Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Queen Of The Night and Tiger Eye

I stayed up until 10pm Monday night (that's late for me) finishing two more paintings for The New Zealand Art Guild's Annual Member Exhibition "Make It Memorable" to be held at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland next month. I've been working on "Tiger Eye" since before I moved. Couldn't quite get enthused as the canvas shape made the painting quite difficult to execute, especially as there were three sides apart from the front to think about. However I kept plodding on and managed to get it finished.

"Queen Of The Night" is an experiment as it is the first time I have included crystal beads in my work. The cat is based on Gypsy who is a very noisy opinionated cat who always lets me know when she's around. She is so dark that unless you photograph her outside you only end up with two eyes looking out from a black blob. However she is also sleek and silky and looks like she'd dress up for a night on the tiles except I don't allow her outside after dark so she lives a very boring sedate existance instead.

Wednesday at art group I began work on two small paintings for my brother's birthday next week. Didn't get much done however as Glenys was back for the first time in three months and we spent most of the morning chatting.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Blue Nude

Woke up to an intense frost this morning. Apparently it was -9oC in Waipukurau first thing so goodness knows what it was up here near the ranges. However I didn't have time to concentrate on the cold too much as I scurried about preparing for life drawing.

Must say our model was very intrepid agreeing to strip off in the middle of winter but Helen had the art room well heated by the time Betty and I arrived at 9.30am. In fact it was so warm that after half an hour I had to take off one of my two jerseys! We worked on longer poses this time so I only completed four drawings but I was happy with them, especially the pastels. Taking on board advice from my TLC tutor I kept my strokes lively and didn't rub them into the paper especially since she told me that tends to make the form appear flat. I also tried a graphite and linseed oil portrait which worked well enough although I think that I will have to buy a softer graphite pencil in order to obtain the intense darks that Gine showed us at her workshop.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Graphite/Abstract Workshop

Yesterday Gine held a workshop at Otane. Firstly she taught us a new technique with graphite pencil and linseed oil. We drew an object (in my case a very strange seed head from an Australian tree which Gine lent me) with the graphite, shading in areas darkly before painting linseed oil over these areas and rubbing it in with a cloth. This caused the graphite to darken considerably and spread across the paper making for dramatic contrasts. After drawing the item realistically Gine told us to focus on just one area and draw that. Suddenly the object became a series of abstract shapes. For the past fortnight I have been watching DVDs of Stargate Atlantis which my brother lent me- I definitely think this may have influenced the sci fi feel of my second picture.

After we'd finished Gine had us lay our pictures together in the middle of the room while we stood and looked at everybody's efforts. The range of styles and the wonderful results were beyond anyone's expectations. By this time we were all fired up with enthusiasm.

The second part of the workshop Gine had us write down what art meant to us which we then read out aloud to the group. Some of the responses to this question were extremely moving and most were universal to all of us- the feeling of comaraderie we get from each other, the excitement of learning new things and of creating.

The final part of the workshop Gine provided us with textured card to work on along with items we'd brought from home. Our task was to create an abstract work based on our subject. I used small stones, lentils, rice and tissue paper to construct my work but too soon it was 2pm and time to leave so I never got my picture finished but brought it home to complete. The whole day flew by and I know the four hours we were there at the workshop were extremely constructive and inspiring.

Monday, June 16, 2008


An Otane patchworker sat for us at portraiture on Friday. We began with longer poses this time so I didn't get so many drawings completed but I was happy with what I did as I seemed to have improved on hands. Feet are another matter however! Strangely enough I felt an urge to return to charcoal this session when it's not a medium I usually work with.

I received my TLC folder back today with my tutor's DVD feedback. It was much better than I had hoped as she liked my self portraits and life drawings as well as my patchwork paintings. Carrie even mentioned how pleased she is that I'm moving out of my comfort zone. After the 21 minute film of her comments I felt a bit better about my work whereas yesterday I was having a down about it. Next time I am packing a sad I'll play that DVD again to keep me working.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Girl With A Hack Saw

I seem to have fluffed about a bit too much this past week although I did finally get a folder of work away to TLC as well as completing a gift for a friend's birthday (a small brooch fashioned after her deceased foxy "Fred").

At painting group at Otane I heard that I'd sold quite a few cards at the exhibition but unfortunately no paintings. Overall seven works sold for other people which is wonderful considering how bad the economy is at the moment. One of the painters suggested to me that I need to paint local landscapes if I want to sell and I have to admit he's right as CHB does tend to favour the traditional/rural painting rather than anything whimsical and out there (which I think sums me up!)

After art last Wednesday Gine, Gay and I went to see Glenys who is still unwell and not able to come to the group. We spent a lovely two hours with her in front of the fire and admired some of the pictures on her walls including a very old painting of Tikokino Church which apparently fell out from behind an old family photo. What a shame that the building was pulled down and replaced by a very boring concrete ediface that adds nothing to the area's charm. Glenys also has a book on Tikokino's history and Gine found a picture of my place in there. Apparently this farm originally belonged to the Matheson Family (after whom the road is named) but in the 1930s a combination of scrub and rabbit infestation forced them to walk off the land and the place remained unihavited until my landlord's father took the farm over in the 1950s.

Thursday was Gine's birthday and she invited me along to Pukehou to a woman's group that was holding a "Drawing With The Right Side Of Your Brain" workshop. Fourteen women attended and we partnered to draw portraits in white crayon without looking at the paper before covering it with dye and having a good laugh at the Picasso style monsters we'd drawn. Funnily enough I met the daughter in law of my mother's best friend while I was there. I had heard so much about Matilda over the years but had never met her. I told her how her mother in law was at boarding school with my mother and that they'd been friends for well over sixty years before Betty passed away a few years ago. Talk about a small world.

For lunch Gine and I went to the Paper Mulberry where we met her husband Gareth and five of her friends. We were there over two hours and enjoyed a lovely meal while Gine opened her presents before heading home in the late afternoon. This cafe is a great place to meet and has an array of interesting paintings and collectables for sale and is a firm favourite of ours.

Friday I went to portrait class, freezing in the old school room despite the fact that there were three heaters on. Our model was a beautiful looking lady who has Multiple Sclerosis so she couldn't stand for long periods of time. I really enjoyed drawing her though as she had such beautiful eyes.

And I have finally begun work on the marquette for my sculpture in Oamaru stone. I have a sunny place to work at the back of the house and spent half an hour trying to cut a small piece off the main stone so I can prepare a mock up of my larger piece in order to correct any mistakes. In 30 minutes I managed to cut three inches down into the stone but soon realised that this is going to be a larger job than I originally thought as I am just using a hack saw. I am also togged up in a scarf, shirt, safety goggles and dust mask which makes for steamy work. The chickens were mightily amused at the sight of me and even the cats fell about laughing.