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The one and only Peta Tranquille

by Adriana Artmeier


I grew up mostly in the Wheatbelt of WA, which for those that don’t know it, is kind of in the middle of nowhere. Halfway between Perth and Kalgoorlie. Of those years, when I was about 9 or 10, one was spent travelling around most of Australia, with my parents, younger sister and baby brother. So, I am a farm kid that has seen most of Australia and has moved over 27 times in my life. As you can imagine, I am very good at adapting to change. Me, my husband and son, moved to Melbourne in 2013 and not long after I focused 100% on my art career after 30+ years in Mapping. When needed I assist my husband with our home drafting business.

In 2019 I created the MAVA FB group to find a few artists to meet and chat with.

“Orrong Road” - Acrylic on Canvas - 30cm x 30cm Fusion of hard edge and realism.

WHAT MADE YOU GET INTO CREATING ART? Art has always been a big part of my life and all through school I excelled in anything arty or creative. I enjoyed tech drawing, woodwork, metalwork, jewellery making, sewing, cooking and one of my other favourite subjects was Geography. It’s not uncommon for me to chop and change my creative focus and I can go from knitting madly to drawing, on to sewing and then cooking. Always something creative happening.

WHEN DID YOU START GETTING INTO CARTOGRAPHY? I’m not sure if it was the travel as a young child that sparked my interest in the world and how it all connects, but at high school, I was certainly interested in Geography. My grades were a reflection of how much effort I put into it and it was a factor in my eventual career choice. WHY CARTOGRAPHY? When I asked my parents if I could leave high school at the end of Year 10 they decided it would be ok but I would have to go to the city (Perth) to further my studies.

With Art, Tech Drawing, and Geography being my favourite subjects and the subject with the best results, it seemed obvious that Mapping would be the right choice for me. Although, I did originally have plans to be an Art Teacher and it was what I did for work experience during my last year at high school.

HOW DO YOU GET YOUR ARTWORK TO LOOK SO SHARP AND CLEAN? Achieving sharp and clean lines is not something I consciously think about, but after 30 years in a very clean, precision-based mapping environment, it is the result I expect. To physically achieve that outcome has taken me about 3-4 years of experimentation, practice and testing of different materials, techniques and research. I do not use the materials and techniques that were recommended at VCA, when I attended a painting techniques course in 2019. They were simply not good enough for the outcome I want to achieve.

HOW MUCH TIME GOES INTO A PAINTING, FROM START TO FINISH? Each piece differs and commissions do take much longer in the planning part of the artwork. The planning can take anywhere from one week to four and I primarily use my Ipad and pen to create a digital version of the painting. Several correspondences including phone calls and discussions with my client determines the geographic location, the colours and the textures, if any. I will use an example of my recent commission to give an idea of time. My client contacted me with a location he had in mind. I created a few draft digital versions based on his guidance. He then decided that maybe another location would be better. We worked together on Google Earth, Google Maps and aerial photos to determine the most ideal location. Once decided upon, I determine the most interesting composition. I then prepare a final digital artwork and we finalised the colours. This took 4 weeks in total and resulted in about 12 digital artworks, which I can use or reference in the future.

"Harbour Panorama” Diptych - Acrylic on Canvas 2m x 1m

In this commission, I was painting on two 1m x 1m canvases. Preparing the canvas with several layers of gesso and sanding in between usually takes a few days. Gridlines are then added to the canvas and the digital artwork is very precisely drawn onto the canvas. The artwork is always oriented north. Next, I start to mix all the colours with precision. I match the colours to those on the Ipad so that the client gets exactly what they are expecting. Depending on how many colours, this can take only an hour, but in this case, it took about 2 hours. Mixing colours with precision is something I am able to do very quickly and this piece had about 15 different colours. The painting process has to be planned as I have to tape certain edges and try not to tape over the same area, more than once, when it can be avoided. Once taped I usually paint several layers and each layer is left to dry for 24 hours. One coloured section can take 4-5 days to complete. This job took about five weeks to paint and once all the canvas is covered I check every single edge and every tiny little bleed that is found is painted by hand with a small brush, at least three times. I then wait two more days before varnishing with a matt spray. The rest is obvious. The name is usually very easy to decide on and I write it on the back of the canvas, not the stretchers, along with my name, art signature and date. I don’t create certificates of authenticity as I prefer to keep the details on the artwork and not separate.

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE COLOURS? Colour plays a vital part in my work and it is the location and the client that helps to determine them. In my opinion, every colour works with every colour, but it is the less dominant colours that make the combination successful. The colour wheel has nothing to do with my colour choices and I almost make an effort to go against traditional conventions.

DO YOU DO THIS FULL-TIME? Art is my full-time job, although MAVA takes up a lot of my time. Having Fibromyalgia, I have to take very good care of my body so I have to stick to a strict exercise regime, which helps me to deal with fatigue and pain. This means I do lots of activities like jogging, walking up to 12km, tennis, rowing, dancing (in front of the tv) and I also enjoy cooking, shopping and all my tech gadgets. I am also a huge fan of crime drama, in particular European or international.

"Overture in the Sound Tube” - Acrylic on Canvas - interpretation of the sound tube in Flemington

DO YOU TAKE PART IN A LOT OF EXHIBITIONS? I used to take part in lots of exhibitions but have realised my clients are not the type to visit them and the energy required can sometimes put me off. I have had 3 solo exhibitions in Melbourne but sold next to nothing at all of them and with the ridiculous cost involved, I don’t plan to have any more anytime soon.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT? To be honest I have no idea. Having Aphantasia (the inability to visualise) I find this a very difficult question to answer. I struggle to create art unless it is a commission, so I suppose I could say that my dream project is a big commission of somewhere in the world.

Geelong Foreshore - Digital painting on the iPad using Procreate.

WHAT MAKES YOUR WORK STAND OUT FROM OTHERS? There may be other artists that use a similar hard-edge style, but not many are up to my standard of precision or expectation. I am very fussy with the edges and my strategy is to make my art look like it is digital. Even artwork at the NGV is not at the standard I strive for.

With 30 years of mapping knowledge and experience, I continue to factor mapping conventions into my artwork.

To view Peta's Directory listing click here


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댓글 3개

Loved reading this Peta.


Isha Paasse
Isha Paasse
2021년 6월 12일

Dear Peta I have to comment!! For someone who has fibromyalgia your enthusiasm for life is huge. Your ability to achieve, network and create is indeed admirable. I too have hurdles that by default make my determination greater, I see this in you too. Also your ability to speak your truth and to comment on lack of sales at exhibitions is very courageous. How many artists no matter their talent also have had this experience but cannot speak of it. If we let it, it can inhibit our joy of future creations. Here's to you Peta. Warm regards Isha

Peta Tranquille
Peta Tranquille
2021년 6월 12일
답글 상대:

Thank you Isha. Our weaknesses are what create our strengths x

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