I love art is public spaces. Especially beautiful, thoughtful, elegant human scale sculptures such as this one I came across on a very rainy day recently in Auckland. I also love seeing old buildings that have been lovingly restored and redeveloped. The sculpture sits right under and next to a lovely old city tree. I love that it seems to say to the child “come and explore here”. And to me, it said…”I am a part of this city’s heart. I speak for the birds and the trees”.
It also happened to be right next to the very impressive and newly renovated City Art Gallery. And as I am also partial to the native birds that this sculpture honours, it all adds up to a pretty special place/moment where even rain couldn’t dampen the spirit. I hope my image captures some of that.
I have been thinking about happiness recently. About what makes me really happy and why? And what I can do to make myself happier. I do believe that my happiness affects others, especially my children, so if I want them to be positive, content, happy little persons, then I need to ensure I am modelling such behaviour as well and taking responsibility for my own happiness.
My children make me very happy. Photography makes me happy. Writing and blogging makes me very happy. Collecting odd things and journalling makes me happy. Running, too, it seems, makes me happy. Flowers on a window sill make me happy. Painting makes me happy (but that is a much more complex relationship). And helping others also makes me happy.
I have made these postcards to help (in a very small way) the fundraising efforts to restore a wonderful facility entirely owned by the Opunake community, called Everybody’s Theatre. The restoration work is being led by a committed group and a supportive community, who are trying to restore and renovate it.
Its a little thing. But little things add up to bigger things and spread. Like happiness.
I love the patina and colour of these blue doors. Once they must have been a much brighter blue but now they are a faded, worn-out, beaten up kind of faded blue. It reminds me of my favourite old jeans, almost threadbare through the knees, the hems have started fraying, old paint stains remain and the blue denim faded by a thousand washes and continual wear. These doors, like my old jeans – old, worn, faded, but beautiful to me.
This church is actually green. With a green roof. And green timber trim. And don’t get me wrong, I do love green. All shades of green. Just, perhaps not here so much.
But I went to a community fundraiser a while ago, and while there I picked up a card with a sketch (by Diane Norris) of the church in black detail on a pale coloured card. So, I think my image is a tribute to that lovely pencil sketch that I have carried around now for some time.
Maybe the church was once white? Or might be one day? Who am I to say, but an observer who picked up a card and a camera? No matter – white or green, it is still a stunning Opunake heritage building, green glory and all.
This is not my home. But it is nice to be home, and to be able to blog again easily. I have found my experience with ‘remote’ blogging very easy in some regards, but very frustrating also. It is nice to be home, in my familiar environment, with my familiar laptop, my familiar settings, a normal keyboard and all my files and images right where I left them – easy to find and use and post.
This building (store) announces that it was established in 1875. In other parts of the world, that may be considered relatively modern, but around here, any building established in 1875, I would think, is probably worthy of more than to be all boarded up and neglected…but it is what it is. I, naturally, was drawn to it like a leaf to a moth. I especially liked the contrast of the burst of blue hydrangeas on the left (like a bouquet of flowers left at a grave, I thought) and the long dead straight road to the the sea on the right. I always dwell on who lived there, who made their livelihood in this spot, who were the EAVES? Who decided this was the perfect place to build a retail empire and why? Certainly it was a prosperous (and violent and dangerous) time.
It makes a grim but rather good image, I thought.
In other news, it is set up day tomorrow for the exhibition. Gulp! Everything I have been working toward is reaching its ‘now or never’ moment and tomorrow we will spend several hours taking lots of packages out of my house and studio and garage (there are nearly 70 items!!) and hopefully turning it into something great, at the gallery. I will try to post some images. Wish me luck.
Finally, I forgot to say, in all my busy’ness and distractions recently – a very happy new year to you! My belated best wishes for a fantastic, inspired and creative year.
It was supposed to be about the bells. And an old fountain on top of a hill. I heard the bells ringing through town and realised I had never been up to the grassy hill where they are located. I recalled also that a fountain that once graced our city centre (long before I lived here) was also re-located up on this grassy hill when it was no longer considered desirable in town. So, I went to explore an area of the city that I did not know. And it was pretty. The fountain was not neglected but quite lovely (although planted rather than full of water obviously), and in addition to the glorious bells, the lovely old fountain, and the views over the city and sea, there was also an old war memorial on the grassy hill.
Yet despite all this visual inspiration, my photographs seemed decidedly average, failing to capture the essence of the space I was in and the emotion I had experienced, which was a real sense of peacefulness. I need to go back, with more time, more patience and really capture what felt so special. So, rather than share any images that I am not that happy with, I offer instead, the last one I took as I left, of the trees! Some very tightly growing together trees – their silver and white trunks, all vying for space, light and attention it seemed.
I always look up.
These are three of the images I took in a city I have not lived in for over ten years, but recently visited briefly. I observed my new but not entirely unknown environment, considering the streets as I walked. Both public and private spaces, and public and private buildings, old and derelict, new and everything in between was found.
I like to consider what makes a place interesting, vibrant, beautiful, eccelctic and what it is that draws us in, to linger and stay, play and be ourselves.
I took this photo a long time ago, in a different lifetime. I can’t even tell you where, possibly in Canada, but maybe in New Zealand. I then scratched it several years later on purpose, and quite liked the effect. It was then lost for many years, stuffed away in a box in a garage. It ended up somehow in my studio on my inspiration board and has stayed there ever since..notice the various pin holes? Today, I tried a new technique and over-layered it with some journal words that seemed to capture my thoughts about the image.
I wonder why we keep things that seemingly mean nothing at the time yet we can’t bear to throw them away, and then one day, and one life time later, they seem to be somehow perfect, the exact thing we had been looking for….
It stands alone, so tall and proud, yet also faded, worn and weather-beaten. A guardian on a cliff edge? Eternally facing out to sea, as if searching. A symbol? A signal? A monument? For what? Why?
According to the Opunake historical guides, the white shipping marker is made of four slabs of totara timber which are bolted together and was built some time before 1890 at a time when sea transport was the only means of access to the town.
Today the shipping marker still stands on the cliff-top watching over Opunake Beach and the coast. It makes me wonder what was it like coming here by ship, seeing the seemingly sheltered cove after maybe days or months at sea? And then facing the huge trek up a rocky cliff as a final challenge before reaching flat land and safety? What are the stories? Were there tragedies, rescues, and were there blessings about this arrival to Opunake?
I believe that at least two wharves were destroyed by rough seas and rouge waves, before the idea of safe landings in Opunake Bay was finally abandoned. The shipping marker, sentinel over the sea, silent guardian of the history that came before us, is all that now remains.