Monthly Archives: July 2012

Books, birds and text – playing with books.

Once I got over the seemingly shocking idea of altering an antique book, which I confess seems rather destructive and insensitive initially, I have been altering a tiny broken antique book with some additional text and images. I think its a start, rather than a completed “thing”.

I do, however, like the contrast between the tiny, original and formal print and the larger, more random text I have added. The new images a nod to the common thread of fragility of old books and tiny birds.

First in a year…

My first new painting since October last year. I finally started painting again. It feels good, great in fact. I was filled with emotion that needed an outlet, and I found myself in front of a canvas, paints, tools, and a frustration brewing inside me…then a painting coming to life before my eyes. Vibrant, textured, intense colour, layers built up, yet I can see the remnants of an old castle or fortification, a mountain almost hidden in the clouds, a ship tied up, a snowy field and trees? Yet its also definitely purely abstract. Like my paintings tend to be, it is full of layers, texture and intense colour. Typical also of me, no paintbrushes were used.

Tidying up the gallery…

I have set up several new pages to my gallery, being a photography section and a mixed media and journal art section, and I have also added a few more more paintings to the painting section. I hope it may be helpful to anyone looking for a specific image or only interested in one type of artistic media. Please feel free to have a look and leave a comment.

doodling with intent…

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Ages ago I read about an interesting concept – draw 3-4 boxes in a row, and put two lines in the first box and then keep playing with the lines changing them slightly until you are happy with them (about 4-8 boxes). For mine, I started with three loose themes, human (being/presence), a cross (a symbol), the hill I see from my house, and chose to convert each of them to the most basic of lines and see what happened…I thought it was quite an interesting exercise. The hill one certainly has got potential to develop further as an abstract interpretation of my landscape…

Oh, and two pages of just doodling and not taking the pen off the page…why? just because…to see what happened.

Onto much more serious matters – I have a date! And a venue! Both confirmed now. My first solo exhibition is scheduled for very early in 2013…! So much to do, so little time…any advice gratefully accepted.

Reflecting on favourite things…

Its no secret that I like old things. I also like to look at things in a new way and find beauty in ordinary and everyday items. I decided to do a photo essay of things that I thought were beautiful in my own home after pouring over other people’s homes in magazines. I wasn’t interested in things stored away, or especially valuable or the obvious things…just everyday things anyone would see in my home that I think are beautiful.

When I finished, I noticed that almost all of them were quite old, all were very well used, most were treasured gifts, almost all have no real monetary value, and many trigger a flood of memories. So, to you this may seem like a collection of odd bits and bobs, but to me, they are some of my dearest treasures. The very stuff a full life is made of.

For example, “Ted” now nearly 12, has been on my eldest son’s bed since he was just a day old. The beads, I wear almost daily and are mostly market finds and gifts. The silver set was a precious gift from a university friend, many years ago. Books…well, they go without saying. Handles on a much loved dresser that came all the way from Canada with me, a gift from my dear elderly neighbour when I was a university student. The bits and bobs in my daughters room – a combination of my own things from when I was a girl, a few vintage (op shop) finds, gifts, and “special” things my daughter loves.

The crystal decanters are not mine, but I unearthed them hidden away covered in dust in a storage cupboard. I adore them. They make perfect vases. A single stem in each one, lined up on a table with some candles and wine glasses…perfect! Totally modern yet vintage cool.

I challenge you to have a look at your most loved possessions. Photograph them, draw them, write about them. Use them. If they are hidden away, pull them out and use them. Love them. Display them. If you don’t use them, why not? Can you find a way to rework them if need be and use them/appreciate them in a different way? Find inspiration in your own everyday items. They tell a story. They tell your story. They tell a lot about who we once were, who we are now and what we value, and they hold clues about our future… In a world of immediate gratification, instant updates and mass produced consumer items, its even more important to not only hang on to your own treasures, but use them daily, love them and honour your own history.

Conversations with myself…

Symbols. Text. Texture. Contrast. Colour. And drama. These are the things that I hope will be the common threads in my seemingly very diverse and eclectic range of paintings, mixed media art pieces and my photographs that I am starting to consider for my upcoming exhibition (with no venue or date as yet).

This painting is a good example of this…it has the symbolism, the use of lots of black, the contrasting white for love and hate, light and dark, pure and impure.. It has the text, the symbolism of (things being) black and white and the ongoing circular notion of a conversation that goes no where but carries on endlessly… the said and the unsaid….. conversations we have with others and privately with ourselves.

When I paint, I feel much more exposed than with my photography or mixed media works. I feel more open to criticism, (mis)interpretation and generally I feel more vulnerable. Strangely, it also makes me feel more free and that’s why as frustrating as it can seem to be, I just can’t give it up. Its like a deeply passionate but volatile relationship..but you can’t completely give it up. In contrast, photography is for me a lifetime love, inspiring and deeply satisfying. It is familiar, known and loved like an old friend.

My love/hate affair with painting is a much more complex affair. The fact that I have barely painted in a year is testimony to how exposed I feel when painting, like everyone can see into my mind and my heart and know all my thoughts, passions, furies and frustrations. Painting is for me entering a space where I have to think less and go with my gut-instincts more….

Anyway here is a painting I am considering for my exhibition. It is called Conversations with myself. Painted last year.

mixed media works

It’s been quite a while since I have worked with resin. It is messy, tricky and fiddly, but wow! It always makes an impact. I have put a resin coat on some mixed media pieces that I made a while ago and then left. I also put a resin coat over some new pieces, 3 small black canvas frames with some lovely printed paper I found…I am not sure what the attraction is for me about birds at present, but I seem to have a few bird images around me. With the resin top coat, they look almost ethereal. I intend to keep the three bird images together.

A contrast on a winters day…

As I was taking several photo’s of the blue sky and the pink magnolia blossoms, I lowered the camera ever so slightly for one shot to get the security fence behind the tree into the image. I liked the contrast of the barbed wire and the blossom (a cliché I know, but who can resist it?) and thought it suited being quite a dramatic image.

Pink and more pink…with a hint of sky blue…

I think this image captures the essence of a perfect winter’s day… blue sky and one lone tree with the palest grey branches, bursting with hundreds of pink magnolia blossoms..what a sight to behold! How can anyone be gloomy about winter in the presence of that beauty? It really is something special.

Out and about in Taranaki…

I took a recent visitor to my home for a drive around the mountain yesterday, stopping at several of my favourite haunts. After 3 days of relentless heavy rain, it was lovely to enjoy the crisp, blue, cloudless sky, blue sea (instead of grey and churned up) and our snow covered mountain looking resplendent.

Here is a photo I took recently on another trip around my region. I think it’s someone’s home, given the washing that was hanging on the line…

On another note, I have been thinking more about both the Taranaki Art Awards (what to enter??) and also about having an exhibition, preferably before the end of this year. Very exciting but also quite scary!

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