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Welcome to my art blog from Tasmania, Australia. I post a little on my various art projects while also working in plant genetics. For more, please try the links to my various art pages or email me at silvergumstudio@yahoo.com.au. Thank you for visiting!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pacific gulls

"I told you to turn up this week with specific goals - not Pacific gulls."

Believe it or not, this cartoon was inspired by an actual conversation that took place in our kitchen this week.  I said to my better half: "I don't like Pacific gulls," and he retorted, "Why, what's wrong with having specific goals?"  This sort of misunderstanding is common in our household and is known as "creative listening". 

If you are deaf, I recommend creative listening for family fun.  If  shortsighted, creative sign reading can be substituted.  In Sydney I was once excited to see a sign that read "No cock fighting at sundown" (birds again!)  It actually said "No car parking on Saturday" but anyone who's ever fudged reading an eye chart will understand my mistake.  Actually the best signs in Sydney are in train carriages.  The safety sign: "After dark, always travel near the guard's carriage marked with a blue light" has been subtly altered by graffiti artists in most trains to read: "After dark, always rave near the guard's carriage naked with a blue light", which brings strange images to mind.

The somewhat scribbly look of the drawing is due to a new technique I discovered after spending $1 on a sheet of carbon paper at the art store.  The carbon transfers drawings beautifully to give a soft black line, sharper than a line from a charcoal pencil, and stable under a watercolour wash.  Because you can't see exactly what you are drawing through the paper, the drawing is freer and can contain surprises.  I like the (unintentionally) different expressions that came out on the children's faces.  The girl looks miserably ashamed.  She knows she has made an unforgivable blunder and will never live it down.  The boy is a bit more dubious and will probably draw the conclusion that the coach is an idiot.  The old fool definitely said Pacific gulls and is now just trying to cover up his own mistake.


  1. LOL!
    Owing to age and increasing deafness, we indulge in this pastime (creative listening) at our house all of the time, a conversation can sometimes remind one of the old game of 'Chinese whispers'! Another distraction is imagining that those ragged bits of rubber left on the highway from burst truck tyres are lizards and other dead critters.
    Who knew? carbon paper as a medium! Interesting.

  2. Your "Chinese whispers" is our "Telephone".

    I don't think I have any more deafness than the average person, but I do have frequent experiences of this thing you call creative listening. Often with hilarious results. Not so much will illustration results - so I think you've got a better deal.

    This is a lovely illustration. But I do hate to think of this poor girl, ten year's later, putting herself through school by working as a retail sales clerk, having intermittent flashbacks about that time she confused the gulls with the goals. I'm just going to have my own version where she recovers much more quickly than expected. Maybe even the same day. :D

  3. I wouldn't want to ruin her future - I'd better do a new cartoon showing her laughing it off! The bits of rubber on the highway - yes, I make that same mistake all the time. Better than thinking a real snake is a bit of rubber, though. A certain family member (who shall remain unnamed) threw a handful of sand at a snake on the beach recently thinking it was dead ... well... it wasn't!