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.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

NZ Art Guild Collaborative Project "PatchWorks"

The NZ Art Guild's "Patchworks" project is now up for auction on Trademe. In just over twenty four hours it has reached just over $1,000 and there are nine days left. Here is the blurb for the piece:

"The NZ Art Guild are proud to present another NZ first - their 2007 Collaborative Project "PatchWorks". Its on display at the NZAG exhibition "Off the Brush" on now at the Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland.

Aptly named "PatchWorks", this awe-inspiring artwork has been created by 100 individual canvas patches, 88 of which are hand painted by 66 NZ artists from across the country. Sewn together in a coloured pattern, the result is a uniquely original single artwork, in the form of patchwork quilt. Inspired by the word "Soul", each artwork is a slice of imagination from the souls of each of the artists.

Size Approx 1.5mx1.5m. Buyer will get hanging rod/brackets, an artists list, certificate of authenticity & informational story.

Artists :
1 S Marino, 2 R Burrell, 3 R van der Werff, 4 R Dredge, 5 B Ofe-Grant, 6 S Ann Burger, 7 C Tomokino, 8 A Mollekin, 9 R Dredge, 10 S Elise, 11 T Dangen, 12 A Maier, 13 J Sargeant, 14 M Marshall, 15 M Davies, 16 P Shepherd, 17 J Dungan, 18 S Meikle, 19 L Bodsworth, 20 N Shackleton, 21 S Elise, 22 S Green, 23 N Morgan, 24 T Verrant, 25 A Laby, 26 B Bateman, 27 M Marshall, 28 F Woods, 29 E Dexter, 30 J Clements, 31 C Winterburn, 32 A Elliot, 33 S Marino, 34 E Husselmann, 35 J Clements, 36 K Black, 37 T Eyre, 38 T Stringer, 39 E Husselmann, 40 D Steel, 41 RifRaf, 42 C Dempster, 43 A Morris, 44 N Makeef, 45 T Birks, 46 B Bateman, 47 D Morgan, 48 S Van Soest, 49 B Ofe-Grant, 50 I Boot, 51 A Marino, 52 C Outwin, 53 L Morrison, 54 L Carew, 55 A Mitchell, 56 L Bodsworth, 57 L Ormsby, 58 L Brook, 59 L Tildsley, 60 M Wrigley, 61 K Black, 62 M Faithful, 63 L Brook, 64 S Elise, 65 T Rodger, 66 R Turk, 67 T Dann, 68 T Davies, 69 T Maruthamutha, 70 T Cretney, 71 A Mitchell, 72 P Mayos, 73 J Longshaw, 74 E Wenman, 75 L Tildsley, 76 M Manson, 77 A Marino, 78 L Hurring, 79 A Marino, 80 T Dann, 81 A Cass, 82 L Carew, 83 A Mollekin, 84 P Shepherd, 85 T Stringer, 86 D Steel, 87 D Gracie, 88 D Price-Ewen"

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bad Memory

I thought I was extremely organised for art yesterday morning. Had my lunch cut, my paints and canvas all ready in my bag and was sitting by the fire reading waiting for my ride 15 minutes before she was due to arrive. However when I arrived at Otane I found I'd stupidly left my reference photo at home! I spent five minutes kicking myself but then carried on with finishing painting the background which is plain white anyway and began work on another cat brooch.

Today it's freezing and I'm wearing two jerseys. Can't even see the ranges for low cloud but assume it's snowing up there. Good painting weather if you don't fall asleep on the sofa clutching a hottie (a hotwater bottle, not Johnny Depp!)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Trials Of The Female Creator

Put a donkey pendant up on Trademe Friday evening. It had three watchers by Saturday morning but sold with my buy now last night which I am really happy about as I'd put the price up. Have to finish a tiger pendant to take down to Otane for a buyer tomorrow plus have an order for a dog one for someone in the US to be done by next week. Wish it were like this all the time!

Have begun work on the winter painting in the four seasons series. Completed the sky with a palette knife Sunday and am currently working on the body with pointillism and hope to get that finished this morning. Looks a bit corpse like in colouring at the moment so need to warm up the colours.

I have found a way to get housework done plus find time for creating. After breakfast I allow myself until 9am to do any chores. After that no more apart from looking after the animals until the evening when I wash the dishes. No wonder women don't make as much art as men- maybe we would if we had a wife and didn't have to do everything ourselves. I am in a more enviable position than most as I don't have a husband and children to look after which would tear at my loyalties even more. I can leave paintings propped up on the piano, on the mantelpiece, books piled on the armchairs etc. without worrying so I can pick up wherever I left off. Most women don't have that luxury unless they have their own studio which most can't afford to anyway. It's tough being the superior sex! ;o)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Dear Merilyn

Yesterday I finished an amazing book called Dear Merilyn by Barbra Leslie, an Australian artist who must have led one of the most eventful/traumatic lives I've ever known. Growing up in a typical Aussie family her life changed completely when she was sexually abused by the school gardener when she was five. Although the man went to jail her family hushed up the incident and never spoke of it to her which led to major emotional trauma later on. A few years later an accident when she was twelve (a motorbike knocked her off her bike) led to a life time of severe back pain. Her teens were spent in rebelliousness and a backyard abortion at age 19 led to years of mental anguish from guilt. Add into the mix an abusive marriage and relationships with some of the most drop kick idiots in Australia it's a wonder the woman survived.

Well she did although she had to go through some major upheavals before she came out the other end. Yes there's more- she lost everything to two bush fires so have to start again with nothing, she had a breakdown when she was 29, her youngest son was severely traumatised by the breakup from her abusive husband, plus there was constant illness, pain and poverty ala Frida Kahlo.

Despite all this Leslie never sees herself as a victim. Instead she writes movingly of her joy in her art, in nature and in her friends. It is a great record of the struggles a working artist goes through with galleries, with exploring new themes in their work, in trying to make sense of it all. The book is also illustrated with a great selection of Leslie's art so that you realise this is a woman of great talent and passion who has been literally been burnt in the fire of life but has come out stronger than before. The book is actually searing and scorching. It's not a comfortable read but it is a compulsive one.

As for me I have finally finished the Summer painting in the four seasons series for TLC. I have found I enjoy working with a palette knife, for the textures I can build up and the effects I can make by mixing colours directly on the canvas. Unfortunately the picture is too big for me to fit on my scanner so I'll have to wait to get a photo of it before posting it here.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Evil Emporium and Killer Turps

There is an evil shop in Napier- an emporium full of different items at bargain prices including a vast range of canvases and other art supplies. This is where I buy my paintbrushes as the same brand in other shops are four times the price. The shop is evil because it exerts some mysterious power over hopeless individuals like myself and you end up spending much more than you intended. On Tuesday I only wanted to replenish my brush supply but I ended coming out with more canvases and glass sparkly things which I sometimes use in decorating frames. I overspent when I have so many other bills so my pleasure was a guilty one. However I managed to justify my purchases by thinking I would paint up a storm and sell the resulting paintings. Yeah right!

Yesterday morning was painting at Otane Arts and Crafts. I began a new work which I want to submit for the Pukeora Extravaganza Exhibition in September. It costs $10 per painting to enter and there is a selection process so my picture may not even get in. It's a painting of a mother donkey nuzzling her baby and I am calling it "Two's Company". I did two hours work blocking the main shapes in which was great for me, the Queen of Procrastination and Excuses.

However the smell of turps in the art room was so overpowering that two artists had to work elsewhere which wasn't great as it was freezing. The lady in charge of the group asked who had the smelly turps, two artists said theirs was deodorised and a third oil painter said nothing but I noticed the smell went when she left early before lunch.

In the middle of the night I woke up feeling really ill. Alot of muck running down my throat which I couldn't clear, this morning I feel quite wobbly and unwell so am wondering if it was the effect of the turps. I know sitting in the room with the smell my sinuses and chest began to burn.

One shocking thing happened in the class. One lady had done a lovely painting of teddy bears which I admired as it sat on her easel. Then I saw her take it down and begin pouring liquid over the canvas before wiping the whole picture off! Everyone was appalled but she didn't like the picture and never wastes time correcting them preferring to wipe the canvas clean and begin again to prevent overworking. I told her that when my paintings go wrong I palm them off on my family and they have to suffer living with them instead!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

HB Today Article and Card Theft

Was given a copy of the HB Today article yesterday. A better photo where I look half human although my name was still wrong. A really nice write up though.

Heard Saturday that all the Guild members' business cards from the exhibition were found dumped 10kms outside Whangamata Saturday. Obviously some moron with too much time on his hands thought it would be funny to do that. Have made more cards to mail up there today but still pretty annoyed about it. Hope they find out who the culprit is when they view the security video.

Otherwise spend three days compiling the winter newsletter for the EDS Foundation. Spent most of Sunday photocopying it (till 9pm) then yesterday morning addressing envelopes before stapling all the copies and stuffing envelopes sitting on the floor till 9pm (again). Have a huge box full of mail to get rid of this morning which will be one more thing off my guilt list. Now I can get back to painting.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Off The Brush Opening Night

Three friends have rung to say an extended version of the CWI report with a much longer write up on my work and background was published in Hawkes Bay Today Thursday. Much better photo as well thank goodness.

Had a very enjoyable time down at Otane Arts and Crafts Wednesday. Temperatures were much milder this week so we were able to work with the windows open plus eat our lunch out the front in the sun. I nearly completed a tiger pendant I am making for an order- would have done so if I didn't keep yakking to everyone! I can't believe how quickly time flies when you're there. Also great to talk to like minded people (or "kindred spirits" as Anne of Green Gables would put it) who know all about the joys of procrastination. I really thought it was just a case of me being lazy.

The NZ Art Guild Exhibition "Off The Brush) opened Thursday night with approximately 100 people (including the Mayor of the North Shore) attending. The paintings were displayed extremely professionally (I will resist the urge to say they were well hung)and Toni made a great job of putting mine up (bottom left).

The Patchwork painting we'd all contributed to was unveiled and got a great reaction. It will be auctioned on Trademe from the 18th August. My patch is second row from the bottom, fourth from the left. The two organisers of the exhibition sewed 140 patches together and I think did an amazing job.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hanging Day and Shock Pic

Today is the hanging day for the "Off The Brush" exhibition at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland. I sent my six paintings up to my adopter Toni Eyre along with picture hooks, hanging plan and 40 business cards. Toni is going to hang them today and will also return any unsold works after the exhibition's end later this month.

Also got a hell of a shock when I opened the Central Hawkes Bay Mail yesterday afternoon and saw a picture of me at the Tikokino CWI meeting where I spoke early last month. Boy I wish I'd been smiling and had a hair cut!