Port Side

"Port Side" Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle September 2016

“Port Side”
Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle
September 2016

What do I do when all my drawings are finished for an exhibition? [COMING SOON]  An entire body of work is ready and I am now lost for ideas.  I don’t want to draw another Kyoto piece.  No, that is complete (for the moment).  Let go.  How do I stop myself spiraling off into space –  rudderless and directionless?

How about coming home in my mind and actually looking round here once more for inspiration?  It is a while since I’ve done that (three years to be precise).    I have a new camera so I take it out for a spin – to the port – to visit my friends, the birds.

Trying to capture birds as subjects is a lot like trying to capture maiko and geiko.  On the plus side, I don’t have to feel guilty about taking bird photos or be mindful of good manners.   However birds can move much faster than maiko or geiko and often leave me before I’ve got my photo.

My bird drawings are never just about the bird.  They are a way for me to interpret the port – as out of focus as possible.  Container ships, bridges and cranes have cool shapes and colours but they are so hard edge.  I don’t want that hard edge.  I massively soften those forms  by focussing on the bird.

Working on “Port Side” these last few days has calmed my pre-exhibition jitters considerably.  I remember to appreciate where I live, and life in general, when I seek out subjects at home in Fremantle.  (Western Australia.)

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About juliepodstolski

I am a realist artist who works in coloured pencils.
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16 Responses to Port Side

  1. Yj8seFtLuU/IjGbhAQkvaMzF/BKXlCsSMUnpo59qw7U says:

    Whatever you choose to do will be inspiring and beautiful. A study where you are and around the many eco systems of Australia would be a delight for me to see. Wish I could draw a Cassowary.

  2. Tina Walsh says:


  3. Nice to see your birds again, you have such a lovely way with them, you make the humble seagull beautiful and the port mysterious. I love it when artist give us a new look at the everyday and show us it’s beauty. Karen

    • You know, Karen, when you DO spend time with birds, you see their different personalities. I’ve had one or two who have been truly interested in me and what I’m doing. They’ve come right up to me – as if my friends. So maybe the seagull, like all creatures, is less humble than we think.

  4. fuzzydragons says:

    so pretty 🙂 love all the colours in the background and how you also have a hint of the blues in the gulls feathers 🙂

    • And if you look very closely, there is a hint of yellow in his white feathers, because yellow is a colour that comes forward – so it was a way to help the seagull stand out from the background.

  5. Beautifully expressed, Julie….there’s so much beauty in the nuances of our surrounds. All the very best with the show! Camilla

  6. Such a great sense of depth in this drawing. The seagull looks as though it is making a decision on what to do next. It feels like morning, with that crisp, clear Western Australian light. A moment in time captured.

    • It is exactly the light you describe; an early winter morning, crisp and clear, with very strong directional sunlight. The seagull is thinking, “If you come any closer, I’m leaving”.

  7. John Z says:

    Hi Julie. John from UT here. I had to laugh reading your comment about capturing birds as they take flight before the photo is snapped. The same can be said for my cats. You’ve re-inspired me to attempt the soft focus as your Port Side demonstrates how great that can effect can be when you want your viewers to focus on the main attraction. I’ve been so busy lately with work and the routine chores of life that my unfinished piece, a Northern Parula, continues to sit unfinished until I can find the time to work on it. Retirement cannot come soon enough for me!

    • It is always a delight to hear from you, John. I’m glad you have been inspired by soft focus. Cats tend to do the opposite ie. not stay put but come over to where you are to be stroked. I had a seagull like that the other day, he kept coming closer and closer as if he wanted a scratch under his neck. I talked to him but I didn’t attempt to touch him – though it was tempting. I hope you manage to revisit your Northern Parula.

      • John Z says:

        I didn’t tell you but the state bird of Utah, where I live, is the Seagull. They are brazen little creatures, which you don’t see much in the city but on certain occasions. They congregate at the Great Salt Lake though. Here, you can get really close to them as they are not afraid of humans. Your painting reminds me so much of Utah. And YES, I am going to plan time for my Northern Parula for as I’ve heard the laments of many an artist that days turn into weeks and weeks into months before revisiting a piece. It’s so easy to become consumed with work, home, and other chores where focusing on one’s artwork becomes secondary. May that not happen to us. 🙂

      • John, I didn’t know that the seagull was the state bird of Utah so thank you for telling me. I have just finished (I think it is finished) another gull. I’m not sure when I will get around to photographing it though as other things get in the way. (The other things being getting ready for and holding an art exhibition.) The pictures will be hung tomorrow. I’m mentally preparing for a three week roller coaster ride. So there may not be any more actual drawing done this month.

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