Well 2016 has been and gone and it seems timely to reflect a little on what was great about it before launching into 2017 plans and goals. So here are my top 3 highlights for 2016.
The absolute highlight of 2016 was winning the prestigious Lysaght Watt Trust Art Award for 2016 with my photograph “Daily life: Under the Eiffel Tower”. This is my absolute proudest moment as a photographer and artist.
Another highlight this year was participating in the Taranaki Arts Trail and having my gallery/studio open this year at home…with my photograph “The Rejection of Ariadne” displayed under the Taranaki Arts Trail signage at the Gallery profiling all the artists.
Finally my third top highlight was organising and participating in “GARDEN – An ART Exhibition” which involved over 20 distinct and talented Taranaki Artists and showcased a wide variety of artistic talent from drawing to sculpture to fibre work and pottery, all with a garden theme, and was on display during Taranaki region’s Garden Festivals in late October/November this year. I was extremely happy with my own entry – a photograph printed on linen.. Botanical Beauty.
So, all in all a really great year. I had other goals this year…a new book, a new improved website, but they didn’t quite happen…watch out 2017! It’s going to be busy….
ps.. “The Fantail Collection” of my curated collection of original vintage NZ art and collectables is also awaiting a new separate website so I can share my love of original NZ art in its own space…2017 is going to be very busy!
So, watch this space…its going to be another busy year this year and I hope that you also have some big plans and dreams to make 2017 the best year ever!
You can take the city girl to the country but if you take the city girl to a farm and expect photos of cows, mountains, and grass…you may be disappointed. Yes, it definitely was beautiful…the mountain, the cows, the sea glistening, the mountain against a clear blue sky….stunning!
But what really excited me (on a Sunday ten kilometre fund raising cross-farm walk) was none of these…it was the walls of an old dairy factory we visited. Others may have seen some old concrete, some run-down old farm buildings, some exterior walls in need of repair, or just ignored the building (in favour of the water and biscuits), but I saw striking shapes, interesting colours, lots of texture, dramatic angles…I saw shadows and light play on the wall and I knew that to me, this was beautiful. How typical of me to find inspiration in a building when I am surrounded by absolutely stunning rural farm, coastal and mountain scenery.
Darkness, light, movement and a camera…it always creates an unexpected surprise. I love the lines here, the colour spectrum and the composition. I like how the fragile blue line near the top appears broken and tied together, while the other lines are solid below it. There is movement. And mystery. I like that.
It was time for a change. My studio inspiration board had gotten very cluttered, very colourful, very chaotic…full of images, colours, words, photos, and kids art. It was busy and bright and bold. But mostly busy!
But instead of feeling inspired, I started to feel cluttered and crowded. I wanted space to think. I wanted less, not more. So I took it all down, without thinking or reviewing, or analysing any particular item. I put them in a suitcase with my other papers. Then I put back up six items. Not six on purpose, just because these six images felt right for right now.
None of the images on the board are mine. One is a beloved print brought in Wellington a few years back that had been rolled up in a drawer – a watercolour sketch of a hummingbird. Another is a postcard of Paris – both for my dreams to go there one day, and also because it was from a dear friend. Another image is a magazine advertisement image that I like. The final blue image is a photo of the sea found in yet another magazine. The blues are intoxicating beautiful and a reminder of the inherent beauty in nature and beaches.
My “Start Something” paper mantra returned to the wall (as always) and finally, I added the brochure from the “One” exhibition – held in 2013, as a reminder of my past achievements and future plans.
When I look at the wall, I feel optimistic and calm and I can hear myself think. Right now, I like that.
Sometimes inspiration boards need a little inspiration too!
Sunlight, movement, and flowers…or were they actually weeds? Do I care?
Not really. I enjoyed their late-summer, dried and near dead spent blooms (seed pods?) as they swayed in the wind along the farm fence-lines, as I zoomed by.
There is something about lights, movement and darkness that captivates me. I love the sense of drama, the movement that is captured – a fleeting moment in time and the abstract quality of this image. What is it? What ever you see or what ever you feel, that is what it is. Simple.
I watched this group of older school boys…they were completely engrossed in building a city skyline entirely from white Lego bricks – it was part of an interactive public display at the Auckland City Art Gallery recently. The structures that had been created by others so far were striking in their elegance, complexity and intricacy creating a fantasy city skyline of magical, wonderful, imaginary towering structures. It was also temporary, as each structure could be dismantled or added to by the next person and turned into something new and different, always changing and evolving – an interesting way to consider a city…
It is certainly going to be interesting!
Reflections of the church buildings across the road… as seen on the first of many stainless steel curving panels forming the exterior of our new contemporary art gallery and Len Lye centre. It’s currently under construction in our city centre – not without controversy I might add.
Will it last? Will it stay shiny? Will it rust in our sea and salt laden air? Will it blind drivers and pedestrians? Will it get too hot? What will our high rainfall do to it over time? Who knows…certainly not me….but who cannot fall in love with the idea of a unique, original, elegant building? I personally cannot wait to see how it looks finished. There is a place in cities for protecting heritage and old buildings and there is also a place for new and innovative approaches and fresh, risk taking ideas…the best cities celebrate both!
Portraiture. Something I profess to love. Yet most of my work (that I share) is of landscapes and objects. Yet, people remain my favourite thing to photograph and I got all inspired today looking at fashion magazines and I started thinking about glamour and beauty in photography. As I sadly did not have a glamour model on hand to photograph, I selected a one page advertisement of an unnamed model in a glossy magazine and photographed it. Then I cropped it significantly, turned it to simple black and white image, then I thought I would focus on one just perfect detail. And what better object than the the “window to the soul” – the eye? I cropped it further down to focus on one eye and then started playing with it and the blue eye shadow.
I am not fan of blue eye shadow for myself, but in this case the iridescent blue is captivating against the pale white skin.
It’s different. I like it. Something different. Inspiration found in an advertisement.
There is a bay, not far from here. If you like, you could say it is the site of an old dump. If you prefer, you could call it Glass Bay, known locally for its beach covered with sea glass, the beautiful result of bottles crushed and smoothed by rocks and ocean waves then covering the sand in a shiny and tiny glass and pebble mix underfoot.
There, I found this. Amongst the debris, junk, ruins and discarded waste of yesteryear that is now now falling down the cliff into the sea…it was too big and heavy for me to carry back up the steep rocky beach cliff, so I had to make do with admiring its design. There was something sentimental and romantic about its rusted and washed up presence on the beach…I just loved it.
PS… If you are reading this I will take it as a good sign that you can still find my blog…I have had to convert back to my word-press domain and address for this blog. I am building my website using my www.blackboxartstudio.com address for that forum……..Hopefully you will hang in there while I get everything connected, and running properly….please have patience with me.