Monday, August 18, 2008

A Profile of Otane Artists Exhibition

Glenys collected me just after 9am and we headed off to Hastings to help hang the Otane Painters' exhibition. By the time we arrived everyone was sitting having morning tea after unpacking paintings. There were nine of us there including Helen's husband Jack who made my two wonderful easels earlier this year.

Although there was some method to it (i.e. hanging artists alphabetically) towards the end there had to be a change as Gine and my small paintings which were meant to hang on pillars in the middle of the gallery had to be situated on the walls as the columns were concrete and unable to be nailed into. As usual with this gallery's system of tapes and hooks this meant the canvases tended to hang forwards which they never do on nails. Glenys, Helen and I managed to position mine with blue tack and I spent the rest of the day giving the pictures a whack whenever I went past to get them to stick to the walls as they seemed determined to make a break for freedom.

Sixteen Otane artists were exhibiting- a great number of landscapes and flower paintings but also some unusual ones such as Martina Magee's "Koru" and Gine's dot works. One of my favourites was Helen's oil of sheep bottoms. I call it that but it was actually a view from her house early one morning with the soft pink haze of the sunrise shining on the backs of a few sheep and across the typically dry long grass of early summer.

Jacqueline volunteered to go and buy lunch on our behalf. By that time I was passionately happy to see a vegetarian filled roll. In the middle of this a photographer from Hawkes Bay Today (newspaper) arrived. We all voted that Jacqueline and Betty have their photos taken with their work but I noticed he also went round and took shots of some of the other paintings so it will be interesting to see what else gets chosen to illustrate the article.

At the same time another exhibition called "He Tangata" with artists Te Aroha Tauroa and Karina Reti was being set up in the upper part of the gallery so there were quite a few people coming in and out. Their official opening was going to be at the same time as ours which would mean a greater crowd than we would normally expect.

After lunch nearly everyone left and I had a short time on my own when Jacqueline and Marie went to do some shopping. By the time they returned it was time for another cup of tea before we got spruced up for the 5pm opening. I was on door duty to get our guests to sign name tags. I spent just over an hour doing this before having a look round and something to eat. The Mayor of Central Hawkes Bay made a good speech opening both exhibitions and stayed right to the end, mingling with other guests and viewing the artwork. A few Otane Painters and partners turned up as well as family and friends although I must say none of mine did! Gine played violin for a while which really helped lift the mood although by the time everyone had a few wines there were a few mellow individuals anyway!

Unfortunately no paintings sold that night but hopefully the pupblicity we're getting from the media will help generate some interest. It would be good to sell something although one thing I have realised in these past months- everyone seems to want photo realistic landscapes and the larger the better. My little miniatures are just regarded as cute despite the fact that they might take just as long to paint as something larger.

After I got home at 8pm I did chores, heated up some vegetable soup and sat and thought about the evening. It was a great opening and all due credit must go to the ladies of the Otane group who work so hard and give so much of their time to keep everything going.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Cat Line

I am developing a new range of coloured cat jewellery and spent nearly three hours Tuesday afternoon completing the first of these- a brooch. Took it along to Otane the next day and it got a good reaction so will try some different colours and see how they sell.

Portraiture was a bit of a wash out for me as I just couldn't get into sketching for some reason. After two hours I had lunch with all the others and then spent two hours working on my entry for The Festival Exhibition at Pukeora next month. Afterwards Gine, Gay and I then headed to Waipukurau to look at art supplies.

This morning Chrissie from Workforce (who funded the Artists in Business Workshops in May) drove out to give me 90 minutes more coaching. At least I could tell her that I had made some progress in finding new markets. It was also helpful that she had notes from our last session as I had forgotten some of the outlets she'd suggested I approach with my work. It feels like such a long haul ahead sometimes but I have to keep plodding along.

Jacqueline had sent the small piece I'd written on Otane Painters to a few publications to advertise our exhibition and so far it has been published in Country Scene and the CHB Mail. It has been so long since I've written anything seriously that I'm pretty rusty but at least I have a couple of clips for my file. I just have to bubble wrap my paintings and write up my artist's statement before Sunday and I'm ready.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Otane Stuff

I've managed to become a little productive the past couple of weeks finishing six brooches for Katz Gallery, continuing work on two paintings for my course as well as going to portraiture. Our first attempt at having portraiture on a Wednesday wasn't terribly successful due to a storm but last week the weather was fine and sunny and we spent a pleasant morning sketching members of the group since we didn't have a proper sitter. Of the four drawings I completed my one of Gay was my favourite, mainly because it actually looked like her. I had the most difficulty drawing Glenys but later I realised why- she had taken her glasses off. That's my excuse anyway.

For morning tea one lady had supplied a cake as it was Tom's 80th birthday. We all went into the painting room and sang him "The Song" and in return he made a lovely speech about how we were the loveliest and most friendly group of ladies he'd every met. What he didn't know was that we were taking him to lunch at the newly opened "McCauley's Store/Cafe" in the old Otane Library. Inside the building had been redecorated in burgundy and cream and filled with lots of old furniture, tins, pictures, bottles and everything else antique you could think of. There were also locally made gifts available for sale. Looking at these helped pass the time while we waited for our food to be served as the place was packed out being the official opening day.

Preparations for the Otane Painters' Exhibition in Hastings are steaming ahead. I am helping hang on the Sunday apparently and Jacqueline has passed the article I wrote for her about the group onto the local newspapers. She also contacted a couple of radio stations and Radio Kidnappers asked if a member of the group would agree to be interviewed for their "Creative Women" programme. Jacqueline has suggested that I should do this as she thinks it would be good promotion for my work plus I could speak about the animals. I have agreed although my stomach is churning at the thought as I've never been on radio before and will probably make a complete and utter a**e of myself. Well nothing new there then!