I was talking with my good friend Penny the other night about white space in our artwork. We often use similar colours and methods but our processes and end results are very different.
My art journals are about “downloading my head”l. Often colour and writing fills the page to overflowing – chaos and emotion in 2D. But my abstract landscape art is different; it’s generally my calm, peaceful view to the seen world. I don’t aim to record, but to respond.
Part of that response is a strong need for quiet space, usually white or maybe Titan Buff. I was working on 12 A4 mixed media and, when I sat back, realised I’d put too much colour on too quickly. Tomorrow I’ll look at them in the daylight. Some very strong darks might increase the sense of light, or they might need white paint added back.
I can talk to library customers about anything they need info on. I can write fairly easily but, when it comes to tricky emotional stuff, speaking often eludes me. I’ve been known to text or Viber people if I can’t get the words out.
I started watching the Dr Gabor Matè movie “The wisdom of trauma” this week but emotionally can’t deal it at the moment. I’ll come back to it though, because his thinking on trauma and addiction speaks to me.
One of the ways I deal with emotions, and addictive personality, is through my art journals. I can say anything in my journals without fear of judgement. I often share my work, so make the writing illegible if I need to, or cover up the writing.
This is a Dylusions Dyalog that’s almost ready for me to start writing in. I’ve used Shimmer paint and spray on the pages, then added collage. I like the small format as it’s quick to work in when I just want to get some thoughts down.
On Sunday Penny and I “worked large” at Left Bank Art Gallery. I worked quite slowly for me, adding pencil, paint, and collage layer by layer – working across 8 panels at once. Next adding marks with NeoPastels, oil pastels and Inktense and finally a Posca for white splashes. Between each layer I sat and looked and thought … sometimes I work without stepping away at all, but not this time. I think the extra space around me encouraged a different way of working.
These are cellphone photos in changeable light so not totally representative but good enough for now. The photo without white edges is detail from the main work, which is 50x76cm on Fabriano Artistico paper, so will need flattening a bit.
I’ve always loved mark making; it’s generally how I add my strongest contrasts. I’m excited about these works, which use the colours of Hokitika Gorge but (to me anyway) have a feel of Mana Bay in Patea as a safe harbour.
I spent today “working large” with Penny Kirk at Left Bank Art Gallery in Greymouth. It was amazing! I had so much fun working alongside Penny – we use similar colours, and even materials, but have very different processes and outcomes. The opportunity to work at a much bigger scale was great; I haven’t worked at this scale since my last year at The Learning Connexion in Wellington.
Tomorrow I’ll try to photograph the finished works and share them. In other news, Tony had a better day and has enjoyed doing his paint by numbers. He’s not feeling 100% tonight but that’s nothing new…
I few to Christchurch today, and Alan picked me up for a break in Hokitika. Tomorrow I’m getting ready for spending the day working large with Penny.
I talked to staff at the rest home, who felt Tony was quite unhappy. Not surprising. I spoke to Tony and, although he sounded tearful once or twice, he was trying hard to be positive. We talked about his there is no choice any more.
We’ve both got a lot of changes to get used to and it’s going to be difficult. The only thing we can do is try our best and take each day as it comes. The photo below, of Tony with his good friend Doris, reminds me how much he has changed and why we’re at this point.
Tonight Tony and I moved him into Te Mahana for 10 days respite care. He had the choice of the (bigger) respite care room, or a smaller one that will be his permanently if he stays. He chose the smaller room “because I only want to move once”. He seems quite settled tonight and more accepting. The reality is, he may come home for a couple of days when I get back, but I doubt even that will happen. This is permanent becasue we just can’t keep him safe & he is very frail now.
Last night he was really unwell. I put him to bed about 7 and lay holding his hand while he slept until about 9.30. He was feeling very sad, but that seems to have passed. As I said to him tonight, we’re not the first couple to face this and won’t be the last.
So how am I? Sad. Relieved. Sad. Relieved. Repeat…
I took a video to show family his room and this photo is a still from that of him waving for the camera 🙂
Tony and I have a lot of rough days now and today’s been rougher than most. I’m grateful for a great boss, good friends and supportive family. I’m also grateful for my art, which helps me relax and gives me a place to pour out my feelings.
I’ve been working in a small Dylusions Dyalog- roughly 4×8” so nice and quick. Tue small format means I can do a page or two in the evening to relax, without needing a lot of spare time or too many supplies. I’m enjoying working on black using lots of Shimmer paints and sprays.
I’ve been saying for a while on FB that Tony isn’t very well, but haven’t gone into a lot of detail. I’m more open on Twitter because family don’t see it (with one exception – sorry Ro!). It’s where a lot of my support network is. Now it’s time to put a bit more on my blog.
Tony’s got multiple complex health needs – diabetes, kidneys, congestive heart failure & AF, peripheral vascular disease, lung issues and there’s serious problems with his gut. We’re not investigating any of it because he doesn’t want much intervention and isn’t well enough for surgery etc. He lives on Fortisip, yoghurt, and ‘baby veges’ i.e. mashed potato, pumpkin, carrot etc and very occasionally a tiny bit of pork sausage from Normanby Butchers cooked by Tairoa Lodge. Oddly, it’s about the only meat he can eat.
He had a fall last Sunday and again early this morning. No broken bones, but a decent bruise and painful lump on the back of his neck. Hospice think he’s having TIA (transient ischemic attacks) which are like mini strokes caused by a clot blocking blood supply in the brain.
They seem to come in swarms, leave him very sleepy, with slurred speech for a bit and a few other physical signs such as his hands dropping constantly. He also talks rubbish for a bit – we’ve both had a few laughs out of it. I can kind of spot when they’re going to start now, which isn’t as useful as it sounds! After they stop, he sleeps deeply, often for only a few seconds or minutes at a time, but falls asleep over and over for hours.
I am booked to go for a break at the end of this week. His brother Roger and a caregiver/friend, Janet, were going to look after him at home between them. After this morning’s fall we’ve agreed that’s not safe so he is going into Te Mahana for respite care, and to try it out. It’s a big step but feels inevitable.
This multi-page spread in my Dina Wakley journal was inspired by Niamh Baly. I’m an avid follower and often find myself inspired by her, but this was a more direct inspiration than normal. Tony’s had a few rough days – that is another day’s post – so I spent a lot of today working on this while he slept in the lazyboy behind me. I used Dina Wakley paint, stamps, printed tissue and a page from her Collage Collective book. The quote is one I saw on FB that seemed appropriate, given all the support we’re getting at the moment. I’m pleased with how this turned out and glad I put the time into it.