Exhibition all set up

Tonight, with Tony’s help, I set up my paintings in the Patchwork & Quilting Group’s exhibition which opens tomorrow. The women have some amazing quilts and hand knitting – beautifully crafted goods and really colourful. These women don’t buy into the idea that textile work has to be expensive; many of their materials are sourced from second hand clothing shops. Beautiful silks and cottons and velvets, all for a song.

I have displayed a variety of work, from small abstracts on 4×4 canvas at just $24 through to a couple of 15×50″ Tuscan landscapes in the $300+ range. You just never know who might be passing through Patea during the festival. It’s an incredibly busy time in Taranaki

Guess what I bought today?

A new artwork by Martha Marshall; Martha sells as colorpoetry on Etsy. I am so excited. Just what I needed to cheer myself up on a semi-miserable Monday. Mind you, the day is only miserable cos I managed to burn my neck cooking salmon. I am a true menace kitchen, but this was bad even for me 😉  Three medium almost-blisters on my neck. Sigh…

Anyhow, back to the artwork. Here’s the description on Etsy: “Skimming Stones” – Acrylic and pencil on 140 lb. Arches paper, 5 x 7″. This is an original painting on paper, painted with a 7/8″ white border.

This is the sixth work by Martha I have purchased. I have four ACEOs, a 4×4 work on paper and now this one. Two of the ACEOs are floated with wide borders and a modern black frame; the others are waiting for the same treatment. I keep spending the framing money on more artwork instead!!

You know all the talk of recession? Whatever. For the sake of a week’s worth of bought lunches, I have a beautiful permanent addition to my art collection instead. And I have supported a fellow artist who I admire greatly. It’s about what we do with our money, and what we choose to support. And I choose to support fellow artists. So it’s home made sandwiches this week – yuck in my opinion – but worth it.

If you type “Martha” in the search field at top right, you’ll be able to read previous posts where I have talked about my small-but-growing Martha Marshall collection.

Painting the colours of summer

Next Friday the Patea Patchwork and Quilt exhibition, as part of the Taranaki Garden Trust’s Fringe Festival, opens in the old Hunter Shaw building here in Patea. They have invited me to be the sole painter exhibiting. I am offering lots of smaller works for sale, plus some older works in order to make space in my studio for new paintings. Sort of a spring clean!

Here’s a quick bit of history for you. The Hunter Shaw building was built as the town’s library in 1930 using money bequeathed to the town by Hunter Shaw – hence the name. The building, designed by prominent New Zealand architects Gummer and Ford, is in the Regency Revival style of 1915-1940. It is a fine example of their work and some people, architect students included, come to Patea just to see the building. The library moved out in 2002, having finally outgrown the building. I was the librarian at the time, still am, and it was a difficult decision to be part of but I know we made the right choice in the end. The local Council has kept the building, and done a great deal of earthquake-proofing and restoration. It looks fantastic and is a magic venue for public events such as this exhibition.

So, back to the artworks. The new works I have done are all abstract, using the colours of our summer gardens as a starting point. In some cases there is a hint of upright foliage and sky, in others just the colours as a mental nod to gardening. Most of the new paintings are wee 4x4s – so that I have something very moderately priced for the travelling public to get enthused about (I hope!). All are done in artist quality acrylics and are heady to hang and enjoy. I’m really looking forward to the exhibition, because it is such a different audience for me to reach, but I am also a bit nervous about locals seeing my work – silly huh?

My hands are tools as I paint

Some people could eat a 4 course meal with only a fork, and not have a drop of food on them. Or cook Christmas dinner for 10 and emerge from the kitchen looking pristine. Me? I can’t eat, or cook, without spilling, dripping or slopping. It’s not that I’m clumsy as such, just – I don’t know – a bit uncoordinated I guess.

And when I paint? Yes, the same thing applies really. They say a picture paints a thousand words; in which case my clothes, and hands, tell quite a long story. I have tools – brushes, scrapers, knives – and paper towels, rags, wet wipes etc. Yet, somehow, I always end up with paint on my clothes and on my hands. The food mess may well be lack of coordination, but (forgetting the clothes for a moment) I think the paint on my hands is really about something else.

I am one of those people who likes to touch things. I’m a librarian by day; I touch the books, I touch my customers – sometimes I hug them if they need it – I touch my scrapbook pages, my pets, my mother, flowers, the hand of people who serve me in shops.

And I like to touch what I paint. I pick the small canvas up and hold them in my hand as I paint. I pick up the tubes and bottles of paint and feel the weight of them and, of course, I touch the wet paint! Not deliberately, but then again, perhaps really it *is* deliberate? Perhaps for me part of the process of painting is feeling my way through the layers of paint and glazes and marks. Feeling what is right, what needs changing…

I think that for me painting is not just about the image, the colours, the texture – it’s about the feel of the process, and the feel of the finished work. And that’s why my hands tell a story – because for me painting is as much a tactile pursuit as a visual one. How about you?

Being prepared with lots of paintings!

The Taranaki Rhododendron Festival, and the Fringe Festival, are both coming up at the end of the month. The local Patchwork and Quilting group are holding a week long exhibition in the Hunter Shaw building in Patea in support of these garden extravaganzas. They have invited me to be the sole artist exhibiting amongst the textiles. Fantastic!

In early December I am due to start exhibiting again at the Albany Garden Centre in Auckland, just in time for their Christmas trade. And in early November I am contributing to a charity auction at the Gift of Art Gallery in Christchurch. You can visit their blog here. The NZ Art Guild is busy planning towards a major charity event to be held at the Bruce Mason Centre (Auckland) in February 2009, which I will be exhibiting at also. This is to raise funds for the Leukemia & Blood Foundation – a link to more detail is on the right hand side on the Guild’s website here.

On top of all that, I have booked an art showcase page on Etsy for November 2nd, which means my Etsy offerings will potentially be seen by up to 10,000 in one 24 hour period.

Why am I telling you all this? Because it explains why I am painting up a storm, painting like there is no tomorrow, like paint supplies are about to run out worldwide – and loving it LOL. My wall of 4×4 canvas is becoming less like a wall, and more like a wee room divider, day by day. It’s a good thing.

Economic recession? Doom and gloom? Financial ruin? Whatever! There are opportunities out there for those prepared to just keep on working, so that’s what l’m doing – and I would encourage others to do the same. We all create our own economic future every day; what have you done toward your future this weekend?

Painting the full moon

How did I manage a peaceful night’s sleep at full moon? Light dinner with a friend, two small gin and tonics, and sheer exhaustion 😉  It felt good to almost sleep right through the night, despite the silvery light of the full moon pouring in through the bedroom curtains.

Despite that, I couldn’t help but delve into my moon images for a quick play round with colours and layouts. Here’s one of my current favorites. I think it appeals to me because it’s dark and moody without being drab, I always enjoy purples, and it has a sense of unreality about it. By the way; is ‘unreality’ a word? Probably not…but I hope you know what I mean.

I have been wanting to experiment with adding Golden Interference Fluid Acrylics to my other paints, and this might be a good time to haul them out and onto my art desk. The reason I hesitate a bit to use them is that someone I went through art school with used them extensively for some amazing works, but found when it came time to exhibit them that it was rare to find lighting that suited them. Without appropriate lighting she felt the that often the whole point of the works was lost.

I think in my case though, the interference colours will be an added extra, rather than the main focus of the work. I’d like to try them as a bit of highlighting on top of some really dark glazes; indigo, purple and Atelier Interactive’s Red Black. Their tube Red Black is an amazing colour; I use it a lot – from deep and dark, to just a hint of colour mixed with white or titan buff. For me it’s a very versatile colour, and one I hope they keep producing for a while yet.  

Mark making and working loose

Yep, more in the “working loose and having fun” series. It feels so good to be back to mark making – something we explored extensively in the first year of my art course, must be five years back now. I studied with the Learning Connexion here in New Zealand, extramurally, for four years. In the end I completed an Advanced Diploma of Art & Creativity (Honours). It felt like such an achievement, and really pushed me to learn new things. Anyway…

Having moved away from mark making to all kinds of other processes, I have come full circle. And yet I am not back where I started from. I am back to the same technique, but with a very different end result, and am loving it. I regularly check Katherine Tyrrell’s blog Making a Mark here; she writes in depth about mark making and has great links to blogs of interest.

So expect to see a bit more of this style for now, especially as Katherine Tyrrell’s recent post on working in series really got me thinking about working more consistently on one theme. Mark making – like coming home after a long day at work, it just feels good.

On holiday for a few days…

Today I am on a course about Web 2.0 with Paul Reynolds- and then I am off to Wellington for a few days. My friend Natalie and I are going to SENZ; a 3 day scrapbooking expo. We are doing three classes during the weekend. Two with Nic Howard and one with Lusi Austin. Fun. See you in a few days time.

Anyone else got fun things happening this weekend?