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!

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