27 November, 2014

My adventures with planning film

Planning film, the stuff architects used to use (when architects still hand drew plans), translucent ,  frosted,  plasticy paper that came in rolls.Whatevere the name, I like it! I want some rolls of it. It was a constant in my childhood as my father is just that kind of architect. On a recent trip home I was gifted some off the smaller pieces and brought them home with me. I have wanted to paint on them ever since I realised that one COULD paint on it. It apparels to my need to paint on smooth surfaces. I am eyeing out aluminium as we speak, but that's another story.......
I need a smooth surface because I push paint around on the surface...quite a lot. I smear and pull and use those marks to , well, create other marks and under marks and all sorts of effects to get the painting to where I want it to be. I am not a "places paint down in precise manner" kinda painter. I am a "lets see where this takes me" kinda painter. Exciting!

Anyways, I decided to use it and see what I could achieve. Here are the results:

Tidal pool surge

the large painting

detail from large painting

detail from large painting

aerial perspective of african landscape
So now I am trawling the internet looking for rolls of this stuff. Wish me luck.

23 November, 2014

Workshop with Peter Griffen

I attended a workshop run by Australian abstract artists, Peter Griffen.  My work is far from abstract, but I wanted to attend to stretch myself a little and enjoy the dialogue that goes with these sorts of things. Get 15 artists in a room and SOMEONE is going to say something interesting! Well, stretch I did. I felt like I was primed to twang off on a tangent!

I drove up to Tairua on the Coromandel peninsula early on Thursday morning and we met at the Tairua Rugby club. The juxtaposition of sporting memorabilia vs artists and life model was quite fun. Anyways, the agenda was to draw the figure and then the face for 2 days  after which we moved onto landscape, ALL within the parameters of abstract art. It was challenging (thats the nice way of putting it). I only cried once.

I still have a headache. I tried really hard to just "go for it" as Peter encouraged, but I could not get my Francis Bacon on. But I did learn some truths about the way I work and think and I don't think there is any "One Way" to work . I have a renewed interest in acrylic paints( Especially the chalky nature of the Matisse heavy body paints) and watched the technique of many of the artists and learned some clever tricks.

I enjoyed meeting the other artists, hearing how they work, witnessing some great work and sharing some abysmal defeats. But 4 days is a long time to concentrate as hard as I did and I was exhausted on the last day. I am still not recovered and have taken today off to fold laundry and caught up on my emails etc.

This was the best of the weekend's work.

Artists shoes and landscape

06 November, 2014

Studio sale

I am having a studio sale this saturday 8&9 November. I have opened it to the public to show a working studio and to sell paintings , framed and unframed, exhibited and previously unseen, studies and completed works...a real mixed bag!

Here are some images of me getting the studio ready for the sale. Items start from $10 through to $400....so something for everyone ! Excellent idea for that difficult person in your life who has everything! A unique painting!

158/2 Gillard road, Ngahinapouri

open 10 am till 4 pm, sat and sunday 8&9 November.

02 November, 2014

Gladiators , are you ready?

I forget the name of the 1990's British TV program that pitted "normal" people against pro-athletes in an arena full of insanely difficult obstacle courses, but the MC always started with the Scottish accented herald, " Contenders, are you ready? Gladiators, are you ready?" The crowd would go insane. Cameras would focus on the confident grins of the pro-athletes (Visual clue: Barbie and Ken on steroids) and then pan to the slightly twitchy, paler competitors( Visual: mouth-guards and knee-supports).

This week post exhibition opening has felt like that moment for me. I am entering a new arena and the players are big and I question whether I am up for this. Of course I am, but I need a little buff and polish to make it look that way, if only for myself.

  I have spent this last week painting the walls of the studio white, paring equipment down to what I need, not what I THINK I need, organising my materials, reference material, desk, stationary and filing systems(chortle, think shoebox). I have cleared the visual slate of the last few years work. I have made plans. I am attending a workshop at the end of November that is so out of my comfort zone that it makes my head hurt just to think about it. But I have enrolled. I have committed. I am in the process of working on commissions that need to be finished timorously( and they will be) and actually enjoying the process.I have a my next exhibition lined up for May.  I am flexing my painting muscles  and checking out the competition. They are intimidating and successful, but I am here, in this arena too. I am here.

And this is the bit that keeps me here:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 
Theodore Roosevelt

I was turned on to this quote by Brene Brown, a writer , whose latest book is all about vulnerability being the birthplace of creativity. Ouch. That's hard work. But, to be in the arena, to openly invite scrutiny and criticism about ones work , one has to be vulnerable. So here I am, just a painter wanting to paint, looking to grow and be successful (still working out what that one means to me too) and do this forever.

I am pale and twitchy, but I am in the arena.

PS. I have just remembered the name of the show " Gladiators".duh

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