Saturday, December 30, 2006

Back to writing

I had a break from painting this week and returned to writing completing a newsletter for the EDFNZ on Thursday which I spent all day (till 9.45pm) copying. Yesterday morning I began addressing envelopes at 7.30am and finished at 9am and spent the remainder of the day stapling newsletters and stuffing envelopes. The mailman found a large box full of letters sitting on the front fence late afternoon.

Also updated Nature of Animals with a couple of new articles including one on Toyah Willcox, a British actress who is now involved with rabbit welfare.

I emailed all previous Trademe buyers of my artwork Wednesday with a link to the pendants I have for sale there. The next morning the tiger one sold and there are bids on a couple of other items which I'm happy about. It's having to constantly push for sales which I find tough- I'm not a marketer.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Presents

Well Christmas is over for another year thank goodness. I spent a quiet day on my own and my brother and his wife called in late afternoon. Home made gifts this year- I usually give my brother money and decided to personalize this with an original card so drew this sketch of Tobermory my goat whom my brother absolutely loves. Unfortunately the scan doesn't show the drawing too well as I tend to be rather gentle when sketching.

My sister in law had admired the picture frame I did as part of my art course so I made a smaller version for her on a wooden photo frame. The base I painted with blue with a slight touch of yellow ochre before rag rolling gold paint over the top. Diane features blue in nearly every room in her house so hopefully it will fit in somewhere.

They also brought back the last of my stock from the Creative Hastings Christmas sale. This year was the best yet for me as I sold thirteen pendants and seven brooches, ten cards and one ladybird stone! Diane bought another three pendants for gifts since she has been unable to get out shopping since a bad car accident three weeks ago. I sold nearly 50% of what I sent in this year so it was definitely worth entering.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Last Items at Gallery Sale

Only six days of the Christmas sale left at Creative Hastings and today I will take in my last batch of items. I have been painting busily the past few days as I want to achieve my target of $1,000 worth of stock for sale in there. There has been a glitch as they rang me Saturday to say that they've lost the phone number of the lady who ordered all the wolf pendants. We're hoping that she will turn up on the off chance but it's frustrating as I had set aside other work to complete the pendants last week as I knew she wanted to give them as Christmas gifts.

I am enjoying painting fish so have decided to do a large canvas painting of goldfish sometime next year. In Feng Shui they're meant to bring wealth if situated in the money section of the house- I think I may need a large aquarium then!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Hippy Cat Sold

Monday I received an email from a tutor called Cat from The Learning Connexion to say that she had seen my small Hippy Cat painting at the end of year exhibition and had bought it! Really thrilled as I thought it would get lost amongst all the other works.

Over the past few days I finished the last of the wolf pendants for the gallery order (six wolves in a week and a half is a record for me). I took these in yesterday morning along with another small canvas painting and alpaca, tiger and monarch butterfly pendants. I was really happy to see that only four pendants were left hanging on the stand. The ginger cat face and Jack Russell Terrier ones had sold as well as two cat brooches. A few cards also sold but not as many as in previous years. There is immense competition with cards at the sale. I am very pleased at how my work has been displayed this year as they've kept everything together which will also make it easier to pick up on Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Monarch Butterfly Pendant

Head down and finishing off the wolf pendant order at the moment. Two more still to complete before Wednesday. I've also finished a monarch butterfly one on paua to take to the gallery.

Today is the last day of the student's end of year exhibition at The Learning Connexion so fingers crossed my little painting sold. I've taken part in four exhibitions this year- the most ever- selling two paintings and with an order for a donkey painting so that isn't too bad a beginning.

Heard this week that my large pop art painting arrived safely in the US taking only seven days to get there. It cost NZ$47.08 to send airmail (only $7 more than economy) and I worked out that once I paid costs I came out of the experience with NZ $77.00 for 21.5 hours work!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Wolves, donkeys and weird shaped cottages

I had a phone call from Creative Hastings on Friday to say that there was a lady wanting six Husky pendants painted as she liked the one displayed. The only dog painting I had sent in was a Jack Russell Terrier so I was at a loss to know what she was talking about until I realised she was discussing the wolf pendant I had there for sale. I agreed to do the six within a fortnight and ten minutes later Bev rang back to say that the lady had bought the wolf pendant already there and asking if I could paint two more by this week as the buyer is sending them away for gifts. She then told me this could be an ongoing source of work for me as the lady keeps huskies and has photos of her dogs she wants painted. Very good news! So I have two husky/wolves ready to take into the gallery this morning along with a donkey painted with a blue background to make it stand out a wee bit.

Over the years I have accumulated some weird shaped stones that I am saving up for a rainy day. I have this cottage shaped rock put aside for a while- it's the little witchy place I would like to live in (in an ideal world).

This is the view of the back of the house. If you look carefully you'll see my cat Peaches posing in the bottom window and also a red light burning in the bedroom window upstairs. This is an ongoing joke I have with my friend John who is always suggesting I set up in business if the starving artist thing doesn't work out.

This is a side view of the cottage with lacy curtains like the ones I actually have in my kitchen. The decorated window sills were originally going to be window boxes but I felt they would make the finished rock look too busy and cluttered. I would like to have a go at more cottages- just a matter of finding more weird rocks as all the ones I come across at the river and on the beach are smooth and round.

And an aside- an English teacher from Canterbury University contacted me asking if he could use one of my articles in his class. This is the one about the 1931 Napier Earthquake. He is teaching foreign students and encouraging them to write about natural disasters that may have occurred in their own country.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Up to ten years ago I had never heard of Frida Kahlo. Then in December 1996 I was browsing the art section of the library when I came upon a book of her paintings. The first page that fell open showed an exotically dressed woman sitting in a wheelchair. Fascinated I took the book home and from then began a ten year obsession with this complex woman who fought through tragedy to express her creativity while retaining her sense of humour.

A couple of weeks ago a friend gave me some DVDs for my birthday and the one I most wanted to watch was "Frida" starring Selma Hayek with Alfred Molina as her husband Diego Rivera. I loved this movie. Beautifully filmed the story opens when Frida was in her teens, a wild child of the 1920s, whose life was turned upside down when she was involved in terrible accident while riding the bus with her boyfriend. Basically she spent the next thirty years slowly dying while enduring many painful operations which allowed her to keep painting.

There is no way that a film can hope to capture all the light and shade of a woman like Frida but I do think Selma did an excellent job portraying this Hungarian/German/Mexican Indian/Spanish charmeleon. A great part of the movie was devoted to her relationship with the muralist Diego Rivera (when they married her mother said it was like a dove marrying an elephant) and really showed all the love they shared although neither was able to be totally faithful to the other. Another theme in the film was her relationship with Trotsky played by Geoffrey Rush. I don't know why so much was made of this affair but I guess it was a chance to say "Yes Frida had an affair with a really famous man" or else to show her devotion to the principles of socialism.

Personally the most important theme of Frida's life was that she survived despite all the problems life threw at her. Not only that but she gave something beautiful back to humanity- not only in her strange compelling paintings but also in her vibrant, larger than life persona.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Whirlwind Painting

Been quite a week here what with one thing and another. Once I calmed down from the news and began sleeping again I got back on track with my painting and completed the pop art painting to go to the US. Packaging a 20" square work to mail was quite a feat involving copious bubblewrap, lots of tape and two coke boxes. I will increase the price of these in future as I have worked out that once I pay for airmail postage there won't be a lot left for the 22 hours of work involved. I also finished another small 4" square cat painting for the end of year exhibition at The Learning Connexion. It's the first in my hippy Cat series and I'm hoping as I'm working in very bold colours for me that it'll catch someone's eye amongst all the larger works. It is on gallery wrapped canvas so the flowers and stripes continue round the edge. Would have liked to do a couple more paintings to send but this is a good way to test the waters.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Finally got a few spare minutes to scan in two of my favourite pieces from my last TLC folder. One exercise was to take an Old Master's painting and then translate it into a pastel drawing. I had very little enthusiasm for this as I am not a big fan of pastels but something amazing happened and I was able to copy this section of a Cezanne painting in only an hour. It was interesting to see what colours he uses in painting skin tone- green, purple, blue etc.

We also had to buy a $5 frame from a second hand or thrift shop and renovate it. I really enjoyed this task and spent six hours working on this frame. Originally turquoise with gold stars I applied two layers of High Build (a type of runny plaster), embedding blue glass into it while wet, then painted it a wedgewood blue before rag rolling gold over the top. I found some thick cord to hang it with and painted it a matching blue. I've hung it in my kitchen where it looks ok empty but I'd eventually like to do a portrait of the five cats.

In her assessment of this folder's work Irene said I have a strong design sense and should perhaps think of illustration or portraiture work. Considering I had enrolled at The Learning Connexion to learn illustration and portraiture I was happy to learn I'm developing in that direction.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Christmas Sale

For the past two weeks I've been incredibly busy trying to finish the pop art painting I began a while back for an order, plus doing my course work and preparing stock for the Creative Hastings Christmas Sale. Today was one of the receiving days for this so headed down to town with cards, jewellery and some of my small cat paintings. Recently I have begun putting a patch of blue sky behind the subjects on some of my pendants to make them pop. The picture to the left features some of the ones I entered at the sale including a painting of Tobermory my goat (sans horns). Just wish the scan would show up more of the detail in the painting.

I also painted several cat brooches this week but ended up taking a couple plus a pendant into The Craftsman which has just shifted premises. This meant I only had three ready to take down to the sale but will get onto painting more this week. The ginger cat on the left is based on my girl Peaches. She's not quite that round yet but give her time as she loves her kai!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Girl With A Pearl Earring

Yesterday I watched "Girl With A Pearl Earring" starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson. What a wonderful movie although I am sure many people would consider it slow in pace. However it effortlessly captured the atmosphere of 17th Century Delft and the minutiae of daily life in a Dutch bourgeois household.

Based on a novel by Tracy Chevalier the story concentrates on Griete, a young illiterate servant girl who goes to work for the Vermeer household when her family falls on hard times. Her daily life is full of drudgery and sadness but the film also captures the unhappiness of Vermeer's wife who although fashionably attired and spoilt is also condemned to a life of endless pregnancies (the couple had 12 surviving children) while treated like a mindless doll by her husband. Ruling over the household is Vermeer's mother in law whose meanness probably covers an underlying terror of debt and penury. In the film she is portrayed as someone who sees Vermeer as their chief source of income, frustrated by his slow output (he only painted 36 works in his lifetime) while flattering his leaguers patron in order to gain more commissions.

The main story concentrates on Vermeer's friendship with the servant girl Griete. At first she is permitted to clean his studio, then to watch him painting before finally being taught to mix his paints. When she captures the fancy of Vermeer's patron she become a model in one of his group paintings before he paints his famous portrait "Girl With A Pearl Earring". This favouritism (plus the intimate nature of the portrait) leads to her dismissal from the house as Vermeer's wife is eventually consumed with jealousy at the closeness of their relationship.

The acting in the film is superb. The sexual frission of the main protagonists is palpable throughout without anyone undressing. It is interesting to consider who was the real Girl With A Pearl Earring. Certainly the movie will kindle interest in Vermeer's work. As for me I'm going to read the novel it was based on.

Friday, November 03, 2006

NZ Idol ends and Ihug Implodes

NZ Idol finished on Sunday evening- thankfully. The producers need to put this programme to rest now as we are definitely scraping the bottom of the talent barrel. Also the judges this year were abysmal. I've uploaded a piece on the series for Kiwi Herald called NZ Idol 2006 Ends On Sour Note which is a mild version of what I originally wrote. This old horse needs to be put down.

I've finished a couple of pieces of jewelry for the Creative Hastings Christmas sale only to realize they haven't sent me the entry form. As it's due to start in little over two weeks this is a bit of a worry. I am hoping they're just running late.

At the moment I'm having major problems with receiving and sending emails. Apparently there was an influx of viruses into Ihug over the weekend which resulted in a backlog of email. I was receiving them over twelve hours late. Yesterday I couldn't send any myself and when I rang the helpline I kept getting put on hold. I swear if I'd had to hear "Counting the Beat" one more time I was going to do something drastic. Finally I went to their homepage and they had posted an explanation of what was happening. Apparently not only had their servers gone down but the influx of phonecalls complaining about it had overloaded their system as well. They really need to get their act together as it's not the first time this year we've had outages and unlike Telecom which gives you a month's rent if you're without a phone for twenty four hours Ihug doesn't compensate its clients.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Three Shelties

I've just finished one of my orders for three cartoon Sheltie paperweights which are going to be donated as prizes to the South Island Sheltie Club show this month. Very unlike my usual type of work.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Three cheers for daylight savings!

I've just realised how much work I have to get through before the end of year. I have two jewelry orders (pendants and a cat brooch) plus two for paintings (a donkey and a pop art Elvis painting) as well as trying to keep stock in the two shops and prepare for the Christmas sale at Creative Hastings. Thank goodness for St John's Wort pills- I can feel the little me in my head running around in panic mode but can't feel the stress anywhere else. I will just have to work more hours and so three cheers for daylight savings!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Fish and Abstracts

Whenever I receive a folder of work back from my tutor she photographs works that are too large to scan which proves very helpful. In the last folio I'd included a fish collage I had done(my first). The exercise was to find a magazine photo and break it down into basic colours and then paint pieces of paper to match. She has suggested I can develop this fishy theme in other aspects of my work including my jewellery.

The other work Irene featured was an abstract from an exercise earlier in my course. Recently we were taught to mount paintings on card and then frame them cheaply with corrugated cardboard so I decided to do this with the red painting. Funnily enough this work is a favourite of a visitor who has asked to buy it.

Otherwise I have been busy sending out the Spring issue of Loosely Speaking for the EDFNZ and revamping The Menagerie website. It was the first site I ever built way back in 1999 and is a good example of all the mistakes you first make when you start in web design. I am turning it into a basic bread and butter site with a clean look (I hope) and cohesive theme.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Unexpected Advertising

Two pieces of mail of interest arrived yesterday. Firstly "Country Scene" the free rural newspaper that is distributed throughout Hawkes Bay published a piece on Kim Priest and Waddle Inn in Otane. Good photo of her alpacas and also shows the shop where my work is being sold. Hopefully it will drum up alot of business for her.

Secondly "Paw Print" the newsletter of the Central Shetland Sheepdog Club must have got hold of a copy of the South Island newsletter that reprinted one of my articles. Embarrassingly they have given me a free advertisement with a link to one of my websites.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

ATCs Versus ACEOs

I had no idea that there was some controversy over artists selling ATCs (Artists Trading Cards) as ACEOs (Art Cards Editions and Originals) on Ebay. These small cards are 2.5" by 3.5" in size and were originally conceived as small original works of art artists could swap with each other. However a few took it further and began selling them albeit under another name as ACEOs. It now seems a few ATC purists resent this and feel these artists are cashing in on the growing trend.

It's really sad when artists begin bashing each other, even saying that art should not be sold. How would the rest of us get on if we couldn't sell our work? I for one don't want to be a starving artist. A better overview of the situation can be found on Emily Dimov-Gottshall's blog.

I've sold a couple of ACEOs on Ebay and swapped a couple with artists on Zen After Hours which is one of my favourite Yahoo groups. I honestly feel people appreciate your art a lot more if they have to pay for it. Whenever I've given work away there's been either a deafening silence or else a luke warm reaction which is why I don't like doing it anymore. Plus I have to eat!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Bits and Pieces

Morning in town today. Had to find an old picture frame to decorate for my course. Went to a second hand trader who had quite a few pictures but they were quite highly priced. However when I went into another area of the shop I saw a good sized wooden frame hanging on the wall. Turquoise and covered with gold stars it was only priced at $5 so grabbed it. Then went to Mitre 10 and made the mistake of asking for Hi Build to plaster it with. One assistant was totally sceptical that there was any such thing but an older guy came out and suggested a similar product he had used called One Time which he feels will do the job.

Took two more cat brooches into the The Craftsman to replace those sold a fortnight ago and found the one remaining calico cat brooch had gone the day after my demonstration. Maureen felt that it may have been bought by someone who saw me paint that Sunday.

The mail this afternoon brought info about the 2006 Creative Hastings Christmas Sale. Can't believe it has come up so quickly. I have indicated what I would like to sell and will send the form back tomorrow. Very very busy time coming up.

Going back through my art records I found this pointillist drawing I did several years ago for The Young Theosophist magazine. Never received the original back so had to scan from a copy. I really enjoyed doing this drawing- donkey's have such character.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Painting Demonstration

Yesterday was a beautiful hot day although we were warned that the ozone layer was at a dangerously low level and to watch out when we were in the sun. I was a bit tired as I'd already spent all day Saturday finishing up three cat brooches for Waddle Inn Carding's shop in Otane as I had promised Kim that I would drop a box of stuff off for her at her Mum's place in Taradale after my demonstration on Sunday. Also did a run of cards from my patchwork animal series so it will be interesting to see how these sell down there as Otane is an arty community with a pretty active quilting group.

Got down to The Craftsman at 10.25am and was sitting painting at a table just inside the front door by 10.30am. There were many people in the street enjoying the entertainment (a band played once, a man wandered the streets playing a saxophone etc.) and the outside stalls were creating a lot of interest with people searching for bargains.

Maureen and Bob kept me supplied with cups of tea throughout the day. There were quite a few customers doing early Christmas shopping although I don't know how they managed to keep their tempers with some tourists who were trying to haggle down the prices on the sales pieces. They seemed to be there a long time chattering in their own language except when they were insisting "You sell me for $2". Considering they were only buying cheap items I felt they were pretty cheeky but I guess this is the way it's done overseas.

I managed to finish a tiger pendant during my time there and half finished a tuxedo cat brooch. Found kids were fascinated by the process and three prepubescent girls kept coming back in the shop to see how the work was progressing. One lady took a card as she is keen for a larger painting of her black lab. In the slow periods either Maureen or Bob would have a chat so the time passed extremely quickly.

Fortunately last week they'd sold a sheep pendant plus two cat brooches so it was worth going in just to hear that. As they're gradually shifting the focus of the shop from gift items to souvenirs Maureen has asked me to paint items with native birds and flowers and other New Zealand themed subjects as this is what tourists like buying.

Got home at about 3pm very tired but the phone went just as I got inside with an upset friend so talked to her for half an hour. Another had left a message so I rang her back and carried the phone round while I saw to the animals outside. Kept nodding off all evening so made it an early night. Can barely move around this morning but it is worth the hassle as getting out in public like that does give you a good idea as to whether people like your work or not.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Mishka Is In Print

A few weeks ago a lady from the South Island Sheltie Club contacted me asking if she could reprint my article "Puppy Love" in their newsletter. This story is about my dog Mishka and the joys of raising him- I have no doubt some of the breeders will roar with laughter at my mistakes! Anyway this week Leonie the editor kindly sent me a copy of the newsletter. There'll be no living with Mish now.

Friday, September 15, 2006


After speaking to some other artists about my work it was suggested that my paintings would suit being put on other objects such as t-shirts, mugs etc. I have therefore opened my own CafePress Store. At the moment I only have one design up there but I'm going to add four more over the next week.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Trademe Mafia Strikes

I am pretty angry that after five and a half years of selling my artwork on Trademe (the NZ version of Ebay) I have had them tell me I can't ask for commissioned work. For a few years I have run auctions for getting your pet painted on a stone, pendant etc. and have obtained work this way. Well since I have just received a hefty bill for my cat Demelza I thought I would run three auctions for having a pet rabbit, dog and cat painted on a pendant. I had watchers on all three auctions when Trademe withdrew them on Wednesday as they said you're not allowed to advertise services. However I found in their terms that you are allowed as long as you request a photograph so I wrote back and put this to them but only received this in reply:

Regarding our withdrawal of auction 69317851 they have been withdrawn because it is a breech of our listing policies to sell made to order items. Basically selling services has no legal precedent in an on-line
auction environment and leaves buyer and sellers without rights in the
event of a dispute. For this reason we do not allow services or made to
order items on the site.

I am sorry but these items are not of a format that can be sold on this site, any attempts made to bypass this policy will be withdrawn as well.

So looks like they change the rules to suit themselves as I know of people making made to order items and selling them through that site. So yet another chunk of my income has been eroded away............

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Brooch For Sale

I went into The Craftsman yesterday to finalize arrangements for painting there on the 24th September. Just as well I did as they had sold one of my pendants- a blue butterfly painted on paua. I have taken three cat brooches in as well so hope someone gets carried away with some early Christmas shopping.

Finished another brooch which I have posted for sale on my website. Need to get down to putting more work up there as people are thinking gifts even at this time of the year.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Shearing Shed

Have been finishing up some spinning for The Shearing Shed at Waitomo. Used to work for Heather a few years ago before 9/11 slowed down the tourist trade in NZ and she laid off all her outworkers. However I still had some of her angora and yarn left so she asked me recently to finish it up and send it along. I also decided to make her a gift and painted one of her beautiful German Angora rabbits on a pendant.

The Shearing Shed is situated on Waitomo Caves Road and is a great tourist attraction as each day a few of Heather's 350 angora rabbits are brought down to the shop and shorn of their coats to the great amusement of overseas visitors. Yarn and high quality knitting featuring her angora fibre are also available for sale. Heather has always been extremely helpful with advice concerning my own angora rabbits which I am grateful for.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Date For Festival Confirmed

Suffering from a headcold this week- winter's last little gift before it ends later this week. Haven't felt like doing much else but reading in the sun.

Last week the date for my day at The Craftsman was confirmed. I will be painting there on the 24th September 2006 between 11am and 2.00pm which is the last day of the Hawkes Bay Spring Festival. For further information Bob and Maureen can be contacted at 169 Gloucester Street, Taradale, Napier Ph.06-844-7514.

I took some of my small paintings into The Flying Pig Gallery in Napier to see if the owner could give me a better idea about pricing them. She suggested selling them in sets may be a better option, the tiger head one in particular she felt would be good in an endangered species series. Anyway I have repriced all my recent paintings and they're for sale on Passion For Paint.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


One exercise for my course was face casting with plaster bandages before making a plaster of paris positive and then a papier mache mask from this. Here is my mask: it is as I envisaged it although I'm not sure if I like it or not.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Bummed Out

Heard Thursday that not one of my paintings sold at The Affordable Art Show last weekend. What's worse is that no one said they saw my work there at all. Very disappointed.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Paint Effects

Still no word as to whether I sold any of my three paintings at The Affordable Art Show in Wellington last week but by all reports (including an article in The Dominion) it was a record breaker with 9,000 people attending.

I have been making cat brooches for the Otane venture plus I've finally uploaded images of some paint effects I have undertaken as part of my course. My favourite was ragrolling where I basecoated an old manilla folder with several layers of deep purple before rolling gold paint over the top.

The second was marbling or a faux marble paint effect. This was achieved by basecoating in white then laying in pale grey streaks with acrylic gloss medium several times. The last layer I added some darker veins in Payne's Grey before blending with a fan brush. I know you're meant to use a feather but my cats have eaten my feather collection and short of denuding my chickens' rear ends I will have to remain featherless until the big moult late next summer.

The third effect was Lapis Lazuli where I used two different shades of blue then a little white before flicking gold over the picture. Not sure how accurate it is but it looks pretty!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

New Projects

Finally finished a jewellery order for someone in the US and this should be sent out next week. Also have been contacted by someone I met at the Creative Fibre Festival in Taradale this year who is opening up a shop in Otane, Central Hawkes Bay in early August and she has asked me to supply her with anything I have so I need to get painting. Unfortunately my thumb is still pretty raw where my house rabbit Muggles bit it on Sunday so I'm not able to do much.

Also The Affordable Art Show begins tomorrow (3 August 2006) and I just found a page with all the exhibiting artists. I'm number 811.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Paintings For Sale

I haven't been able to update my blog for over a week as the bad weather put my phone out and Telecom didn't feel it necessary to repair the lines for seven days. Yes I am pretty annoyed.

Anyway I decided to bit the bullet and put one of my miniature paintings up on Ebay. It's the small Tiger Head that I sent to the Original Art Sale. The rest of my paintings are for sale on Passion For Paint.

Otherwise I have been continuing to enjoy working with charcoal in my diploma course. This first sketch was a warm up exercise. I have had her propped up on the piano in my sitting room all week as I do with much of my work.

The second sketch was an exercise where we had to draw a grid and then distort it to follow the contours of a face before drawing the face in behind. This worked better than I hoped.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bunny Book

Have had a traumatic couple of days due to someone trashing my car. It amazes me the morons who populate this world.

However onto more pleasant subjects I received a book from Australia yesterday afternoon. Last year a rabbit breeder rang me to ask if I would read the manuscript of a book she was writing. I agreed to do this and she mailed a CD over which I spent a few days reading. I had no hesitation recommending it as a great guide for rabbit owners. Christine must be so thrilled that it's published!

What was particularly thrilling was that she had included my recommendation in the front of the book along with those from a couple of vets, a couple of Aussie rabbit breeders and my friend Pauline Taylor, Vice President of the RCNZ. I hope it sells well for her.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Strike out

I got "the call" yesterday from The Original Art Sale in Auckland to say that not one of my paintings sold! All four were on display on Saturday and I saw a photo of two of them Sunday so had assumed that at least two had sold but no such luck. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on what way you look at it many other people didn't sell anything either.

Fortunately I have commissions to work on at the moment so the blow to my confidence is not a terminal one!

Sunday, July 02, 2006


June 30 was the final day to find out whether or not you'd been accepted for The Affordable Art Show and I still hadn't heard. I emailed the organizer late Friday and within a half hour had a reply to say that I had been selected but the letter must have gone astray so she was sending another copy. I had been having major doubts before this as I had heard that 1200 artists had applied but only 700 were going to be accepted so I'm thrilled.

Anyway despite the show not being on till early August all art work has to be couriered down next week so have to get my three paintings packaged up ready to go. All in all I will have seven works out in shows so fingers crossed that something sells.

I am back completing jewelry orders now and also have a painting to complete for a US buyer so need to get onto that in the holiday break which begins tomorrow.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Two Ladies

I have been unable to post the last few days due to naughty house rabbit eating through my telephone extension lead forcing me off-line. However I used the time to write a couple of articles for my websites and to get on with my painting.

These are two examples of an exercise I did for my course. Firstly you wet the paper and then dropped Indian ink into the water to make interesting patterns. After they dry (which took all day!) you draw a face from a magazine in charcoal and white pastel incorporating the marks made by the ink. The actually drawing only took me twenty minutes in each case. This blonde to me looks ethereal like a water sprite.

The second face is of a NZ actress dressed in oriental fashion. She is not conventionally pretty but has a strong face and interesting features. With that thick neck she must be a Taurean! I think this exercise could be done in colour also with watercolours substituting for the ink. It's interesting how thinking outside the square can achieve some fascinating results.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Two Miniatures

Last couple of days I have been putting the final touches to a couple more entries for The Original Art Show. I didn't manage to complete the ten they said I could send due to ill health but hopefully the four I'm sending will allow me to test the waters before entering again next year.

I have embarked on another series of patchwork paintings but this time I'm using rabbits as the feature. This is Patchwork Rabbit No 1 (not too imaginative a title but at least it's descriptive). I decided to go with a Dutch bunny as I felt it's dramatic coat would stand out well on the patchwork. Of course the background took longer than the rabbit!

I decided to hedge my bets and paint a popular image that might appeal to the males in the audience. I enjoy painting tigers anyway as their coat is so beautiful. This painting is on gallery wrapped canvas and is 4x4" as is the rabbit one.

I still haven't heard back from the Affordable Art Show as to whether my four submissions have been accepted which is frustrating so I decided to send one of these up to TOAS instead (the one I didn't think they'd want). So now I am couriering Patchwork Rabbit No 1, Tiger Head, Whimsical Calico Cat and Patchwork Cat No 2 up to Auckland this morning.

Now I have got these away I can get back to completing my orders. I have been fortunate that the commissioners were patient and agreed to wait for me to complete my exhibition paintings before I began on their work.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I am having to keep a visual diary for the first time EVER. It's hard to think of what to include in it so have been doing preliminary sketches for paintings I'm working on.

This is a drawing for a 4x4" acrylic painting I'm doing of a tiger. Tigers are always popular with men for some reason. Perhaps they represent power? I know two people born in the Year of the Tiger and both are strong characters although they allow others to influence their decisions. Being a poor old wood snake I'm meant to avoid them as tigers "destroy" us. Must be true as I have to admit I have had some hairy moments with them!

This is a pendant I made a while back but the diary also shows the image I used to work from. I love monarch butterflies and it's interesting that their colours are the same as the tiger's. Of course in the butterfly's case it is protection against predators rather than camouflage but it doesn't work when it comes to my cats unfortunately. I spend a lot of time rescuing them from being batted around the garden by frisky felines.

This is a sketch of my cat Piper asleep on my bed. Piper usually never allows me to photograph her deformed tail but she had no idea what I was doing so I was able to reproduce her stump in all its glory. Poor girl has a face only a mother could love and since one visitor commented that she was "pig ugly" she now hides when people come calling. I think she has an interesting face plus she has lovely tawny eyes but the coat is a nightmare to replicate.

On the same page I was working on a sketch of my ginger girl Peaches but the light ran out before I finished and I haven't been able to encourage her to resume the same pose. Peaches was just about to nod off in this drawing. She is a beautiful girl with soulful "Puss In Boots" eyes.