29 August, 2013

Waikato Hospital from the lake

This hospital, constrained by it's tiny footprint in the city, is bursting at the seams with development. You know how a popcorn kernel , with a little heat,transforms from a tight, glossy kernel to a an engorged, asymmetrical puffiness....same with this hospital. It has had to change and grow to adapt to a growing population with changing needs, but it is never going to be pretty. If you wander through the campus you can see buildings of various eras, tumbled together and connected by afterthought paths and covers. For a few years, the skyline of the hospital has remained the same but the Smith building is about to be demolished and that will change to look again. My son and I spent a considerable time in that grotty building last year and I am glad that it is being replaced with something ,hopefully, better.

I painted this for Heather, who has spent a lifetime of service in healthcare, and who worked here for many years.

The hospital overlooks the lake and many patients, visitors and staff use the path round the lake to add some balance back into their day. Water, albeit full of duck shit, is very meditative and the 4.8km path just long enough to trot round in a lunchtime, amble with a pram or a gentle walk.

Waikato hospital from the lake
27 x 35 cm
oil on canvas

27 August, 2013

The finished product

Mixed media
600mm x 900mm on canvas
I had sooooo much fun.....acrylic paints, crayons, inks, brushes, palette knives and fingers. Mixed media indeed!

26 August, 2013


I have waved the white flag at the idea of "moving" and am settling for chaos in the studio. I still have to get rid of a large, 3 seater art deco couch, but till it goes, it lolls like a hippo in the middle of the room, hogging all the space . It reminds me that I still have lots to do. I shall hide it with a screen if it bothers me for too long.

So, I have given up trying to get the room "perfect" before I start painting again and have just started. I am tripping over canvasses when i step back, have misplaced some paints and found some inks. I like to think of this kind of thing as serendipitous, so I am using the inks in the painting. Mixed media serendipity.

So, no more chatter about the room, I am just going to paint. Today, it seems my fingers wanted in on the action more than perviously.

A third of the mess!

22 August, 2013

Almost there......

Ok. But this was , and still is, a very chaotic move from old studio to new studio. The gymnast technician flick-flacked through my house, re-connecting les enfants terrible with their beloved TV, hooked up another point in case I moved again, and was gone in the flash of a very efficient dismount. Similarly, the Telecom man came and, with speed and efficiency, changed the modem setup so I can get internet (live streaming radio! ) into the studio, even in the furthest corner. Thank you!!

Now, I am still in a mess.....half in the old studio and half in the new studio, but it means getting rid of a beautiful old Art deco couch, a wardrobe, a treadmill and various other bits and bobs before I can settle. Also, I will "move" the contents of the studio around many times before I am settled. It is just my way. I would like to say I am organising as I am going but really, I am just a hoarder at heart and cannot bear to throw away anything. I shall show you my brush collection one day.....

So, because my space is a mess, I stepped outdoors and painted this from the deck. Nothing like denial and procrastination to make one feel better!

I would give you the measurements but I have" misplaced "my measuring tape, but it is about 30 x 45 cm, oil on hardboard. I like the smooth surface of hardboard....next time I will sand the gesso for an even smoother surface, as an experiment.

19 August, 2013

Studio move

I am taking the time this week to move my studio into the larger room , currently occupied my children. Previously known as the family room, this room has lovely, natural ,south light, huge windows, lots of space ...ideal for me!!!. So, that has meant moving all the tv, internet etc connections over so that the poor children are not inconvenienced by their mother's annexation of their territory. Simple idea, not so simple to execute.

The technician who arrived to move the TV satellite and establish a new point for les enfants was too unfit  to navigate the spaces of the roof cavity. Seriously. BOOM. my mind blew ( and it was only 9.30am!) Roof spaces are his office. How dreadful to have to be physically unsuited to your daily job? That would stress me immensely He described himself as clumsy. He had the temerity to blame the various issues with the roof space on me and say it was impossible to work up there. I had great delight in explaining that the plumber did just fine and that was further in the space than he had even ventured. I phoned the service provider, explained (without being too sarcastic) the issue and asked for a technician who, in a past life, has been either a gymnast or a circus performer.
I wait with bated breath.

Also. The internet needs to reach into the furthest corner of the new studio and so the telecommunications people are sending a technician out tomorrow to help me. Please tune in for THAT chapter tomorrow. Cue the circus music, just in case.......

On top of all this, my darling husband is about to embark on another motorbiking adventure, this time in Canada and again, off-road. He will hopefully arrive in Seattle, collect the bikes( he travels with his mate, Dave.) and touch base with my cousins on Vancouver Island and then make his way towards the Rockies. He is doing this injured(he separated his shoulder snowboarding 3 weeks ago) and for 5 weeks! The kids may have baked- beans -on- toast- for- dinner toxicity by the time he returns! I am always excited for him and marvel at the way he engineers cool things in his life to add spice and variety to his existence. I think that's why he likes me too!

So, upheaval all around. I am using the enforced downtime to think, mull and re-think some ideas. I also have to sort out an inventory and a storage plan for paintings......so, to do that, I spend hours on Pinterest. Yes, black holes of time exist and it is called Pinterest.

13 August, 2013

From outside to inside

I worked up the plein air painting of the railway line into a studio painting. I added the train for interest (and because I had a few reference photos) and I had more time and a controlled environment (no wind and rain!).

I really enjoyed working this up again as it gave me time to think about what I wanted to convey in the scene and how I wanted to achieve this. With the 24 hour delay between the two paintings I was able to cement those ideas in my head and worked from a very limited palette..almost a Zorn palette: Ultramarine blue, cadmium red light , yellow ochre, titanium white and I also used a bit of black (mixed with ochre for the green) and Alizarin crimson..a smidge.

The service track
oil on canvas
25 x 35 cm

11 August, 2013

Plein air urban landscape at the railway line

I wanted to get out the studio and go plein air painting today. I said it OUT LOUD last night. So, of course, it rains today! Squally, windy showers that are wet enough to halt painting for a few moments and windy enough to make you stand at the easel or it might blow over.

I had to go to town to do some last minute shopping for Charles's birthday tomorrow, so I packed the gear in the car and threw in the raincoat and thumbed my nose at the dark skies. Urban landscape it would be.

I had a great time...I stopped at the Killarney road industrial area that has a railway crossing and set up there. My back was to the sun (not ideal!) and I wanted ATMOSPHERE....so mostly, I created it because there was no way I could keep up with the changing sky!

See? Trains even passed! (yes, of course I waved!)

Frankton line
oil on canvas

25 x 35 cm

06 August, 2013

Blue ball bull

I have been painting cows for ages and rarely do I see a bull. These days, the dairy herds have no use of a real, live bull and therefore, they are scarce as hens's teeth ( unless they are kept to fill the freezer! ). I am surrounded by dairy farms. Cows dominate the landscape.

Cows are social animals. The  dairy herd consists of many mothers, aunts , sisters, girlfriends and there are a few diva's spread out amongst them :Doe- eyed, large uddered, all curves and eyelashes.

Today I saw a great bull.

Bulls are hard eyed and powerful in a ratio of bulk to  brain that is very scary and not right. I am not sure they know the rule about not walking through the thin, white electric fence tape or not. They seemed to have missed the memo about fences and freaking people out by staring at them and making that dreadfully primitive bellowing sounds that sounds very, very angry.Very angry and frustrated and bored.Such a bad, bad combination .

He was alone in a paddock. It was quite a big paddock with just him in it.....and me, the electric tape and a camera.

I was going to paint him then and there and then I remembered I actually like myself ungored, so I took the photos and painted him at home.

I felt far more relaxed with that situation .

450 x 600mm

04 August, 2013

Miss Pasture 2013

I like to think of these bovine beauties as contestants in a beauty Pageant. Miss Pasture 2012.

And yes, I know how bizarre that concept is but seriously, how cute would they be with a tiara and a sash?

Pageant categories would have to include: Sashaying, lowing and eye batting. Keep your eyes away from the udders!!!! They are not THAT kind of cow!

Perhaps I shall make a cow calendar....12 Months of cow....or cow icons ( holy Cow!).

Sorry, I have been alone too long today, but I am so grateful for the peace after what has been a wild weekend of our usual manic family lifestyle.

mmmmmoooooving on.
1200mm x 900mm

Available at the Garden Art Studio

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