Thursday, September 30, 2010

Variations On A Theme

A few of us have been working on an interesting project at art group. I ordered several 8"x8" square canvases and we each began a painting based on a circle. Of course the possibilities are endless but I still ended up confused as to what I wanted to paint. In the end I decided to do something design orientated and painted this Flower Mandala in acrylics based on an antique Art Deco brooch. So far ten people have handed their canvases in with six more to complete and it's fascinating to see the wide range of ideas and styles. When they're assembled we're displaying the works at Otane Arts and Crafts Open Weekend in November with the paintings being sold and the proceeds donated to charity.

For life drawing last week I decided to try something different. I lay four sheets of cartridge paper on the floor and did a poor man's Jackson Pollock on them. This made a good basis for drawing on with pastel pencils. Another method is to draw first with oil pastels and then drip watercolour paint over the drawing although this is best done at home with a large supply of newspaper.

Dublin On A Budget

Dublin Castle is built on a site first settled by the Vikings. Although original building was begun in 1204 by King John of England most of the castle dates from the 18th century. The fortress was the seat of British rule until 1922 but is now a government complex used for important State receptions and Presidential Inaugurations. The State Apartments, Chapel Royal, Craft Shop and Heritage Centre are open to visitors.

Many Dublin hotels are close to the city’s historical sites include the Royal Hospital Kilmainham which houses the Irish Museum of Modern Art. There is a permanent collection with 1,650 works and the Madden Arnholz Collection with 2,000 prints by the Old Masters. Admission is free apart from special exhibitions. St Mary’s Abbey was once a wealthy Cistercian Abbey founded in 1139 but dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539. Only two rooms remain- the Chapter House and the Slype. Admission is free.

Phoenix Park at 1,752 acres is one of the largest walled city parks in Europe. With its own herd of wild fallow deer it’s also home to Dublin Zoo. The National Botanic Gardens has a collection of 15,000 plant species from around the world and restored glasshouses.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Visiting Paris: City of Culture

Visitors to the city of romance and culture will find hotels in Paris city centre near some of the greatest attractions the capital has to offer. The Louvre has dominated the city since first built as a fortress in the late 12th century. Over time it was developed into a fine Renaissance palace until it lost favor with French monarchs. After the Revolution the palace was opened to the public as a museum in 1793 and has since grown to house 35,000 works of art ranging from prehistory, the ancient world, to western art from the medieval period to 1848.

The Museum d’Orsay opened in 1986 in the former Orsay railway station built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. Displaying work from 1848 to 1914 the museum is best known for its collection of impressionist and post impressionist masterpieces.

The Eiffel Tower is an iconic Parisian landmark that was designed by Gustave Eiffel. Built between 1887-89 it is 324 metres (1,063 ft) high with three levels for visitors. The first two levels feature world class restaurants.

All Paris is accessible via the rapid transit Metro system which is also a work of art with its Art Nouveau inspired station architecture.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Shaken and Stirred

Earthquakes are on every one's minds at the moment with the terrible devastation suffered by Cantabrians last Saturday. I watched TVNZ's coverage all day except for a couple of hours when I attended the 40th Anniversary Celebrations at the Arts and Crafts Corner Otane. Glenys and I had taken along some of our old paintings to decorate the art room the previous day, Jean Addis had bought along two works from original founding members plus I printed out photos from our Venetian Masque themed winter luncheon last year. Glenys and I had stuck these on a noticeboard along with the masks we'd decorated for the event. I took photos of the anniversary for the centre's website including one of eleven past presidents. The most interesting moments though were meeting some previous members including the widow of my father's employer from the 1960s and the son of the man who founded the Arts and Crafts Corner who donated his father's scrapbook of newspaper cuttings to the art group, all collected from 1970 to 1984. These need to be pasted back into the book but once I've done that it will be a valuable addition to our group's memorabilia- not that we have much!

This week I was frantically trying to log up more hours so I could complete a folder for The Learning Connexion and finish Year Two of Stage One. I needed to grab a nap on Monday and just as I was dozing a 5.2 earthquake hit south of Porangahau. That jolted me out of my snooze. Since then we've had three more quakes although nothing compared to Christchurch's aftershocks. Still you wonder with Hawkes Bay's history if the next one will be the biggie so have been filling spare bottles with water.

I spent hours working on my entry for The Art's Extravaganza at Pukeora over the past month. I took the photo of the lamb last year when its mother allowed me near to stroke it just after it was born. I thought it would be easy to paint but its wool really was a coat of many colours and very difficult to execute. No matter though as ultimately it was rejected. The selectors didn't like the background colour apparently. However I was rejected in some good company as there were a couple of well known artists whose paintings didn't get in. It's all a matter of taste I guess.

Finally completed the pendant of Tara the One Eyed Cat for her owner. Also sold another pendant on Trademe. As Christmas is fast approaching and Trademe are offering half price on their classified listings I have advertised my "services". Doesn't matter what other work I do I always return to painting animals. Which in turn feeds my animals. And buys me chocolate...