27 November, 2013

Salvation Army Art Exhibition

I have 5 pieces in the Salvation Army Art exhibition to be held this Friday-sun at the Salvation Army Headquarters church in London street, Hamilton.

I have a soft spot for the Sallies( as they are known) as they truly seem to do good work without the overt canvassing that drives me slightly scatty. They have helped out a friend in dire straights and provided her with great support when she was on the bones of her arse, scrabbling in the wreckage of a horrific divorce. They are the touchstone for many who are attempting to get by in our economically savage world and they do it with a gracious heart.

There are lots of local artists exhibiting…..a great time to see local talents before local gets too expensive! I will be doing some Xmas shopping there, myself, as I saw some great pieces when dropping my paintings off.

Windy day
320 x 410 mm

21 November, 2013

The nocturne as narrative

This was a difficult painting to photograph as it is
a) so dark and
b) varnished with a gloss finish…REFLECT!!!!!

Nikola Mitchell, a clever photographer down the road, helped me and photographed it for me.

I love the idea that this is a lovers meeting spot, a place to park the car and make out with the  romance of twinkling lights and solitude (anybody do that anymore or am I stuck in American Graffiti again?).

My kids told me that that is NOT what this painting is about.(made some eugh sounds and screwed their faces up,noses crinkling in distaste)  It's about a person, lost in the wild, who comes out of the bush to see the city lights in the distance….salvation! ( too many episodes of Bear Grylls, methinks)

Another friend said it was a spot on the rocks at the beach, looking across the bay to the seaside settlement.

I love that the painting tells a story for each and every person. I have been missing the "narrative" element in my painting, recently. I am happy to embrace that again.

Saying that, I am off to the beach with my friend Monique this weekend .No kids, no dogs, no husband ( wow, not the right order) , no meals to cook, no chores. I aim to paint a little, chat a little, drink coffee and tea , walk on the beach, dine out and answer to no-one else. Faaaaaaaaabulous.

oil on canvas
50 x 76cm

19 November, 2013

Studio painting

There was a thunderous sky and a weather warning for lightning, flash floods and heavy downpours, so I stayed home and worked up a plein air sketch into a painting.

Originally, I stood on the side of the  flooded paddock, cold and wet, breath steaming, and painted this scene of a flooded paddock, cows in the background. Only when I started to pack up did I notice the electric fence was submerged and the clicking I heard continuously was not an insect but the fence short-circuiting in the wet…the same wet in which I had stood! Facepalm.

30 x 40 cm
oil on canvas

17 November, 2013

Floods and disaster

What a week for flooding. Is it just me, the pervasiveness of modern news, or is the weather becoming more extreme?

14 November, 2013

The Vantage point

For as long as I can remember I have been attracted to sparkly lights.  As a university student I would drive up Table Mountain ,in Cape Town, and sit and watch the city in all her shimmery, nocturnal glory. Hideously dangerous behaviour, now I think about it, but even now, almost 25 years later I can close my eyes and transport myself back to those very same scenes.  I can hear that hum.

900 x 600mm
oil on canvas

NZ $500, postage included

13 November, 2013

Going green with Cobra

My house stinks of kerosene at the moment because i accidentally spilled some on the floor and egads, it is awful! I use the kerosene to clean my brushes. I also use turpentine (sometimes the smelly kind! ) and I have destroyed many an item of clothing and some upholstery with my clumsy distribution of oil paint. The studio is pungent( even the ever faithful hounds have upped and left) , the house is not smelling good and the family…the family have said ENOUGH.
We are revolting, they said. ( I agreed but they told me I was off-topic) .
No more smelly stuff in the house, open the windows or go outside , anything but STOP stinking us out.
I was at pains to tell them the windows WERE open and I WAS painting outside but it's the indoors cleanup that makes the most stink and mess.
Tough, they said, make a plan. Either make it better or stop.

So, I am taking a leaf out of Richard Robinson's book and converting to water-mixable paints. Walnut oil as medium, gloves on hands, water as clean up…….going green.

I have watched Richard paint with a variety of paints over the past few years and he seems to have settled on Cobra by the dutch company Royal Talens, so I will give them a try as my first point of call. ( the Dutch know paint!)

I suspect there will be some teething issues as I get to grips with the challenges associated with any medium change, but I have done my research and have read a bit about them.You have to start somewhere!

Water is for cleaning up, not the actual painting. For that ,the mediums are either linseed or walnut or any of the commercial painting mediums available. I am changing to Walnut oil. I reckon I can use it in salad dressing if it does not work out for me!!!


So, I shall continue to use up the last of my trusty Windsor and Newton, Schmincke and Archival oils and await the arrival of the new paints and hope I get a grace period of smelly clean up from my family.

11 November, 2013

Plein air Tuesday

I packed the car and went painting, today. Just a mornings jaunt within a radius of 10 kn from my house. I am spoilt.

07 November, 2013

Friday painting

I was supposed to be assisting at the discus event at my children's inter-school athletics day but it was cancelled due to the weather. Kidlets were devastated. Me, not so much. All day athletics, measuring how far a discus is thrown and avoiding the actual throw (the big ones sometimes aim for you, I swear) in the hot sun, no chair,ugh…..but I do it because it is what needs to be done. You can see how I took the cancellation as a sign to go painting.! I opened the car boot to load the gear (I had already spotted cows lying down in a paddock round the corner) and discovered it was full of biking gear that I have to deliver to Tauranga later today. Stink. So I dragged the easel across the road and painted this.

Towards the city

My version, with greyscale reminding me to keep an eye on values!

06 November, 2013

Tweaking and housekeeping.

Before you all laugh( especially my mother) no, I am not talking about real housekeeping or have misspelled "twerking"(mind boggles, right there). I am referring to my online presence: this blog, my website and Twitter account etc. I am sprucing and updating them. Dear god, what an awful thing to do. I do most of it by trial and error and when I do something right I am amazed…and then I have to remember what buttons I pushed to repeat that success!

Did you know I write a newsletter? No , well, neither did I but I am told by those in the know that it is an essential marketing tool.Maybe not monthly but decidedly seasonally, I think.  Did you know I sell my paintings online ? I do! From my website( did you know I have a website?) Paypal and I am busy sorting out all the details (mostly me shouting at the screen and the dogs farting in their sleep, clouding my judgement ). Twitter…hmmmm, I feel a twat when I twitter but I shall endeavour to improve my tweets. Sheesh…..twit. Did you know you can subscribe to this blog and it lets you know when I have published something? true story.

Off topic, now, for a moment.

I have a painting in the Arts for Health exhibition to be held this sat and sun, from 10-4, 78 lake crescent, Hamilton. Lots of artists exhibiting for a good cause. Come have a look if you are in the area.

Now, off to find my technology broom and sweep up a few spiders that have cobwebbed my site and see what I can achieve without breaking anything!

At the Darling harbour Conference centre…large public artwork that had indigenous significance but reminded me of a pathology slide…..can you tell I am a doctor's wife!???

04 November, 2013

Sydney is beautiful!

I have visited this lovely antipodean city many times over the years and it never fails to please me. Charles and I spent the weekend with good friends, laughed A LOT and got to see a lot of North Sydney and the north city beaches, drove down to Doyle's on Watsons bay and had lunch and generally just ate, drank and laughed our way through the weekend.
Then we went into the city and stayed in a lovely, quiet hotel in the middle of the city, which I used as a base to then attempt to see every gallery, sight and sound in Sydney, by foot.
I was footsore but happy by the last day.

I thoroughly enjoyed theArt Gallery of NSW(New South Wales), so much so that I dragged Charles back to show him a very special painting by 2011 Archibald prize winner, Ben Quilty. It is a portrait of the artist , Margaret Olley, and stopped me in my tracks. I was asked twice to step a little further away from it…..but I juts HAD to try view it from the side as I had never seen paint applied in such an impasto fashion.

The white you see is bare canvas( some pencil marks remain ) and the paint has been troweled on with some kind of giant painting knife. It is stupendously fabulous( can you sense how impressed I am?!) and I have since looked at more of his work and been equally impressed.

Besides the NSW gallery, I also visited the Contemporary Art gallery which was, predictably, both fabulous, intriguing, infuriating and downright ridiculous. I managed to bump into the wife of a dear friend and subsequently got to catch up with him the next day. That made up for some of my annoyance towards concept art.

I was impressed with the number of school groups visiting the various museums. The girl above was a hoot. She spent quite a bit of time scratching her head asking her classmates what she was looking at!

Then I spent time wandering round, just looking. Looking down alleyways, up at the great buildings, new and old, and generally soaking up the australianess of the city

Mural on a staircase in The Rocks area

Birdcages suspended

Charles at the NSW art gallery

I will leave you with this for today and tell you more tomorrow.

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