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.