22 December, 2015

No mess and a white shirt.

When I first started painting, I managed to get paint everywhere: on clothes, on face, in hair, on walls , keep naming things (yes , dogs too) and you get the picture. I was very messy and oil paint is not great on any surface.

 Sidenote: Babywipes remove paint from hands in the gentlest manner I have discovered. You're welcome.

Over the years, I have managed to get less messy( it's all relative, lets be realistic) and clothes have seen less and less damage. There has to be SOME mess, otherwise it's no fun, but on myself...not so much anymore.

Yesterday saw me paint in a white shirt. A LINEN white shirt. If that does not say " BRAVE" in a studio, what does?! Actually, I have been painting in it for a while and as I had a photoshoot in the studio ,  I wore it. The grubby apron was a good counterfoil to the white shirt.

Anyway, here are some of the photos........Thank you Vicki!

23 November, 2015

Studio sale update and some mutterings

Ok, change of dates.

The studio sale will now be on BOTH sat 5th and Sun 6th December.  I had too may people howling in dismay because they were going to miss the sunday for a couple of reasons( best one was the local fishing competition)

So, from 10 am till 4 pm, come on round to the studio and have a look and a chat.

158/2 Gillard road

I have yet to clean my studio because that would be too smart and frankly, I am too interested in painting right now.

I hit a bit of a block. Not a train-smash, just a meh moment. So, I decided to mix things up a little and do everything I have NOT been doing recently.

I painted small
I painted on canvas
I used a palette knife
I chose subject matter that is NOT my norm
I chose colours that are not on my normal palette.

It worked. I feel a lot better and I love what I made.

In the end, isn't that what it's all about?

detail of a painting with palette knife

The Imagined Bouquet
30 x 30 cm
oil on canvas

18 November, 2015

Studio sale Time

It's time for my annual studio sale. Time to find good homes for many paintings, sketches, framed and unframed works, works on paper, canvas..all sorts.

Come see what my studio looks like and get a glimpse of my working world.

Date: 6 december 2015

Where: My Studio @
158/2 Gillard road, Ngahinapouri, Hamilton, New Zealand

Open 10 am till 4 pm.

If you want to come but cannot make the date, just leave me a comment and your contact details and we can make a plan for another date.

An few examples of what I have to offer...there are LOTS more!

14 November, 2015

The sculpture park plein air weekend

I was invited to paint with a myriad of other artists at The Sculpture park , in Tauwhare, last weekend. It was only 3 days after my arrival back from South africa and, as if to ease the transition, it was a scorcher of a weekend with temperatures hitting the high 20's.
The sculpture park is the site of an old quarry and the entire park has been lovingly turned from barren quarry into gorgeous arboretum and is positively littered with sculptures.

The crowning jewel has to be the quarry which has since filled up with water and hosts waterlilies and frogs. I knew I wanted to paint there so I hauled all my gear to the top of the park(huffing and puffing) and spent the days painting on a little state projecting out over the water. It was hot but fabulous. Many people traipsed past, some stopped and chatted, most agreeing that it was, indeed, a fabulous place to be and to paint.

The most magical time was pre-people , around 9 am, when the frog chorus was loud and hearty.

I shall try and post photos of the other paintings once I have found them ......I am having technical issues !( most probably all my own fault!)

Since then I have been on a camp with 20 10/11 year olds and 9 adults who all snored in various degrees ranging from "light drone "to " dear god, is he going to start breathing again soon!!!!!!". The walls of the cabins were thin and my earplugs not dense enough.
It was, however, remote and we were all "unplugged" for a week, which was very good. But I missed my music!

23 October, 2015

Rose amongst thorns

I go walking most mornings here is Somerset West, my childhood hometown. I walk along familiar streets,looking at old haunts, houses of friends long gone and marvelling at the affluence of some areas: palatial residences with swanky Francophile names , high walls, ornate gates and immaculate gardens. It's all slightly mad.

Every now and then, I come across an older home, thatched roof, thick,white plastered walls with an overgrown garden , parched and missing the accessory of neighbouring gardens, the automatic irrigation system.

I think it is all the more beautiful for its abandon. The wild creeps in.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

22 October, 2015

What's on my easel

A quick note to catch up and let you know what I am up to. I am visit my parents, specifically my mother, who is dicing with chemotherapy. I am also painting.

My mother is doing well and as each day passes and she feels better. What more could I ask for? Coincidentally, whilst I have been here, two friends have lost their father in the last week. It makes me more grateful to spend time with her, even when she insists on making me watch some mental tv programs that are on the " watch by yourself for the shame of it" list.

Here's what I have been up to. Sorry the pics are small, but I am posting this from the Blogger app which is still not my friend. If they are not small, I apologise, Blogger.🙈

All paintings are on drafting film , also known as Mylar. Oh, I lie, the little square on on the easel is an unfinished canvas.
By unfinished, I mean the painting.I'm thinking about it .

Actually, until they are varnished, they are all unfinished!!!!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

13 October, 2015

Not even packed, yet

I am leaving for South Africa tomorrow and I have not  packed yet.

Before then, I have to deliver some paintings,attend a site meeting, organise some meals for the family and tie up loose ends...I am useless at macrame!. I have my paints, brushes , various completed and framed paintings and maybe a dress and a pair of shoes. I have some books for my new nieces and a thousand OXO beef stock cubes for my mother( a long story , but they are the thing she requested, so I bring them). But I have little else. I vaguely remember leaving some clothes there last time I visited, but perhaps I shall go shopping.

I painted this in the time I had allocated to packing.

I'm not sorry.

08 October, 2015

Round and round

I am painting on round boards at the moment.

It all started when I bought, on a whim, a round tabletop at the dump. Yes, I shop at the dump. I am a total dump-freak and I find the best stuff there and then upcycle it or make it into something else or give it back to the dump!

I bought the tabletop, sanded it back, primed and gesso'ed it and then painted it. What fun! I managed to get most of the stickers off the back and some gum, but I left a little there for authenticities sake!Enjoy.

Now I have purchased these paint specific boards ( NOT from the dump! And the price reflects that too..ouch) and have primed and gesso'ed them and am painting them. The new shape is really challenging and exciting to work with and I have to plan the paintings a bit before I start( not something I usually do I often cut boards down to size AFTER I have painted on them. Same with canvas and Mylar). Composition is everything with this shape.

available at ART Expo Nelson 24-26 October

Surface features
oil on table
Mandarin Tree

The latest
800 mm diameter
oil on board

Ready for the close up?

I am off to South Africa to visit my parents again next week. I will be away from the blog for a while (unless I find time to paint and produce anything of worth!)

If you are local to Hamilton , I have an entry in the Arts for Health exhibition at David Lloyd Gallery( 78 Lake Crescent) 16-18 October, 10 am till 4 pm on the sat and sun and opening event 16 October at 5.30 
I also have a diptych ( two paintings acting as one painting, connected by theme) at the Waikato Society of Arts members exhibition at Artspost that opens 15 October and runs for a month.

Then, if you are in Nelson, I have 16 paintings on show! Labour weekend, 24-26 October at Saxton Stadium for ATExpo Nelson. It promises to be a good one!

My works can be found at :
Bread and Butter Gallery, Whitianga
Garden Art Studio, Cambridge
Inspirit Gallery, Tamahere
The Little Gallery of Fine Arts, Tairua
The Mandarin Tree, Gordonton
Artspost, Hamilton

01 October, 2015

My thoughts on the Muse.

Chuck Close is an artists who gives good advice. Let me share some nuggets with you:

Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.

All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.

Those who are waiting for an epiphany to strike may wait forever. The artist simply goes to work, making art, both good and not so good. 

Chuck Close

I identify strongly with his sentiments. The WORK is important. Just pitching up, every day, and doing the work. Not waiting, not wishing, not employing "if " statements ( you know those ones" IF I had a BFA....IF I had a perfect studio....IF I did not have to look after my kids. IF I had better equipment.....). Just pitch up in the studio and work. Because what you learned yesterday will be built upon today. The disaster and failures will steer the way forward. The successes will stoke the fires of enthusiasm and light the way. You will move forward.

Do things that you learn help you be more successful. For me, I need to sleep well then exercise, play certain music that does not engage my brain actively but helps me get to that state where I can paint intuitively but with intent, not be hungry(!!!) and be prepared to be brave. Let me explain....

I have a latest thing: murder your darlings. It's extreme but it's effective. If I have a painting that has one or two bits that are good( sometimes, more than good) but overall, the painting is not working, I destroy those good passages. I paint over them . Gasp! And when they are painted over, I reassess the painting and go from there with a single thought in my head: BE BRAVE. And you know what, some of my best "new" directions and ideas have come from this practise. And yes, some have been terrible and I have let the paint dry, sanded it back and begun again. Don't let those failures languish against the walls of your studio, taunting you. Seriously. BE BRAVE. Don't think about what you could lose, but what you might gain.

Let me talk about music a bit, quickly. I have a set painting playlist. It changes as I find songs that tap into something that I need to tap into , but mostly it is a set of songs I know very, very well. So well, I can "switch off" from the words but still feel the emotion. I enter a meditative state that helps me focus on the work and the repetitiveness (it's on a loop) lets me paint for as long as I need to without becoming distracted by the end. Shelby Keefe, an american plain air painter actually created her own music on Garageband( the talent of some people!) and sets it for a particular length of time. She knows her painting rhythm and made music to suit her own needs. That's talented! I prefer to borrow from the music I know already. I have yet to "kill" a piece for myself!

So, those are my thoughts. Well, not ALL of them because what would I be able to talk to you about next time?!

Here is some recent work.
Work in progress
60 x 80 cm

Storm surge
Oil on board
90 x 60 cm

Work in progress
That storm again!

28 September, 2015

Sellers remorse

Have you ever sold anything and then wished you had not? Sellers remorse. It's a bitter pill.

I sent a painting off to a gallery months ago and, as they hung it on the wall, I realised that I desperately regretted that decision. There have been many paintings that I have hung in my own home for months before I was ready to sell them. This was not one of them. This was a special painting( to me) and I had barely even enjoyed it before it was gone. But it was a done deal and I am a professional, so I cannot go back on my word.

Imagine my delight as I delivered new work to the gallery today and saw it still on the wall . UNSOLD ! Never  had I been so delighted to see something unsold!
I veritable snatched it back and it was in my car before the lovely gallery owner could change her mind either!

hehe! All Mine!

second from the right

edge of the burn
oil on board
600 x 1200mm

I painted this from the sketches I made from the plane window as I flew from Cape Town to Johannesburg. This is my last sight of Africa before I usually climb on a plane bound for Australia .The domestic flights travel low enough for me to recognise landmarks, appreciate the landscape and give me a last. glorious view of this continent before I hit the green of New Zealand again. I scribbled furiously for the whole two hours, trying to record on paper (and iPad) the landscape I was flying over and leaving.

Now, it's back on my wall and I love it.

22 September, 2015

Some paintings and a sexy onion.


Today was an enforced studio day because the gas man, Pete, was coming to install the new gas hot-water to my bathroom. I have resorted to thisnew addition  because my previously shower-intolerant eldest son has developed a 20min-shower-habit. He is also indulging his habit twice a day and, unnervingly, just before I want  shower. The winter of 2015 has seen more than it's fair share of adults swearing blue( same colour as their lips) after having to endure a cold shower because Master Buffed -and- Polished has used all the hot water. Little......(rhymes with sucker).

Anyhow, as we run on rainwater, I was not even going to entertain the thought of gas for all ( he would never, ever extract himself from the bliss  ) so , Charles and I have a lovely system all to ourselves. Ha!

I am way too excited for what is such a mundane addition, but quality of life is important and hot showers and baths are quality stuff.

Anyways, this is some of today's work.

The Desert road with a blue car
Oil on canvas
30 x 30 cm

I have lost a lot of lids.....

Prepping canvasses and boards

I like this start

The relaxed onion

I bought this book at the Hospice sale for the kings ransom of $2 and the Carol Boyes dish was a gift (from myself!) , bought in Cape Town. The onion was super -relaxed and decided to pose for me.
I tried to make it sit up and pay attention, but it was having none of that and slid , seductively, onto one onion hip and posed like this. All by itself. The garlic called it a bad name, so I had to separate them. Garlic is jealous because her breath smells and she has a big bottom.

14 September, 2015


Background: I wrote this 2 weeks ago but did not post it.

My mom started her chemotherapy yesterday. 6 cycles : 1 down, 5 to go.

Breaking big tasks into small, achievable milestones is the only way I can approach them without throwing in the towel on the first stumble. Sometimes I break things down by time,( get it done by friday)  sometimes by milestone ( once the first thing is achieved, you tick it off and only then move on. I also reward myself( yes, you may have a new toy). Then back to the drawing board, both figuratively and literally.

I have a wall of Milestone paintings. The ones where I got it right , my heart swelled, and I was totally fulfilled at that moment. I keep them all on one wall and they chronicle my self belief and mark my path to date.

So, for every chemo session my mother endures, I paint with an open heart, a focussed mind and a determination to mark the progress with a good thing, a thing of wonder and joy. It keeps the bad thoughts at bay and offers up a promise that for every bad thing, I try add a good thing.

But it's hard to stay focus with that dark thing lurking around the edges.

But , to add a little brevity into the situation, this also played in my head.

30 August, 2015

Still running up that bloody hill

I am working but I feel like I am working blindfolded. Painting by instinct. It is difficult to explain but I know that I need to continue this way for a while before I get a bit of clarity. I have these snippets of "getting it right" and then the whole thing slips away. It's like trying to focus on something thats barely visible out the corner of the eye.

 So painting, right now, is hard work. Nothing is coming easily. Actually, I lie when I say that as I HAVE been able to paint a few things that are commissions and such, and they have been straight forward. It's the stuff I WANT to paint that is difficult to winkle out of myself. I have been deconstructing as much as I have been constructing, but that feels like the path that I am supposed to be on.

I'm not sure I should be writing about all this. I think the labour of wrenching the paintings out of myself is supposed to be hidden, referenced only when looking at the fully formed result. Here  I am , wailing and describing it all to you in detail. o dear. But I have never been one to have quiet thoughts. I have always declared whatever was going on I'm my noggin as it happens. Immediate reporting. That leaves little time for second guessing or ever being called taciturn.I like to think I am decisive .I also accept that I can be wrong. A handy skill, that. So, with a literary shrug, I write that this is what today's thoughts are . Tomorrow might be a totally different tangent.

Laundry day SOLD

On a good note, Laundry Day sold at the Franklin Art Festival this past weekend. !

15 August, 2015

Running up that hill

I seem to be chasing my tail a bit at the moment. The chance, over the past 2 days, to spend some time in the studio, headphones on and painting, has been just wonderful. I downloaded Kate Bush( as you do) and listened to her 'Running up that hill" until I zoned out completely.

Don't get me wrong, the two days prior to them were spent swanning around New Zealand's capitol( political and cultural, it would seem) Wellington, enjoying all that such places entail these days: Galleries, exhibitions, museums, groovy shops, interesting architecture, great views, good coffee, better food, lots of people in black , smokers,students, street art and witty signs everywhere.I felt like I had straw in my hair and mud on my boots, a banjo somewhere in my bag.

I went to the Te Papa Museum and set the alarms off( it appears my scrutiny was closer than the alarms felt necessary). Actually, I did this a few times until a wonderful host called Dennis came over and spent the next hour allowing me to drag him all over the 5th floor as I demanded clarification on one point or other on the works displayed. He was a gem. Thank you Dennis. Ps, you had an awesome moustache .

Anyways, Wellington was wonderful and I wished I lived there because it reminded me so much of Cape Town. I practically inhaled as much culture as I could by talking to any and all front of house staff in the galleries and museums. They were all just lovely to me.

So, herewith some photos and then some photos of this weekends work, probably not in that order.

Avid Gallery

Mojo latte in Wakefield..thanks, Josh!

Birthday Boy at MonsoonPoon

Yeah, right.

John Badcock, Self portrait at NZ Portrait Museum.

Add caption

Toast , anyone?

Rita Angus..portrait of her husband. Ps, Frida phoned and wants her eyebrows back.

NZ style circa 1950's....and now.

eerily lit sea mammal skeletons.




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