Monday, March 31, 2008

10th Annual International Collage Exhibition & Exchange is online

It's always a thrill to see this exhibition go online. 159 artists from Japan to USA, from Denmark to New Zealand, from Australia to France & Romania, make 13 collages - one is exhibited online and at the TART Gallery in New Plymouth, New Zealand. It then travels overseas to be exhibited at and become part of the collection of the Amarillo Museum of Art in Texas. There is also an online exhibition of one collage from each artist that is for sale - do take a look!

I leave it to the organiser and curator of the exchange and exhibition, Dale Copeland (see my links) to choose which of my collages she would like to exhibit and put up for sale - so it's always a surprise for me to see which of the 13 she has chosen. She chose High Dance of Innocence for the exhibition that will travel to Texas, and An Appropriate Contract for sale.

At some stage I'll receive a large envelope containing 11 collages from other artists. Dale is incredibly organised and in the past we've received a list that cross matches our collages to the receiver. I'll be waiting for that list because the very last collage I made wasn't photographed. I was working at night and meant to photograph it in the morning, clean forgot about it, and now I can't even remember the title! So hopefully the eventual owner of that collage will be kind enough to send me a photo of it.

I haven't painted for a while. The first part of the year my thoughts were only on making the collages. Now I've started life drawing and again it's taking me a while to settle back into paint. Lots of ideas in my mind though.

I'm also booked into a printmaking workshop at the end of the month (Design is one of my majors and printmaking will be part of that work). This is not convenional printmaking though. The course is described as "Experimental Printmaking with an organic approach". The title and the list of materials is very interesting. The tutor is Bev Truloff. Click on her name to see some of her work.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Favourite YouTube videos including Hey Ya of course!

I couldn't resist putting this on my blog, I think it's beautiful.

Now that I've learned how to copy that bit of code over and checked that it works, I can't resist adding more videos for one of my favourite songs. Remember "Hey Ya" by Outkast? I love that song, it's so happy. Well, I came across some versions on youtube that really surprised me. The first is an acoustic version by Mat Weddle of Obadiah Parker:

And the other version which is a lot of fun is by a German country covers band called Boss Hoss:

And while I'm at it, I'll also include a version by the Wellington Ukelele Orchestra:

and some buskers on a street:

and a dramatic Jason Webley cover with a piano accordian...yes, a piano accordian:

and then American soldiers in VAW-116 Hawkeye Squadron's video:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Life drawing class 26 April 2008

I wasn't very happy with what I drew on this evening - but I'll post some anyway. I ran out of large white cartridge paper, and used a cheap Chinese watercolour paper that was quite textured. It would be interesting to take a charcoal drawing further with this paper and put watercolour washes on it. I was happiest with the conte on black building paper. This was a pose I'd requested because it was similar to the one I used for the painting Extracts from Trapped Self. In that painting the figure is twisted slightly to the left and forearm rests on the thigh. I wanted to draw it again, this time from another viewpoint.

I changed the photograph of the seated pose into a negative and like the way it turned out. Hopefully my drawings will be useful as a resource in my paintings and playing around with them in a photo programme can help me look at them in a different way.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Someone commented on my blog that I was brave to share my life drawings. Not at all. I post them for a few reasons, mainly to show the art that I'm doing at the moment and not just finished pieces. Although my drawings are a resource for my art, sometimes they inspire a painting (Warm Winter for instance), I draw for the sake of drawing. I love it. I think it's something anyone and everyone can and should do. Another reason is so other people can see there are so many ways to attempt a drawing but the main thing is to have a go. In drawing classes there are so many different styles among the participants. Everyone has a preference for a particular media - some like to draw with a pencil and sharpen it frequently - and there are so many different types of pencil to try - graphite, charcoal, chinagraph to mention a few. I particularly like my red chalk pencil. Then charcoal - some people love willow charcoal, I seem to use compressed a lot. I just took a photo of some of the things in the box of materials I take to life drawing class - some semi-hard coloured pastels are useful for a change, nice on black paper. I need to buy some more compressed graphite and charcoal and conte, I struggled this week with those little bits! You can see I've got a really big piece of willow charcoal that's fun to draw with. And white - compressed and in pencil form, are other items I use regularly.

One of the class participants commented to the tutor that she likes the "zone" she gets into when drawing over the two hours. I know what she means. And when I go into the studio it takes me an hour or so to get into that "zone". When I come downstairs at the end of a few hours I feel like my head is in another place and it takes a while before I'm all there! Must be something to do with that left brain/right brain thing...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

One more life drawing

from last night. Unlike Flickr where you can add a lot of images, blogger has a limit for each post.

This is an example of a drawing where, not being happy with it and not having time to start another one, I play around with it, dabbing away on the surface. Adds texture and interest but adds nothing to the accuracy. I hope over time my accuracy in figure drawing improves, but at the moment I'm more interested in capturing the gesture of the pose and playing around with the media I'm using.

Life Drawing

These are some of last night's drawings (though I hesitate to show some with their wrong proportions). I've used Gallery semi-hard pastels on black building paper, compressed charcoals and conte on white cartridge paper. We weren't able to use our usual room for last night's class and the replacement was a smaller room, long and narrow, so it wasn't so easy to move around and find a different viewpoint.

I think the longest drawing was 15 minutes. I felt like creating loose drawings last night, used the pastel/charcoal on its side quite often. It's difficult to stop with a drawing. Sometimes I get something I like then spoil it by continuing to draw on it. I'd done a very quick drawing using charcoal on its side of the seated pose. I then started to draw lines on it and at that moment I realised what was on the paper had captured something of the model and I should have left it alone.

Another thing I do when I'm not sure if I'm happy about the drawing, or feel I've got it out of proportion is to start adding tone with light, dark or midtone, making short, sharp or scribbly lines. Last night I worked the charcoal into the paper and thought that was starting to work.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More Collage

These two are titled "Dream vs Concept" and "Another Earth". The first is magazine collage and the second has hand painted papers with a little magazine collage.

Once a month I spend the day at Gordon Base Studio with a group of artists - we each take along some work and have an enjoyable, relaxing day socialising while working on our painting/drawing/collage. Three of the artists recently participated in a sculpture symposium in Matamata (New Zealand) and you can view the works here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

2008 International Collage Exchange - ICE

Today I finished the last collage for this annual exchange run by Dale Copeland. I didn't think I was going to make it. It's odd how sometimes I agonise over a piece, and it takes hours to finalise. Other times the collage goes together smoothly and quickly. Naming them is quite a lot of fun too. Three collages I've already uploaded to flickr as I created these some time ago - "The Imagineer", "Radioactive Eden", and "Stories to Tell". Two others ("A Proposal in Blue" and "Elegant Seductress" were also on my blog a couple of posts ago although I've written all over the latter. It'll be on flickr shortly. The words are from an old song I found in a bundle of music in a charity shop. An interesting collection of all kinds of songs someone had collected and been using in a retirement home.

I mostly put these on canvas boards because when I've received collages in exchange, the standard size and solid base seems to be easier to frame. Otherwise I use a heavy art card.

If you're unfamiliar with the ICE we create thirteen collages A4 or less in size, and one is exhibited in New Plymouth and permanently online before being sent overseas (this year to Texas, USA). Another collage is in an online exhibition where each piece is for sale. The other eleven (or twelve if your sale piece doesn't sell) are sent out to participating artists around the world. We each receive a package of wonderful artwork.

The four collage works above are titled "An Appropriate Contract", "High Dance of Innocence", "Religious Scene with Fossilised Plant" and "It was never in your control".

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Life drawing

Our life drawing class resumed last night after a break of several months. I'm out of practice, that's for sure. We started with 1-2 minute poses, then 5 minutes then 20 minute poses. Here are some of my drawings - compressed charcoal on white paper, conte on black paper, red chalk pencil on brown paper and then for seated pose on white paper, and willow charcoal on brown paper.

To read a post about the class written by tutor, John Mulvay, click here.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The textural topography of my mind at the moment

These are collage works in progress. They all relate to current issues, oblique though that may seem. This little town of Waihi where I live is at present waiting to find out if the open cast gold mine will be extended in westerly and easterly directions. There are those for the proposals and those against. Some residents are employed by the mine, and some local companies receive work from the mine and of course they might be keen to see these new extensions proceed. Others are stressed and tired from living with the open cast mine (and some may receive some money towards this...see today's front page of the local newspaper above) and would like to see the open cast operation end as required by all the various legal consents etc. Tonight the Hauraki District Council is holding a public meeting in Waihi to explain the council's role in any application by the mining company (I don't believe an application has yet been made) and the process of acquiring consent and objecting to any consent. The Council stated in their "HDC News" in the Hauraki Herald of February 26 2008 that "The meeting will not be to discuss the proposal as we have no information to share but when the process has been explained, those who wish to share concerns can have their opinions noted for passing on to the mining company." ??? Does the Hauraki District Council not care about the concerns and opinions of their residents and ratepayers? Is it their job to gather such information for a company? Who is running this town?

This issue can have its effect on friendships, personal and business relationships. Even a husband and wife can have different opinions about it, and it's not something that's going to go away in a hurry. "There's gold in them there hills" you know, and companies are actively hunting for it using ever improving technology to find it and extract it. The companies are doing what they're in business for. What is the Hauraki District Council in business for?

So, back to the collages. They each express something about how I feel about this ongoing issue. Names tentative at this stage - "A drained life" is what I'll call the blue and gold piece with the eyes - representing the layers of the land, and because I think of the land as the 'earth mother" it is her eyes and white face with the life drained out of it. The next one could be called "Blue Proposal" - see, he's holding a wedding ring in his fingers. The green piece is again related to the earth mother, crying out, powerless and petrifying. She is actually an ancient statue of Eve and was described as the "Elegant Seductress"and I think I'll call it that. And she is, in some ways - hasn't the promise of finding gold been seductive over the centuries? All on heavy art card, magazine imagery with some ink and paint incorporated.