I had a watercolour technique class tonight in Bellbowrie, Queensland, on skin tones and the weird drawings under this image are quick demos for my students on how to draw an eye, curly hair and corn-row etc. So, don’t get distracted by the massive eye – I thought it looked cool as part of my subject’s hoody (sweatshirt).
This subject has a mid-tone and as I explained to my students, I usually subconsciously draw a person that ends up looking like someone I know and has my skin colour. This guy definitely looks like one of my relatives.
The image is slightly overexposed because I took the picture with my phone and the flash. I hope you like the study.
Island Woman – Watercolour and Gesso
Experimenting with a watercolour – gesso combination, I painted “Island woman”. She reminds me of someone from my past in PNG New Guinea islands – maybe from New Britain or New Ireland.
Like other mediums, watercolour paints have names and pigment intensity. This Aussie Red-Gold (Daniel Smith) paint has to be my favorite, but I use Payne’s Grey in almost everything, so I had to prove to my students, I could easily divorce Payne’s Grey for another colour. I think it is a brilliant colour. I hope you like it too.
The Tranquillity of New Ireland
In April 1990, several months after I was crowned Miss PNG (1989), the PNG Red Cross sent me on a national tour across Papua New Guinea. The tour was to promote the work of Red Cross in charity, disaster relief, blood transfusion services and youth growth and development programmes. This trip enabled me to learn new things, see new places and make many friends. It was a discovery of the magnitude of the work of Red Cross had done in the country and how many people dependent on these services. I was happy to be part of it all and be an ambassador for Red Cross. Unfortunately this privilege no longer exists in the quest due to lack of funding and the changes to the beauty pageant.
During my Red Cross travels, I also saw some of the most beautiful parts of PNG. Pictured is a small coastal village we passed during my tour of Kavieng, New Ireland Province. I took this picture of the house on the waterfront. A few days ago, I was delightfully surprised to find the picture (above) while going through some photos from 27 and 28 years ago. It brought back many memories of the wonderful time I had experienced.
Immediately, I had to paint this little house. The colours I chose reflect the glorious feeling I had during that time, while experiencing love and friendships; the tranquillity and wonders of my beloved PNG. I was very lucky to see a lot of the country during my reign.
I hope you like the images. Feel free to comment and share the tranquillity and beauty of this beautiful PNG Province.
I’ve been working with the basics of watercolour again and seeing more colour than dirty water on paper. The “Leaves” study is an example of clean colour.
Rescuing good habits is a result of teaching art again and as my friend Terence said, it is good because teaching is learning. I am teaching my students and learning again, all the good habits I had forgotten.
Above is a render of leaves from my garden. Some of you may know the blood-red foliage of Euphorbia cotinifolia (Caribbean Copper Plant, or Red Spurge) which I often photograph and post here. The sap is poisonous, but this hardy small tree is a favourite because of its gorgeous foliage. I caught on camera a few coloured leaves at the end of autumn when the leaves went from green to golds and orange before they all fell. Above is a negative painting (homework) for my students who are learning different watercolour techniques. If you are in Brisbane and want to join my classes, please email me for details on firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you like this study of the leaves.
JK.Leahy – Poem, Memoir
A wrinkled dusky pink sheet cradles a flowered meri blouse, a laplap and a bible – a word or two in the bible is for me, she echoes…
Room scented with sea, woods, coconut oil, eucalyptus and basil
A lotto ticket to set me up for life (her farewell and a surprise gift)
“If I won,” she always said, “I would let you decide what to do with the money”
We had laughed and discussed the possibilities
On the bed, an italic old-style farewell, handwritten in a very neat prose, mixing pidgin and dialect –
“Pawi – my child, I will miss being here…”
My mother was in a plane and gone
Twelve months threaded colourful bilums, gardens, and stories,
bringing me back to the first ten years of my life.
An assortment of brown hue – sculptured gum branches stacked for winter’s fires
Through the window, her many familiar artwork marked my surroundings, reminding me of her even bossy ways
-purple and green kaukau leaves sitting neatly on mounds
“You have sweet potatoes for winter”, her voice reminds me.
The large elephant leaves of pumpkin spreads and sprout golden flowers – a promise for more food.
But, I miss her telling me her stories.
See below some of my mother’s creations. All her bilums featured here were sold before she left Brisbane for Papua New Guinea. If anyone is interested to purchase my mother’s bags – please write to: email@example.com
Art experiment in progress. My apologies for ignoring this blog, but I’ve been learning as well as teaching myself new things. I’ve been side-tracked from blog writing. It has been an interesting time of working out and documenting what works with natural pigments and what to avoid when I make art.
This test work of a Trobriand (PNG) grass skirt has been painted and (poured on) with tea, coffee, turmeric, David Smith watercolours, watercolour ground on watercolour canvas. I’ve not used watercolour canvas before; it is quite soft and drinks less water than paper. I hope you like it.
We started our Creative Writing Workshop three weeks ago and this week tutor Isabel D’ Avila Winter gave us a fun exercise. Basically it teaches the technique of how to write a story by making connections. Class members chose and exchanged two words, a noun and an abstract noun and in ten minutes we free wrote whatever story that came into our heads in connection with those two words. Try it with your friends or a pal sometimes. You just don’t know what you can come up with. I had the words “happiness” and “feather” – which has probably led me to painting a grass skirt. For those of you that understand Papua New Guinea culture, you’ll know what I’m talking about – singsing. You can find more on singsing and related subjects in my previous posts and once I clean up the copy from the two-noun exercise, I’ll post it here.
This is a work in progress. Old man from Simbu, Papua New Guinea is a painting challenge to myself to paint larger (work) with better light and skin tone. I love the traditional dresses and particularly the headdresses from Simbu, a highlands province that is very rich in culture. I painted a young woman from Simbu a few years ago and was asked, why haven’t I painted a male from the same area. Good question. I had never thought of it. So I picked up the brush, filled the re-cycled jars with water…and, am still working on the old man from Simbu.
I found this exercise exhilarating because to get the painted black face separated from his normal brown skin and give him a background – all in dark colours was tricky. I hope you like him.