Monthly Archives: August 2013

A little luck is all you need…

I attended the opening last night of the North Taranaki Community Arts Council’s (NTCAC) exhibition of artists they have supported, including yours truly. Here’s a little tongue in cheek appraisal of the night, based on a book I had as a child – it’s a little like this…

  • What good luck it was a lovely exhibition space (thanks Doug)  and there was lots of wonderful art on display (and lovely dancing).
  • What bad luck my large photograph image was not displayed at the exhibition…
  • What good luck my small image (a framed photograph) looked really lovely.
  • What bad luck everyone ate my gluten-free chocolate brownies before I even got one.
  • What good luck I got to meet a much admired artist (Paul Hutchinson) and tell him I was a huge fan of his work painting “everyday” items.
  • What bad luck the wine ran out so quickly
  • What good luck I met a very lovely artist who told me a thing or two about life and it turns out she and I had much in common despite our significant age differences.
  • What bad luck the NTCAC is closing down (“being absorbed”) after 30 years of supporting artists with small grants.
  • What good luck two of my dear friends came along to support me, along with my ever supportive partner and my daughter.

All, in all, a good night, great art and I will try not to be too disappointed that only one of my pieces made it up on the wall..

It’s on at The Metro Gallery, Devon Street, New Plymouth (across from Hikoi shoes/clothes) until the end of the month. Go along and support our local talent (and Doug’s inaugural Metro Gallery exhibition), if you can.

The touch of humanity…

The instinctive and ferociously strong grasp of a newborn infant’s hand as it reaches out to make contact with the person holding him close, sensing a familiar heartbeat and a known soothing voice, creates a powerful image. A grasp so powerful and deliberate yet coming from someone so unbelievably delicate and tiny is a reminder of the power of touch to bond us as family.

Touch… we can’t live without it. We fail to thrive without touch. It is as instinctive as breathing.  Even a tiny baby reaching out knows how important it is.  A baby’s instinctive grasp holds a message, “I belong here”.




When the light shifts

Late July 2013 015

to dusk and then nightfall, what follows is a new day. Sometimes a new day is a metaphor for looking at things in a new light.

I too, have been looking at things in a new light, trying to make sense of where I am, and where I am headed as I try to take all my loosely formed ideas and focus them in a business plan. (How do you turn your hopes and dreams into tangible goals?).

The key question in my mind is what would a “creatively inspired life” really look like for me? The answer is one where I am fully living the life I aspire to live, one focused on photography, writing, inspiring others and being creative. But how????

To continue to focus on writing (blogging) and photographing what inspires me and seemingly what resonates with others is crucial. But, I want to be more personal. More real. Less trees and sunsets…more heartfelt, more of me and I want to hear more of you, too. We are in this community together.

So, here is the real deal…I am still and always will be a mother first, to my four beautiful children. I am also a writer, a photographer, an artist, and am still seeking to carve out a life through my creative outlets. I work a few hours a week in project management, an important link to my former career and I love it for its completely different challenges, an opportunity to really “make a difference” and to be involved in transforming public spaces for people. I love it, almost as much as I love writing and photographing.

I am divorced, yes, and scarily find myself forty(ish) and have over the last few years gone through a completely unexpected, utterly horrendous custody battle over care of our three sons. It has nearly destroyed me in the process. But like a butterfly I am determined to emerge from this experience stronger and a more beautiful person. These things that come along that nearly break us, ultimately make us stronger. The experience doesn’t define me, but it is a big part of my story. Just as moving from career-aspiring woman to “professional artist” is.

Black Box Art Studio still exists – but it has morphed into a different space – photographic studio, writing space, journals and a laptop all jostle for space amongst paint, glue, canvases, a printing press and old suitcases full of assorted papers, stamps and inks…I still don’t know what it all means…but I know that what’s coming is different from what came before.

Black Box Art Studio – it is still about “art, life and the messy bits in between”, but it is now quite apparently more than that…it is the real journey toward my dream of living the life I dream of.. “A creatively inspired life”.

It starts now. Apparently with a business plan.

Sights and sounds in the city…

art scultpure

Tiffany Singh’s modern art sculpture “What is the colour of the breeze?” is a reminder that the best art is art that we like and that brings us pleasure. Art that uplifts our souls and makes us feel good is not seemingly fashionable, however. This cutting-edge concoction of sound, wind, and colour all comes together tucked away in a very small, gritty, urban, unsealed car park wedged between some buildings…and is a beauty to behold for the eyes (and also the ears). You are immediately drawn in,  to walk amongst the chimes, to run your hands over the bamboo chimes and the many coloured ribbons. And when the wind comes through they all move like one giant wind chime, all swaying in unison.

Colourful. Joyful. Harmonious. Modern art. Who would have thought? That’s inspired.

Seeker of the light…

light through clouds

I am a light seeker. I suppose all photographers are. Like moths, we gravitate toward the light…

I seek the light, the milky morning light, the long, low light of the late afternoon, the end of day pinks and oranges kind of light, the highly saturated light of a cloudy day where colours seem to burst out of themselves, the lights of the city night sky, the streak of white light as it breaks through stormy skies…

I am a light seeker. And here, in the park after a thunderstorm, I found it.

leaving a mark…


Symbolism runs deep in human species, and the same symbol can mean entirely different things to different people, at different times, places, cultures, beliefs and customs. I don’t really know what these symbols mean to the person(s)/artist(s) who made them… they are familiar but strange, they feel personal but universal…modern but ageless…urban but primitive.

They are permanent marks on the landscape. I wonder if they are a sign, a message, a story, or a reminder of something important – something the maker wanted others to know? Why do we humans, feel a need to leave a mark…from the first hand print on a cave wall, to now…we have a compelling urge to say “I was here”.

All our hearts carry primitive marks, held privately, and known only to our own hearts…unique symbols of love, loss, victory, grief, courage? But if we were to display our ancient symbols – what we stand for, what we are, who we are, where we are from, what we have done, loved, lost, survived…what if they were on display?

What would my symbol look like?

On twilights eve…


When the sun sets every single day over the sea, it isn’t hard to get a really lovely sunset moment. But this image, in its pure simplicity is one of my recent favourites. It’s a little reminder that sometimes you can say more with less.

Taking chances on the edge of nightfall…

dusk cemetery

This image is taken at the edge of a cemetery, near the sea, just at that point in time when a sunset turns to night-time. The last photo of the day – taken with an expectation that I would quite possibly have to delete it as “too dark/too blurry”, but found instead that I loved its eerie and spooky feel and the sense of drama about it.  It just goes to show, again (I know!), that sometimes just taking that image and not thinking too much about whether it is or isn’t “worth it”, can sometimes be the surprise image of the day.



Got the blues….

flowers on fenceline

Walking is a great way to really notice things around you. I would never have given these small flowers growing over a fence a second look had I been in a car; and an opportunity would have literally passed me by. They were so sweet, wild and overgrown through a fence.

I notice also that blue has been featuring very prominently in many of my images recently. I also bought a painting recently – pale blues mostly. A favourite of my own paintings is entirely blue also. This blue phase surprises me, as although I love the entire range of sea blues and the changing blue hues of the sky (and constantly photograph both) it is the inky-almost black shade of indigo that I love most of all the blues. I think it sets off these wild flowers rather well.

I might have the blues after all…yes…a faded pair of jeans, a blue-black night sky, a child with the purest blue eyes I ever looked into and a touch of wistful melancholy.

Kapiti Island

Islands are intriguing, beguiling, fascinating. This one is, I believe, a bird sanctuary. You can appreciate it’s inherent beauty, you can look at it, draw it, photograph it, sail around it, swim or kayak around it. But generally, you cannot land on it. And you certainly cannot live on it. It is a refuge for the native bird population. A safe home for protected species.

It is a spectacularly beautiful island. And it is serving a very worthy purpose in its isolation. And it is a relief to see some land that is clearly not “developed” by humans. But…I cannot help but feel that it reminds me of a gilded cage. Perfect, stunning, beautiful, safe, and intended to protect the vulnerable. But in the end, still a cage.

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