and daughter purchased a small original painting of two platypuses. With the focus on platypus, a man passing by with his exchange student that had just arrived in Tasmania, said that they sighted a platypus in the wild this morning, in the nearby suburb of Geilston Bay, Tasmania. They are very lucky to see that.
 
Poseidon and Amphitrite, from ancient Greek mythology, stopped by today too. They were wearing costumes made from recycled materials and plastic waste. This activity is a Salamanca Market initiative to raise awareness of the effect of waste on our oceans and environment, and to encourage creative conversations to explore the impacts of plastic in our oceans.
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Poseidon and Amphitrite.  I couldn’t help but notice that the plastic spoons, straws and other items decorating their costumes looked shiny-new and un-recycled. 
I met a young lady, who had just arrived from California, USA, who was very excited about going to see the tallest eucalyptus tree in the Florentine Valley. She purchased a small A-5 sized “Bunk beds” print. Another Californian visitor purchased a print featuring wombats, “Afternoon Siesta”, and a greeting card to send to her mother in Minnesota and mother-in-law in Tennessee.
 
An original small painting of a kangaroo will be now residing in Arizona, USA and a “Salamanca Saturdays” small print is going to be a gift for two young ladies’ grandmother.
Today’s most popular print were the wombats.
 
A thought to ponder: “Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness.” ~ Anni Albers.
 
Wishing you a good weekend from Pj Paintings.
P.S. Prints and tote bags are available at http://www.pjpaintings.com

Italian Poppies

The urban sketching workshop I attended (May 2019), taught by Liz Steel and organised by Mike Botton, took place in the Umbria area of Italy.  This region is green, hilly and dotted with green’s complementary colour of red.  It was so beautiful seeing wild  poppies.

We settled in the quaint, small town of Montone, where at every corner, and everywhere in between, there was a scene I yearned to paint. We visited a few towns in the region and passed poppies growing in cracks in the pavement, at the base of street signs, along the gravel sides of roads, fences, gates and in the fields. This is the view from the hotel room’s bathroom at the Hotel Fortebraccio. Do you see the fields of red poppies in this photo and in the photo above?

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view from the bathroom at the Hotel Fortebraccio

We visited the town of Assisi that is grandly presented on a green platter sprinkled with red garnish.

I painted this scene for the end-of-the-course postcard exchange.

 

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Basilica di San Francesco

I used to paint poppy fields quite often.

It was good re-visiting a topic that I haven’t painted for several years and playing with the punch-factor that complementary colours can deliver. What topic/theme is capturing your interest? I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for visiting.

 

 

Giving it a crack in Porto

With my $10 notebook, Artline black pen, small set of watercolour paints and tiny paintbrush, I set out into Porto determined to have a crack at drawing more ridiculously challenging buildings.

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The first building I attempted to draw was the Clerigos Tower.  I sat on the cement and my bottom got too sore to continue the drawing, and I was getting lost in the detail.  For me, to be able to achieve a better end-result, I would have to draw this building several times to simplify and eliminate elements.

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One of the first baroque churches in Portugal.  Construction commenced in 1732 and was finished in 1750. 
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Photo taken from where I drew the Clerigos Tower.  The tower is 75.6 metres high and has 240 steps to reach the top, where you have a 360 degree view of the city of Porto.

Next, I drew some of this building named Conselho Regional do Porto.

Conselho Regional do Porto

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Photo of the Conselho Regional do Porto taken from where I was sitting to do the drawing.

Then I had a crack at drawing the Centro Portugues de Fotografia. A tour group decided that it would be a good meeting spot to gather right in front of me.  I had to crane my neck and then wait for them to move along as the group started to grow as more and more people arrived.

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Centro Portugues de Fotografia
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My view of the Museum of Photography

It’s day nine in Portugal and I’ve  done 19 sketches so far.  That’s the most I’ve ever done travelling.  Also, I have rarely painted outside but I have on this trip. I try to ignore the excuses that I could so easily agree with: there’s not enough time to do be able to do it justice, you’ll hardly get any of it drawn, you won’t have time to add paint, it’s going to be a bad drawing, you’ll rush and the perspective will be all wrong and more of the same.  Most of the drawings/paintings that I’ve done, I’ve had to do in a short space of time, 20-30 minutes, and because of limited time, I haven’t been able to do whole buildings, but I’m giving it a crack and as a result I’m starting to build quite a collection of drawings.

Thanks for visiting and allowing me to share some of Portugal’s awesome buildings with you.