24 December, 2014

ho ho ho

It's Xmas day and I have had just the best day.

Woken by excited kids FAR earlier than I like( but perfectly acceptable, given the day), I stumbled through the opening of presents (with my parents and brother watching Via FaceTime from the other side of the world), had a leisurely breakfast and then retreated to the studio when they all went for a mountain bike ride. I painted for hours. They returned and all played with various toys so I continued to paint , stopping only briefly to throw the ham in the oven and make the trifle. I painted all afternoon , lunched around 3.30pm, went for a glorious post lunch amble along a creek and through some forrest on a friends farm, dogs beside themselves with happiness. We saw a wild goat and they almost lost their doggy minds.

Then we returned, scoffed down some trifle and all peeled off to play with more toys, read or, in my case, paint some more.


I hope your day is/was as fabulous and that you got to spend it with the ones you love.

18 December, 2014

Lets blow stuff up!

I love fireworks. My kids love fireworks. Hell, who doesn't love fireworks.?!  ...oh yes, animals. And where do we live but surrounded by farms with horses, cows , sheep, dogs and other firework hating beings and I have to respect that. So, no fireworks for us and that has disappointed my kids when it comes to the one day a year ( the anachronistic holiday of the commonwealth, Guy Fawkes day) when we may legally purchase gunpowder and blow stuff up.

Sparklers, I am told, suck. Not too sucky to actually be ignored, but not as cool as things that shoot into the air and explode with a great shower of light and a satisfyingly noisy boom.

So, I decided to paint a fireworks painting for the boys and I enjoyed it so much I am turning it into a series. Oil on board and then an acrylic resin layer on top to add glossy depth to the already fantastical image. This is quite over the top but they love it and , you know, if they love it and they have it on their wall, I am happy. They will remember their mother who painted things specifically for them when I am old or gone.

oil on board, 60 x 40 cm

16 December, 2014

Fangirl moment

I post a lot of my progress paintings on Instagram. Instagram is crack cocaine for visual artists. There, I said it, I am an IG junkie.  Anyways, confessions aside, I follow some pretty amazing , world famous artists on IG and love seeing their work. But when one of them comments or likes one of MY paintings, I freak out. And , dear readers, it is beginning to happen more often and no, I have yet to stop squealing when it happens.

So, oh famous ones, thank you for the validation.

The start

the middle

The end

12 December, 2014

A group exhibition and a floor talk.

I am exhibiting at the Te Awamutu museum with a number of very talented local artists ( they have awards to prove it) ,in an exhibition titled, Re-Imaginings.

Reimaginings will open in the Gavin Gifford Gallery on Friday 12 December. This exhibition showcases artworks by nine local artists who have each chosen an object from the collection to draw inspiration from for their own contemporary works. The works are fantastic, and it is a unique way for the community to engage with our collection. The artists featuring inReimaginings are:  Di Tocker, Lynn Nunn, Hilary Ramage, Carole Shepheard, Debra Powell, Nynke Piebenga, Heather Bramwell, and Jane Siddall....oh, and me.
On Saturday 13 December, starting at 11.30am, the artists will be hosting floor talks in the gallery to discuss their works. This is a fantastic opportunity to hear from the artists directly about their creative processes and how they get from an idea to a finished object.

Unfortunately, it coincides with the Santa parade! I know, because my kid is on one of the floats! The other kid will have to sit with me and learn all he can.....artist as parent is hard work. My husband will be somewhere south, terrifying himself on an off road motorbike course.  You do what you must.

So, if you find yourself at a loose end and want to come listen to me blather on about the circumstances surrounding the creation on my painting, please do. Julius will keep you company and laugh if you roll your eyes.

The piece in the collection that resonated with me was a glass washboard.

08 December, 2014

Big brush moment

I bought myself a big- assed mop brush. ( Look, there were bigger ones, but I am not THAT flush) I decided I needed to make faster starts. So, start to where I walked away , 1 hour. Now remember, this is the FIRST phase.

Well hello, sexy brush. You will never be this clean again.

First stage...

ok, step away while this still looks ok. 

Grass heads next to the kid's bus-stop.

So, Hawthorne is right. Swing a bigger brush. It feels good. 

04 December, 2014

The people have spoken!

What great news! I won the Peoples choice award at the Waikato Sociaty of Arts 80th Celebrations exhibition with my painting " Eternal Celebration" Oil on board with resin.

I am so pleased . There are no other words.

But I am going to change the title. Suggestions?

It's a weird photo because of the resin finish. I am no photographer, so I have not worked out how to photograph shiny surfaces yet, but trust me, even I am impressed by this painting!

How funny is THIS effort!

 Can you see how shiny the resin is(and smooooooooth) how reflective it is? And yes, that view reflected is my view. And yes, I am grateful.

Thank you, People. I appreciate the vote of support.

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

28 October, 2014

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