Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Everyone is winding up for Christmas Day and winding down before the end of 2009. Otane Painters decided to celebrate their end of year do at the Wanstead Pub just south of Waipukurau. I remember this hotel so well from driving past on the way to visit my grandparents at Porangahau. It was just before reaching this place that I would hit the carsick stage in the back seat of my parent's Vauxhall Viva (bought because my mother liked the colour). It was always a rather scruffy building as were so many Victorian dwellings in the 1970s before it became fashionable to renovate. Wanstead had been restored sensitively, keeping many original features while removing some later additions that weren't in keeping with the building. However there were reminders of the original furnishings in the form of framed examples of wallpaper and linoleum hanging in the main bar.

I was lucky enough to receive a few surprise presents. Marie N has been making some amazing art dolls (dolls with attitude) during the year and I was the recipient of "The Choir Girls". I set them up on a table in the corner where they silently serenaded us throughout the afternoon. The blonde has the definite look of a soprano complete with bustle. Glenys keeps me supplied with chocolate and also gave me a voucher for Humanities Art Supplies and Bookshop. While we waited the 90 minutes to be served our meal (I had a specially made vegetarian pizza sans olives and mushrooms) "Recycling Santa" arrived in the form of one of our members who is in the process of decluttering her house. She donned a Santa hat and gave each of us a wrapped surprise gift from out of her shopping bag which we were told to recycle if we didn't like what we received. As every gift was a book on a variety of subjects we were pretty stoked. Later one of our members gave a kind speech about the work Glenys and I have done for the group and we were both presented with a voucher, again for Humanities Art Supplies and Book Shop so I no longer have to close my eyes when I enter the shop on my way to the paint section.

Friday was our final portrait session with the return of a model who is a member of the Waipukurau Pistol Club. He was dressed as a cowboy complete with pistols which managed to make us all behave strangely enough. I took oodles of photos which was just as well as my drawing that day wasn't that wonderful. The day ended sadly when I received news that my 96 year old aunt had died. Today was the funeral at St Mary's Anglican Church in Waipukurau. I was going to be so brave but managed to bawl throughout the service. Fortunately my cousin Gwendalyn sat beside me so I wasn't on my own. The church was full of people I didn't know although I did see a few cousins I hadn't seen for twenty years plus some I hope I won't see for another twenty. Later my aunt was buried at the local cemetery after a short graveside committal. Everyone threw dirt and flowers down on the coffin but I only threw a cream rose as no way would I chuck dirt on a favourite aunt. My brother and his wife didn't come as Diane had chest pains on Monday and had been in hospital with a suspected heart attack.

This is a year I won't be sad to see the back of as I have lost two dear aunts, nearly my brother, had to move home AGAIN and a plethora of small stuff. Art has been one of the few things to keep me focused and moving forward. Next year will be the start of exciting events as I am determined to get my work out in the big wide world. Hopefully...

Friday, December 11, 2009


Props are handy for spicing up things in a variety of situations and today our model turned up complete with pink wig, Op Shop high heel shoes, various hats and a broom. As she is an artist she moved easily from one interesting pose to another. With some of the last ones I sat with Helen on the floor and drew from an unusual vantage that distorted everything in a really cool way.

When we packed up a follically challenged individual remarked that he really needed a wig so was given a chance to try out our model's. A couple of us made sure we got some photographic evidence should it be needed for blackmail purposes in the future.

Then to the Paper Mulberry Cafe for the Portrait Group's Christmas lunch where Glenys presented Helen with our joint gift- a red T-shirt on which I'd written "I'm Aging Disgracefully". In the cafe's second hand bookshop I managed to pick up a textbook on the Dreamweaver web design programme which I have been struggling to come to turns with by employing my usual technique of pressing every button until something works interspersed by yelling at the computer.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Torturing the Model

I once watched a documentary which gave some idea as to the tribulations faced by life models. Firstly a respectable woman of the time would never pose in the nude so prostitutes became the true face the Madonna and every other famous female. Secondly as they were required to sit for extremely long periods of time their limbs were tied into place with ropes so they wouldn't drop out of the pose so posing for any artist was torture in more ways than one. I often think of this when I watch our life models staring into space with gritted teeth. And when they move you often see the pressure points they were suffering with as red marks on the skin.

Yesterday one of our best models came to pose for the last time before she undertakes a full time course of study in another city. What a loss for us as she would read an art book and fall into any position pictured (and I don't mean that to sound icky either!). I decided to use a technique I learned out our recent workshop and used a stumpy (tortillion) to put in shadows and soften lines. What a find this tool is- as the actress said to the bishop.

I finished another small box of goods for the Creative Hastings Christmas sale which were put on display yesterday. I received a message today that the horse pendant (middle) sold this morning and could I paint more of them. There are obviously many horse mad little girls out there! I should know as I used to be one until I grew up into a horse mad big girl.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Poses and Roses

So my TLC folder finally arrives Thursday a full week after it was sent and I discover the courier company responsible was PBT couriers not NZ Couriers this time. Very bad service but at least it arrived. Positive feedback from my tutor with some suggestions for improvement.

Friday we had two models: Toni the granddaughter of one of our members plus her dog Cassie, a princess disguised within a red setter's body. I began in conte pencil but switched to ink which is a most unforgiving medium but it does make you look and think before you put pen to paper. It also sped up my drawing considerably. Having a camera with me has freed me considerably from trying to capture an exact likeness during the session but sometimes it accidentally happens anyway. Cass had no idea what we were doing and was quite concerned with Toni posing, shoving her head in places you don't want a dog to be. I can understand why they say never work with animals or children but then it wouldn't be near as much fun!

After lunch I went through two shopping bags full of dead headed roses sent by a friend and separated into colours for drying as I've decided to go back to making potpourri. Took me three hours sitting on the floor but finally finished and have the petals laid out on newspaper in the spare room (or perhaps I should call it Kit's bedroom as she has taken to sprawling out there all day). Being surrounded by such a colourful garden I feel drawn back to my old crafting pastimes and tempted towards others like beading. The older I get the more I am tempted by shiny things like beads and mirrors so perhaps I'm finally morphing into a magpie.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tight Paintings and Crap Courier Services

Being part of a group of artists you pick up so many ideas and are constantly inspired but it is also frustrating that while everyone is busy embarking on new projects I am stuck working on bread and butter projects for the Christmas Sale at the Hastings Community Arts Centre. My painting style at the moment is as tight as a hen's bum but when you're painting in miniature you can't be too experimental.

My painting "Gine Embroiders" has been temporarily renamed "The Embroiderer" and is hanging at Electra Gallery, Ruataniwha Street, Waipukurau for a fortnight. It is situated between a mini exhibition of portraits by Blair Logan and two by Helen McKenzie so is in very good company.

I am waiting for a folder of work to be returned from my Learning Connexion tutor at the moment. It is a week tomorrow since it was sent via New Zealand Couriers- the second time this year I have had delays with that company delivering items. Frustrating considering the extortionate delivery fees they charge. If my folder has gone missing I am not so worried about my drawings but the thought of losing my visual diary has me slightly pissed off. Well actually extremely pissed off. To the extent I could poke someone with a sharp stick...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Twenty One Again

Celebrated another anniversary of my 21st birthday on Tuesday. I thought I'd spend a quiet day working but a couple of friends rang in the morning and Glenys popped in for a while in the late afternoon bearing antique gold paint amongst other goodies. I'd just said goodbye to her when I had another phone call and then my brother and his wife arrived with a combined birthday/Christmas present- a new printer to replace my hysterical misbehaving one. It was the first time I'd seen Rich or Diane in over five months so it was quite a big thing that he'd made the effort to drive out when he is still feeling so ill. After a late rice meal and internetting during the evening I finished up by making silver wire findings for pendants before going to bed near midnight.

Next morning I was all prepared for art early and waiting out on the roadside when Glenys and Marie S drove up. Marie gave me a beautiful bunch of roses from her garden which I carried down to Otane with me. Although we were the first to arrive it wasn't long before a few others wandered in. While the door was open into the corridor I was shocked to see an old friend standing there. She was equally shocked to see me there as she'd brought her grandson to take part in the Otane School sports day and had just wandered over to look at the building. As I hadn't seen or heard from her for three and a half years there was quite a bit to catch up on.

Mid morning Marie N came in and then disappeared again. A while later I heard the door open and glanced up to see Marie's grand daughter Toni holding a chocolate birthday cake with three candles blazing away (thankfully not relating to my real age otherwise the building would have burnt down). I must have been in shock as it was the first time I didn't disappear under the table when Happy Birthday was sung. Everyone got a slice of the deliciousness but there was enough left over to bring home thankfully. Toni had cooked the cake herself so it looks like she has inherited her grandmother's culinary witchery. I remember the last cake I baked- it sloped down one end and was burnt and raw all at the same time and not where you'd expect either.

Friday (20th Nov)was my first time back at portraiture in a few weeks. Glenys came at 8.30am so she could photograph some of the red poppies flowering in the garden before we headed to Waipawa to drop off a box of my jewellery and soaps etc. plus an awkward stand at the home of someone who works for Creative Hastings and would take everything to the gallery before the sale starts next week. Our model for the portrait session was a Japanese girl which brought its own challenges but she was so beautiful and with such a giggly personality the morning passed extremely quickly. Afterwards she walked about and took photos of some of our drawings including this one which she photographed several times including one closeup. Hopefully this meant she wasn't too insulted.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To Otane And Back And Back

Otane Arts and Crafts Corner Open Weekend (7th-8th Nov)came up before I knew what had happened. I decided not to go on Saturday so I could stay home and work. Mid morning I received a desperate message from Glenys that she was on her own and the tables and model's plinth hadn't been cleared away but fortunately someone from the Wool Group helped her set up and tidy the room. By 10.30am a couple of our group had arrived to work but apparently there weren't many people coming through and the day was very slow. However one really lovely thing happened when my Hong Kong Horror sold to someone who worked at Cranford Hospice in Hastings. Apparently one of her patients had complained that there were no paintings featuring boats so she bought my picture to pin up in his room. After he passes away she is having it framed. An amazing result considering how much I disliked that pastel (I only marked it for $10 because I thought so little of it).

Sunday morning Glenys collected me early (before 9am) so we ended up being the first to arrive for the day. I set up at a table and began a long session of painting soaps (exciting- not). A reporter from "Hawkes Bay Today" was walking about when suddenly he got on his knees and began taking some close up photographs of me working. Fortunately I don't think these will ever see the light of day..

The biggest excitement of the day was when two swallows flew into the hallway. One flew straight back out the front door again but the other managed to concuss itself on a window and confused flew into our room. We opened the large sash windows but the poor bird didn't seem to realise how to get out and ended sitting on an electric light cord. After an hour of gradually turning into an ice block I grabbed a long pole (no double entendre intended) and encouraged the bird to fly around until it managed to fall between the glass panes of a window where our tallest painter present climbed up, dropped an apron onto it and then set it free to general jubilation.

By the time 4pm arrived and despite catching up with a couple of people I hadn't been in contact with for years, Glenys and I were staring tiredly across an empty room waiting until we could decently pack up and leave. Not being punished enough we were back at Otane on Monday afternoon for a committee meeting. Meetings aren't my favourite thing and when you get excited about the smelly gent's toilet being fixed you know that you have hit rock bottom ('scuse the pun). "And God so loved the world he didn't send a committee".

Wednesday I was back at Otane again for our art morning. Gay and I were the first there so she set up the plastic covers over the tables while I set up the tea trolley and boiled the kettle. Only eight people turned up but despite this we had some animated conversations including one concerning the article one of our nude models had written about our Life Painting Workshop which had been published in the Central Hawkes Bay Mail the previous day. General consensus was that we were very glad that it hadn't been published before Glenys and I had gone to the committee meeting.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Life Painting Workshop

The long awaited Life Painting Workshop with Wellington artist Rosemary Stokell took place last weekend. I was a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to cope physically with such a full on couple of days so took it easy on the Friday before, only making sure that I had gathered the list of materials I was meant to take prepared and ready in a box.

Saturday morning Glenys and I headed to Otane early but even so we arrived after most of the others in the group. Our art room had been turned into a temporary gallery with examples of the nude painted in a variety of styles by the masters. We were going to be working with two models who usually come along to pose for us on our Friday mornings except this time they had brought along their camper van and were staying nearby.

Rosemary began with a series of two minute poses in graphite to warm us up. We then moved on to charcoal for the longer poses. While we were working she walked about and offered advice and comments on foreshortening etc. Before we knew it morning tea time had arrived. Then more drawing for ninety minutes (including some hilarious "blind drawing" exercises which turned the models into Picasso wannabees) before a shared lunch and then two and a half more hours concentrating on turning a pose into an abstract work in charcoal. This was my first experience working with a blending stump as I usually muddle through with my fingers making a happy mess. However I was really impressed with how sharply you could blend with it and will definitely use it from now on. Then we began working in colour, drawing a pose with both models before selecting two complementary colours and applying and blending these on the paper. This was a toughie for me as the acrylics were drying so quickly there was a strong line between the shades rather than a soft graduation. For once I longed to work with watercolours.

The next day (Sunday) I woke up tied in knots but sat with wheat packs on the sorest muscles before we returned to Otane. Our day's first task was to trace the abstract charcoal we began on Saturday onto a longish canvas before painting each section with a graduating tone of a single colour. I had a hell of a job getting the acrylics to blend again but Rosemary showed me how to use two brushes and work with water in order to achieve the desired effect. I still have a long way to go with this but it is definitely an avenue I want to explore.

After an hour spent on this exercise we had smoko before having a very fun time trying to draw with ink dipped sticks on paper on the floor. The monstrous effects were extremely fresh and spontaneous with even the more experienced artists having a bit of a struggle. We hung our drawings on the wall and admired each others attempts, having a giggle before grabbing a plate of food and sitting outside in the sun for some time out.

Rosemary had brought along a selection of her paintings which she lined up along the hallway explaining how she painted them and what had inspired her. For me though the most mind blowing things she showed us were her visual diaries. I have kept a couple over the last two years but they were nothing compared to what she showed us. Books filled with amazing ink drawings done on site in European churches interspersed with postcards, exhibition fliers and other sentimental keepsakes. My resolution became to find a smaller diary and keep it in my purse so I can draw when I'm out and about.

That afternoon we began working on projects we wanted to develop. A few of us wanted to learn how to paint flesh colours so Rosemary demonstrated before posing the models so we could paint from life. I had prepared a MDF board with gesso and began painting in the colours, firstly tentatively, but later more painterly with Rosemary's encouragement. Before I knew it the workshop was over and it was time to pack up and go home but before we left we each showed our best work and talked about what we'd each taken away from the weekend.

I came away totally inspired from the workshop, especially from seeing Rosemary's work. It made me realise how much I'd missed out on with having such useless art teachers at school. It has also made me long for yet another workshop with Rosemary pushing me out of my comfort zone and I know I'm not the only one to feel this way. Nude painting rocks!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sunburn and Carpet Burn

The Otane Arts and Crafts building was getting its floors scrubbed and sealed this week which meant that we couldn't use our art room as usual. Instead we were invited to sketch in the lovely garden of one of our Tikokino members, Marie S. We didn't know if we'd even be able to go as the day before was cold and rainy but yesterday dawned a beautiful sunny day, almost as if it were actually Spring.

Glenys and I arrived early since we only live five minutes away. Marie gave us both a tour of the old house which has been extensively renovated over the years. There were many original features left including lovely woodwork and an interesting old black stove. By the time we made our way back into the kitchen a couple others had arrived so we sat in the sun on the veranda having morning tea. Then Marie and I went around outside before I finally decided to sit out in a paddock to draw an old petrol pump and shed. Well I sort of sketched, mainly I talked to the sheep, took photos and annoyed the others as usual.

Working outside has its own challenges. The brightness of the sun shining on your sketch pad so you can't see properly, the heat, the cold, wind whipping your paper away over the field, having to avoid sheep poo etc. On the other hand it's fun to be in the fresh air and the art created can be fresh and spontaneous.

Arriving home after doing practically no work whatsoever I had a rest, fed the animals and as the afternoon wound down decided to have a bath before I heated up dinner in the microwave. At the risk of providing too much information this cottage has a lot of windows but being in the country you don't have net curtains as there aren't houses invading your privacy. As my bathroom is pretty narrow I usually undress in my bedroom and scoot through the kitchen/dining room into the bathroom in my grundies. I am always extremely careful on coming out that I stick my head out of the bathroom door to check the coast is clear, that no cars are coming down the road, and no one is in the paddock at the front before making a dash for the bedroom.

Well it had to happen some time. I stuck my head out, checked no one was there and rushed out in my undies although I decided to make a quick detour to programme the microwave to cook my stuffed spud. However when I turned round I saw the lawn mower man striding towards my front door. The dog was in the way so I had to go around the dining room table and across the GLASS front door before racing into my room and throwing myself down behind the bed. The dog was going ballistic by this time as the guy was at the door. I'd only met him the day before when he came to give me a quote to mow the lawns and then promised he'd drop it into my place "sometime tomorrow".

I waited for him to leave but the dog kept on barking. I raised my head slightly above the bed but couldn't see him so grabbed my tee shirt and lay down to put it on. I then reached up to grab my stockings and wiggled my way into them before grabbing my skirt and shimming into this all the while getting carpet burns. Mishka was still barking so I knew there was no way to avoid the inevitable so went casually to the front door and tried to look as if I had just been having a lie down. The guy handed me an envelope and made some polite conversation but I am sure as he walked away he was smirking. I guess from now on I will have to think of him not as a stranger but more as an intimate friend.

Friday, October 23, 2009

How To Insult Models and Influence People

I have been in a complete art funk the past week or so since my mojo upped and went on holiday. Anything I've worked on has only been useful for wiping up cat accidents. However I was feeling a bit more optimistic this morning, especially when I learned that our model was from Egypt. Sure enough Sayd (Said, Saed or Sayed etc.) talked, looked, and even walked like an Egyptian. However his sense of humour was very Kiwi. Well I hope he was joking when he looked at my drawings and asked if I worked for Jenny Craig because was he really that fat?

Friday, October 09, 2009

It Turned Out Ok In The End

No matter how prepared and organised I try to be I usually manage to fall at the last fence. Last night I packed my basket for portraiture but on arriving this morning discovered I'd left all my pencils, charcoal etc. at home. Fortunately Glenys lent me a 4B and also a Conte pencil so I could continue. Our model was Megan who modelled for us the first year I began at portraiture (she is the grand daughter of one of our members) but I still got a shock to see how much she'd grown up since then. Her younger brother had also come along and spent his time trying to make her laugh or else drawing her as a monster, sometimes with "appendages". Sex education at schools has a lot to answer for.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Being Arty In A Recession

Have begun working on stock for Christmas markets in the hope that I won't be painting frantically at the last moment. Of course I say this every year and every year I end up in a mad panic as I run out of time. I did hear about last Saturday's fair at St Mary's while at art group yesterday morning. I sold eight out of ten hand painted soaps, three out of six cat brooches and ten out of eighteen cards which made it one of my most successful events. Unfortunately the cash is nearly all gone on meds, rabbit food, the farrier for the donkey and I have put some aside for new paint brushes since so many of my small ones have gone to the great art shop in the sky.

At the moment I am reading a book about some of New Zealand's well known crafts people. It is interesting how so many of them had to reassess their businesses after the stock market crash in 1987 which saw the sales of arts and crafts plummet. I think this current recession has caused us all to think small in order to achieve sales. There is a large gulf between a bread and butter line which pays the bills and the more esoteric experimental exhibition work we do. Sometimes you have to think about what people actually want when the economy is slow. Often they're only looking for something practical they can use rather than something merely decorative to be hung on the wall.

In the gift line people don't think too much about spending $5 or under but begin thinking a bit more at $10 and hesitate at $20. It is hard to compete against the Chinese imports sold at the big chain stores but people do appreciate buying something of better quality, especially if they can find out a little about the person who made it. That's why it's good to meet your buyers so they can see the face behind the art(craft)work. Basically in hard economic times the way to work your way through it is to think outside the square, to market yourself as a brand and to have a Chinese money plant sitting outside your front door and water it nearly every day to encourage cash to come your way.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pastel Poses and the Pissy Printer

After a week of painting soaps and brooches for the fair at St Mary's Church in Waipukurau today I was relieved to break out at life drawing yesterday. Our model brought along her eight month old baby who needed a couple of pit stops during the session which provided a lovely pose to draw. This image is done with oil pastels on black sugar paper.

Unfortunately this week my 10 year old printer has had a complete mental breakdown. At first it wouldn't turn on so I had to switch to a power pack from the scanner. When I took the printer's power pack out to check it it was leaking fluid and the points were black and smelly. I think I was very lucky to not have had a fire. When I eventually coaxed the printer to work it wouldn't print on cardboard and now the cartridges just slide aimlessly back and forth while the paper inches its way inside. Rang my brother whose technical opinion was that the printer is "****ed". With crazy power and phone bills hanging over my head replacing it will just have to wait which is a royal pain as I print my own art cards etc. However the up side is that now I know what caused the weird smell in the office for the past couple of weeks although it did mean that I had to apologize to the cats for all the angry and unfounded accusations.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Warning

The model booked for portraiture yesterday couldn't come so we were left without anyone until one of our number volunteered to sit for two hours. I was really pleased with my work for once and came home all satisfied and pleased, propping the pictures up against the door of the hot water cupboard. Later that evening I heard a thumping noise and came out to discover my drawings scattered across the floor. On closer inspection the conte pastel sketches were smeared and the paper screwed up in places. Seems the cats decided to have a quick rehearsal of "Riverdance" using the paper to simulate the sound of tap shoes. A lesson learned- never leave your artwork anywhere a cat can dance on it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Still Life With Blue Glass And Decomposing Apples

The Festival at Pukeora was a huge success apparently (I never got there) with 1900 people visiting on the Saturday alone. Regarding the art exhibition 180 paintings were submitted and 120 selected. Fortunately mine was one of these. It didn't sell but a friend told me today that it did get some good comments from viewers. Art is a gamble really- you pays your money (entry fee) and you takes your chances (that your work will be accepted and then perhaps that it might sell). Not all of us can get someone to throw some rubbish on the floor, call it "installation art" and win a huge cash prize. Mostly art is about hard slog, trying to learn new techniques, practicing your skills and occasionally achieving a work which doesn't make you want to throw it on the fire. Add marketing and schmoozing to that and you might become a successful artist. However there are thousands of people painting who will never achieve financial success and who just create for the love of it.

I am learning about still life work at the moment. Spent an hour setting up the arrangement on the coffee table where it has sat for the past fortnight slowly decomposing. Less is more in still life- I removed three things from the original setting leaving just three apples and two glass items. I have never tried to draw or paint glass before. The main trick is to not draw the glass but to draw what is behind it as well as the highlights. The drawing to the left is done with oil pastels on black sugar paper. I have also drawn the same picture with chalk pastel and charcoal. The great thing I have found with still life is that my models don't move and once I finish I can eat a couple of them.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Gine Embroiders

I feel like I've run a marathon but have really only just been pushing myself to finish the painting that I've entered in the Art Extravaganza at Pukeora this coming weekend. The subject is my friend Gine who was furiously working away at an embroidery she was finishing as a wedding gift for friends over a year ago. It is the first time I've ever done a proper portrait, of a human that is. And trying to paint a white garment without it ending up looking flat was especially challenging.

At art group last week Kevin Annand from Electra Gallery came along and did a critique on people's paintings, giving us some pointers at how to improve them. "Gine" was discussed and Kevin remarked that he'd once seen a painting of a woman in white except no white paint was used. Now that would be really interesting to try. Suggestions he made for other paintings was to try and allow the viewer be able to walk through landscapes in five or six steps so that colours gradually lead you through the picture. Also how a living thing added to a painting will immediately become the centre of interest. One other idea I found helpful was that there are often two of three prospective paintings trapped in a picture waiting to get out. By using a couple of cardboard mounts he was able to show how paintings could be improved by strategic cropping.

Friday my cousin Gwendolyn posed for portrait class. I have no idea what she made of us all but she certainly seemed to enjoy the banter. At midday we all went to the Paper Mulberry for lunch. Unlike the last time I was there in early June it was very warm and pleasant sitting at a table with the others. Gwen and I even went into the second hand bookshop at the back of the the cafe and managed to find a few books for her to take home to Melbourne although she did give me two (on Feng Shui and crystals) to add to my hoard- um I mean collection. It was a lovely day but I wish that she lived closer so we could see each other more often as I find our conversations fascinating and uplifting.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Oil Pastelling

I have been using oil pastels for the first time and must say that despite the pungent aroma they're quite good to work with as they are much cleaner to use than the softer chalk variety. Today I experimented with a couple of sketches resulting as an afterthought from last Friday's portrait session where Marie S modelled some yoga positions for us. I am happy that I have quite a few photos from the class so I can practice sketching some of these when not under time constraints. I have used very bright colours in order to stand out from the black paper and to try and move away from my usual muted palette. Suffice to say that Marie's hair is really not bright pink.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


Favourite models are a joy to sketch again and again. Our new favourite for portrait class is William who wandered into our art group's annual exhibition in late May and was immediately snaffled as a model. We drew him about a month ago and enjoyed it so much that he was invited back last Friday. He has the gift of being able to relax into a pose without a trace of stiffness and then to maintain that position without moving. Children and teenagers have this flexibility and fluidity but generally can't concentrate on remaining still for too long so to find an adult with this natural grace is quite exciting.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

My Own Hong Kong Horror

I'm still not a great fan of working with pastel sticks. Probably because I am using the cheap student variety which drops the most incredible amount of dust and means I have to vacuum (never a good thing). This "work" is part of my course and is on black sugar paper. Adapted from a cliched calendar photo it has all the charm of a Hong Kong horror. Perhaps I should sell it on Trademe for a few hundred dollars.

Finished a good book today. "You don't Have To Be Famous: How To Write Your Life Story" is that most unusual writing manual- it's well written, informative and write on. Everyone should write their autobiography no matter how boring they are. Preferably to be distributed at their funeral service which would ensure that all the relatives turn up to see if they're mentioned in it. If the deceased has a wicked turn of phrase they could ensure a bust up at the wake with a resulting family feud. I think I should begin writing mine...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Double Trouble

Double trouble with our models. They are both experienced in posing for us now and know how to challenge us with body positions. I was excited to try my new pastel chalk pencils and found they worked beautifully on black sugar paper. Trying unusual colours spiced up the sketch for me but my energy began to flag before the end of the session and I came home, lit the fire, and had lunch before lying on the sofa with a couple of wheat packs for an hour.

Good news though is that my "Felines of the Night" painting sold at the "Out of the Blue" exhibition which ended today. After all the stress of the paintings taking so long to arrive in Auckland it feels like a happy ending.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mandalas and Materials Maketh The Madhouse

Rainy days make for good art making as long as grey skies don't make you depressed, mad or bad. My two cousins Gwendolyn (from Melbourne) and Elaine (from Waipukurau) came along to the Otane Art Group to spend the morning. Gwen brought along a book on mandalas as she is currently reading up as much on these as she can. I find them interesting, their designs are very balanced and each has a different spiritual meaning. I'm afraid I chatted so much I didn't get much work done apart from a commissioned pendant which I was putting finishing touches to.

When I arrived home there was a huge parcel sitting at the back door. It was full of materials I had ordered from The Learning Connexion several days ago. Always feels like Christmas when I open a parcel, even when I already know what's inside. In this case I replaced a few of my acrylic paints whose tubes had reached the soft-at-the-far-end-but-hard-in-the-middle-so-you-can't-get-the-paint-out-unless-you-stab-it stage, oil pastels, pastel pencils, pastel papers (black and shades of cream- yes women are able to tell the difference between tones of the same bland colour), two sketch pads, four canvases including one that was 30" long, brushes, brushes, and brushes, a big fat glue stick which hopefully doesn't lose its "stick" like my last one, and beautiful Cotman watercolours- eleven tubes to replace the ones that turned to concrete years ago. Ah heaven...sigh.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Heads Up

The CHB Mail published an article on our "Midwinter mask fest" last Tuesday. Not a bad report- I am the one in the bottom photo looking like a demented purple chook on crack. I am keen now to explore the whole Venetian Masque subject a lot more and perhaps get over my phobia of masks. Had this fear since age five when my mother cut out a scary mask from a cereal packet, put it on, covered herself in a sheet and leapt out of the dark of my bedroom as I walked down the hallway.

A friend from portraiture lent me a conte pencil to "have a go with" so this afternoon sat down and drew a friend's baby as a practice piece. The last sproggle I drew looked like a mini adult all due to the features not being placed in the bottom third of the face. Plus the head was too small so the subject resembled the headhunter character from the ghostly waiting room in "Beetlejuice". Not a good look and one liable to ensure the artist receives a severe beating from an irate mother.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Otane Goes Venetian

It feels as if the past week has been filled with masks and mask making. Last Saturday Glenys and Marie S arrived for a morning of playschool where we worked on our masks for the mid winter luncheon at Otane. I stupidly had decided to make mine from scratch but being too tired the evening before had been trying to form a papier mache mask on a plaster cast of my face. I had just finished gluing the third layer of paper on when the others arrived and ended up trying to dry it out with a blow drier, mostly at floor level so I didn't blow Gleny's glitter and feathers all over the room. Marie's beautiful feathery mask was ready made but she embellished it with small gold butterflies while Glenys got the hysterics trying to control the purple glitter of her mask from spreading everywhere. Too soon it was lunchtime and I had not even begun to decorate my mask. Later that day Peaches the cat sat down in some glitter I hadn't cleared up and was strutting around with bling adorning her hairy ginger backside.

Tuesday Glenys, Marie S, Marie N, Joan Reed and I travelled to Otane to decorate the rooms. The building was quite chilly and seemed to get colder for the two and a half hours we spent there. Marie N had spent so much time and energy crafting different Venetian masks to hang on the walls of our room while Joan had made cardboard fans spray painted either red or gold for the gardening room where we set up the tables for the buffet lunch. The walls there were drapped with material and shawls to complete the effect. Later that day Glenys rang to say she would be unable to attend the lunch as she had to go to a funeral so I would need to welcome the people attending etc.

Later that evening I strengthened the papier mache of my mask before gessoing and painting it dark purple. After that I spread PVA glue over the surface and dusted purple glitter over it. I was still working on it Wednesday morning holding it in the sunlight trying to get the glue dry to hold purple geese feathers in place at the top. When I tried it on I resembled a plucked chook or, as Glenys remarked when she saw a photo of me, like road runner!

For a while it seemed as if the few painters who turned up in all their finery would be the only ones attending the lunch but soon people from the other groups began to arrive giggling as they tried to work out who was who behind their masks. It was amazing to see the trouble some people had gone to. Finally at 12pm I welcomed everyone and introduced the President of the centre who convened a five minute general meeting to pass an ammendment to the constitution before we all filed into the garden room for lunch.

There was quite a feast laid on as everyone had brought a plate of food. During the hour everyone was eating and chatting I went around and got some wonderful shots of some of the masks. We then filed back into the art room where I introduced out guest speaker, Kevin Annand from Electra Gallery who talked about art and creativity and how it takes different forms for the next thirty minutes. He had also agreed to judge the best and scariest masks which were awarded prizes. After that it was time for our roll on raffle. Our group had donated sixteen prizes.Each time someone won a prize they drew the next ticket. Embarrassingly I won twice but the second time forfeited my turn so someone else had a chance.

Several of our group stayed on to clean up and restore the rooms to normality once everyone else had left. After all the work decorating the day before it only took a short time to dismantle them and the Venetian afternoon was over.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dreams and Scary Pictures

I have the most amazingly weird dreams. This morning I dreamt that a crowd came to portraiture class and we waited and waited for the model to arrive. In the end he came an hour and a half late and we hurriedly sketched for thirty minutes before the session ended. I remember being extremely impressed by the drawings of the woman next to me, someone I'd never met before. Strangely her pictures were of a woman whereas the model was a teenage boy. Freud would have a field day.

I was in the middle of watching the cats watch Demelza who had just caught a mouse and was busy torturing it when Glenys arrived. Melz took off leaving Kit and Peaches behind as the thought of fresh frosted mouse was stronger than their fear of visitors. The temperature was 0oC when we left Tikokino but had gone up 2 degrees by the time we reached Otane. There were only six of us sketching and fortunately our model was early so we got to work quite quickly. Nine drawings and several photos later it was time to yawn our way home again.

I remember when I first began portraiture two years ago that I would become very tired and wonder if I would last to the end of the session. Now however the time passes extremely quickly and the thought of thirty minutes spent on one sketch no longer scares the hell out of me. The end results though sometimes do!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Wings Beneath My Wind

Began the week with the good news that my paintings had arrived in Auckland last week in time for the exhibition so this very relieved artist celebrated by baking. When will I ever learn?

Glenys is back from the South Island so I rode down to Otane with Marie and her this morning. The conversation soon turned to donkey manure- how she must have missed our scintillating conversation while away on holiday! Did about twenty minutes work on my portrait before heading into the garden group's iceberg of a room to help make arrangements for the mid winter lunch next week. I had taken a small gold basket along with bags of fake berries and cobbled together a small arrangement which looked more Eighties Retro than Venetian Chic.

Am enjoying working on different portraits in various mediums. I am sometimes surprised with the end result as I was with this fairy picture where I sculpted with high build, glazed with acrylics, rubbing back into the paint with bath cleaner. The frame was $7 from an op shop which I worked on to match the painting. Not to everybody's taste but if you don't move out of your comfort zone as an artist then you will just end up being a mere painter.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Missing Paintings

What a crazy week. After working so hard on my exhibition paintings for the NZAG exhibition they went missing on their way to Auckland. As of writing this I have had no word as to their whereabouts. Over $600 worth missing.

Then my brother contracted flu on Tuesday and on Wednesday was rushed to hospital by ambulance from the doctor's surgery. After being in re suss he was moved to the Emergency Department and then to a ward where he was put into isolation until he was cleared of Swine Flu. He was given a nebuliser several times as well as oxygen and by this time was diagnosed with pneumonia. However on the Thursday some self officious nurse decided it was "a big hassle" to give him his nebuliser and although the doctor argued with her and told her it was necessary she still didn't give him his treatment. In the end he left the hospital- or tried to as he collapsed before he got out of the ward. However they were kind enough to give him a wheelchair so he could get out to the car.

Interesting part was that during all the tests they discovered that at some point in the past he had suffered a heart attack although he doesn't know when as he usually as chest pains with his emphysema.

I can't face picking up a paintbrush at the moment so just went to portraiture Friday and since then have been keeping busy with housework and doing my tax return- a sure sign of procrastination.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Out Of The Blue

Began a new painting at Otane Painters today. Am moving out of my comfort zone with an acrylic portrait of my friend Gine based on a photo I took of her while she was embroidering. It will be challenging as the sun was behind her which makes her skin seem several shades darker than usual as well as forming interesting patterns through the material she is sewing. Plus she was wearing white so a few problems for me to solve.

The New Zealand Art Guild's annual exhibition "Out Of The Blue" opens tomorrow night. The collaborative project most of us contributed a painted wooden panel to is being auctioned with the event being filmed by "Campbell Live" and screened on TV3 after 7pm tomorrow. This will be the first time any work of mine has been on the telly so it's quite exciting.Just hope the people attending will be excited into parting with some cash and buying a few pictures as I need to buy some new paintbrushes and some firewood. I am happiest with my painting "Felines Of The Night" which I dreamt of one night. Better than some of the dreams I have. The one with Antonio Banderras and me on the run being chased by David Duchovney is one I remember vividly. Especially the part where we hid in a caravan with a severed head sitting in a small fridge with its false teeth sitting on the floor. Obviously I can't control my dreams otherwise Antonio and David would have been stark naked and I would have looked like Keira Knightly.

Monday, June 29, 2009

BFlies and DPhotos

Last Friday was my first time at portraiture with my new camera. Therefore I took a great many photos, probably to the annoyance of everyone else although they didn't say anything. I am glad I did as our model was an elderly man with Parkinsons so he had great difficulty in keep his head up. However his presence was such that I think he would make a great painting. On coming home I uploaded the photos to the computer and got a thrill in seeing how I could zoom in even further to the extent that every age spot was in high definition. Of course I bet I would feel differently of course if it was my photo on the screen.

I was so relieved to get my exhibition paintings finished. Now back to more photo realistic work and jewellery making to try pay the bills.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mist Eyed

I have painted like a maniac this week. Finished three paintings for "Out Of The Blue" the 2009 New Zealand Art Guild Exhibition which runs throughout July. But then this afternoon turned round and did a rush commission- a pendant for a birthday present. The cat's name is Misty incidentally.

Been taking my digital camera everywhere. Thanks to an angel from Auckland I now have a laptop that I was able to upload the software onto and I'm away and laughing. So far have taken shots of the mountains covered with snow and the cats in compromising positions.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Favourite Things

My Dad always used to said that a bad tradesman blames his tools but I've found that with art you should always ensure that you use the highest grade materials and tools that you can afford. Over the years I have gradually built up a stash of "stuff" but I always come back to the same few tools that I use over and over again. One favourite is just the common pencil and today at life drawing I had an epiphany when I realised that I love using a 4B. For some reason it is soft enough for sensitive shading yet sharp enough to make a crisp image.

We had a series of three longer poses after our warm up exercises today. Usually I find myself becoming quite tired but today the time seemed to fly by and before long it was time to pack up and go home. The great thing with life drawing is you learn to embrace imperfection as there is no way you can complete a satisfactory drawing in say, one minute. You also experience happy accidents when in few short strokes you convey all that you need to say. I just wish I could do it every day.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Otane Arts and Crafts Exhibition 2009

I was up until late Wednesday last week printing and packaging cards for our exhibition at Otane which opened the following Thursday afternoon (28th May 2009). Quite a crowd attended the opening, many invited guests and friends of the members. They were intrigued by the Mr MacGregor's Garden display that the Herb and Garden group had been working on for several weeks.

The first sale I took was in the first few minutes when an envelope was handed to me with a cheque to buy one member's painting worth $550. Within that first hour another painting sold plus a few cards and some of my stuff. Within two hours we'd sold $712.50 worth of work. Came home buzzing. So much for the recession. I didn't go to the centre for the next two days but heard all about it from other people. A reporter from a local radio station went among the crowd and did short interviews which were broadcast on Central FM throughout the weekend. That publicity really helped and over those days another four paintings sold plus three from the cash and carry bin. I had a phone message that all my soaps had sold out so sat up until late Saturday night painting more.

Then the cold snap hit. When I got up Sunday morning the sky was steely grey. I was trying to finish pricing my stuff when Glenys arrived at 9.15am so she finished doing that while I slapped on some war paint and changed into my tidy artist uniform. We got to Otane just 10 minutes before the centre was due to open. Our group was on kitchen and raffle duty and I sat in the art room with another artist fully expecting the crowds to rush through as they had been doing. However as the day wore on it became colder and colder and apparently people's fingers became too frozen to open their wallets as I only took $31 that day and $24 was for my work!

Although I was sitting there figuratively twiddling my thumbs it did give me an opportunity to listen to the comments about the paintings. Most people were drawn to the photo realistic pictures and I even heard one guy say "Well you can tell it's a good picture because of the high price on it". Works with more artistic value were overlooked. This was reflected in the "People's Choice" voting as well.

We left Sunday at 4pm in semi darkness and by the time I got home it was beginning to snow. I fed the animals and headed inside to get the fire going before snuggling down for the evening and nodding off on the sofa. When I woke up I kept rushing to the front door and turning on the outside lights so I could watch the snowflakes landing on the lawn. Yeah big kid!

I had a relaxed Monday morning before Glenys and I headed back down to Otane for the afternoon. We sat and drank tea and ate dark chocolate to keep our spirits up as by 3pm we'd only taken $17. Then in the last hour a lady came with cash and bought a painting worth $350.00 (done by a very talented artist in our group so I was thrilled for her). I toted up the cash and Glenys and I had all the bank deposit forms filled in for her to take in today. At 4pm the doors were closed and we packed up and moved tables back into place for art on Wednesday.

I sold so many things over the weekend, all small but perfectly formed. Enough to cover the phone bill anyway. Definitely the way to go in these hard times although perhaps I should be painting some photo realist pictures for our next exhibition!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Frozen Fingers

Woke at 3am this morning and found embers still burning in the Lady Kitchener so threw another log on the fire which kept it burning until daybreak. Just as well as when I pulled the curtains all I could see was a steely grey sky and white iced grass. Terribly hard to get out of bed but Glenys was calling early so we could do some exhibition stuff before portraiture. When she arrived she informed me that we'd had an 11oC frost and although it was nearly 8.45am the air temperature was only 1oC.

We arrived early at Otane finally beating Helen who is usually the first there. However our glee was short lived when we realised we'd be walking into a freezing cold building. Helen arrived just behind us and within five minutes had the gas fires going with us huddled around them moaning and rubbing our hands. Soon as we'd thawed out a little I went to lift the bricks off my loose fairy and was pleased to see she'd finally stuck down. I also gave Glenys the extra labels I'd printed out for our exhibition's guest artist Shirley Vogtherr's paintings. At this stage there is nothing more we can do although I am still going to make some smaller things for the cash and carry table as I am convinced that people are going to buy cheaper things due to the economy. But I have been known to be wrong before- quite often in fact!

Our model was a motel owner from Waipukurau and an excellent subject she proved to be sitting stock still although what she thought of our conversation is anyone's guess. This is my favourite drawing of her using the charcoal background and rubbing out the highlights. This was very useful for showing up the softness of her cardigan as well as the different tones of her hair. I think it would also be interesting to try drawing just a face with this technique, especially one with a strong light source coming from the side.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Trees, Fairees, and Artees.

I finally put the finishing touches to my topiary tree painting yesterday and am quite pleased at the 3D effect the modelling compound gave. Definitely something I would like to try again. However I spent so much time fluffing about with it that I hadn't even begun refurbishing the frame for my faery painting. I applied the high build on Monday afternoon which allowed a good long drying time. I began painting this within 24 hours and after only half an hour I had a base colour applied and was dropping in deep blues, purples and various half shades. I was so onto it that within 90 minutes I was certain I had finished the painting part.

Evening came and I spent an hour working on labels for the paintings at our group exhibition next week. I then spent more time in front of TV listening to "House" cutting them out. Then I decided I needed to change some of the colours on my frame. An hour later I wasn't happy but it was getting late so I forced myself to go to bed. I kept waking up throughout the night thinking I was sleeping late so that by the time it was daylight I truly resembled "Kiss without the makeup" to quote Robbie Williams. Propping my eyelids open I quickly painted over what I'd done the night before and hauled out the old epoxy glue to stick the faery to the frame.

First there was the fight to get the tubes unstuck from their plastic holder. Then my hands got stuck to the tubes trying to undo their lids. When I finally prized these loose and unstuck the fingers from them I managed to squeeze some glue onto a card. mix it together and apply it to the painting and the frame. After sticking everything I didn't want stuck it was a profound disappointment when the painting peversely fell off the frame.

By this time Gay had arrived so on our way through town she stopped into Mitre 10 to ask if there was a proper glue for the job. There was- it was PVA glue albeit a professional grade. Although there were many people at Otane delivering their paintings for hanging my only thought was for my loose faery. I applied the glue and on explaining my dilemma a very kind art teacher fetched bricks and after carefully laying newspaper over the painting weighed the whole thing down with these and our handbags! Unfortunately soon we needed to hang the thing in position and after an hour or so of being shifted about the faery's wings began to droop forwards off the frame. She was unceremoniously removed and I reapplied the glue and she is presently lying on a table covered with newspapers with four bricks on top. In educated circles they say "You can't keep a good faery down..." so here's hoping my faery is very very bad and will end up very very stuck up.

After lunch we finished labelling the paintings before heading to McCauley's for a hot drink. As usual there was some interesting conversations going on. For example in the space of a few hours today we discussed pig welfare, battery chickens, dogs eating manure, pregnant fairies, how coffee conscious Kiwis have become, old cars, and how hard it is to get the smell of chicken poo off your hands. Perhaps it might sound weird to a "normal" person- you just have to be there.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Going and Mojoing

I don't think I'm meant to gad about much. I've been out five times this week and I'm shattered. Monday Glenys and I had to represent the painting group at the monthly meeting of the Otane Arts and Crafts Committee. Tuesday was my shopping day and I had the thrill of finding a wooden frame to gussy up for the fairy painting I am entering into our Queen's Birthday exhibition. Wednesday was art where I continued with my topiary tree picture although I didn't get much done as Gine, Gareth and baby Moses stopped in for a visit so all of us clucky females spent a good hour staring at the little guy. Thursday afternoon Marie and I went to Gine's for the afternoon where I spent two hours holding Moses and was even rewarded with a smile (I will not admit it was wind). Then this morning Glenys and I went to life drawing at Otane for the morning.

I am now convinced the model is responsible for how I draw. If I don't connect with them my drawings are blah. If I do (and I have my favourites) then my mojo is up and running. That's how I felt this morning. To avoid boredom I used pastel pencil, ink and finally charcoal and eraser. All in all eight drawings within two hours which flew by. The general consensus is to have life drawing every fortnight until the money runs out. Hopefully all this extra practice will allow our drawing to improve dramatically. Once we're broke I think we may have to do furtive self portraits in front of a full length mirror at home. {{SHUDDER}}

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Squishy Subjects

Missed out my portraiture session last Friday so I could go see my friend Gine who gave birth to little Moses Eliah on 28th April (Tuesday). Well worth it to get another cuddle and to spend some time with Gine who had a really rough time getting him into the world. Doesn't matter if you're the maternal sort or not it's still amazing to look at the perfection of a baby's tiny hands with their perfect fingernails. Let's face it babies need the cute factor so you don't mind the poopy nappies and the frequent screaming. And then we end up the same way at the other end of life sans teeth, sans memory, sans sanity in many cases. Makes you realise how quickly life passes. So much chocolate- so little time...

I am painting a series of Art Deco Flappers on small stones for McCauley's Cafe in Otane. Delivered the prototype a week ago and then made a few more in shades the owner was happy with (to match the interior of the cafe). Then needed to complete
my contribution for the New Zealand Art Guild's Collaborative work "Ngatahi" which will be auctioned at our exhibition in July 2009. Glenys gave me the idea and I stayed up until 10.30pm Sunday night finishing it. Wasn't hard to keep awake as a minor TV station here was screening the semi finals of the Eurovision Song Contest. I have never seen this before (apart from excerpts showing ABBA's famous win with "Waterloo" in 1974). It was well worth watching for the total kitschness of it all. From a Lithuanian guy with long black hair who rocked out a power ballad completely out of tune (in Lithuanian to boot), to Belgium and several strangely dressed females singing a funny oompah anthem, down to Ireland's entry performed by a puppet called Dennis the Turkey who at one point broke wind while feathers blew out his backside. The Irish have a very tongue in cheek sense of humour. As my Dad once said the Irish gave the Scots the bagpipes and they still haven't got the joke!

Today I began work on a painting for the Creative Hastings Artists' Challenge "Trees Keys and Brollies". Spent ninety minutes experimenting with sketches before committing pencil to canvas. It is also the first time I have used modelling compound- what fun it is. Now I can understand what my aunt got out of cake decorating. All that squishing and mashing is vaguely satisfying.

You never know what's going to happen at our painters' group. One brave lady is making a 3D naked woman out of foam displayed in a homemade shadow box for our exhibition in three week's time. The comments and advice she garnered from the room ranged from the reasonable to the risque (I made a few rude suggestions but then I usually do). As she artfully applied the bellybutton and nipples with a tiny brush there were quite a few tears of glee being wiped away. To me it rates with the time a while back that seven artists gathered around a half finished canvas ernestly discussing the merits of a sheep's bottom.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Beginnings

I realised this morning that it is nearly six weeks since I last updated this blog. This was partly due to my having to shift in mid March, partly due to a family bereavement, partly due to being lackadaisical. I didn't stop painting though attending two life drawing sessions as well as a portraiture one last Friday in the midst of all the chaos.

Other news is that I passed Year One Stage One of my TLC course. Also that I finally saved up enough Warehouse gift cards I'd been given over the years to buy a digital camera. There are two unfortuatelys to qualify this. 1. Unfortunately there wasn't a memory card with the camera so I only have enough memory to store three photos until I save enough to buy one. 2. Unfortunately my computer had a complete hissy fit when I tried to install the camera's software. Needless to say I think it'll take a while until I can afford another computer so I may have to make a few trips to the chemist to get my photos downloaded instead. However it'll still be faster (and cheaper) than using my steam driven camera which I will save for the art shots instead.

There is an outside room here which could make a good summer studio as it faces south and the lighting is unchanging. I have all my art supplies in boxes out there ready to be unpacked except my acrylic paints which are living on the coffee table in the sitting room as my current art studio is situated on my knees as I paint sitting on the sofa in front of the TV. Unfortunately when I become to comfortable I tend to nod off. However I have three deadlines this week for work due at different places so my napping hours may be curtailed in favour of brief periods of panicking instead.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Beware Of The Chisel

At the moment whenever I get stressed I go out the back and hack away at my Oamaru stone sculpture. Each time I bang the chisel with the hammer I imagine it's not just a stone head I'm hitting. Who says art isn't therapy?

This afternoon I had my first official committee meeting as "No 2" of the Painters' Group. One and a half hours later Glenys and went to the bank in Waipukurau before having afternoon tea at a local cafe. Glenys reckoned after all the excitement I needed a hot chocolate. It is interesting to see all the work that goes into an organization behind the scenes. I can well understand previous members' reluctance to go back on the committee. Hopefully my large mouth won't have my stockinged foot in it too often.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Surrealism and Seawitch

Tuesday I went to see an exhibition on New Zealand Surrealist paintings at the Hastings Art Gallery. It was a fascinating collection including work from many Kiwi artists including Sylvia Siddell, Heather Busch and even Raymond Ching. Surrealism is quite a challenging genre and I think you need to be slightly weird to get it (explains why I like it anyway). For example there was a large wooden panel of a Dalek but instead of the usual dome with a plunger sticking out the front at the top there was the Beehive (the home of the NZ Government) and replacing the half rounded mounds on the body were icons of Kiwiana including a paua, a Kiwi's head etc. What occurred to me was how well painted all the works were. Many were photo realistic but their subject matter was very "out there". The prices were also in outer space with some work priced at $18,000 to $38,000!

Our model didn't turn up again yesterday so some of the portraitists took turns to pose. After lunch Donna gave a few of us an hour long demonstration of watercolour techniques which went some way to solve many of the problems I used to have when using this medium. The only thing that really puts me off going back to it is that watercolours have to be mounted and framed which can prove very expensive.
Before heading home we went to Electra Gallery to see every one's Art Hawkes Bay entries. Gay and I were chuffed that our paintings were hung side by side. Unfortunately mine needs natural light to reflect on all the gold paint in it so didn't show up as well as it does here. However I think Seawitch a bit too way out to appeal to any local buyers so it probably doesn't matter.