This is one of 50 artworks I have made. It is a collection of “gum ladies” (as I referred to this art, painted from gum pigments I’ve made from my backyard). They are all females, but I will paint some males later. It is easier for me to experiment with the female ‘mood’.
A friend curator visited and suggested that I have a solo exhibition, because “they are strong”. Another curator said, “he loved the quietly vibrant feelings embedded”. I had really planned to show the gum ladies in a community exhibition next month, in Brisbane, but the work is taking its own course. I am very happy.
The work is painted like watercolour and sealed to hold the pigments. Once exhibited, originals and limited edition prints will be available for sale here.
Let me know your thoughts about my experiment that has now grown into something else.
Watercolour Skin Tones: JK.Leahy Art
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.
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.
Hanuabada Outskirts watercolour is completed. I have decided not to put in any more houses. It was interesting when painting and looking at the original reference picture below (taken by My Place Allen) that I discovered people inside some of the houses. Apart from the lady in the foreground, I captured a man sitting under the clothesline in the background, but I left out a few people in the middle houses. Yes…this could be a story.
All the my art shown on this blog are for sale. We offer both originals and limited edition prints. I also paint commissions. If you are interested, email email@example.com
Hanuabada Village outskirts, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
I have been wanting to paint these houses on stilts for a long time. Several villages in PNG have houses on stilts including Hanuabada, the largest village in the capital.
Although the area I am studying is quite large, I singled out a few houses on the outskirts that villagers painted with some of my favourite colours.
I hope to finish the painting this weekend.
Tell me of you like these work in progress shots.
A serious moment for this young Kalam warrior, from Simbai, Madang Province, Papua New Guinea. Kalam people are famous for the exquisite green fruit beetle headdresses.
Hi Tribalmystic friends and family,
I am painting more watercolours and that’s why I’ve been silent on this blog. It feels like I’m telling a story in a different way and this is very fulfilling. I have a few assignments to finish but I wanted to share one of these ‘stories’. Here I am working through an artwork of a young woman from Simbu, Papua New Guinea. I love her headdress and feathers. Birds are interesting and amazing creatures, but when you paint so many bird feathers, it is quite challenging. And because I love lorikeets and have raised them – there is the guilt …of the dead birds, but there’s another story – culture, nature conflict…
Anyway, I think I have almost got the Kina shells right, but the challenge of the feathers takes time. It also gives me more pleasure to learn and practice. Google Papua New Guinea culture if you want to see some real headdresses of fantastic colours, shapes and feathers.
I hope you like Meri Simbu II. I painted Meri Simbu the first six years ago and due to her popularity, it was no surprise when a client asked me for a new version. Meri Simbu II is about 800+mmx1200+ big, so I have to do small sections and pay attention to the details at the same time. The first Meri Simbu was no larger than an A4 paper size.
I will be back to stories soon. Thank you for continuing to visit the Tribalmystic blog and thank you to all those who have emailed personally me and for the birthday wishes for today.
Hiri Swirl – JK.Leahy watercolour
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.
Painting in negative first or negative painting was a skill I accidentally discovered when I painted this watercolour. It happened during my early years of painting watercolour in 2008. This work slowly took form as I tried to figure out how to leave almost half of the paper in white to reveal the pelicans. All I needed to do was give the birds the water and some background. YouTube makes it so easy these days. You can also learn to paint in the negative very quickly on Pinterest.
I gave this painting away as a gift to a dear friend, but it was an important work of technique discovery for me. It is also a study that I would like to paint again some day.