I am a person who needs deadlines. Perhaps it's because I am a perfectionist who puts off till next year what I should do today because I know I'll never get it quite right. If I have a time constraint I can always put down my perceived failure to reach perfection to running out of time. This is why I will often begin a painting a couple of weeks before an exhibition and why you'll often see me feverishly painting at 2am on receiving day.
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.