Friday, December 14, 2012
Thursday, December 06, 2012
By this stage the weather was cool, breezy and drizzly so we went into the cafe which was featuring an exhibition of paintings by mother and son Vicki and George Williams. Vicki paints birds and draws animals while George paints large acrylics of black labradors. Although the exhibition had only just begun ten works already had red stickers on them. By this time my sister in law had arrived so we enjoyed a leisurely lunch before investigating the nearby sweet shop (a relocated pioneer cottage) before returning to the sculpture garden once more. In total we spent three hours there which would account for my longest visit to a gallery. Ever.
When we returned to Trenrose however it was a different story. The weather had been so awful with pouring rain that visitor numbers were down three quarters on the previous year. Marie had sold a few cards for me in the morning but that was all. We packed up early hoping that the next day would improve.
When I woke up at 7am the rain was hammering down. Once again I was running late but Marie and I set up quickly and waited for the weather to improve. Then the gales arrived. The tent began to disintergrate so there were running repairs that continued throughout the day. However the sun broke out inbetween the downpours so more visitors began to come through the garden although they were more interested in buying plants than our work. However during Marie's lunch break I managed to sell one of my pendants and cards so by the end of the day we had come out of the weekend with a small profit. One of the stallholders who had been coming for nine years it was the worst year at Trenrose they'd ever experienced. I felt it was official- I was a jinx.
During one of the sunny spells in the afternoon we explored fields of flowering peonies and on the way back I bought a huge jar with two goldfish from a lady selling pickles. As you do.
Sunday, December 02, 2012
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Richard Longshaw 5.7.1954- 31.3.2012
I hope that during these past few months Richard finally realized how deeply he was loved and by how many people. I don’t think he ever truly knew how much we all needed and valued him. Whenever someone had a crisis or needed something done Richie would be there. Sometimes just the fact he was in the room would make you feel better, safer, as if everything was going to turn out alright. He always put others first before himself and constantly thought of how to make their lives easier. I have lost count of all the times he came to my rescue; repairing computers, helping get a sick animal to the vet and helping me move house on too many occasions.
When we moved the pony and donkey in a horse float Rich would insist on riding in with them so they wouldn’t be stressed. When I had to have my old pony put to sleep Richie drove all the way out to where I was living at the time to keep me company while the vet did the deed before lying on top of Toby the goat so the vet could trim his hooves.
I have happy memories of Richie and I going shopping and having long philosophical conversations about science, quantum physics and Top Gear. He would go into in-depth descriptions of how he fixed someone’s computer or the reason why a car wasn’t running properly and I would nod my head as if I actually knew what he was talking about.
Dad always said Rich was the “luckiest unlucky bugger” he’d ever met. His boat La Paloma blew up with him on board but he only suffered a flash burn on his chest. His trawler “Trojan” sank off Mahia although fortunately he wasn’t on board. We would always joke about the Longshaw luck. Just as well the other part of being a Longshaw was having a robust black sense of humour.
Richard tolerated the intolerable and suffered fools. Whereas I would get angry about someone’s actions Richie would shrug his shoulders and say “oh well that’s just them”. But under that seemingly strong calm exterior there was a sensitive soul who could be so easily hurt by people. He was truly a gentle giant and for me he was a wonderfully kind and caring brother.
Last Friday as I watched Richard lie on the verge of his last voyage into the next world a few lines kept continually running through my head. They were from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Requiem”
''This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.''
Monday, March 05, 2012
Each person explained how they would work and it turned out that everyone would begin in a different way. Some would sketch out a faint oval with indications where the features would go, a couple of us would begin with one facial feature and work our way out intuitively from there. The conclusion was that there wasn't one "right" way to begin a drawing. But then to throw a spanner in the works a couple of us mentioned how much easier it is to draw upside down. When you work from a reference photo turned the wrong way suddenly your brain has to work from its right side. A face becomes a series of simple shapes which you reproduce. Often for beginners the results can be extremely satisfying. Even for veteran pencillists it is handy to forget what you think you see and return to drawing simply what is there.
We spent a good thirty minutes facing Rafa's rotated photo on an easel and when we finally turned our drawings right way up we had a good laugh at the distorted features. But over the following half an hour when we drew from the righted photo it was fairly obvious that these pictures were no more interesting artistically than the so called "wrong" ones. It just felt as if it were easier to draw this way when in reality our brains were busy telling us "well an ear should be placed here, a chin should be there" rather than allowing us to reproduce what we saw.
I would honestly recommend everyone to try drawing wrong side up on occasion. Not only can you pick out your weaknesses but it's fun not being in control. With our little group it was a great leveler. Working upside down we were all equal in our sudden drop in confidence and in our ability to laugh at the results. Sometimes though something wonderful would result as in this lovely pastel.
And where is my finished masterpiece? Ah well both my upside down, inside out and round the right way sketches are like me- a work in progress.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
After a dismal Christmas Sale at Creative Hastings which saw some of my work stolen I wasn't in the mood to paint but the Art Hawkes Bay annual exhibition was coming up at the end of January and I knew I needed a kick start back into some sort of creativity. But what to paint? Plus I had to send in the entry form with a title and price before I even began work on my picture. I became depressed sorting through photos I'd taken trying to rustle up some inspiration. I knew I wanted to attempt a portrait but nothing leaped out of my files that said "paint me".
Finally I went through my camera and found a shot of one of our models who had just been in a play at the Waipukurau Little Theatre. At the time I couldn't believe how she'd transformed herself from a bubbly blond into a dark femme fatale (a German spy no less) but soon as I saw the photo I knew this was the shot to base a portrait on. I grabbed a black canvas and set to work sporadically over the next couple of weeks although the entire painting only took eight and a half hours to complete. This woman was a "Thoroughly Modern" flapper.
No 2am painting session for me this year. The painting was covered in bubble wrap and ready to go the night before receiving day. The selector was Brent Redding a very well known Hawkes Bay artist but I had no idea whether he would like my picture. Then a message was left on my phone Tuesday night from Ian Thompson, Founder of Art Hawkes Bay suggesting I attend the Opening Night at Vidal's Winery that Thursday. I'd had no intention of going before this but on speaking to a couple of friends from my art group I was persuaded it was important I go along.
So Thursday 26th January I caught a ride with three other members of the Otane Art Group to Vidal's winery. The opening was at 6pm but the room was already crowded with dozens of people looking at the 150 paintings displayed. An hour later there were speeches before the prize giving for each of the categories. My category "Culture" was third on the list and I heard my name read out as the winner so had to go and have my hand shaken. Val Donkevoort, also of the Otane Art Group, won Best In Exhibition. Afterwards I was congratulated by Ian Thompson, Brent Redding before our small group of four were invited to stay for a platter and drinks with the committee at 8pm, the only artists to be so honoured apparently.
It wasn't until 10.15pm that I finally arrived home although I wasn't actually able to get to sleep before midnight due to the excitement which resulted from the combination of winning a certificate, $250.00 in cash and the severe diarrhea that hit me soon as I came through the back door. And did my painting sell? No. Which just goes to show that you can win a prize but people may still not want a German Spy hanging on their wall.