Some pics of my two studios built at various times in our garden - and one of my sketching gear which I've had for many years and comes with me everywhere! I now focus on the Waikato landscapes and the pop tondo series seen in one view.
'New Beginnings' - the title of this 700mm diameter tondo painting. It will be shown in an exhibition to celebrate the Maori New Year at the new Te Toi Whakaahu gallery in Cambridge, NZ.
The inspiration for this work came from the Parapara garden (in the wonderful Hamilton Gardens) which took my breath away when I visited the first time. It drew me in spiritually and visually. The pataka and the pattern of kumera planting told of the long history of cultivation in Kirikiriroa - images I have attempted to capture in this mixed media tondo work - together with the Matariki star cluster.
'New Beginnings' (the title) uses acrylic media in many forms, ti kouka (cabbage tree) leaves used in depicting the pataka, Japanese gampi paper and gold leaf on stretched canvas.
Well the racing yachts this time round are so very different to those in 2000, when I was fortunate to be employed at the Auckland viaduct in the Stars and Stripes base gallery. A memorable time with invitation to the Louis Vuitton Ball at the newly decorated Civic theatre, meeting many AC sailors from many countries, a day out on the harbour watching the racing and the excitement of sending the boats off every morning and welcoming them back at night time. These paintings were completed after I got home at night, often very late, and when the event had finished. Several were sold to syndicates.
I watch the races on TV this time round - an amazing spectacle of speed and sailing ability!
I was asked to give a talk at the local Photographic Society on the subject "the difference between a photograph and a painting". This was my attempt at answering!
If we take the subject of landscape, before the making of the image can begin – be it by clicking the shutter or stretching the canvas and wielding the paintbrush – one has to SEE THE POTENTIAL OF THE SUBJECT. I think ones eye becomes trained to do this. I remember when I first started sketching I used a piece of card with a square cut out to focus on an area of landscape the total scene before me was just to overwhelming. The viewfinder on a camera also does this of course.
While the image is being captured on a camera or sketchbook, all the aspects of mood, weather etc have gone into ones brain with the image. This is so different to using an image from a postcard or one taken off the computer screen which you haven’t EXPERIENCED.
A painting then allows the artist to retain all the essential features of the subject and leave out the rest, in order to create a UNIQUE VISION!
Waking up the other morning to a heavy frost (it's winter here in New Zealand), I couldn't resist nipping out into the garden in my pjs to take this image. Nature is amazing!
Later that day I decided to send it to the national TV station as a possibility for their daily 'weather pic of the day'. It would make a change from the landscape with clouds or sunset ones I thought!
Imagine my surprise when it popped up on the screen that night. They had spelt my name wrong - but you can't win them all! The weather 'girl' even had a matching dress on!!
The sun shone all day. A short drive brought us to the wonderful small Waikato coastal town of Raglan. Not so many surfies there today as in the summer months, but plenty to see including the art on the beach. (See one of my paintings of this area below)
'Foothills with Bush West Waikato' Oil on Wood Panel 300mmx250mm, Framed
Scenes from around this area of the Waikato today, including Te Koutu lake in Cambridge. The sun warm and the tuis in the Kowhai tree, almond blossom and a freshly ploughed paddock - convincing me that Spring is here at last.
The small painting below was inspired by the amazing displays of blossom around this area, in gardens, lining the roads, in orchards and parks.
A blustery winter's day in Cambridge (NZ) was brightened by these wonderful creations done by the Creative Fibre group in the town. They were advertising the annual show (26th to 30th June 2018), which features rugs, mats, shawls, blankets, socks, jerseys even pom poms, indeed anything which can be knitted, crotcheted or stitched, together with a day when all the trades people come from far and wide to sell all types of goods from hand dyed fleece to fashion garments. I am always amazed how this relatively small town puts this huge event on. This year they will be celebrating the 50th anniversary.
I was recently trying to make sense of all the memorabilia stored away and came across an old black covered scrapbook cantaining drawings my Father sent to my brother and me when he was serving as a despatch rider for the British Army in Europe in WW11. They were carefully glued into a scrap book for us by our diligent Mother, so we could look at them often – it formed a bond with him that proved beneficial when he returned home in 1945. These are just a few of many. I guess these may have been the catalyst for my interest in art!
My first sketch done when I was 11 years old on a camping trip to the Peak District in England. No cell phones in those days!
I was reminded today of how, as humans, we are surrounded by visual expressions in so many ways. After a few days of severe storms here in New Zealand, summer has returned, the gardens have 'greened up', and the ice blocks kept in our freezer for visiting grandkids have become very popular again!
Glancing over at the two youngest girls sitting in the shade of the oak tree, deep in conversation today, I took a quick pic. The colours of the T shirts (one tie-dyed with Mum today) against the blues of the hydrangas are a pleasing combination I thought. Nature has such a naturally brilliant colour sense anyway - without the T shirts! Then I noticed the painted black and white fake tattoo on the leg. Isn't the visual world wonderful?
Robert Henri says 'After all, the goal is not making art. It is living a life. Those who live their lives will leave stuff that is really art. Art is a result. It is a trace of those who have led their lives.'
We can only keep trying!!
Shortly after writing this I came across a newspaper cutting from over 20 years ago, with the same image shown - in it's first stage!! Yes, we can only keep trying!!
The flow of work on the new series has been slightly interrupted recently by a request to help with painting props for the local Talos production at the Woolshed Theatre. Alice in Wonderland needed a Cheshire Cat in three pieces (the middle one being the body had to twirl round for use in 'going down the tunnel simulation!)
Once the initial charcoal drawing had been done - making sure the animal didn't look too scary or dozy - the colours tended to be dependent on the paint available in suitable quantities!
The finished result has been approved by the stage manager I'm pleased to say - so now I can get on with other stuff and enjoy watching the play in the fullness of time (particularly as my Granddaughter is playing Alice!).
This is a pic of the board walk at Pirongia - flooded! Needing some exercise after days in the studio I was hoping for better conditions with the sun out - no such luck - the Waikato is saturated but with the warmer days at least everything is growing fast.
The time is coming up for the local children's production at the Woolshed Theatre. A version of Alice in Wonderland this year - with Granddaughter in leading role and her Mum as wardrobe mistress. Apparently they need help with the 'cats' costumes - face painting on masks! This is some scenery painted for last years production.
Spring is on the way!
It seems to have been a long wet, cold winter this year, but these flowers bravely popping their heads up in the garden give one a real sense that the warmer weather is on the way. The citrus have survived some pretty heavy frosts too. I can feel the annual marmalade making event coming on.