After George Morandi

As a member of the NZ Art Guild, I try to take their challenges as often as I can. Sometimes it is about using a particular style or technique, sometimes it is about being inspired by a certain artist. The most recent Master’s Month artist was George Morandi. I had not heard of him, so some research was needed. You can see some of his work here.

I had two attempts at this; the first was a watercolour which focused on the way he let shapes run into each other by using wet in wet colours. Morandi’s watercolours also had a lot of white space, and quite distinct shapes.

For my second attempt I reworked one of his oil paintings as a collage using hand painted paper, scrapbook papers, glue, ink and pen. The collage won the ‘most creative use of the theme’ award.

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Mum interlude – ouch!

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Last weekend and all was quiet. All I heard was a giant crash – I knew straight away Mum had fallen. When I got into her room she was lying on her side on the floor, sort of laughing, and looking a bit guilty. It was almost her afternoon nap time, and I knew instantly what had happened, and why she looked guilty…

Sure enough, she confirmed my suspicions. 85 years old, fragile and sometimes unsteady, and she’d been balancing on one leg, trying to take her trackpants off over her slippers. Good one Mum!

Checked her over, nothing obvious, didn’t hurt to breath, so got her up and helped her into bed for her afternoon sleep. Kept checking her periodically and decided we didn’t need to go to A&E, so all good. We see them often enough as it is.

She kept saying her side was uncomfortable but I couldn’t find anything, and her breathing stayed okay. Two days later I found this massive black and purple bruise on her, umm, chest. The photo is heavily cropped so we don’t get accused of porn, if you see what I mean LOL. It’s a cracker of a bruise that’s for sure – probably 6 or 7 inches square in all.

And, for the record, she promises to always sit down to remove shoes, trackpants etc from now on. Time will tell…

Back to the pears

A while back, in response to one of Michelle Ward’s Crusades, I started exploring the pear shape. And before long found I had become thoroughly hooked. Some of the work I did round pears can be seen here and here.  There’s something really valuable about exploring the same shape, over and over and over. It seems to me that once you are comfortable with a shape, so that your hand knows how to make it happen, your mind becomes free to play round with texture and colour and distortion – without fear of losing the essence of the shape. Does that make sense?

If you look at the work of Picasso, Mondrian and Turner – just for starters – you’ll find the same shapes and themes over and over again. Or how about Van Gogh’s sunflowers? Or Monet’s water lillies? Playing with the subject, but retaining the essential element. In contemporary work, look no further than Tina Mammoser or Vivien Blackburn. Exploring the same subjects over an over, getting familiar and pushing the boundaries – and producing stunning work.

Well, the pear obsession continues. I have painted them, drawn them with pastel, cut a lino cutting of a pear, cut them out of magazines to create collages, stampd them with gesso. Next I want to try some textile work with pears – perhaps drawing on the fabric, maybe fabric collage, or some monoprints on fabric.

Anyway…I was due to send work for exhibition in Auckland soon, to a venue I have supplied before, but the recession has hit them and they are no longer a viable venue. It’s  shame really, as it wasa venue I liked, but it’s no use crying over spilt milk. On the bright side, it means I have three biggish works ready to hang. So my new pear paintings will go to the Affordable Art Show and Original Art Sale instead. Here is one of the new pieces. It’s 30×30″ in acrylic and ink on gallery warp canvas.

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Pastels for a change

I have been working mainly in acrylic and ink for quite a while now. I love the speed of working with acrylic, and the ease of cleaning up. But I also miss getting my hands in the medium. So I’ve started using pastels again, playing round on full sheets of Colorfix paper.

Sure, it dries my skin out. Sure, the dust gets all over me. But you know what? That doesn’t matter, cos I’m loving it. The immediacy of the medium is wonderful – the colour on the paper is the colour of the stick (is the colour on my face as I wipe my hand across my temple!) I can’t believe I stopped using pastels for so long. Silly me…

Materials: reference photos, full sheet Colorfix paper, Unison and Art Spectrum pastels, and my fingertips. Magic! Not finished yet, but thought I’d share the WIP.

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