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  • Writer's pictureLinda Riseley

ART TALKS - Fight like a Tassie Devil!

Updated: Nov 27, 2020

Be like the Tassie Devil people of the world! Tassie Devils have perceived cantankerous ways, belie a ferocious determination and a never-give-up-no-matter-what attitude!

If there's one thing unique about growing up in Tasmania (Australia) it is our wildlife. Yes our little animals can truly pack a punch when it comes to cuteness with a dangerous edge.

Take for instance, the little creature called the Tasmanian Devil. Growing up they were everywhere in the surrounding scrub lands.

Unfortunately a disease called Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) has been wiping them out. It's a merciless cruel painful disease yet true to their nature the Tassie Devils keep fighting back. They eat and scavenge, fight relentlessly among each other yet as a collective whole they are being truly tested like never before. The deadly disease is taking its toll on the population as is the risk of habitat loss.

That's why I decided to exhibit an artwork about the Tasmanian Devil in the Louvre. Yes that Louvre Museum in Paris. One of the boldest actions by the curator was to allow this painting to be shown. This is a conservative high calibre, prestigious, world art event. The curator: Dr Maria Grazia Todaro of Queen Art studio has always supported my work but I knew this was pushing our friendship.

You see I took this risky art choice. Risky because I'm not known for oil painting and it’s not what collectors of my art would consider a good investment, or something they’d like staring at them on their wall. I had to do a painting because a photograph would have been too confronting for anyone to look at. I wanted people to see the determination and pleading for help in the devil’s eyes.

Why all this trouble?

Well, the thing is, I identify with the little Tasmanian Devils. Their perceived cantankerous ways belie a ferocious determination and a never-give-up-no-matter-what attitude.

I clearly remember going out to the aviary to find a little devil had bitten through the chicken wire in one corner. There it stood startled and a little indignant that I had walked in the other end of the long rectangular cage.

I thought to myself: “go on, go back the way you came, run away through the hole in the wire.” But the Tassie Devil did not. I said loudly "you should run away"

It stood its ground and looked at me as if to say "No! You should run away" There was no retreating, not even a step back. These creatures are small, smaller than a toy poodle, yet no one told them that!

They have jaws that crush bones. And if a person dies in the bush (they only eat dead animals) there is nothing left. Not even their skeleton once the “devils” have got to them. As for the sounds they make that is something to be heard to be believed. The growls are not that of a small critter!

So before the Tassie Devil decided to charge through me I stepped aside and walked away. From a distance I watched as it proudly strut through the gate I'd left open.

Be that Tassie Devil! Don't give up! Don't surrender. Stand your ground, no matter what anyone says. Stand up to that bully! You may be small in stature but your heart is fierce, courageous and most of all powerful beyond your phasic! No matter what, you will thrive.

Illness can't hold you back; your wild spirit will see you through. Use your anger, your pain and even your fear to push through. Be free. Live in the moment without thought for the past. For it has gone and your tomorrows are much brighter than before because you to have the heart of the Tassie Devil!

Your turn

I found this almost perfect product recently. It’s called Gelli plate it’s made up of gelatine. You can use it to create so many wonderful papers with colourful patterns. The best part is that you can use non-toxic paint and almost any type of paper you have lying around. So no need to buy expensive paints or papers!

You can buy Gelli plates at most good art & craft stores.

(I am not endorsed by this company I just love their products)

You will need:

  • Acrylic paint

  • A brayer(roller)

Lots of different types of paper you have around the house:

  • Printer paper (different colours)

  • Newspaper

  • Old cards & envelopes

  • Old book pages

  • Old study notes

  • Old phone book pages

Any of the following:

  • Cotton buds

  • Feathers

  • Leaves (old or fresh)

  • Bubble wrap

  • Onion bag mesh


  1. Dab a small amount of paint onto the gelli plate. This can be any colour or colours for example light blue and a little dark blue are an easy choice.

  2. Roll it out with the brayer(roller).

  3. Lightly press a feather into the paint then use the cotton bud to draw some squiggles.

  4. Place a sheet of paper over the plate and gently rub with your hand.

  5. Peel back the paper and you can see some cool patterns.

Repeat with the same paper or different paper/colours/objects.

You can also remove the feathers and do a print without it for a silhouette effect.

Experiment and have fun!

Don't give up if the results are not at first what you want. Keep trying and you are sure to create some unique, beautiful paper! This paper can be used for scrapbooks, cards or even positive notes to remind yourself 'Never give up'!

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