Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Breaking Rocks

Mixed media, again using my own photocollage as a starting point, with modelling paste and acrylic paint, on canvas, 20 cm x 40 cm.

Another photograph

I've been looking through the photographs I took from the car while driving through Auckland recently and found this one.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Looking around the room ...

is the provisional title of these mixed media 10cm x 30cm x 3.6cm canvases. I started with the photocollages I made, printed from the computer on ordinary paper then copied with the fax machine onto the same paper (just wanted a less defined copy), applied to canvas with binder medium, applied some modelling paste in places with a palette knife, and then applied layers of acrylic paints, some as thin glazes and others straight out of the tube, sometimes wiping with a rag, and drawn on them in some places with black ink. I've put one thin layer of acrylic glaze medium over it and will hang them on the wall now before deciding whether to do anything more to them.

Friday, February 23, 2007

No painting happening but have been using camera

We've just been away for a few days in the north of the Coromandel and this is the view from the deck where we stayed. It was interesting using the digital SLR - a shorter exposure gave more beautiful and dramatic images, a longer exposure gave more texture, ie in the cliff and rocks, but too much light meant little colour.
We also had a regular visitor any time there was food in the vicinity.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Just trying out the process, so didn't give a lot of thought to what I was photographing before tinkering with the images and putting it together. In this is a guitar, a temple shaped candle holder, a hair dryer, a pepper grinder and a broken vase. Extremely random, and very quickly done, but you get the idea...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Pastel practice

This is on a dark blue card/heavy paper - something I had on hand and not as toothy as I'd like. I sanded it and the marks show, decided I liked that. Sanding didn't make a lot of difference to the surface and the pastel didn't adhere very well. Must have washed my hands half a dozen times during the drawing! Now that I see it in a photograph, I can see some things I should change, but as the card is probably holding as much pastel as it can, I'll leave it as it is.
I've just finished editing a novel for a friend and my sleep pattern went totally awry during that time. I'd go to bed and lie there thinking about the story - got totally into it! I sure learned a lot during the process, and found out that I knew a lot about the craft that I'd learned/been taught in the past but thought I'd forgotten. It's been a kickstart for me and already I've started planning a story already. Need to do that anyway, seeing as how I've lost almost a year's worth of writing with the computer crash. I'd joined "Book-in-a-Week", an online yahoo group several months ago, and I found the process worked well. Once week a month we state a goal of x number of pages and post 3 times during that week our progress, and a grand total at the end of the week. It sure kicked up the word count.
Apart from that, I've started a daily drawing journal and made some photos of objects to use as a drawing resource. I'm tinkering with them on the computer, making them black and white and using filters before cropping. Next step is to print them and see if I can put together a useful composition.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Playing in my visual diary

Not achieving much, maybe after concentrating on completing the collage project I need some time off.
Firstly there's a quick paint sketch, one of a few in my visual diary, again on the mining theme. I've rotated this and it's the 'wrong way around" (there is a 'poppet head in it which is not the right way up), but I thought it looked better that way, or any other way in fact except the right way up.
I tried pastels - still don't really like the way they feel in my fingers but I've bought a whole roll of black building paper so I'll persevere and maybe I'll actually create something worthwhile ...eventually! This was a warm up exercise.

The face is collage papers that I've painted on then cut and put together, touching up roughly with fact the whole thing was very quick and rough - I've been thinking of using this kind of thing for a base for painting.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Old will make way for the new

This is another photograph I took from the motorway. I didn't know what I was getting because we were driving fast, and I just kept clicking. I found this one with the crane in the background and the old house behind the fence (though it looks like a road at first) and trees.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Negative space

I was interested to see what shots I could get from the car when we were driving along the Auckland motorways recently. It was quite late in the day, not long before dusk. At 100km/hr I was using 1600 ISO (no I was not driving). When I reviewed the photos later, I thought the writing on the wall was one of the semitic languages, and it took me a while to see the black paint was the negative space. What was I thinking? Now I just glance at it and I can see the large, fat, white letters. I have quite a collection of photos, some interesting, some mediocre, some blurry, and now have to decide whether I can use any of them. Maybe photocollage, or painting or collage. At least I'm starting to build up my photo resources again after losing almost everything I've taken since getting the digital SLR.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Waiting for my subconscious

I received an email newsletter from the Artists Alliance, and there was a quote:

"I do dream about art, and images come to me in dreams. I am definitely hoping to be in touch with my subconscious. I expect a call any minute." -Julian Schnabel

My garden painting, where figures invited themselves onto the canvas, is dribbling along, maybe because I'm waiting for my subconscious to tell me what to do.

Other than that, I've been working in my visual diary on ideas for paint and collage, picked up my paintings (unsold obviously) from an exhibition and forgot to send my collages for the International Collage Exchange.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"Page 201" and "Ghosts and Shadows"

This morning I worked on a base I'd created some time ago, and made another collage.
"Page 201" (21cm x 25cm on canvas board) is titled for the piece of text in the work, and "Ghosts and Shadows" (26cm x 18cm on art board) for the same reason. Both are paper collage with ink and acrylic paint. The woman standing in the bottom right of "Page 201" is cut out from one of my own photographs.

I seem to enjoy making dark, messy collages. I set out intending to create something modern looking but they end up looking like this most of the time.

Wasting time

I'm quite keen to keep 3 of my collages - the ones with the same figure on them. I have more of these figures and might keep them until I've used them all. On the other hand, I'm tired of making collages. I tried making an additional one today but it's a bit of a mess. Still, I've given it a title, "History as Entertainment". It's approx A4 size, paper collage, with ink and acrylic paint. The photo is taken at night, so isn't a true representation.
Other than that, I've scribbled a bit in a visual diary, made some notes about how to use some of my drawings in paint/mixed media, and done some more painting on the faces/garden painting.
I need to make a plan for this year really, with so many ideas flying around in my head, when I go into the studio, I am at a loss for what to do. Also, as the days go past and I remember everything I've lost from the computer crash, I get a bit rattled! Photos, lesson plans for teaching, my CV, thousands of words of writing, weblinks and notes I've been making while doing genealogy to mention a few.
Need to get busy and forget all that. Time for a list. I'll make one tomorrow.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sunny Days

is the theme for NZAG this time. Decided to paint a garden, acrylic 12" x 30" canvas. As I was dabbing on paint I realised faces and figures were appearing. I had even worked with the canvas the other way around for half of the time, not thinking too much about what I was doing. Decided to let these people come out, the first photograph I've touched up some edges in burnt umber to see what was there. Decided to go all the way and have started to paint in flesh. I have no idea what is going on. One of the figures is even pregnant! And the figure on the bottom left, I could see someone there, and started to paint it, and couldn't figure out why I couldn't "get it" then all of a sudden it dawned on me that the person had his back to me. I don't even think it makes sense having these two large faces floating in the middle. I think I can see another figure on the right edge cutting the hair of one of the large faces, perhaps with hedgeclippers. Basic underpainting in now, so have to decide what to do. I'm feeling rather uninspired at the moment and think I need to do some big drawing and splashing about with paint without worrying about outcomes. Mind you, that was what I tried to do with this painting and look what happened.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Crashed Computer but a new start...

My computer crashed! I've spent the whole day getting all my programmes back on and I've lost a lot. I had a problem a year ago but managed to pick up a lot of what wasn't backed up through other user accounts (stupidly I was the computer administrator, had only one CA and couldn't access my account). This time I couldn't get past DOS and in the end decided to run the system recovery. I'm too impatient to wait and get help. But it reminds me that I haven't established good backup habits still.

I think in one way it's not a bad thing to have an "empty" computer and start again with the new year.

So, no art at all - except for thinking about ideas! I've gone through my collage and believe I've enough to send away so I can move onto other media. For a few minutes I thought I couldn't part with one or two, but then reminded myself that I'd done them to send away, and that its good to move on. I think the process has given me some ideas for future works and I'm already taking one of them into paint.