Sunday, December 30, 2007

Last day of 2007

Well I haven't been painting in the last few days but been busy sorting out work for a large exhibition and sale on 1 and 2 January, fifteen invited artists. I have eleven works in there, ten paintings, some mixed media incorporating my own photographic imagery, and one framed charcoal drawing (above). It's cropped from a larger drawing. I forgot to photograph it in the frame. Shall have to remember to take a camera tomorrow. Lots of little things to do - labels for the work, checking everything is tidy, everything ready to hang etc. As for pricing artwork, this is not so straightforward. Yesterday I finally settled on a formula and I can price according to size and be happy with the price. Another little dilemma was raised. I have one painting I, and my partner, are very fond of and he suggested it should be priced higher. Thought about this for a while, and decided that viewers and buyers don't have the same emotional attachment and it seems fair to price it the same as other works of similar size, so that's what I did.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Extracts from Trapped Self

is the title of this work. Spent all day on this painting today. It's 20" x 40" acrylic media on canvas. Lots of layers, colours in Atelier interactives underneath, then black gesso. Next I scratched through the surface and layers, then worked over the surface in acrylic glazes. The image is based on a charcoal life drawing I've been meaning to use in a painting for some time. When photographing it at the end of the day, I realised that this pretty much reflects how I feel today, the hot colours in the figure, the scratching and scraping through the paint.

It's been raining here quite a lot, so perhaps the summer weather is going to return. My new vegetable garden is enjoying the rain. Three new garden beds right beside the house (the other garden is down a steep bank and not so easy to access). I've got one planted up and within 3 weeks am eating out of it.

I notice that the date on blogger is 25 December - northern hemisphere time. It's actually 26 December here, Christmas Day was yesterday. Was spent in Auckland following by a drive around th coast.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Glass Earth series

Reposting because I've decided this is the correct orientation!This is a mixed media work created with an acrylic modelling medium and layers of acrylic glazes. I'm enjoying using Atelier interactives at present. It may be terribly obscure but this is an abstract painting of the open cast gold mine that we live very close to. I'm naming these works after one of the companies exploring in the area in joint venture with the owners of the open cast mine. Interesting concept, glass earth. Companies that hold mining permits in the area are busy exploring all over the place. Those that haven't the resources to do so on their own, work in joint venture with others. Many people are tired of the negative effects of open cast mining here. And then there are those who work at the mine or who subcontract to it, and find it difficult to imagine that the town could flourish without the mine. Waihi is in a fantastic location, close to Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, the Coromandel. The environment is absolutely beautiful. I can see no reason why it wouldn't attract more residents and businesses in the future.

Friday, December 14, 2007


is the title of this photograph I took recently. Creative Waihi organised an "Art in the Park" day at Dragonfly Gardens. Artists could set up some paintings around the garden to exhibit and/or sell, and there was live music. The photography group were to take photographs, some of which are now exhibited in the window at Barrons Kodak shop (probably not the correct name) and we met a week later to take a look at each other's shots. There are beautiful lilies in the water gardens, and flowers everywhere, and I made shots of those too, but this is the photograph that I like the most.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Glass Earth mixed media painting

This is another mixed media work created with the layered technique I'm experimenting with at the moment. I'm calling these works Glass Earth which is a theme I'll be working on in the next few months. I'm not sure how abstract/literal I'll go with it but it's still on the mining theme. With new technology companies are more able to 'see' into the earth, look for minerals and take apart the land to get them out despite the damage done to the land itself and the people who live on it whose lives are disrupted. Ordinary residents in such areas seem to be powerless, and often financially disadvantaged.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"Then how will we track your journey?"

This is another in the Mine and Body seZealand,ries...seems to be neverending much like the activity itself here in Waihi. It's acrylic on canvas, 36 x 24 inches. Warm Winter is really part of this theme as well.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Warm Winter

This is acrylic on canvas 80cm x 100cm, titled Warm Winter, mainly after a song (Kid Rock I think) on a CD I listened to while painting it. It's a kind of mythological painting, links in with my ideas about the earth, myths where beings descend into it, and what I think about mining companies cutting into it and disturbing what lies below the surface. That sounds rather complicated, doesn't it!? It is rather dark, in nature and appearance. The figures are from life drawing class, I liked the pose and it worked for me as I wanted the male figure to appear from behind the rocks, to greet the woman there, I'm quite sure he has devious plans to take her into the earth - it's sounding like Persephone...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Glass Earth

I'm working on a new series, and this is tentatively called Glass Earth 1. It's possibly not quite finished. It is a layered work, mixed media and the photo isn't the best. The work measures 30x15 inches. I started attaching papers - paper painted especially for this work with thick paint that took some time to dry; acid free craft papers, a grey green and charcoal paper with fibres and bits of silver in it; pages from a 97 year old book "Granite". I then painted behind and around parts of the work, and began to tear off or glue down parts of the paper, and add other paint to it. The process made me think about the way the land is mined, layers of earth exposed and either removed or replaced, causing permanant damage, left scarred and in a way bleeding as exposing it in this way to the atmosphere causes the leaching of heavy metals. The land is never the same again. Because technology advances rapidly, it is possible for companies to "see" into the layers to what minerals are there. Should they be able to take the land apart to get it?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Travelling Journal

These are the other three pages:

4. Cara has used paint, collage, written text in gold that reads: "It's not some impossible task I must struggle to complete...but something profoundly simple poised on the other side of a question that I can't quite answer. I don't even remember the words of the question...just the imprint it left behind ... it resonates differently now." The two images are of the sun on the left page, and a low angle shot of a cow beneath the Eiffel Tower.

Aren't these fascinating?

5. The next entry is by Cath, created in paint with her text:

If my art doesn't reflect me,

If I can't see my own hand in my art,

Then whose art is it really?

I have to ask myself -

Does it come from within me?

Does it reflect my soul and my passion?

Or have I copied the latest trends,

Played with the latest products,

Mimicked someone whose work I admire,

But lost my own voice in the process?

Can I see my hand in these pages...

Cath creates wonderful abstract images, and I don't believe her work is ever anything but original!

6. Created by Amanda, this collage work is full of interesting images. She has used a variety of art papers, vintage wallpaper (in which she wrapped the parcel for it's return journey),paper dress pattern, vintage advertisements, and the main text reads "Creating the perfect woman".

I think it is amazing how all the entries link together, create narrative, and yet each is so different.

Travelling journal

More than a year ago six journals set off travelling around New Zealand to six artists who were to complete a double page spread and send each one on to the next artist. The project turned out to be more of an undertaking than some of us expected, and some journals were lost for a time. Mine arrived home yesterday...what a thrill! One journal is still lost and I hope that it one day returns to it's owner - Amanda.
A group of us worked in a journal for one artist initially, and by the time each of us had created at least two pages of artwork in it, the journal really was a thing of beauty. Some of us enjoyed it so much we decided to repeat the process with each of us having a journal. 2006 was a pretty tough year for some and yet beautiful work was created and I'm sharing pages from my journal here. It will take two postings as blogger only permits 5 pictures per posting. These three are:

1. My own pages that I started the journal with: "Woman under construction is the text in the portrait, around the edge is a quote from Carmen ('Harbanera') which, in English, translates to: Love is a rebellious bird that nobody can tame and it's all in vain to call it if it chooses to refuse. Nothing helps, not threats nor prayers. One man is smooth tongued, another silent and he's the one that I prefer. He says nothing but he pleases me." The printed page is from a very old book ..." Edith opened her window to see if there was any hope in the distance; but the mist was full, and the world ended at the first terrace. She dressed, putting on her oldest skirt, for she knew there would be walking that day, went down shivering as she touched the damp woodwork, looked out of the dining room window. The clump of monk's-hood had not been disturbed; the spikes of bloom nodded reassuringly. It was strange, thought Edith, that so much beauty should arise from the roots of a deadly poison. She was calm and strong again; and as she stood at the window, an idea occurred, she could..."

Make of it what you will!
The orange pages with deadly looking flowers was from Ali:
2. The text reads "but Edith, isn't it odd that so much poison should arise from the root of such beauty. There are layers of art paper beneath paint glazes, and beautifully delicate text among and around the painted flowers and foliage.
The next spread after Ali's is from Denise:

3. Created in, I think, paint, collage, ink and the text reads:
Truth not seen
Truth not spoke
Under roof
Or out
No sweet poison fruit
to living death
but bitter poison
sprung in
labyrinthe hearts
took as mother's milk
in broken hope
truth not seen
truth not spoke
under roof or out
And the words" Open your Eyes" and "it's just a fairytale".

Monday, October 29, 2007

Some drawings of musicians

Here are a few quick drawings from yesterday. Some musicians. I keep an A5 visual diary in my camera bag and used that more than the camera.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Art Therapy workshop

Why is it so difficult sometimes to just get into the studio and paint? It's so easy to let other stuff get in the way. I let other things get in the way as a way of procrastinating. I let too many things get in the way of my art. This or that has to be done before I can go in the studio... the phone rings... I can't find an idea... missing some material... excuses excuses.

Yesterday I attended a workshop run by an art therapist. This is the blurb:

'Processing Through Collage' will be presented by Janice Higgison. Janice is a very experienced tutor based in Tauranga. This practical workshop will use collage to create a timeline of life, tell a story, create a snapshot that reflects aspects of present life. or simply explore the process of selecting image and creating a new whole.

We created works that represented ourselves, and then how/what we want to be (goals...). The first work was to be 3D, the second could be flat or 3D. Was an interesting process and one that gave me some insight into how I might work some of my ideas into abstraction. Clearly I get bogged down in details because I like the small things. After we'd created our works we discussed them and this clarified not only the process but choices we'd made and standing back to look at my work I could see how those small details I'd put in, while important in the concept of the thing, did not need to be seen in the final idea presented. Hmm, I wonder if that makes sense. I'd made a 3D object full of little things but standing back to look there were three parts of the construction which stood out clearly and I could see how in my painting I can use this process to abstract key ideas and leave the details behind.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Long time no post

It's been weeks. I had the flu, then a few days respite, and then the flu again. Really laid low so haven't got any painting done, and I need to get on with it. I've missed the deadline for an art show because of this, and have a couple of commitments later in the year in which I want to participate so this has to change!
I did work up a few boards, priming and starting to apply paint but find I prefer canvas. It seems to "give" and be more accepting of what I want to do. There's a sense of working with the surface, whereas the board is unyielding and feels resistant.

Took my camera to a music club evening and took a lot of shots. The digital SLR has to be held up to the eye to focus, and I wasn't too keen to do that a lot - I was in a restaurant with lots of people around me, and I hadn't told the musicians I was taking photographs that night. A lot of the time I just sat the camera on the table and clicked away. Here are a couple that I've tinkered with on the computer, not fantastic but I don't post people's faces without their permission. It was a learning experience, photographing in low light (no tripod!).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Anything but the brush...well, almost

I've been playing around with paint in a visual diary (journal...) and using paint roughly, wiping back and through, applying it with alternative tools and few brushes. These are a couple of portraits I've done in the diary.

The blue painting is another exploration of using anything but the brush. I didn't intend to place a figure on the canvas, but it appeared, and I'm happy with it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What will I do with all the drawings ...

This is one drawing from last night's life drawing group (compressed Pitt charcoal). I prefer shorter poses as it's all to easy to start overworking a drawing. My preference is for more gestural life drawing. Several in the group prefer longer poses so I need to think about a technique to use that will work for me for about 20 minutes. Usually after about 10 minutes I start ruining the drawing!

I've been thinking about how to use my drawings as a resource for painting. Still favouring textured painted surfaces, I'm thinking about how to create some figurative paintings, but I'm not aiming for realism. So this is the task for the next two or three months. Lately I've been working on small canvases not very happily, seems I like to work larger. Next step then is to plan some large paintings using my drawings as a resource...

I've booked into a short course with Bev Truloff at the beginning of December and looking forward to the inspiration.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

This week's life drawing

Here are a few drawings from this week's class. The gesture drawings, though I noted them as 1 minute, were really 30-40 seconds. The other drawings are 10-20 minutes.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Two models this week

We were lucky enough to have two models this week. These are ten minute sketches. We often get 20 minute poses but I tend to do two drawings quite often. I'm looking for some alternative drawing materials - today I bought two Conte pencils, one H and the other B, and will try for some more contrasting edges, hard edges and smudgy ones - I don't often smudge but have seen some interesting results in the class so am keen to try.

We had twin lambs born to our one and only sheep a few weeks ago and they're gorgeous. I took a little video of them with the camera and tried to upload it using blogger's new video feature but haven't succeeded as yet, so I've put up a picture of the lambs just born. We've also got two calves as well. My son has been bottle feeding them and today successfully got them to drink out of buckets. Spring seems to have arrived, trees sprouting leaves, daffodils springing up, lots of birds around - we even had two native wood pigeons fly in and hang out for a while. There is a hawk hunting that tends to upset birds nesting in the paddocks but it's beautiful to see it soaring over.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Waitete Sunset painting

is progressing little by little. This is where I'm up to.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Here are a few life drawings from the last couple of weeks. The landscape type drawing was from a 20 minute pose with the model lying on her stomach with her head supported by her hands, it took about 10 minutes then I did a couple of 5 minute drawings in more realistic manner. Most of these are drawn with compressed charcoal. The male front/back torso is also compressed charcoals/conte and I've painted it with an acrylic glaze which sealed it and painted the negative space. The model in the quick charcoal sketch is not pregnant ... looks a bit that way!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I've done so much drawing in recent weeks and not a lot of painting. Though I have a few on the go they're not progressing, so I've gone off on a tangent. Usually I work on an idea or theme, plan, do a couple of little thumbnail sketches, and try to produce (reproduce) my planned image. But I get to a point where I'm stuck. A bit like writer's block. I wonder if there's a term for artist's block, maybe that's it. Anyway, Here's a photo of the tangent - a tiny bit of collage and continuing with paint. When I get some more canvases this size I might create a few - I'm not sure who/what she is at the moment. It's something to do with the writing on the wall in the collaged cheek and ear. It'll come to me soon.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

This week's life drawing

A couple of quick 2 minute poses and the other poses were either 20 0r 30 minutes long. I'd have liked to draw her hands while the model was lying on her back but ran out of time and didn't get them finished.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Male model

Trying to think of a title for the subject line...other than life drawing...perhaps male model will result in more hits on my blog. Joke. These are from last night's drawing class. The coloured chalk pastel gesture drawing on black paper was drawn while he walked around. The drawing with the negative space coloured red came about because I was standing quite close behind the model and his body was obscured by the cane chair in which he was sitting. Hence the disjointed picture. Decided to draw what I could see ... in bits. The sienna conte with black background was a long pose...didn't get much done, did I? He held the pose with two breaks and the post altered slightly with that, which is why I started to block in the negative space to help me maintain the drawing. We started with short poses for the gesture, then have two or three longer poses of about 20 minutes. The model was fit and strong and very good at holding the difficult poses.
Started working on another new painting yesterday, about 100 x 60cm. Will be acrylic, and in my theme of mine and body.