Saturday, May 31, 2008

Out And About

Tuesday this week I finally went to Creative Hastings to see the Cats Copper and Car Parts exhibition. My painting was displayed right in the window so anyone passing by could see it from the footpath which was a thrill. Unfortunately no little red dot to say it had sold. There was such a variety of work displayed at the centre, pictures of cats made from car parts, car radiators painted and hung on the wall, copper abstract sculptures as well as traditional paintings.

Wednesday Gine arrived late at 9.30am but told me she'd been up until 5am working on her large Waikaremoana painting for the Otane Exhibition this weekend. When we got to the old school there were only a few people there putting last minute touches to the displays. There were two amazing jewellery sections,one with garden themed necklaces and earrings, and another with dicotic glass pendants. The building was quite cold so we were relieved to sit out on the front steps and have our lunch. Afterwards everyone left apart from five people, four of whom had decided to paint. As there were no trestle tables in the room we made do with the floor or in my case my knees. Gine managed to finish the edges of her large painting and get it hung before we left in the late afternoon.

Thursday was another early frosty start as we headed to Napier for our one on one mentoring. We collected Martina from the end of my road and within an hour had reached the city with just a few minutes to spare before our appointment. We had thought we would have an hour each but this had been cut down to half an hour so we decided that we would go in as a group. Although we had an interesting discussion there was no new ground covered at all and all we could think of was the petrol we'd wasted getting there.

We emerged at noon and Martina led us down the road to a German bakery so we could get some lunch. I was very good and resisted the chocolate goodies and bought a vegetarian roll with two types of cheese, lettuce and tomato. This held me until we got to Otane at 1.30pm in time for the opening of the exhibition.

Gine and Cedric had been asked to provide music so after the speeches they spent half an hour playing very lively folk music (Irish and Hungarian) while Otane Arts and Crafts members looked at the paintings and walked around the rooms to see the displays put on by the other groups. In the two hours the exhibit was open I sold six cards and the lady who made the dicotic jewellery made a number of sales and got several orders. I showed her the fish paua pendant I was wearing and she told me that she often has little pieces of glass left over from her jewellery making and suggested it might be of use to me. As the colours she uses are so vibrant and irridescent I hope that we can come to some sort of an arrangement. I got home at nearly 5pm and already it was getting dark and cold. I quickly rushed round feeding the animals before heading inside for an evening of nodding off on the sofa!

I read an article on a worldwide barter site in a country newspaper last weekend and decided to join the Hawkes Bay Branch. No money changes hands, instead you accumulate e dollars which you can use to barter for things you might need. I offered manure from the animals plus mentioned I made jewellery and painted. Within a couple of days I had a reply from someone wanting a couple of bags of manure. Yesterday afternoon the lady and her husband arrived to collect these and she also asked to see my paintings. I showed her my small portfolio and she asked for some photos to take away. It turned out she is a journalist and she suggested she write an article about me. She also liked my Patchwork Rabbit No 2 painting and bought it with e-dollars so I am hoping to find something on the site that I desperately need (ie. firewood)

We're due a few days rain this week so I hope I can get back to painting. I have finished a self portrait of myself for TLC and now have to complete a nude without using brushes. I also had the excitement of receiving some materials from school including good oil paints, impasto gel, gesso and modelling compound as well as boards to paint on and four larger canvases. It always feels like Christmas when parcels come from TLC- the greatest excitement in art is contemplating your materials before you wreck them with your artwork!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Final Workshops

Not much painting done again this week although I did do quite a bit of sketching at portrait class last Friday including this pastel on green which I did in twenty minutes. The model liked it which was gratifying for me as he poses for other artists and has seen alot better work than mine.

Over the weekend I tried to get a painting finished to submit for the Otane Queen's Birthday Weekend Exhibition but too much happened so I had to be content sending in three older pictures which have not been exhibited in Central Hawkes Bay: Hippy Cat No 3, Celtic Mandala and Horsewatching (I put a large price on this as I don't really want to sell it). I also sent in 48 cards and am hoping that these will go well so I can buy some firewood.

Monday was our third workshop in the Artists in Business series. I had been looking forward to this so much over the past fortnight, especially as the third session was about pricing. Found out that I am selling far to cheaply. Also discovered what I am doing wrong with selling, a common problem with creative types who tend to sell something cheaper if they don't like it or else point out all the mistakes to prospective buyers. I always thought that was modesty but in reality it's just stupid wearing a new hat.

Unfortunately we had to leave twenty minutes early on Monday so missed the talk on approaching galleries but Lani promised to spend an extra 30 minutes going over it after the fourth workshop. This was about taxes, something you don't really want to think about but have to face at some point. I was amazed at all the things I could be claiming on my tax return. Lani also gave us a much easier method to keep track of receipts rather than having them rot in the bottom of our shopping bags and purses. She also explained about GST which is still a pretty daunting prospect but I won't be put off with registering if my income (hopefully) rises to the threshold (she says hopefully).

The day just flew past so quickly and all too soon it was 1pm and people began leaving. Fortunately Lani agreed to revisit the galleries issue with seven of us and gave us a list of do's and don'ts to follow (making appointments, dressing well etc.) Gine later said how that was the best part of the whole series for her. I must say I was blown away by the level of talent that attended the sessions. So many gifted people who should be much more well known. I just hope some will keep in touch so we can keep the momentum going.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


The "Cats Copper and Car Parts" exhibition in which I entered a painting opened on the 13th May and runs to the end of the month. Finished some jewellery and sent it away to Katz Gallery- nearly died at the cost of the postage. A package that would normally cost $3.50 is now well over $6! NZ Post should be ashamed of such a price rise.

Wednesday at art group I began another cat painting. It's an experiment so have no idea how it will come out but I want to finish it in order to enter it in the Otane Exhibition which begins on the 29th May. However the painters are hanging the paintings next Wednesday so I will have to get a wriggle on in order to finish it. I am also entering my last Hippy Cat picture and perhaps my NZ Art Guild Awards entry although I may alter this slightly as I'm just not happy with it. I have also cards to sell.

While I was painting yesterday I began to get so fed up with my work. It doesn't seem as serious as everyone else's. I looked out some of my older work and was more inspired by that than what I'm doing now. To the left is a rose painting I did on a stone which was bought by a friend in California. The rose is the famous "Peace" that was bred during the Second World War. Roses are one of my favourite flowers but they're so difficult to paint!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Red Boots

Time flew at portraiture last week although my drawing seemed to deteriorate as the session wore on. I guess getting tired may have something to do with it. This week we were drawing the daughter in law of one of the ladies in the group. She was wearing a rather snazzy pair of red boots which I coveted greatly. At one point I found myself making a very careful pencil study of these instead of the woman wearing them.......

Jacqueline also reminded me about writing the newspaper piece about the group to advertise our exhibition at the end of this month. I managed to get this finished and emailed yesterday. I can't remember the last time I wrote an article- I know I've written very little since I've lived in Tikokino. Obviously I am extremely undisciplined.

I taped the film "Dangerous Liaisons" last night. I haven't seen this in years. I had forgotten how beautifully filmed it was- the 18th century costumes were utter confections. Although Glenn Close and John Malkovich did a good job as the poisonous pair who set about corrupting two women for their amusement I would have much preferred Alan Rickman in the lead role, especially since he played it on stage. He can let through a glimpse of vulnerability even at his most villainous. I thought Uma Thurman did a great job in one of her first roles though.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Artists In Business

I have not lifted a pencil for nearly a week apart from last week's portrait class drawing two young boys. However Gine, Martina and I did attend the Artists In Business Workshops held in Hastings on Monday morning. We arrived early at the venue in the freezing rain and found our way to the conference room where the event was to be held. I didn't know any of the other twelve artists there although I did recognise a couple of names. The facilitator of the workshops was Lani Morris, an artist herself with a business degree and experience in how to earn a living from creativity.

I have never attended workshops before so had little idea as to what went on in them. There was quite a bit of participation required the first day with the obligatory intro to the group which I found daunting. It was interesting to hear how so many other people had similar problems finding outlets for their work, deciding pricing and with being taken seriously. Lani didn't pull any punches and by the end of the day I had a completely different view of what I do and how it is perceived by the public.

The second workshop was held on Tuesday afternoon and concerned marketing. Lani had us brainstorming about what people need in their lives and how we can fulfill these needs with what we make. There was an emphasis on having a "bread and butter" line of items you basically churn out for the market which is separate from the fine art side you would send to a gallery. I have come to the realisation that my hand painted jewellery is my bread and butter line although Lani feels my small paintings could have a ready market as well.

Towards the end of the day we were told to buddy up with someone, tell them our goal for the next fortnight and they would help chivvy us along and visa versa. Gine suggested we three CHB people should work together as we see each other every week. My goal is to complete jewellery I have promised to both Waddle Inn and Katz Gallery to bring in some ready money. I have also offered to help Martina with a website for her work.

The afternoon went so quickly it was incredible. We were so inspired we talked all the way home. Just as well we kept occupied as poor Martina's car kept overheating and we had to stop to put water in. At 5pm we were sitting on the side of State Highway 50 with steam pouring out from the radiator. Several cars passed by and not one person stopped to help or see we were OK. So much for Central Hawkes Bay chivalry!

I didn't get home till 5.45pm so was busy feeding everyone in the dark. It proved a very long day but my head was still buzzing with ideas and I couldn't get to sleep until late. The next day I was so stiff I couldn't face going to painting so stayed at home huddling by the fire. I now have a good idea of what I want to portray in my art and how I want to sell it. Hopefully the next two workshops will clarify how to go about doing this.