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...

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