Sunday, 30 December 2007

'M.E. - a portrait of self'

Yesterday I got inspired watching a documentary on Rita Angus and decided it would be a great way to end the year with a self portrait. The initial sketch is on a canvas block but because at the moment I am so ill I did it whilst in bed. Was horrified at how ill I actually looked when studying the mirror. My face is all inflamed and the eyes are all sunken with dark black rings.

Today I spent some time blocking in the background and took a photo to help with the finishing off of the portrait as do not want to paint in bed as have not found a way to do that yet that does not get paint everywhere. Tried to look a bit more cheery in the photo so the final portrait should not look so 'blah' (for want of a better word)

Am calling it 'M.E. - a self portrait' or 'M.E. - a portrait of self'

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Students at work

Over the year there have been several young people come and paint with me - usually after school- all great fun, lots of laughter and learning and luckily for me they can paint in the outside studio during fine weather where they can be a bit 'free-er' with the materials if they need to.

I find the windows especially useful when practicing things like portraits, or to sketch out an idea with them - if you use whiteboard pens the glass wipes clean really easily.

We had our end of year breakup yesterday although from what I hear they are keen to go and paint out at a local wharf (and do some fishing at the same time) so might have to organise a 'feild trip' in a few weeks.

I've been promising to post some pictures of them at work so there they are...

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Exhibition Opening

The Gallery Exhibition for the people on the workshop opened with a traditional welcome with each speaker being followed by waiata (song) before we headed inside ot have a look.

Wont put in all of the photos but you can get a feel of what was up.
1. The weavers looking at their work (these women are very talented).
2. 2 of the girls who were on the workshop and their paintings.
3. The Maori Madonna was hung high above a window - got some good feedback but it was very hard to read the writing when so high up. But it was lovely to have her up.
4. Nga Kai - lots of Kai Moana - sweet smoked fish, aromatic Mussels, fried bread, and a BIG pot of boil up (puha and porkbones) and a wonderful selection of fresh fruits (strawberries and grapes etc). After everyone finished looking we all shared a meal together before heading home.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Art and Craft Expo 2007

They call them 'GOLD days' - days where you have great amounts of happiness and togetherness and wellness and vibrancy - where life seems brighter and more intense and more 'lived' somehow.

Leading up to the Expo was pretty stressful with so much to do and the weekend before I came down with what was thought to be food poisoning and landed in hospital and was pretty crook for the next few days but thankfully all my marketing stuff was done and work organised and had some kind people step in and lend a hand.
Everyone set up on Wednesday, the opening wine and cheese was Wednesday evening and then the Expo ran for the rest of the week.
A wonderful time of meeting up again with exhibitors, meeting new people and interfacing with the public coming through, and both selling and buying and chatting happening everywhere. Great fun.

I brought a watercolour of blue poppies and a really pretty kite with shells woven into the rim and a wooden heart shaped bowl made of oak. (The watercolour you can see in the pic)

At the end of it my neighbour and I (we shared a space to keep costs down) put our feet up with takeaways and a good movie and a spot of red and just relaxed.

This Friday I have 'The Maori Madonna' going into a combined exhibition at an actual gallery with all of the other people who did the same Workshop I was on which will run until the end of January - am really looking forward to seeing that all set up. Maori Madonna has been priced at $350 and the gallery will double that price as they take 50% so she will sell in Gallery for $700 (here's hoping anyway). And if she does not sell that is OK because i will use her as a reference for skin tones anyway. Hoping to be able to commandeer a camera guy to go and do some filming of the opening and the people who have put their work in to it. We shall see.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The Maori Madonna

I have been fortunate enough to be able to study under an exceptional Maori Artist and look at how she does her portraits which has been a wonderful experience. Today is my second day of working on this portrait of the Madonna. Normally my portraits do not fill up the entire canvas so this was a new learning curve for me. I have wanted to work with her for a while now to look especially at how she does her skin tones because I have struggled in my own work to not loose darker toned people in the painting.

Above pic shows stage two of working on the eyes - the last thing to do in the portrait.

At the end of Day 2 almost everything is almost completed. The eyes have been finished so that they are staring straight out at the viewer and follow the viewer around as they move from place to place - kind of like having a painting staring back at you. Baby's eyes are a little too large so will shrink them in the next working.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Being 'in-the-moment' - an exploration into Expressionism

The student who paints with me on Tuesdays and I have been exploring 'Expressionism' for the last two weeks.

Artists like Van Gough and Kandinsky painted in this style. Another term for it is 'Fauvism'. It's where you use intense raw colours, wild brush work, abstracted subjects broken down to their simplest forms and loads of emotion (portraying emotion through the use of colour).

When doing today's painting I initially wanted to convey the idea of 'denial' - the background is made up of turbulent reds and blacks and deep Ultramarine blue all wound up in horizontal chaos yet there is the girl on the swing - fiery hair flung out in loose abandon, clothed in gold and yellow (colours of happiness and joy and wealth) and a touch of orange (excitement and spirituality), shoes flung off goodness knows where as she totally casts off the world and all it's cares.

After I finished painting I hung it on the wall for a bit to see what title would fit it best.

The more I looked the more I realised this is not a painting about 'denial' of life and it's problems. It is a painting about living in the moment, and maxing out on life.

For a start the girl is on the upward rise, not the downward fall of the swing. Her legs are outstretched, taking her higher, lifting her beyond her limitations. I was reminded of a child. When a child is on a swing they are totally lost in the moment - carefree and full of abandon. The cares of the world cease to exist. They are completely free.

So here it is - today's work

Simply titled - "Being 'in-the-moment'"

Monday, 5 November 2007

November Exhibition Preparations - Marketing week

Have set side this week to get all of the marketing side of things organised so that next week I can concentrate purely on choosing which paintings are going to be displayed and doing a 'mock hanging' to get the layout right. I am sharing an area with a friend of mine so we need to ensure our work looks right together before exhibition day arrives.

Yesterday I spent the morning revamping the old business cards and turning some of this years paintings into greeting cards to sell at the exhibition. I've also started putting together a portfolio on each work that people will be able to browse through as they come to my part of the exhibition (it's a group one of about forty artists and crafts people from the region).

Today I have a student coming to paint with me in the afternoon so no time to work on marketing. Tomorrow's task is to begin laying out a brochure. Publisher is such an asset! It was so easy to go and make changes yesterday to the business cards and run them through my printer - I dread to think the cost if I had used commercial printers.

Friday, 2 November 2007

The 'Golly' series

See side panel for actual photo of the original Golly.

The first Painting of Golly was done around 1989 - a crude attempt at pointillism

The second last year as a Christmas present for my niece.

The third completed yesterday as an exploration into expressionism.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

November Exhibition preparations

This week have started to work though the seemingly ENORMOUS list of things to do before the exhibition, and whilst the exhibition is on, and then when it is over.

My friend and fellow artist and I discussed pricing paintings today over numerous cups of coffee - it is invaluable to have other artists to bounce ideas off. We have come up with a kind of a 'pricing formula' we are keen to trial whilst knowing that at times there will be 'exceptions' to the rule of thumb because we are so in awe of what has emerged from the tip of the brush or whatever (we are good for each other - both chewing things through until they are clear and make sense.)

Felt great to run it through with someone!

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Experimenting with the Pigment Bath

PIGMENT BATH EXPERIMENT and Resulting Artworks OCTOBER 27, 2007

An experiment I just invented yesterday (although most likely I will find out Art school have been doing it for years!) - often happens - I 'find' a new and exciting something that gets me buzzing with enthusiasm only to read about it later in some book or the other...haha keeps you from getting too big headed though!)

OK - the long version: I was painting some backgrounds ready for the nautilus shell I have been asked to paint - the backgrounds were black with a hint of blue for the ocean (their house decor is b&W). I needed some fun so squeezed big blobs of paint directly onto the paper before mixing and combining with a brush. Took a couple of prints to remove the excess but noticed my water jar was full of black swirling pigment and had one of those 'WHAT IF' moments.

Went something like...'Mmmm. WHAT IF I soak some watercolour paper sheets in that - would they pick up the pigment - would save wasting it..." So went through the cupboards and the only thing I could find was the dish tray (that you sit under the dish rack) Mine is A3 size if that makes any sense.

So cut the paper to fit and placed it in the tray. Poured the Black water on top, topped it off with some clean water and left it sitting on a bench in the outside studio area to soak for a bit. I LOVE playing and experimenting.

An AMAZING thing occurred. The sun was SO fierce that the water heated up and the paper partially dried in places and lifted from the pigment bath (as I am calling it). Re sunk it and it did the same thing over and over - the result of which is a beautiful artwork in its own right - looks like a pebbled beach. The second paper I did looks like a shallow rock pool. I was so excited when I saw how they were turning out that I have them both properly stretched on a heavy piece of board ready to see if they need to be worked on further.

The different shades of grey and black add real depth to each work. I am so excited to try more. They did not work so well if done inside - had to be out in the full sun - must be something about the water heating up and the paper drying in stages before being resunk to then dry in different places.

The first one especially is very nice - I can see the clear shape of a foetus along the bottom half. Not sure if I will do anything else with it or leave it as it is.


This is a painting about Hope - fitting that it should therefore be the first artwork to be posted in this Blog.

Hope is when you feel very alone, perhaps a little lost or overwhelmed or afraid and looking up you suddenly realise you are part of a much bigger universe and Someone knows what you are going through and cares

The way the background is worked is very endemic of my work- the sizing of this piece is quite small - just under A4 size.

I want to write more tonight but it has taken me 2 hours to get this far!

Comments and critique are welcome.