Friday, December 20, 2013

Time Out From The Studio for Christmas

Not in the right headspace to get my butt over to the studio. 

Like the rest of the world I have been busy focusing on pressies for birthdays and Christmas and my travel plans to catch up with family and grandkids. Then there are the end of year drinks with friends and generally getting quite caught up in the seasons madness, even though I was determined not too.

See you on the other side of Christmas...and have a good one!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Merry Christmas- I do miss the snow!

Decorate A Duck For Depression!

...Yes - you probably think I'm 'Quackers'!

This is an invitation from a very lovely artist friend of mine named Philomena who, like myself has been a sufferer of mental illness and she is always looking for ways to raise funds in support of those affected. So please read her invitation as follows.

I want you to consider 'Decorating A Duck For Depression'!
I believe this could be a novel way to raise money to support those affected by Mental Health issues. It is my plan to auction or sell the decorated ducks around the time of my next exhibition planned for March at Houghton's Winery Gallery. 
....and I am asking you for your support!
To find out more and to obtain your Duck to decorate, - I have fifty ducks on hand for you to choose from!
or phone on
Wooden Ducks for you to Decorate any way you wish.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Exquisite Artist-Chris Maynard

American artist has used feathers to created stunning images of birds.

Chris Maynard uses eye surgery tools, miniscule scissors, forceps and sharp scalpels to slice intricate patterns into the shape of birds.

No More Markets!

I have always said to my husband, "don't let me ever do a market or car boot sale again"

Stupidly, I made a flash decision and rented a stall at a market today. Not even a market, but a school fete. Unlike market stalls that can cost $100 to hire, this was only $20, and was under cover which was a bonus when 38- 40 degrees was forecast for that day.

When I do these markets, I usually move out what I call my 'shrapnel' All the odd bits and pieces that I have been trialing different techniques and exploring ideas on. They are mostly small in size and after a while just take up storage space. 

Anyway at the last minute I decided that instead of taking them all down to the op shop as I did last year, I would tidy them all up, paint the sides of each one and pile them into the car, along with a table, chair and all the other clobber you need to present a lively market stall. 
I felt unusually calm which should have been a clue that this was going to be a complete and utter waste of time and energy! 

Instead I took it to mean something good was going to happen and this was 'meant to be.' I set of to my destination 20 mins away.
After carting all my gear a couple of hundred yards from the car to my spot, I set everything up to entice the buyer. I took to my seat and contemplated my surrounds. "Ah! This is good I thought, I'm glad I made the effort." 

Two hours later I was still contemplating my surrounds and at one point completly dozed off! (I did go to a Christmas party the night before!) And so it went on. All around me were bric-a-brac stalls piled up with kids toys. Being Christmas, parents were stocking up. Cup cakes were popular too. Last thing on their mind was buying a piece of original art, even if it was selling for less than the price of the canvas I painted it on!!

After nearly five hours, there were so few people about, I decided to pack up and get home to my comfy chair and air-con, which is where every other sensible person should have been on a 40 degree day!
The hardest part was lugging everything back to the car again (why do I always do these things alone?) Every female convener there seemed to have her husband in tow, carrying all the heavy gear. I guess it was Sunday morning and my husband was where he was meant to be, leading a worship service. By the time I got back into my sweltering car I thought I was going to pass out!

Oh well, what can I say? I sold two little paintings at $5 each and handed out a few business cards. I bought two $3 plants for the garden with my takings. So I made $4! You win some you loose some. Just remind me never to do markets again!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Elijah - 1 Kings 19:11b - 13

The Mandorla Art Prize: I have not stopped pondering about Elijah and his encounter with God. I had better start putting some of my ideas into practice soon. Ideas are always easier than putting brush to canvas!

As I lay my ideas out, I am deciding which one. stands out as something I want to work with, and even more importantly have the skills to work with.
As it is an Art Prize I'm not going to broadcast all over the internet what my plans are, only that they range from either a modern scene set in today's era or an ancient abstract theme or one that combines the two. My materials may include collages papers, words and symbols and/or a limited two tone palette. Newspaper keeps coming to mind and the history of communication over the ages, and especially from man to God.
 I've also been thinking  about what man has in common, no matter what religion, when he comes into the presence of 'other.' Especially in times of desperation. Do we cry out, look up, look down and/or close our eyes? We take the attention off of ourselves and focus on something greater than ourselves and outside of ourselves.

Elijah came out of the cave (out of himself) and covered his face (closing his eyes) and had a connection, a communication, a conversation with God. I often think that our relationship with God is less dramatic but certainly gives our life deeper meaning. But, there are many people I know who seem quite happy not to be in this relationship to God. They are quite at peace within themselves and claim to live completely separate from this faith relationship. I used to think this was quite an arrogant approach to the gift of life but these days I think it is quite gutsy! It takes courage to admit you don't believe and to claim that this life is all you have and all there is! You love, you hate, you laugh, you cry, you live, you work and you die. Life goes on no matter what. Even though they are surrounded by religion and spirituality that says otherwise, especially when loved ones die, they have the guts to say...I live and love but I don't believe there is more!

So, once again, how does this relate to the Elijah scripture? How does this story speak to those friends of mine? In a way it is a very 'in-house' story, all about the God of the Hebrews and the amazing relationship he has with his prophets and his people Israel. That can seem very distant from our reality today and I'm still wanting to pull it into the here and NOW. Elijah was running away from his life work and suicidal. How many of us have been there or know someone who has been there? Even I have been there myself.
After his encounter with God he was completely transformed and went back to work. Can that happen for us too? Can God come to us before we even call and transform our lives? Is that always the case? We know it doesn't always work out that way, but for those who believe, we cant help but stand back in awe as we contemplate yet another miraculous story of the Old Testament and we hear God asking us the same question He asks Elijah...Why are you here?

Perhaps I should stop thinking so much and start creating. I'm sure the same God that Elijah encountered will guide me....

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wow! How did that happen?

This painting needs a name!

It rarely happens that I finish a painting and then I want to keep it to myself! This is one of those. It is quite large, about 1m x 1m and has a textured sand surface that was prepared before I started painting . I had a landscape in mind but more important to me were the colours that I had chosen. I started at the base with lemon and white and worked my way up. I knew I wanted to have a dark purple focal point in the middle, not knowing they would turn into boulders (yes, boulders again appearing in my work-I wonder what they symbolise?). 

I completed the work in one day at the studio. It was almost effortless, every stroke worked and transformed into something other than what I had in mind, and much better too. 
There is no doubt in my mind that Spirit bought this one forward through me and it is for this reason that I will put a much higher value on it. Hope I can do some more of the same!

The painting pulsates with energy and the photo above doesn't really give you any idea of the colours because it was taken at night with very yellowish lighting. I will take a daytime shot next time I am in the studio. 

I had some left over paint, so I even had time to experiment with the drippy series I'm working on! Another night photo but it gives you an idea.

Update on my 'Elijah's encounter with God' painting in my next blog. Still at the gathering ideas stage.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I Think I Have A New Addiction - Figure Drawing!


I'm still  loving sketching figures. I never quite know what posture is going to be formed on the page when I first put pen to paper. All I know is I am excited about creating a recognisable human form. For someone who has painted mostly abstract because I struggle to draw it is exciting!

 think this is one of my favourites so far because of the beautiful, graceful posture, especially where. the line of her neck (is it the nape?) meets her cropped hair. At first I thought her hands were tied and her head hung low, but she turned out to be sitting up tall and graceful, maybe stretching her shoulders.
Think I'll share this one on Facebook too!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Settling Back Into The Studio Again

Just got home from a hard day at the office. Feet aching, back aching and no one is paying me for my hard work. You have to be damn passionate about this artist work to put in as many hours as I do. Either that or insane... I think I am a bit of both.

Well, my studio was organised enough to work in today, and it feels like a fresh start. I've taken down all my old paintings at put up some new. It really helps me to have inspiring work around me including bits and pieces that I have collected along the way.  These could be anything at all ranging from magazine pages, fabrics, inspirational quotes, colors I'm drawn to, images off the Internet, papers, photos, natural objects and whatever else captures my interest.
    My studio at Rob Park

We have hard rubbish collection this week so I piled up all the old canvases of mine that I wasn't interested in re-working and also those that had far too much texture applied to be able to re-paint over. Some of them I slashed off the frame (very therapeutic!) and others, if the frame was sturdy enough, I kept it so that one day ( ha ha! one day!) I will learn how to stretch a new canvas over them. 

Anyway that evening I put them out on the verge and the pile was huge. In the morning I went out to check that the over-night gusty wind hadn't blown them half-way up the street. I got such a surprise because the hard rubbish collectors hadn't picked up in our street yet but there wasn't a single canvas left...someone was very keen! I wish my exhibitions got such a positive response!

Next week I have a lady named Clare from 'Sort Your Stuff' coming to my home and we are going to get my room at home organised into office and storage of all my art materials that I don't need in my studio at Rob Park. I'm just starting to put things into piles. Whatever made me get into mixed media and collage and painting, drawing and encaustic? much stuff I have held onto like beads, postage stamps, feathers and wood shavings to name just a few...just in never know!

If you haven't got what you need, use what you've got!

   These are 18" x 14"   
It got to the stage Friday eve when I felt I just had to do some drawing. 
I had no charcoal or decent sized paper. So I used the back of an old Anne Geddes calendar and some really crappy wax crayons. The paper was really slick and nonporous so after sketching with the crayon II put a little 'Zest' orange solvent (like turps) on a cloth and with my finger I was able to blend and clean up some of the lines. That was really fun!
 I will experiment some more with this so don't throw away your old large format calendars that are blank on one side, please send them my way!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I Need A Fierce Clutter Buster

Today, I didn't get the vacuum cleaner into the car and I didn't make it to the studio. In fact I didnt get much done at all!

This urgent desire for less clutter and more order is still very strong. After spending most of the day doing non arty stuff, I then got on the computer to check out art competitions. This always consumes a lot of time and energy because you have to read all the rules of entry and the where, what, how and why? After this I was inspired to do some figure drawing. I was still at home? Did I have the paper I needed, did I have charcoal? - no. What about touch drawing? I had the tissue paper and the boards but no paint or rollers. They too were in my studio in Perth! 

Here I was frustrated once again by having a room in our house full of art stuff but not what I needed! Also there was no surface space on my table at home to work because it is covered in all the materials used for my encaustic work. Even my dining table is covered in my junk! This is getting serious. I have to do some serious culling and I don't know where to start. 


I suppose I am asking myself, what studio environment brings about a sense of well-being for me? What art materials need to be at my fingertips so that I can do my work?
If I want to have a sense of the divine working through me then how will I get in the frame of mind to allow that to happen? 

Normally I can work surrounded by clutter because I block it out. Right now I am acutely aware of it and I literally can't begin any artwork. 

I know it is going to take a great deal of energy and maybe a couple of weeks to sort through both studios. I'm not looking forward to it but I guess it is all part of getting rid of the old and allowing room for something new to come in. Over the last few years I have easily sorted through things each time I shifted studio, but this needs to be done ASAP. I am on the search for a  fierce clutter buster. One that will question me on how valid it is to keep something I haven't used in the last three years. I'll start in the morning, creating those three separate keep, to give away and to toss!


 I knew it would be difficult returning home from residency but I never expected to be so frustrated with people and things and most of all with my own disorganised and cluttered studios.

Most of today I have felt like one of those steel balls in a pinball machine, being fired in different directions. I became aware that I would need to cull my studio of clutter while I was In Beverley. Once home I off loaded the contents of my car into my Perth studio. I literally dumped all my art materials onto my huge work table. I managed to psyche up enough energy to plan what my next step would be to remove what I don't want and clear some space. Being a mixed media and collage artist and wax and watercolour and whatever else I decide to get into...I have so much bloody stuff that I have collected over the years...just in case I need it. Well, it has got to go because I can't think clearly surrounded by so much clutter.
I put back in the car the things I needed to take back to take to my studio at home and placed in a pile smaller works or canvases I could take to the markets and sell and that was it....I'd made a small start. Eventually I couldn't stand the cobwebs, dead insects and layer of thick dust all over the room so I went home, planning to return the next day with the vacuum cleaner and scrubbing brush!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Departing Thoughts

Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.” – Stella Adler

The last couple of days at the Station Gallery have been quite different. Last night there were 3 extra guests in the house including a friend of mine who visited and stayed overnight, The new artist in residence from California and a new friend of hers who also stayed the night! 

Also, the place was a buzz with a working bee in the grounds and sound checks etc up on the stage for the band coming to do a show that evening. And, it had been raining all night for the first time in 3 weeks, so the ground was very wet creating puddles everywhere. I even had goosebumps from the cool air and had to pull a jumper out for the first time in 3 weeks, from the bottom of my suitcase!
I did pray that I would adjust well to the change of pace once I arrived home to the city but I think I had a crash course before I even left!

Before the exhibition that evening I continued to add finishing touches to my paintings, even though they were already hanging in place on the gallery walls...just can't help myself can I? I know when a painting is finished, but leading up to that moment there are a continuous stream of questions streaming through like " Is that  finished now?" or "It needs something else" or "something's not right" or " not happy with that one, maybe I should I take that one out of the exhibition" and so on.

EventuallyI I got everything packed up into my car so that I was ready to leave early in the morning. During my stay I ended up selling nine paintings and doing two workshops so I was very happy.

 I also learned that I daily need time to be still, to reflect, to write, to become aware of a higher power, to focus my thoughts and paint. Everything else in life flows out from that. I'm conscious that not everybody needs this way of life to be content, but for me this is a necessary and maybe a way to be able to offer something of meaning and value back to my community and world.

The challenge is always working out how to incorporate these values and disciplines in my everyday life at home. Not just as a list of things to do that get ticked of each day, and only when I have the time, but as my full-time job. As the heart and core of my day. As my work. It is really as simple as that.

What makes it so difficult to administer on a daily basis is the long list of negative beliefs that I burden myself with and that can also be backed up by society beliefs.  It is good to be aware of them and name them because then I can control how much they negate the blessing that I want to be in society rather than a burden. 

Negative beliefs: I  am unsociable, a hermit, a recluse, withdrawn, selfish, too analytical, too spiritual, too philosophical, not practical enough, uncaring , unsupportive wife, just not right, a weirdo. Working as an artist is a luxury, lucky to have such freedom, not a proper job, wasting money, couldn't do it if I was on my own, I'm spoilt, you can't always have what you want , you are not trained, not good enough etc. 

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr Suess 

So that is a robust collection of thoughts that I daily sift through to stay on track with my art career. I  ask myself, are true or false? Are they helpful and kind? Do they build me up or drag me down?  On the residency I was strengthened to keep on going because of the soul connection I experienced while doing my art. And being true to my soul is what matters most. I am learning to listen and respect and be guided by my soul a great deal more these days?

William Shakespeare put it this way:

“This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day

Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Hamlet, I.iii, 78-80