Art Studio and Life #9 featuring artworks and painting

Hello lovely family and friends

When we arrived in New Zealand, we asked our local friends how to pay for using the bus service. “Easy as,” they said, “You go to the dairy and top up your Snapper.”

Dairy, what dairy? You have to go out to pay at a cow farm to be able to ride on a bus? And what exactly is a snapper? Is it a crocodile, or what? Mysterious.

By Jack Podmore (at age 10)

We subsequently discovered that a snapper is merely a plastic card, which, while not as exciting as a crocodile, is definitely easier to carry; and a ‘dairy’ is a small grocery (convenience?) store.

New Zealand                                                                                                    

Dairy – corner store OR cow farm that produces milk            

Café – coffee shop         



Dairy – cow farm that produces milk

Café – corner store OR a coffee shop

Ah, lightbulb moment! That is why Hairy Maclary is from Donaldson’s DAIRY! Yes, we read Hairy Maclary in Botswana. He’s famous as.

We used to wonder why Hairy Maclary seemed to always be in town, when he lived on a dairy farm, how he got to town from the farm, and where all the cows were. It has all become clear: Hairy Maclary is a city slicker from the corner store, not a farm boy!

As well as topping up your Snapper, you can buy lollies at the Dairy. In Zimbabwe, a lolly is an ice-cream on a stick. Here it is what we would call a sweet, or if you are from the US of A, a candy. The Dairies ask you to buy something for $2 every time you top up your card. They coincidentally have a bewildering array of sweets, I mean, lollies, packaged in little Ziplock bags for, surprise, $2 each. The sour strips are particularly good. The liquorice rolls are great too (that from a liquorice connoisseur of many years standing).

We were invited to an epic Christmas party, and as added incentive to come, were told that there would be “a lolly scramble”.

“Sorry, a what?”

“You know, a lolly scramble.”

No, no we don’t know…

A definition for the ignorant – Lolly scramble : You either throw lollies from a balcony to the seething masses below, or, as in the case of the aforementioned epic party, you make a homemade canon to fire lollies up in the air, which then rain down on the joyously screaming children below. It can be quite painful to be hit by a flying lolly, but, as we so often get told, no pain, no gain.

Painting definitely has its pains as well as gains. Each painting I am working on reaches a low point when I think “I don’t know what I’m doing’, this is not working! This is rubbish!” I have learned that I just need to keep going, or if I’m really stuck, I put it aside and work on something else. Recently I had seven unfinished paintings in my studio and I had to stop myself from starting a new one. I have made good progress on 3 of the 7 since I have reapplied myself. So, when I show you work in progress photos, bear in mind that they only tell a part of the story of creation (without all the self pity, and dramatic head clutching).

Keeping on with the monochrome theme:

Blocking in the underpainting. I used a new kind of red paint that was recommended by an artist that I follow on YouTube.


It looked nicely blended on the palette, but when I painted it on to the canvas, it looked super pink! I have a whole tube of it lurking in my paint box, and there it shall remain, unused.

Painting on a second, less pink layer, and The Cherries.

It was in NZ that we ate fresh cherries for the first time (at Christmas time at a friend’s house (thank you Jenny)). Real cherries! Not glace cherries, actual fresh cherries. They are so GOOD!

My favourite part, I do love sea animals. This is a Greenland (or Harp) seal, with gorgeous, appealing eyes. The translation of their Latin name means ‘ice lover from Greenland.’ How perfect is that?

And this one is swimming in the glass, quizzically checking us out.

Just keep going until it is done!

Seal Haul Oil on canvas 60cm x 75.5cm Available US $ 900 (NZ $ 1500)

So this weekend and in the week to come, may you have sweetness (but not too many lollies) in your life.

Much love

XX Barbie


  1. Jean Rhoades

    Lovely to see the progression you follow, Barbie. I’m intrigued by the depth of colour you use as a base for your seals – not what I expected!
    And young Jack shows a deft touch in cartooning!

    • Barbara Podmore

      Yes, orange is an interesting choice! It is a transparent layer (of burnt sienna) that light can bounce through, and adds warmth, even though it shouldn’t show clearly on the top layer, unless you want it to. even when it doesn’t show, it unifies the whole painting, and gives it a more professional finnish. Some people prefer a layer of raw umber, that looks grey/brown, but I find it a little dark.
      I’ll pass on your comment to Jack! he is very good, but not doing much at the moment, because skateboarding is his passion. He knows Wellington City very well, all the skate spots, including Parliament and Mems (Memorial).