Tag Archives: JK.Leahy art

Kalam Warrior – Watercolour

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.


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.

Art – Graphite Drawing and Drinking

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JK.Leahy graphite drawing: Travelling Hammock. 2016.

This art I made from graphite or pencil drawing has a lot of softness from smudging with water. I used an old toothbrush and my hands. I gave new life, a Papua New Guinean scenery in the background to the mother and baby, I had previously drawn. Since this part of the drawing process was taken, I added a pig pen in front of the first hut and more details to the foreground.

At this point in making the artwork, I had stopped working because ten minutes earlier, I accidentally drank a whole cup of graphite water, thinking it was my drinking water. I was thirsty, but not that thirsty. It just so happened that my older son Nathan had set the cup of my drinking water next to the cup I was washing the graphite in.I did not know what I drank; I was too absorbed in the work even when I thought the ‘water’ did taste funny. Ten minutes later, I became so thirsty again so  when I reached out for the cup – I noticed the difference and went outside thinking I would throw up.

In a slight panic, my younger son Chris rang 000 here in Brisbane and then got put through to the “poison centre” and was told, “your mum will be ok”. I was told to drink plenty of water and milk.

Well mum is ok. Apart from a very dry throat and mouth for a few hours, I felt alright.

I am guessing that drinking water contaminated with medium must be a very common mistake for many people who make art. Feel free to share what you have eaten or drank that you shouldn’t have – like your art material.

Turtles – Artwork

Family Turtle red-1

I am making new artwork. I started off with pen drawing and then digital colouring to finish.  Hopefully I will make some lino cuts later and print, but that will take me a while to complete. Tell me if you like this style.

Mack – Children’s Story Character

A story about friendship

Pencil on paper. JK.Leahy©

I am writing and illustrating a new children’s picture book so I will be posting sporadically on this blog and responding when I can. I wish you all a great New Year and thank you very much for your support and your friendships.


Art – Accidental Artwork Gum Bark

The freak Storm we had two weeks ago brought rain to soften the bark. The lighting in this picture is natural, everything was orange as the sun and the rain fought out the event of the day.

I have not thought of creating art from gum bark until this season.

In the past month, the gum trees (in Bellbowrie, and other parts of Queensland) have shredded their bark, leaving behind beautiful trunk colours. Surrounding each shedding trees are barks of different shades and density, giving the trees, a kind of carpet or stage to show themselves off.

My neighbours had already cleaned up their bark.
Our driveway – see the bark on the bitumen.

The gum trees look so striking I decided this year to collect most of the bark around our house to try using its dyes and mulch the bark for my garden. The easiest way to break the bark was to leave them out in the rain to soften and then line our driveway, so everyone can help ‘mulch’ the bark for me as they drove up and down each day. It has been almost three weeks of bark-driving. The mulch is ready, but what I did not expect were the beautiful shapes and colours the bark pieces would make. I hope you like this selection I photographed with my phone. I messed with a few of them using an App called Paper-artist.





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The Bird of Paradise – Painting

Painting – Mixed media. JK.Leahy©

I am back to the studies of the Bird of Paradise. It is one of my favourite birds. This bird is also the main feature in the national emblem of Papua New Guinea (PNG). I believe we still have 39 species left in PNG.

Initially I started this artwork with my garden plant dyes and then watercolour. I have since added diluted acrylic paint. When it is finished, I will post it here.




Birds Talking – Poetry – Drawing

JK.Leahy © – Sketch in pencil and ink on paper. 2015.


Birds Talking – Poem JK.Leahy©

Birds Talking

Silent words, only seen

Scratching, screeching and bursting to surface

Extending wings, feathers, beaks and necks

Swooping, flying, walking and talking

Birth by imagination

Birds taking forms

Living on paper