Friday, February 27, 2009

The Model Herself

I pushed myself to finish a folder of work for TLC this week and Gine took a couple of photos of larger work that couldn't be mailed. What a fantastic piece of technology the digital camera is- the photos were so professional and it was so handy to delete unwanted pictures. It made me get my A into G and I finally took four films I had sitting on a shelf for developing. I think they date from May 2008 through to February 2009 so goodness knows what's on them.

I was happy with some of my drawings that I did from Tamara De Lempicka's work. She is a favourite artist of a friend and of course I'd never heard of her until a few years ago. Her paintings done in the 1920s and 1930s are my favourites and although I am more an Art Nouveau girl I can appreciate the skill she had in painting textures.

Wednesday we arrived early at Otane for Portraiture but it turned out that our model couldn't make it so I volunteered to sit. Or rather to slump and lie down. Bam took photos throughout and I hope I have convinced her to delete most of them as they just showed up my weak chin and witchy nose. It's no wonder so many models look shocked when they see our portraits of them. Everyone had difficulty drawing me with Jacqueline saying I had a classical look which is another way of saying "big nose". Oh well it always means I look good in hats!

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Real No 2

Monday I attended my first Otane Arts and Crafts AGM. Glenys and I arrived early to help although the most I did was help put out mugs. After a shared lunch where the few painters attending ended up in a corner chatting we all sat in the art room for the hour long meeting. The election of officers for the committee included the leaders of the four groups. Jacqueline nominated Glenys for leader (with no small amount of glee I noticed) and when it came to a second Helen nominated myself and Jacqueline seconded the motion. After all these years being called No 2 now I can truly say that I am.

Life Drawing yesterday was with a pregnant model who has agreed to sit for us for the three months before her baby is born. We had two new people attending including one lady from the Dannevirke art group. Because of the extra interest Helen has suggested we hold life drawing every three weeks instead of once a month. I have a friend who says I've seen more naked bodies than she has but it honestly makes you not feel so bad about your own. It's a pity some of these Hollywood actresses couldn't take a class as they'd realise how interesting the human body is as it ages and how boring the silicone Barbi look really is.

I have hardly picked up a brush in the past week although one morning I felt stressed so took it out on my Oamaru stone "sculpture" (I use quotation marks for irony)giving the half formed face a nose job. I am rethinking what I intended as the nose I have carved so far is not the aquiline feature I imagined. Instead it looks like someone has shoved it into a mammogram machine.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Outlet

Martina was our model for portraiture yesterday. Other artists are wonderful to draw as they instinctively know how to pose. Martina in particular got into some challenging positions so in revenge I made her look distinctively grumpy in all my pictures. Actually I did that by accident- I seem to have some difficulty drawing people I know well.

Gay shouted Gine, Martina and I to lunch at McCauley's Cafe. This time it was much emptier than our first visit (which was on the occasion of its opening) so we were able to wander round and look closely at all the paintings and other items displayed. After fortifying myself with a cup of hot chocolate I asked to meet with the owner and showed her some of my work with a view to perhaps selling some of it. In the end she took my greeting cards and asked me to paint some small stones with an Art Deco figure on them to match the age of the building (1930). At least now I have another outlet and will be able to do some different work to what I usually do.

When we arrived back at the rooms at 1.30pm everyone had left except Marie so we sat and worked and chatted for 45 minutes. Working in the afternoon is really a peaceful experience and you get much more done. I began painting a "maybe" commission for someone on Trademe. I say maybe for although they asked if I could paint their dog on a pendant there was no firm agreement that they would want to buy it when it was done. Always a risk with doing commission work.

In the evening I rang my cousin who lives just north of Melbourne but fortunately she is not affected by the fires at the moment. It is hard to comprehend the scale of the devastation in Australia, all the deaths both human and animals, the loss of habitats and homes, or even why someone would want to deliberately light some of the fires. It makes you realise how insignificant your own problems are compared with what is happening in Australia.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Dealing With Rejection

OK so I have to suck it up and say it- "Seawitch" did not get accepted for the Art Hawkes Bay Exhibition. I have had rejections before but this one particularly stuck in my craw as I was certain it was one of my best paintings. I have a saying my mother trotted out on occasions like this ringing in my ears "Pride Comes Before A Fall".

Dealing with rejection is part and parcel of writing and painting. Often it has nothing whatsoever to do with the work but more about the opinion of the person selecting. With writing it may mean that the piece doesn't fit into the overall theme of the magazine or book you're submitting to, maybe the editor has overrun his/her budget that month, perhaps the article needs tweaking. With art perhaps the judge is a fan of photo realism so only wants to show work in that genre. Perhaps they have a limit of how many works they can choose for the exhibiton space.

But then again you don't want to run the risk of becoming like those tone deaf hopefuls who audition for American Idol and don't believe Simon Cowell when he tells them they have no talent and that their singing reminds him of a cat being dropped from a twenty story building. You see them come out defiant and angry, saying the judges don't know what they're talking about, they know they're talented, the world hasn't heard the last of them and they're going to keep on going until they succeed. No one really wants to be one of those people.

However if you enjoy doing something and want to take it to the next level (professionally) then you do need feedback from outsiders. This is when you need to grow a thick skin, put on a stiff upper lip, lift your nose in the air and keep on going when the going goes nowhere. Human beings seem to need something to strive towards. Perhaps that's part of being human because if we didn't have dreams or ambition what is the point of being alive? So now I'll think about the next exhibition I need to prepare for, pick up my paintbrush and begin working again content in my absolute certainty that this particular selector was just plain WRONG.

Of course I had to receive the news of The Rejection in the middle of our first portrait session. I was already feeling down about the fact that what small skill I had managed to acquire last year had packed its bags and gone on holiday to the Bahamas. However we had a good model who sat very still and managed to hide his horror at what drawings resulted from the session.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Lay Down or Lay By.

I have had to force myself to paint this past week since the murder of a local Tikokino resident just over a week ago. Not only was he young with his whole life ahead he also lived just 15 minutes from where I am now plus he was the cousin of a close friend. It was such a senseless killing as he was only trying to protect a woman who was been beaten by her gang member boyfriend. I wish the Government would toughen up on the gangs in this country. The last Government in particular had a tendency to kowtow to them as I know since I once lived in a gang area. They had family members working for the Ministry of Employment and used to boast of all the handouts they received. Yet you get genuine people who really need help being hassled by WINZ etc. Just makes my blood boil.

However I had to keep going as the deadline for handing my fantasy painting in for the Art Hawkes Bay show was today. I just finished it mid yesterday afternoon and after wrapping it up I left it out of the veranda for a friend who collected it at 11pm. I should hear if it's been accepted by Wednesday.

With the economy tanking at the moment it's been time to think new ways of generating income. One method which was brought up at one art forum I belong to was to offer layby to clients. This would mean that they could pay off larger items over time, receiving the artwork when it's been fully paid for. I think this is a great idea as it would perhaps garner more customers, especially those who love a painting but don't have the wherewithal to pay the full amount up front. Of course this might only apply when selling work privately but I think it's an idea that most artists should consider. The other option is to have a sale to move on work that hasn't readily found a home. I would find this tough to do personally as my stuff is already low priced as it is and I don't really want to give it away. I have found in the past that the people who want a bargain are often those that can afford to pay full price. It is very annoying to have someone try to haggle you down from $20.00, especially if you've put a couple of hours work into a piece, while they're wearing designer sunglasses and swinging round a Gucci handbag.