Category Archives: Painting

Feather Challenge – Watercolour

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.



Lapun Man Simbu – Old man from Simbu – Art


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.

Amazing Ghanaian Paintings

From my friend Joel Savage’s blog.

A Mixture Of Periodicals

folklore- the tree of wisdom 2011 100x120cm folklore- the tree of wisdom 2011 100x120cm

Africa is a large continent influenced by different cultures, customs, traditions and ideas, which are often presented or crafted as images. The creative artists in the continent produce wonderful and amazing paintings adored by tourists worldwide.

One of the Ghanaian artists who has made a name for himself is  Wisdom Kudowor. Known as a trans-cultural visionary, his work is influenced by the human form as a transformational agent and ancestral wisdom as an aesthetic tool.

Kudor 3

Travelling out to exhibitions transformed Kudowor into knowing he could “tackle other things and create something admirable out of them.

“You are a human being first, African second. When I free myself from the trappings of being African, my work became more universal;” he said. His work is available at

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Freda Completed – Watercolour Art

Watercolour painting by JK.Leahy©

This is Freda. I started work on her in January this year (see earlier post) but never had time to finish her. Recently, I went over some of the unfinished watercolours and decided to do some more work on her. I think Freda is completed. Let me know what you think.

I thought she would make a good character in one of my stories. To finish Freda, I ‘rewarded’ her, with a mouth full of betel nut. Having a betel nut smile is a typical Papua New Guinea way.

Recently, while in PNG I spent some time with my mother and my aunts, nieces, and the rest of the family, just chewing betel nut and talking. We shared a lot of stories.

Freda looks more like my mother now that I have aged her. Maybe because, I saw my mother recently and noticed how much she has aged while I have been away.



In the park – Poem

Watercolour by JK.Leahy© Title: “In the Park” (Mt Cootha Botanical Gardens)

In the Park – JK.Leahy©

Restless is the breeze

where light has ceased

Alone, I sit in the dark

where we kissed in the park

Heightened heat burns

And time rhythms heartbeat

I wait in the park

where our footsteps left a mark

Years worn boulders and

seedlings aged into forest

Grave is nearing

for our meeting in the park

My Cootha is one of my favourite places in Brisbane. My closest friend and my son’s godmother Marina works in the temperate gardens. Often when I visit her, this wooden contemporary bench is where we sit and have lunch. I painted this watercolour for her as a gift. The poem is just an observation of people who come to sit in the temperate gardens.

My Day Today – Art experiments

Potato prints using acrylic and plant dyes from the garden
Plant dyes from my garden on watercolour paper and digital graphic outlines (black). Below – work in progress and starting to look like birds.


The Beauty of Science and Art – Cool Stuff

Below is a self-explanatory video, my son Chris introduced me to. The Slow Mo Guys two often make some very interesting short films. I hope you enjoy the beauty of a few seconds of science and art in the clip called Droplet Collisions at 5000 fps.

Johnny Colours Miami Streets – Cool Stuff

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Johnny Robles an artist, creates cool street art in the streets of Miami. With a mixture of cartoon and pop style drawings and graffiti techniques, he gives color to the streets. Residents say they love it..and so do I.

Featured here at work where some of his cool stuff happens.

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