Sunday, December 30, 2007

Farewell To A Friend and A Discovery

I didn't get everything finished before Christmas Day as I felt so ill with this silly maybe-Fibromyalgia. Did complete an alpaca pendant on time and got alot of work done on one of the little cat paintings that were commissioned by Glenys. However she gave me a stern talking to about not pushing myself so I took her advice and slowed down.

Christmas Day was quiet but I spent a very enjoyable evening with my friends down the road. However the next morning Gine rang to tell me that Kate, my neighbour who had given me a lift to portraiture class a few times, had passed away Christmas Eve from the cancer she had been battling for three years. I felt incredibly saddened as she was such a lovely vital person with so much talent.

Her funeral was held on Thursday afternoon at Tikokino Village. Gaye, Rachel, the boys and I went together and although we went half an hour early the place was so packed we ended up sitting outside. At first we were right in the hot sun but some kind ladies lifted a small marquee over us so at least we were in the shade. There must have been over 100 people there, some even standing out on the footpath including one poor old man who collapsed in the heat.

I was ok until I saw the hearse pull up with her coffin inside. I couldn't believe such a sparkly lady was gone so had a few tears. Her son Gordon began playing the bagpipes before the family and close friends walked into the church. There was a speaker system set up so we could hear most of the service. The celebrant talked about all the activities Kate was involved with including the Otane painters and her book clubs. She also volunteered for several charities and clubs and was constantly helping and supporting her friends. Seven people spoke of the effect she had on their lives which was incredibly touching. All in all the service lasted an hour and was a beautiful celebration of Kate's life.

Afterwards we met up with some of the Otane painters who had turned up including Jacqueline, Glenys, and Betty and even our first nude model who had gone to see Kate in the hospice. She gave me a hug and I had to admit to her that I didn't recognise her with her clothes on! I finally got to meet Kate's lovely daughter and then her husband Spencer who gave me a big hug. Gaye and I signed the tribute book before we took Rachel and the boys home. Originally we were going to go to Kate's house afterwards but by 4pm I was beginning to feel the effects of the day (I had already been to Hastings early morning) and was just wanting to rest. For the remainder of the day I thought how important it was to live every day with no regrets and as if each could be your last. Kate had only just turned 54 which was too young to leave but she had packed in as much as she could into her life and left a legacy of friendship. That's how I would like to live my life as well.

To end on a positive note I am in love........with Rita Angus. After years of staring at one of her prints in my dentist's office I have finally realised what an amazingly talented artist she is. The reason for my conversion was watching "Lovely Rita" a documentary by Gaylene Preston which repeated this morning. Featuring interviews with family and friends as well as admirers it gave a great overview of her life and displayed a wonderful range of her work. I had no idea what a skillful watercolourist she was or how powerful her self portraits were (up there with Frida Kahlo in my humble opinion). And she's a Hawkes Bay girl too, born in Hastings in 1908 before she and her family moved to Palmerston North in 1921. I also learned that she had an affair with Douglas Lilburn (our most famous NZ composer) and miscarried a child he'd fathered.

To show how we still underrate her all of the 600 unsold works she still had at her Thorndon cottage when she died of cancer aged 62 are now in Te Papa Museum where they are rarely on display. Considering how everyone fawns over Colin Machon's work I think this is a travesty.

Friday, December 21, 2007

All Shook Up

Last night just as I was about to go to bed there was a very large earthquake. Five minutes later my friend Tanya rang to see if I was OK and told me it measured 6.8 on the Richter scale and was situated off Mahia to the north of here. Nothing was broken but I do remember gazing in horror at the TV swaying on top of the wooden bookcase it sits on. Mishka ran round the place barking which didn't help matters.

I am trying to finish three orders before Christmas (they're all wanted for presents so am feeling the pressure). Finished one yesterday and got it in the mail to Auckland. A young lady wanted five stones painted, a small dragon and tiger and three views of her cat. Not usual pictures I would consider for paintings but they worked out OK. Now I have given myself three days to complete two cat paintings I have been working on for a few weeks. I am so much a last minute Annie.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Moaning Minnie and The Naked Lady

My moans and groan about feeling unwell have become so boring that I'll keep them short for this post. However I returned to my doctor this week and after reviewing my test results and comparing them with my symptoms she is tentatively diagnosing me with Fibromyalgia. At this stage she is reluctant to label me but I think it's likely I have the disorder after reading all the available literature and talking to people I know with it. I have two medications to try to see if they help with the muscle inflammation and spend time lying with a wheat pack on my back falling asleep! Moan over.

Our last portrait class on Friday was so enjoyable as our original life model returned. I took along some different mediums to try including an ink pen and pastels (my least favourite). However the resulting drawings turned out much better than I hoped. It helped that the model is a fan of art deco and came along with 1920s hat, shoes, jewellery and fox furs! Most of us got totally caught up with drawing the hat, even the men in the class. I am particularly happy with this drawing as it is much freer than my usual work and the pastels caught the skin colour really well.

This one also turned out better than I hop ed although I made our model very tanned. However the hat looks great. Glenys and I yawned all the way home and by the time I got inside I discovered I was shaking tired. However after a light lunch I felt well enough to wash down the back wall of the house which was incredibly dirty and footrot the goat. That night I reverted to the human pretzel but it was worth it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Parties

The Silly Season is upon us again. Because I have been unwell I am hopelessly behind but have been making an effort to go to my last art classes since there won't be any more until mid January. Last Friday we had a local guy called Tony sit for us- I really enjoyed trying to capture his face with the close clipped beard. After portraiture the eight of us made our way to the Paper Mulberry Cafe for our Christmas meal. I had Greek Filo again with a slice of carrot cake and hot chocolate. I think we were there nearly two hours chatting. Helen managed to get a free wooden high stool from the owner for our life models and while I was waiting for my desert I bought two bags of carded wool for just $7 each. There is a great range of items for sale at the cafe and I'm sure they sell well as it's such a popular venue.

This past Wednesday the Otane Painters' Christmas party was held at a member's new home in Waipukurau. We were all meant to meet at the local park to sketch but when we got there at 10am no one was about so Gaye, Gine and I ended up having a hot drink in town waiting for midday. Turned out everyone turned up at the park at different times and found no one there, we must have missed each other by just a few seconds.

The day was so incredibly hot that we were glad to get to Jean's at lunchtime. Around twenty five people turned up, many members I had never met before. We all took a plate so there was plenty of wonderful food and Helen donated the Christmas Cake she won as a raffle prize and the Otane Open Weekend. The wife of one of the painters made the most beautiful slice that everyone loved out of filo pastry, honey and nuts. A Greek recipe apparently. We each took a present and received one in return. When I dipped into the basket I received a sachet for putting in my wardrobe and a recipe for Christmas slice. Everyone had a wonderful time- there was certainly alot of chatting going on. By the time we left at 2.30 I was exhausted although sorry to go. Jean was a lovely hostess and she made us so welcome.

Gaye dropped me home at 3.30pm and I found the mailman had left my TLC folder at the back door. There was a letter from my new mentor/tutor Carrie who comes from England and specialises in illustration. My feedback is now to be via DVD and the half hour session she gave was very helpful as she was able to visually show me my strengths as well as things I can improve on. Carrie will be working throughout January so I will be able to use that time to catch up on work since I had to start so late in term (thanks WINZ).

Monday, December 03, 2007


I have been busy artfully this past week but haven't felt like blogging much. Collected a few unsold items of jewellery from The Craftsman in Napier to put into Creative Hastings plus finished off another pendant to send in. Apparently so far I have sold three cards, a cat stone, a cat brooch and a tiger pendant. Not bad but not wonderful either.

Wednesday at art group I'm afraid I spent too much time gas bagging with Helen and Glenys. Did manage to do a wee bit of painting before going home. Only a couple more weeks before the art classes shut down for nearly a month which is going to cause some withdrawal symptoms.

An ex policeman called Jerry was our model at portraiture on Friday. He was a wonderful subject as he kept so beautifully still. Apparently from Wales but he'd been here in NZ so long he had lost his accent.

Helen did a most wonderful couple of studies of him in oil paints. I have no idea how she works so quickly- makes my tentative pencil studies look positively anaemic. There were only six artists at the class which was a shame but people are becoming more and more busy as we get nearer Christmas so can't afford the time out to sketch.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Blah Days

There are blah days when whatever you draw or paint just doesn't seem to work and you can't fathom why. Yesterday it was like that at Portraiture despite the fact that we had a very good model called Anne who works for the antique dealer down the road. I spent nearly two hours becoming increasingly frustrated with my sketches of her as I seemed to regress to my poor standard of two months ago. However for the last drawing I decided just to concentrate on her face and this turned out a fair likeness which even Anne liked.

Today has been the same. I have been working on two still life paintings for my course working light to dark for the first and visa versa for the second. Each was not meant to take more than an hour but they did and I still think they're horrible. I will give myself 30 minutes more to finish them this evening and then put them away. If I can complete twelve exercises in nude drawing tomorrow and Monday I will be able to send away my first Stage One folder on Tuesday and finally be assigned my new mentor.

Perhaps it's the heat or perhaps it's the blahs that hit us all from time to time but I even lost patience with a film I'd taped last night. Managed to watch 30 minutes of "Hotel Paradiso" starring Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson but it was so execrable I turned it off. Certainly not up to the standard of The Young Ones with two many violent gags even for my stomach. Sometimes it's better just to read a good book.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sketching Out Of Doors

A small group of the Wednesday painting group had decided to visit an old homestead at Ashcott near Waipukurau for a sketching session this week. Glenys and I arrived earlier than the others and were allowed to sit in the big circular driveway in front of the old house. The homestead looked as if it had been built around the time of the First World War as it had the hybrid look between a villa and a bungelow. Now owned by an extremely rich Wellington family who only come up for the occasional weekend it has a full time housekeeper and a gardener who works there four days a week. The day we were there several other men were working there, trimming trees, planting a huge tree fern and mowing the lawns.

When Helen arrived with another painter we unloaded our gear and wandered between the high hedges and flower gardens until we stood on a large back lawn edged with trees overlooking an old dam up to the mountains. For the first hour we were incapable of working as we wandered in awe around the property looking at all the sculpture dotted amongst the trees. I was particularly fascinated by a stone gateway fashioned into the shape of a circle which led to a ponga edged pathway leading down to a rustic bridge fashioned from huge pieces of driftwood. It looked like something out of Hobbiton and it turned out that one of the men working there that day had built it and he was the tree man on the Lord of the Rings movies. Very talented guy but so down to earth- MiddleEarth!

In the end we broke for morning tea to work out where we'd sketch. While Jacqueline fed us pieces of dark chocolate Glenys and I decided to draw the old stables which lay to the side of the garden amongst mature trees. We were both so nervous about attempting a building but ended up very pleased with out efforts. After being so reluctant to come Glenys is now keen to go on any other sketching trips that are arranged over the summer. I took quite a few photos for references before we broke for a picnic lunch sitting under a tree by the dam looking up to the ranges in the west. By this time we were so mellow we didn't have the energy to do any more work so five of us left at 1pm.

This property is not open to the public so we were very fortunate to be allowed in to share the beauty of this lovely place. What's more Helen is certain we'll be allowed back. Now the search is on for our next garden to sketch in.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

First Life Drawing Class

Been a frantic rush this week to complete work for the Creative Hastings Christmas Sale. Spent Wednesday morning at art group working on a tiger pendant and have since completed three other pendants and a brooch which is not alot of work when you think about it. The paua to the left had such beautiful colours in the shell it really called out for a watery subject. I enjoy painting goldfish although I have yet to put one on canvas.

Strangely enough I have never painted a German Shepherd despite, or rather because, my brother has always kept them. He is so fussy with how they're portrayed that I've been too intimidated to try but I have finally decided to have a go.

When painting pendants I have to think what will sell as I've had a few subjects that take a while to go. Mini lops are very popular at the moment so hopefully this little guy will find a home pretty quickly.

Had another go at a unusual cat brooch in Christmas colours as we're only a few weeks away from the silly season. I thought I was doing so well with this one as I had base coated the main colours by Wednesday evening. However I then found I had done it upside down so that the brooch clip was at the bottom and not the top so had to paint the whole thing with several layers of white and begin again.

We had our first life drawing session at Otane on Friday which was very exciting. I am unsure as to whether to post any drawings here in case someone takes offense. Our model was in her sixties, totally uninhibited about being in the buff proudly showing her tattoos. I gave her the best of my drawings (with her sitting on a bar stool) but managed to keep some better ones where I sketched from down at her feet while she lay on her side. Good exercise in trying to cope with foreshortening. Even my feet looked like feet instead of bananas! Very exciting and can't wait until the next class in a month's time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Week That Was

After not managing to get to art group last week I was determined to make the portraiture class last Friday. This time the model was the antique dealer that Gina and I met after the open weekend. He brought along a book to read while he posed which he did mainly on a chair.
At one point he went into a meditation pose for twenty minutes and this turned out to be my best sketch of the day as it really captured what he is all about. Mid morning my back began to play up and I was unable to finish the last pose and had to leave ten minutes early. I think stretching up to draw on my easel didn't help matters.

Yesterday I called into Creative Hastings as Bev had a book on donkeys she wanted to show me. Really comical story originally published in Austria. We had a chat about my work and she has offered to take some items into a shop in Napier she thinks might be interested in selling them. I tried not to think that the Christmas Sale there begins in a week and I hardly have anything finished for it.........

Thursday, November 08, 2007

New Brooches

I have begun working on a new line of brooches which I hope will sell at Quilt Works. At the moment they're taking a while to finish as I work out patterns and colours but I'm hoping I'll speed up once I get my ideas sorted.

This little man looks pretty startled but I think he'd look good on a black coat lapel. Demelza my black and white cat loves these brooches and steals them so she can hide them down behind the cushions on the armchairs. She also once sprayed a large painting I did so she really is my severest art critic!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Otane Open Weekend

Portraiture last week was slightly disappointing as our model didn't turn up. Everyone was looking forward to drawing her as she had many and various piercings! However we were lucky that Helen's granddaughter Megan was off school due to a dental appointment and she kindly modelled for two hours. Unfortunately I was not happy with any of my drawings as they were mostly of her back.

Saturday morning was the first day of the open weekend at Otane Arts and Crafts. Gina collected me early and we arrived just after opening. The exhibition looked fantastic with a great range of styles and subjects displayed. In the end I had six paintings on show as Donna had brought the patchwork series ones back from Quilt Works.

The first morning we gave a display of our drawing abilities. There were only four of us from the usual Friday portraiture group and I was encouraged to be the first model. For forty five minutes I sat in a very comfy armchair on top of the posing platform. Then Owen had a try and finally Gina took the stage until lunchtime. This is my favourite drawing of her where she was leaning back against the cushions.
Quite a crowd came through the rooms that day as there was a bull riding event nearby. Listening to some of the comments was interesting to say the least.

Gina and I left shortly after 2.30pm but on the way stopped in at a beautiful old homestead which doubles as an antiques shop. The owner was very friendly and took us through the rooms he has set up with all the furniture and collectables. How I wish I were rich- especially as he was having a 50% off sale. Had an interesting conversation concerning ACC as he is also having a battle to get compensation (for a back injury). He is also a Tibetan Buddhist which was of greater interest to me, he had even attended a class taken by the Dalai Lama in Auckland this year. Strangely enough Gina and I had been talking about Tibet on our journey to Otane that morning.

By the time we reached my road it was beginning to cloud over. We dropped in on Gaye and had a cup of tea out on the lawn in front of her jasmine vine. Rachel and Korbus dropped in on their way back from town and kindly gave me a lift when they went home.

Next morning I could barely move so spent an hour with a hot water bottle stuck to my back feeding up on painkillers. Glenys arrived just before midday and we got to Otane at lunchtime. Not such a big crowd on that day and as I was not in the mood to do much painting I spent time talking to people. Even my cousin Elaine came for an hour to view the exhibition.

I had been told that not many paintings sell at the open weekend but three people did sell (all landscapes). I won the People's Choice Award! I have no idea who voted for my work but I was very chuffed. Apparently I will get a prize but as I was too unwell to make it to art group today I have no idea what it was.

I got home at 5pm and fed the animals and barely had time to get changed before Rachel and family picked me up and we went to Gaye's for an alfresco meal. Gina's husband Gareth tricked us by saying that he could hear the oncoming thunder storm in the electrical wires out the back. We all rushed out to listen to the very loud humming but of course it wasn't the wires at all but the grass grubs flying around!

We went inside for dessert and a cuppa. Very relaxed conversation which went on till late. Getting into the car we could hear the morepork calling in the trees just beside Gaye's house. I think I arrived home at 10.30pm and rolled into bed nearer midnight. My social gallavanting has taken its toll of me I'm afraid as I have barely been able to do anything this week.

Some good news- I received a cheque for a brooch from Electra Gallery today. Also Waddle Inn sold one last weekend and although they're sending back a couple of pendants and some cards they've ordered more which they will pay for outright instead of taking them on consignment. Also I have cat brooches in Katz Gallery in Masterton and these will be for sale from Friday. I also have three tentative orders for paintings but won't count my chickens till they're hatched!

Thursday, November 01, 2007


I have been so incredibly busy this past week I haven't even had time to post last Friday's drawings from portraiture. Our model was called Jim/James/Sam and he rents a cottage just down the road from me. Apparently he has modelled for the group twice before which was obvious as he didn't need telling of how to pose. He was incredibly patient and even held one position for 30 minutes. He was also intrigued that I included the bandaid on his arm in my picture.

I have found that I actually enjoy drawing men much more than I thought I would. Especially older ones whose faces have that lived in look. Perhaps it's because it's more of a challenge for me. Up until this class my males looked very girly.

In the last pose of the day Jim lay on some cushions and as he needed somewhere to focus his gaze he decided to look at me. Very hard to concentrate for whenever I looked up he was staring at me, and then he decided to flirt. Obviously I'm still big with the over fifties!

Wednesday Art at Otane was spent hanging works for the open weekend on the 3rd and 4th. I took my two little ones down there but had forgotten to take some sellotape to fasten the title cards to the paintings. Fortunately there were people there willing to help out if you didn't have something. A massive range of work on display with some wonderful flower and animal pictures plus Tom had entered a painting of a Catalina plane like the one my Dad flew in during the war. There are still not enough works on display so Donna is retrieving my four patchwork paintings from Quilt Works and I'll hang those tomorrow.

I also received my first lot of work for Stage 1 of the Honours Diploma at The Learning Connexion this week. Haven't even had time to look at it yet. However the work sounds more challenging and at this level they concentrate on helping you develop your style. Just have to get funding arranged now but have finally got an appointment for a TIA application next week.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hello Goodbye

Finally received the DVD with my end of Foundation year review on Tuesday. I sat with my jersey half pulled over my face in embarrassment for ten minutes while my tutor Irene and another teacher from The Learning Connexion discussed my work. There were twenty photos of my art including pages from my workbook showing my jewellery and small animal paintings. Irene also showed the cat brooch she bought from me. Both tutors have recommended I go into illustration in the future.

However I still have not received my enrollment papers for Stage One and we're now at the end of week three in term four. I rang Irene yesterday and she found she had not ticked the right boxes to have the powers that be send me the paperwork and the cut off date for enrollments is tomorrow! I should receive everything today and just need to fax my enrollment to TLC but now I can't get an appointment to apply for a Training Incentive Allowance for three weeks! Grrrr.

Anyway yesterday at art group I did alot more work on my painting for next week's open weekend at Otane and finished it off this afternoon. I have called it "Hello Goodbye". Measuring 4"x8" it is in acrylics on box canvas.

Helen was very excited as she had taken my advice and rung the local Naturist club to ask if they would be prepared to life model for the Friday Portraiture Group. The lady she spoke to said she's be happy to sit for us next month and it even turned out they knew each other. Looks like we'll have a constant supply of life models from amongst Hawkes Bay's nudist population. I'm sure there'll be many people who are shocked but I'm really excited at working from the flesh so to speak instead of from photos and my course DVD. I have also been asked to paint some sample cat brooches to be shown to the owner of another art gallery further down the North Island. Will give more details if this works out.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Drawing A Non Wriggler And The Whole Fish Thing

Better session at portraiture yesterday. Our model was Jenny, Gleny's sister in law and although she couldn't achieve any contorted positions like the younger subjects she did keep perfectly still with no wriggling. This was my best effort although once again my pencil work is so cautious that it doesn't translate well on the scanner. Much better in person- that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

There were about seven people at the class which makes it very relaxed. I don't mind joking around in such a small group and they're very good at giving it back as well. Still lots of talk about hiring a nude model and Jacqueline got us fired up by saying her husband had volunteered but we were quickly deflated when she added he'd stipulated that we would have to draw in the nuddy as well. That ain't gonna happen!

After a panic that I have no new work for the open day in only two weeks I began a small painting of stylized fish on Thursday. Took me an hour to work out the design and transfer it to the canvas but I'm charging along now and should finish it by the end of the weekend. Maybe I might get another one done but our entry forms have to be handed in this week and I don't want to push myself too hard as I have orders to complete. Also received my entry form for the Creative Hastings Christmas Sale Thursday so have registered for that. Only a month away and I have nothing finished for it except a few cards. The Madeline Kahn song from Blazing Saddles will be my theme song till the end of December- "I'm Tired".

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Mecca of Art Supplies

Very tired from the big storm we've had here the past couple of days. Art didn't last long yesterday with everyone wanting to get home for a rest after a sleepless night of wind listening. Despite this I managed to complete blocking the background colours in on one of Gleny's commissions which I was happy about. Also picked up two entry forms for exhibitions coming up. Our open day in a couple of weeks for which I have nothing completed and also the Art Hawkes Bay exhibition but work doesn't have to be in for this until late January.

Two big excitements this week were getting a call from Electra on Monday to say that they're happy to sell my handpainted jewellery and rocks! Not only that but when Jacqueline arrived yesterday she told me a pendant had sold already. The other big excitement was a trip to Humanities Books on Tuesday. This Hastings shop stocks fine art books and a whole range of supplies even down to sealing wax! Entering it is almost like having a religious experience as you look up at shelves and shelves of paint, solvents, name it they stock it. However I was strong and didn't go for a wander as I knew I would be tempted. Instead I only replaced the acrylics I was nearly out of although I did splash out on a new shade of yellow called Naples. This is a softer buttery shade than I usually use and when mixed with ultramarine and a little white makes a beautiful shade of turquoise which is what I was after. I am definitely going back there but not until I have some cash in hand or a rich sugar daddy- which ever comes first.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Two young girls from just outside Otane were our models yesterday. Very pretty but the smaller one was a bit too little as she found it hard to keep still. Her elder sister at 12 did a great job though. I have begun completing the longer poses on my own white paper in the hopes that they will show up a bit better for scanning but apparently not. I think I'm too reticent when I draw so the lines come across as faint and weak. Sometimes people mistake this for being sensitivity.

Helen has suggested that over the warmer months we hire a life model once a month but it was difficult to think who to ask. I suggested they approach the local naturist club as I'm sure there are a few people there who wouldn't mind letting it all "hang out" so to speak. Everyone has agreed that we don't want beautiful as lovely people are not so interesting to draw. People who have lived life and have the marks to prove it are much more rewarding.

Sent some brooches, pendants and rocks with Jacqueline who is taking them to Electra this morning. If the management agrees that they're what they want then it could be a great sales outlet.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Family Connections

I was so excited about going to art yesterday but after about half an hour there I became very sore and found I'd left my painkillers at home. Not a good thing. However I finished a cat brooch although this cat looks a wee bit evil. However hopefully it will appeal to someone with a bit of a sense of humour. I am trying to get a selection of brooches, pendants and rocks together by Friday for Jacqueline to take to Electra to see if they'll stock them. Also began work on two cat paintings for Glenys who commissioned them for her daughter's Christmas present.

Tom likes teasing me about my penchant for working small. I do find it easier for me on a physical level but I also now realise that people equate small with easy and therefore aren't prepared to pay decent prices for my work. I am going to have to bite the bullet and begin to work on larger paintings. One lady I met for the first time at art yesterday (she hasn't been attending most of the year due to ill health) has a daughter who runs Katz Gallery in Carterton. She achieves $1,700 per painting. Strangely I had bookmarked this artist's website a couple of weeks ago when I came across it in a random search for pastel paintings. Small world that I would meet her Mum (another fine pastel artist) at Otane Art Group.

Helen had helped hang the mini exhibition at Electra on Monday and said that Kevin was happy with the standard of work. She told me that he would have happily walked out with my little patchwork rabbit and I was purring about this all day until my cousin Elaine brought me down to earth later on in the afternoon. She and my 94 year old aunt had gone to look at the exhibition and Auntie Kathleen had remarked that my picture would have looked much better just with the rabbit and without all the coloured stuff in the background! Just goes to show you can't please everyone all the time. Family especially.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Secret

Last week I managed to buy a copy of "The Secret" for just a few dollars so have been reading ten pages a night before I go to sleep. An artist friend had sent me a copy of the movie earlier this year and it had helped me so much while I was looking for a place to live that I wanted to learn more.

Growing up in a negative household where feelings were suppressed, fear was encouraged and lack of self esteem was the order of the day you were never surprised when life dished up nothing but drama and heartache. In fact we were praised for looking on the black side of things as this was being "realistic" and "practical". Money was the root of all evil, rich people got their wealth by screwing over others, it's no wonder my mother's three children have all ended up struggling financially. In the wider family the adopted children were told they had bad blood and brought nothing good into the family- most of us have ended up with major health problems and failed relationships.

Last November I read "Bad Childhood Good Life" by Dr Laura Schlessinger on the recommendation of an online artist friend and it really changed my thinking of who I am. I have never considered myself a victim but certainly I had been put down so often by others that I felt there must be something terribly bad about me rather than something bad about them for degrading me. I ended up thinking how dare they make me feel so bad about myself. I do deserve a good life. Then along came "The Secret" which completed the transformation.

I looked back at my childhood conditioning and saw how my thoughts had impacted on my life and how I had brought the worst down on myself. How being brought up to believe I was inferior because I was adopted and because I was ill I had allowed others to think they could treat me like someones unwanted rubbish. By believing I didn't deserve much in life the universe delivered trauma.

Changing my mindset to a positive one has been so difficult as the little negative voice in my mind still drones on in the background. However I am getting there. If it's a rainy day I don't say "I hope it doesn't flood" I say "Oh great I can get some more painting done this morning". I don't look at a stranger and feel fear that they're going to dislike me, I smile and say hello. If my joints are painful then it's an opportunity for me to rest and take time to read and talk to friends. If you have been reading this blog the past few months then you will have seen how so many wonderful things have begun to happen to me and how I've met so many fantastic people in just the past few weeks so it is working.

And yes there are the nay sayers who say "The Secret" is a rehash of other books. However authors do build on what has come before. There are really no original ideas. I know it has helped me and it has confirmed what I'd always known deep down but was unable to put into words. I have a long way to go but I'm getting there a step every day by changing my mindset and expecting the best from life.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Helen's two grandchildren posed for us at portraiture this week. Both were very experienced models despite their age being completely unselfconscious and instinctively knowing what positions would prove challenging to draw. For the first few two minute sketches the children alternated. As per usual I began in charcoal but have decided that from next week I will draw completely in pencil as I have much more control in this medium (ie. the hands don't tend to end up looking like bananas).

For the longer poses the brother and sister posed together which was extremely challenging in both terms of time and also in capturing proportions. As there were only six of us in attendance I moved closer and was able to gain a much more interesting perspective.

This to me is the most pleasing composition as it was very difficult to draw with both children lying down plus it resembled the sitters. I was disappointed with one of my earlier drawings as it made the young man look much older but he was so taken with it that I gave it to him thus continuing my tradition of giving away my clangers!

This morning I had a call from Electra to say that both my paintings have been selected for the mini exhibition. Kevin helped me with the price as well ($65 each) and said that the little rabbit one in particular seemed to be getting some attention with people dropping their paintings in. Those lops are so appealing with their floppy ears and big eyes it's easy to get a reaction with one as your subject. Same as with donkeys.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Patchwork Rabbit No 2

Yesterday winter returned in full force so it was a cold morning at Otane Arts and Crafts. I fully intended to finish my patchwork painting but didn't get much done at all. Instead I put my head down today and finished the work half an hour ago. "Patchwork Rabbit No 2" is in acrylic and on gallery wrapped canvas so the pattern continues round the side. It is four inches square. I am entering this and my tiger head painting (this blog's avatar) for selection for the mini exhibition at Electra Gallery next week.

On the way home from art group Gaye, her two grandsons Alex and Nicholas and I stopped off to visit her friend Esther who has a beautiful property outside Waipawa. After a cup of tea in a sunroom looking down over a beautiful English style garden we went down to visit Esther's three alpacas, Thucis, Winter and Pollonius. I used up nearly an entire roll of film on these honeys as they were so beautiful with their huge eyes and long eyelashes. Thucis is a white Suri Alpaca so looks like he has dreadlocks all over his body while Winter was a fluffy white beast and Pollonius a chocolate Alpaca. I fell in love with the Suri and when he came over and bent his head down I bent mine only to have a soft kiss planted on my lips. Tasted most definitely grassy! Yes I am in love with this fibre breed. Ah to have some spare cash......

Speaking of Electra I received my hardcopy of the newsletter plus my cheque for "Two's Company" (the donkey painting I sold at The Festival last month) this afternoon in the mail. Will be able to pay a bill or two which is always good news. I also have two books to review, one in PDF file which is a pain as I hate reading at the computer, and the other a vibrant art book about Dean Buchanan. I have a couple of piles of books to get through at the moment which is my idea of heaven.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Our model for portraiture on Friday was a teenager called Paul. He was a friend of Kate's son so we collected him on our way to class. He came along with a magazine and his Ipod to keep him occupied and did a good job keeping still over the two hour session. Unlike the previous models who were shy about looking at our work Paul would frequently walk round the room to see what we'd done. This portrait was his favourite out of mine.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Good Luck Comes In Threes

Usually I say that about bad luck and deaths but yesterday good luck paid me a visit three times! At Otane Arts Kevin Annan from Electra Gallery came along and gave a two hour talk about what makes a good painting and critiqued works people were brave enough to show. It was fascinating to hear him pick out a picture's weaknesses but also show how it can be saved by either cropping or chopping into smaller works. Jacqueline was sitting next to me and she took my Autumn lady up. When he placed it on the easel I wished the earth would swallow me up as he paused to give his opinion. He loved her. He went on and on about my using complimentary colours, her serene look, the light source being right etc etc. Then he asked people what they thought she was thinking and the answers were so different. Tom said she looked like an Art Deco lady and I replied that was exactly what my tutor had said. Kevin then said it was a really good painting and mentioned my donkey one that had sold at the Festival earlier this month. He said it was a beautiful work and they could have sold it many times over. By the time he'd finished I was shaking.

Jacqueline had asked me to bring along some of my jewellery but of course I hadn't had time to make any so I brought along my sample sheet, one pendant and my own cat brooch. She brought Kevin over to look and he said to bring samples along for the management team to look at as they would probably sell them in the gallery. He particularly liked the brooch with the poem- he said it isn't often art makes you smile! Jacqueline was almost purring after he left as she thought he would like them.

I had also brought along my patchwork paintings and cards for Donna to see. She loved them and suggested we drive over to Waipukurau after lunch to talk to her friend Claire Moore. Glenys said she didn't have to go home early so after a quick lunch we all headed out into the cold. Claire at Quilt Works loved the paintings and took four to sell on commission for me. She bought the cards outright and has ordered more. On the way home Glenys ordered some from me as well for her daughter.

And as if that wasn't enough good news later that day I received a letter from The Learning Connexion to say that my painting "Hippie Cat No 2" had sold in the students end of term exhibition a couple of weeks ago. I am totally thrilled.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hands Down (or nearly there)

Ten artists turned up for portraiture class at Otane yesterday morning. Our model was an older gentleman dressed in a red plaid shirt cinched at the waist with a belt, trousers tucked into boots and a white beard that made him look like Father Christmas. As usual we began with two minute gestural drawings to warm us up before beginning on longer poses where he sat down.

After beginning with charcoal I switched as per usual to pencil which allows me to include more detailing. These drawings are my better attempts. After morning tea the model lay down on the platform. Glenys and I moved from our positions as where we were viewing from the foreshortening was beyond belief and my current abilities. Even so I was left with a back view which included the hand placed in a difficult position. After two attempts I actually felt a hot wave of panic wash over me which the others recognised as a panic attack (very embarrassing). Donna came and stood by me and gave me some advice but said I was doing really well which settled my fears enough to finish the drawing and get the hand right.

My last drawing was executed quickly. When Donna and Helen saw it they were very complimentary and could not pick out any way I could improve it with Helen writing "confident line" on the paper. Glenys and I talked excitedly about the session all the way home and agreed how much we love the art days we spend at Otane and how much they help us with our work.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Things Are Beginning To Move

Got up early to finish a ginger cat brooch for a lady at Otane Arts. Gaye and I drove down to Waipawa and as usual the time passed very quickly as we talked about anything and everything. Had taken a new canvas to work on this time- a continuation in my patchwork animals series. Donna the art teacher was very interested in what I was doing so I showed her my business card which has two finished works illustrated. She said she had a friend who owned a quilting shop in Waipukurau and she would ask if she would be interested in selling them for me.

Jacqueline the second in command in the group sat next to me working on a watercolour of magnolias while Glenys stood to my left working on a new landscape. Jacqueline was intrigued with the brooch I had painted and suggested that Electra Gallery might be interested in selling them as well as my pendants and painted rocks. She offered to take samples in for Kevin Annan to look at.

There was an unofficial meeting at 11.30am at which nominations for the new committee were put forward. Jacqueline will be leader and Glenys the deputy from February next year. Tom, a gentle man in his 80s who has only been painting for the past few years suddenly said "I think it's time to recruit more men" to which I replied "I think that every day Tom!" Everyone cracked up. Marie announced a mini exhibition of Otane Art Group work will be held at Electra in October plus all the groups will be holding an open day at Otane on November 3rd and 4th. Donna suggested that I sell my jewellery and cards then as people are looking for small items for gifts. Later in the meeting there was talk of a life drawing workshop being held in February.

I had only just arrived home when there was a call from Donna to say her friend in Waipuk is definitely interested in my patchwork art and that perhaps we could go see her next Wednesday. I couldn't believe how she got onto it all so quickly! Also an email from my tutor at TLC in response to my selling a painting at Pukeora. She says I should be charging $20 an hour plus materials for my work so looks like I am not charging enough. I have to wonder though if people would really be willing to pay over the odds for my artwork.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Going Dotty Again

I received three of my Four Seasons paintings back from The Learning Connexion earlier this week and this turned out to be my tutor's favourite one. "Autumn" was done in the pointillist style (I wrecked a perfectly good brush too) and shows the poplar trees and smoke tree leaves from my previous rental property framing a model from our life drawing DVD. Irene has suggested I should follow this style a bit further as did Donna at Otane when she saw it. I never can seem to escape those dots.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Paper Mulberry and Farewell Tony Soprano

Kate picked me up for portraiture class at just after nine but we had a slow trip as she had a trailer load of hay she was going to deliver after class to Hastings. A nice Scottish girl for model who chatted away with some of the artists while she posed. I did two pencil drawings I was happy with in the end.
I seem to do better when I use pencil although note to self- remember to take a pencil sharpener. I am getting much more confident with practise although my drawings seem so faint compared with the others'. The morning flew by and I barely felt my shoulders protesting at working at an easel.

At midday we drove down to the Paper Mulberry at Pukehou- a blue renovated church housing a cafe/gallery. Martina had just finished hanging seven of her paintings for sale as she's featured there for a month. They looked great as they were mainly floral pictures and the walls were a pretty Wedgwood blue which set them off.

For lunch I had a Greek filo (very light pastry filled with veggies), citrus slice and a mug of hot chocolate with complimentary chocolate fish. There were eleven of us there so much discussion about arty political subjects. Funnily enough I was seated at the end of the table between Helen and Jacqueline (second in command of the art group) and as a polite conversation opener mentioned to Helen that my aunt lives in the same street in Waipukurau as she does. She asked her name and it turned out we're related as Helen is connected to the Ross's and the Sidwells as my mother's family are. I think we're cousins several times removed. Helen used to visit my grandparents on their farm at Wimbledon as a child and knew them well. Totally uncanny.

Coming home I needed a rest so watched the final ever episode of The Sopranos that I had taped the night before. At first I felt cheated and confused at such an abrupt ending but then it made sense that Tony was probably shot which is why the last scene was mainly from his point of view and why it suddenly went black and silent. David Chase always takes risks and some of them seem obscure but it was a fitting end to the series. I'm the only one amongst my family and friends that even watched the programme and thought it any good so it's been a lonely seven years.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Missing Muse

I can't believe how quickly the weeks are flying by. I don't feel I get much done during the day at all. Highlight this week was of course art class on Wednesday. I went with Glenys and we got there early so were able to talk with Helen about Pukeora. Apparently around 26 paintings were sold or a quarter of the exhibition which was good although down from last year due to the drought impacting on the incomes of the farming community who usually support this event.

I had taken along my four seasons paintings including the last one I'm working on. The autumn portrait was the favourite with everyone and Donna has suggested I develop this style in other works. She had ordered a brooch from me last week and I found an interesting stone with bumps that lent themselves well to a cat form. While I was there Colleen turned up to collect her cat brooch and was so pleased that she has ordered another one. They all seem to like the poem that I sell with these so I'm glad I did it.

I wish I could write more poetry but since Dad died five years ago my ability has completely dried up apart from the Feline Doggerel I wrote for the brooches. I should take a leaf out of Helen's book who gets up at 4am every morning and meditates. Perhaps that would kick start the muse again.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Another Friday Class

I went to portraiture on Friday with Kate my neighbour from down the road. We had a very interesting conversation on the way there encompassing spiders and other residents down my road. Just as we pulled into Otane Kate told me she had started The Learning Connexion Diploma earlier this year. I can't believe that I have another student living only a couple of kms from me. She skipped the Foundation level and went straight into the stage above which meant she was able to tell me what's coming up for me next term.

Only six artists turned up for portraiture this week. The model was a young Japanese woman who has been working on an orchard near Tikokino. Very pretty, lithe and with the most delicate hands. After a couple of quick gestural drawings we went into longer ones only broken by morning tea (which included delicious chocolate cake this week). On Helen's advice I had taken along my small table easel to work from and it had a dramatic effect on my work as it was easier to judge proportions while I was looking directly at my paper. I concentrated on perfecting hands this session by following Donna's instructions to treat them just as shapes. I was very happy with the pencil drawing I did just before the end although in true portraiture fashion I was brought back down to earth with my next one which was terrible. Working at the easel did prove tough on my shoulders though and I had to stop early.

It was very interesting to look at everyone else's work. Helen had gessoed paper and was working with diluted oil paint. Glenys who I sat next to was busy in charcoal and Betty was putting pastel around the edge of her pieces. I wish more people had been there to take the opportunity to draw the model who was so good. I hope they ask her back sometime.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Pukeora Festival

I had the most wonderful day at The Festival at Pukeora yesterday. My mind is buzzing with images and ideas.

It was a freezing morning with a dusting of snow on the foothills right at the back of my cottage so I bundled up in two jerseys, a scarf and gloves. Martina and Gaye arrived just before 10am and we reached Pukeora in half an hour. We were surprised as it was already very crowded with two coachloads of grumpy old women and so many cars we had to park half up on the footpath down the hill from the buildings. It is many years since I went there and it still feels like an institution with it's warren of corridors.

Martina's neighbour Viv had brought Martina's two children along and together we went into the big hall to see the exhibition. My little donkey painting was hung alongside a dog one (copied from wrapping paper apparently but very professional) and I had a giggle listening to some of the comments. Donkeys seem to make people giggle or go "awww" for some reason. The standard of art was high and there were a couple of pictures I would loved to have taken home. In particular one of three mosaic pots with orange and yellow zinnias and Nola Weber of Taradale had two gorgeous oils of pansies and deep red roses which you could almost eat.

Funny comments: two Havelock North-type women (impeccably coiffured and expensively dressed) observing a huge painting of iceberg roses "Yes it's so wonderfully balanced"."Yes it is wonderfully balanced, and the frame matches too!" Then from across the hall another woman "Yes I DO like it but it won't go with my curtains!"

We spent an hour looking at all the work with Martina making some pithy comments when I happened to turn to look at my painting and saw a red dot on the ticket. It had sold in the first hour! I sat in shock in front of it and actually got a bit shaky when a lady came up behind me and asked if I was "the artist". She then told me she had been going to buy it, actually had her chequebook in her hand. Then Donna the art teacher who was manning the payment booth came and asked me to meet the buyer. He was a very nice middle-aged gentleman who apparently collects original art.

After that surprise we decided to get some lunch. We went to one cafe which was freezing, fought our way through the crowds to another one which the kids weren't happy about as it mainly had sweets not hot dishes, then back to the original cafe where the kids said they didn't like the food. After getting hopelessly lost in the many corridors filled with rooms belonging to the previous "residents" (first TB patients and then the unwanted disabled residents of Hawkes Bay) which were occupied by stalls we arrived outside and found the Potato Man. Gaye told me she was shouting me lunch and we both got vegetarian stuffed spuds, mine with ratatouille (no real rats involved). We then wended our way back through the crowds and sat at a sunny table in a porch overlooking the farmland down below.

After eating a little of their potatoes the kids stated they were full although they could manage something sweet if their mother would queue at the cafe and buy them something! Martina and I were steadily ploughing our way through the biggest potatoes Hawkes Bay had to offer and by the time we finished we couldn't face anything else. However Gaye joined the line for half an hour and a waitress returned with coffee for three and a hot chocolate for myself.

After lunch I lost everyone and found myself wandering down the corridors looking at beautiful ethnic skirts I couldn't afford. Then I came upon Waddle Inn's room by Kim Priest wasn't there, instead it was a lady called Esther who is a friend of Gaye's and Gina's. She managed to sell me 160 gms of beautiful mauve dyed alpaca to spin. I told her Kim sells my cards and jewellery and she suddenly realised who I was. Long story short she is coming out here to teach me to knit.

I finally found Gaye back at the exhibition hall when a familiar face passed by and said hi. I had met this lady at the Creative Fibre Festival last year. Turns out she is Yvonne Monk whom everyone has been telling me about since I moved here. She pulled out photos of her alpacas has invited me out to her farm for a visit.

We were just about to leave when a tall man walked up to me. Turned out to be Kevin Annan who runs Electra Gallery and also selected the work for the exhibition. He told me I did beautiful work and to send more into him and he would sell it in the gallery. By this stage I was a shivering wreck but couldn't believe how everything had worked out that day. The best part- sharing it all with my new friends.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


"Two's Company" has been accepted for The Festival exhibition. I am shocked as I thought it was too small. Five of us from the Otane art group were accepted which was very good considering that of the 180 works submitted half were rejected. Helen tells me that the whole exhibition is very professional and the standard high so I'm looking forward to seeing it today at the opening.

Gaye picked me up for art and we had a highly enjoyable trip there and back. We spoke of reincarnation, psychic dreams and poetry. I've never met anyone who has been so interested in my writing before. It has given me a lift I didn't expect.

I took the little calico cat brooch I'd painted as Colleen (a busy lady involved with multiple charities but who pops in for a chat with the group nearly every week) had said she wanted to buy it. We arrived dead on time at 10am but she'd already left the money so Marie left the brooch packet on a side table. This meant that my "Feline Doggeral" poem was read by nearly everyone throughout the day and Donna ordered a brooch for her daughter who is a vet in America.

I worked on my spring painting in The Four Seasons series. I had drawn it in roughly on the canvas the day before and was concentrating on painting the background. I cannot make the light teal that I achieved with the pastel drawing. It either comes out silage green or else a deep wedgewood blue which I actually like. After putting two solid glazes on I changed tack and am flicking paint lightly over the surface to imitate pastel strokes. Donna looked at my work which worried me as I thought the nude was not such a great one but she thought it looked good and was very interested in the process we were told to go through to arrive at the composition.

Betty is a local farmer/artist who has been working on a large painting of sheep and farmdogs in a yard. One of the sheep is sighted back on and there was much debate on how to improve this. At one point five people were clustered around the easel talking about it. As I left I said that if anyone asked me what I'd done that day I'd say I'd watched people discussing a sheep's bottom! Fortunately they found this funny.

Later that day I received an email from Irene to say my folder reached TLC safely and she was taking my work to a tutors' meeting today. She'd also passed Hippie Cat No 2 onto the exhibition organiser. I sincerely hope I have Irene as my tutor throughout stage two of my diploma. I have just gelled with her so well.

Finally here is a closeup of the camellia bush at the head of my drive. It has been a delight most of the winter. If you have camellias and roses you can be sure of colour in your garden all the year.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ups and Downs

I have been painting like crazy to get my hours up for my end of academic year review for TLC. The cut off date for folders for this is the 7th September (Friday) so I need to get mine away this morning. It has been a frantic few days.

I received my paintings back from Auckland today. Not one sold at the "Off The Brush" exhibition although eight business cards were taken (from the second batch). I can't understand it as the work is not bad and the paintings were priced cheaply. Anyway I'm sending one of them down to the end of term students' exhibition at TLC today so fingers crossed.

I am also sending a pendant to the US. A commissioned piece for a lady who lost her much loved dog recently. Hopefully she'll like it.

I haven't heard if "Two's Company" has been accepted to The Festival exhibition but it has been featured as artwork of the month on the Zenafterhours group homepage.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

First Portraiture Class

As usual I was running around like a hairy goat just a few minutes before Glenys arrived to take me to portraiture. Holding the donkey painting in one hand so it could dry in the sun as I'd just varnished it while collecting charcoal and pencils to take along to the class. After I gathered everything together I waited outside in the sun for Glenys but only had to sit there a minute as she arrived just before 9am.

We were the first people there apart from Helen who was setting up the room. It was good just to absorb the atmosphere before everyone arrived. About nine people came including a lady who lives down my road but whom I'd yet to meet. The class began at 10am with Helen providing a couple of poses for quick 2 minute gestural drawings. I started in charcoal as I find this loosens up my technique although I find it awkward for doing hands and features. The official model was a young woman with her ten week old baby. We began with a few quick gesture drawings before settling in for 10 minute poses. At 10.45am we broke for morning tea (chocolate biscuits!) so I sat and chatted with Martina about how she finds living in NZ compared to Germany.

After the mid morning break the baby posed with her Mum. Apart from spitting the dummy (literally) on the floor she was perfectly behaved and just watched her Dad who was standing behind me. I had chosen the hardest place to sketch from (directly in front of the model) so had some difficulties to overcome. My best sketch was a 20 minute one in pencil which actually resembled the mother to my surprise. Donna the art teacher came along afterwards and corrected a few things (shoulders not wide enough, baby too adult looking, hands as usual my bugbear) but said I'd done well which gave me a burst of confidence. I now feel I can achieve my goal of painting the human form if I just keep practising.

I had taken my donkey painting along and after I wrapped it up Martina offered to take it with her two works to Pukeora on Monday for the selection process. Donna felt that it was a very saleable picture so I hope it's accepted for the exhibition.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Two's Company

Art group this week was enjoyable as usual and with it being a spring like day approximately 20 people turned up to paint. Gina and I didn't leave Otane until 2.30pm as she was trying to get alot of work done on paintings she is taking to Germany as gifts next Monday. I completed three more hours on my donkey painting and then helped Martina wash the dishes. We changed our date to go to Pukeora until Thursday the 6th which is the opening of The Festival as that way we can see the exhibition all set up (and hopefully our paintings will have been accepted). However this meant that I needed to get my painting finished by today so I could send it in for selection on Monday. I worked like a trojan all yesterday and have it finished apart from putting on the D rings. Then Glenys rang and offered to take me to portrait class at Otane this morning so I will take "Two's Company" along and ask Martina if she'd take it with her paintings on Monday as I don't trust NZ Post to deliver it safely.

Also missed a phone call from my TLC tutor reminding me my review is in two weeks and I have 60 hours of drawing to complete. Yikes! I have to get my folio down to Wellington by next Friday so looks like I'll be painting like crazy for the next few days.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lunar Magic

Managed to see the lunar eclipse last night (the first total eclipse in NZ for seven years) but didn't bother to stay up to see the moon turn red. We didn't think we'd see the eclipse here in Hawkes Bay due to clouds but these dispersed and the moon shone down in all its glory. Not that I sat in rapt admiration the whole time- no I just peeked out the blinds periodically while watching the series final of Ugly Betty.

The moon madness must have taken effect on some Trademe bidders last night as there was frantic bidding in the final half hour of the Patchworks auction with the piece finally finishing at $3,310.00! Today is the final day in the "Off The Brush" exhibition at the Bruce Mason Centre. I have no idea if I've sold anything at all.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Groaning Poet

I was going through some papers and found an ink drawing I did for The Young Theosophist magazine several years ago. It's funny how you can look back at work you did over twelve years ago and think it's better than some of the art you do now.

My arms feel as if they're about to drop off as I struggle to finish the pointillist painting I'm doing for TLC. I am having difficulty obtaining a lightish green for the grass without making the picture too yellowy. I need to resolve that issue today so I can get onto another part of the painting as I still have one more of the four seasons to complete. At night I lie on the sofa and groan with pain- I'll never know how Frida Kahlo completed such large works when her spine was so agonizing. I don't have the excuse of a horrific accident for my misery, just incompetent medical treatment in my teens aggravating an existing condition.

Between drifting off to noddy land and feeling sorry for myself last night I was awoken from my self absorption by the phone ringing at 8.30pm. It was an apologetic Gaye, my landlady's mother in law, who had just finished reading "At the End Of A Golden Afternoon" for the third time. She was calling to ask if she could illustrate some of the poems as they had touched her so much. Gaye mentioned she hasn't felt this excited since she was thirty when she was illustrating The Lord of the Rings for her own pleasure. I was thrilled that she felt this way, especially as she just lost her husband a few short weeks ago.

I am going in to see her after art group next Wednesday as she wants to buy her own copy of the book plus I said I would give her some more recent poems to look at. I just wish I were still writing poetry but really it's one form of creativity where I do need to be inspired and all that left when Dad died on Sept 1st 2002 (Father's Day).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lunch At Abbottslee

Yesterday morning dawned grey and chilly so it was quite a feat to get up early to go to Otane. This time however I remembered to take my reference photo to work from although in the event I chatted that much to Glenys who was sitting next to me that I got very little done. Gina picked me up at 9.30am accompanied by Gaye her mother in law (and my landlady's) who lives down the end of my road. Gaye is a wonderful artist although she kept this fact quiet when I first met her in March.

Around 16 people turned up to the art group. I was lucky to get last week's position at a table with my back to the sun. Glenys was working on drawings to my left and Martina on her rose painting on an easel to my right.

We knew that our painting time was limited as we were going to lunch at 12 in Waipawa. That didn't stop the chat until Marie who runs the group reminded us that we would need to leave at 11.45am to reach the tearooms (by then it was 11.05am). The room went deathly quiet as everyone guiltily resumed their work.

Tom has finally finished his wonderful fishing boats painting that he has been working on for weeks. I have been amazed at how he transformed a black and white photo he took 50 years ago into a finely detailed colour painting. He was kind enough to take a photo so my brother Richard (an ex fisherman) could see it.

There was quite a bit of discussion about The Festival at Pukeora in Waipukurau which we're preparing work for. Martina is very nervous about entering her paintings and asked how I was going to get mine there on the 3rd. When I told her I would post it she said no she couldn't allow that, she would pick me up and we'd go to Waipukurau together. She lives twenty minutes away from me in Onga Onga (the historic village) in a house truck. I couldn't believe her kindness.

At 11.45am we put our supplies away and Gina, Gaye and I drove the back route into Waipawa. We took a brief detour as she wanted to show where her friend lives on a lifestyle block and I was totally astonished to see it was the block my parents had looked at about 12 years ago. It's mightily changed now as there has been alot of subdivision work going on around it.

We arrived at Abbottslee Tearooms just as the sun disappeared behind ominous looking clouds. Abbottslee is a Waipawa landmark being a beautiful old white house with traditional wrap around verandas, amazing woodwork and 12 foot high ceilings. It is set like a jewel in sweeping grounds full of old fashioned flowers. The lady in charge of the buffet helped me select vegetarian dishes and I ended up with two roast spuds, mashed carrot and parsnip with macaroni and cheese. I also had to get a large slice of chocolate cake. All that with a cup of tea came to just $11!

We went into the large dining room (we worked out three rooms had been knocked into one) and after Gina made them rearrange the furniture so we could all sit together we had an animated chat with Betty (a very interesting artist who lives on a farm near me) plus the tutor from the US, Donna Dahm, who was telling us about her trip to Antarctica. The air was scented with the rich smell of the daphne flowers that were displayed on nearly every table.

On the way home Gaye invited us in for a quick cup of tea. I had the pleasure of meeting Gina's donkey Yersef (I have got the spelling wrong I'm sure) and her two pet sheep that she grazes on Gaye's small block of land. Gaye lent me seven spiritual books (yes have met yet another kindred spirit here) to go along with the 11 library books I checked out on Tuesday. We sat in front of the heater with Gina's two ginger cats for a while before braving the cold again. I got home at 3pm and rushed around feeding everyone so I could hunker down inside. I was so tired in the evening that I fell asleep for an hour but this lovely day took my mind of losing Piper and recharged my batteries again.