WIP – interested in snow

I have to finish four works to send off to Auckland mid to late September, for a busy hairdressing salon. There have been quite a few avalanches here in new Zealand recently, sadly some of them have been fatal. This got me thinking about snow, avalanches, global warming, glaciers – fascinated, I have been doing some reading, looking at images, talking to people about snow etc. I have made a start on all four canvas at once. I want them to end up pale, with hints of mauves and blues under lots of layers of white – like shadows on snow or objects buried under fresh snowfall.

Here are the first few layers done. One of the photos has come out far too bright, and all seen to have a weird green tinge in places, but the general idea is there. More layers coming soon….

Winning entry, and a shared win too

The piece of work I posted about yesterday won the ‘Most Creative’ award for the latest NZ Art Guild Challenge, and shared ‘The People’s Choice’ with Sharlene Schmidt.  You can read about Sharlene’s winning entry here.

The next challenge looks equally exciting, I can’t wait to get into it. The reference photo is shown below – we can be inspired by it in an way we choose. The actual instructions are “Use the following reference image to create an original artwork in any media you choose. Your creation may be a direct and literal representation of the reference image or be inspired by parts of it. This is your chance to be as creative as you would like”. I think the pinky red, green and turquoise may be calling my name…


Missing Dad – digital entry for Art Guild challenge

Missing DadThe current NZ Art Guild Challenge is lines. I took some photos of Mana Bay yesterday, where the Patea River meets the Tasman Sea. They photos are full of lines; lines of old wharf poles, the line the sea wall, the horizon line, the lines of waves. I have layered it with a photo of my late father, Mansel, who during World War Two was Able Seaman Barker.  I then scanned a page from the diary he kept of his return journey home, leaving Liverpool on the 2nd November 1945 and finishing December 18th in NZ waters. Seeing lines of Dads writing still makes me miss him…we are lucky to have his diary as they were not supposed to keep one. Dad hid his and just braved it out when they said they’d be looking for illegal goods before disembarking.

Finally I have added John Masefield’s poem “Sea Fever” as a top layer. Although he did not talk about it, I believe Dad loved the sea. The two of us often swam together in the sea when I was a child. I miss you Dad, and always will.

Happiness is: new paints


I found Golden Fluid Acrylics at 30% off the other day at Tanjis. So I ordered a few – some are new colours to try, others are spares of long-time favourites. Happiness is: a wee box of paints, sitting on my desk tempting me. The first thing I do when I get new paint in a bottle is smear some of the colour on the lid. It’s easier to find what I want, and seeing the colours lifts my spirits.

Oh, and for the record, here are the colours I bought: Turquoise (phthalo), Green Gold, Phthalo Green (yellow shade), Paynes Gray, Cobalt Teal, Cobalt Blue, Dioxazine Purple, Anthraquinone Blue, Nickel Azo Yellow, Iridescent Fine Gold, Napthol Red medium, Quinacridone Red, 2 of Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold and 2 of Quinacridone Burnt Orange.

Does your art have a particular style?

I recently purchased Alyson Stanfield’s book “I’d rather be in the studio” because I want to sharpen up the business side of my art. Why Alyson and why her book? Some of the artists I follow who seem to really be doing the business, as well as making the art, recommend Alsyon. For me, that personal recommendation is important. One of those artists is Tina Mammoser, The Cycling Artist; reading about the work she puts in to her business, while retaining her passion, is very inspiring.

One of the things Alyson talks about is recognisable style. I stopped reading at that point and grabbed by visual diary for some note taking. Do I have a real style yet? Do I want to have one? If I do have one, do I even know what it is? If I don’t, should I be thinking about marketing yet or not? These are a hundred other questions…

Today I spent some time looking at photos of my paintings and through my visual diaries – a sort of virtual tour of my art history. Looking for a style; my style. Did I find one? I am not sure yet. Maybe. There are certainly some pointers along the way. What would the words be that describe that style? Again, not sure, but the beginnings of some words are there. Words like mark making, expressive, abstract, landscape, orange, transparent.

So then I thought, okay, of all your paintings is there one that you really feel represents what you want to achieve? The answer night me different tomorrow, but for today anyway the answer is this one. 10×10″ acrylic on canvas, long since sold via a local gallery to a Wellington-based New Zealand film director. And no, I don’t think it was Peter Jackson! (although it may have been for all I know) Why this one – the quality of the marks, the landscape is there but not explicit, the sense of light on the land.

Where am I at then? Thinking, thinking, thinking – and keeping notes as I go. It’s a good process.

remembered_landscape #4 lg

Latest Challenge: After Marilynn’s Hands

The most recent challenge was to base a work, in some way, on the works of NZ artist Marilynn Webb. To be more specific, the rules say: Artwork must be an original interpretation based on the artistic style or subject, a straight reproduction, or your individual interpretation of the Master Artists’ work.

Being me, I chose what is perhaps a less iconic work to be inspired by – contrary to the last, that’s me. The piece I have done is digital, based on original paintings of mine, plus a scan of my hand used as is and then manipulated in Photoshop. The finished piece is: Cath’s hands, after Marilynn’s.

marilyn webb hands

Maerowhenua River - The Place of Maeroero by Marilyn Webb

Maerowhenua River - The Place of Maeroero by Marilyn Webb

We interrupt this art for …

some quick family news and a plea. The family news has no names for privacy sake.

Dad’s last surviving brother has bowel cancer – he’s 88, in no pain, and should have a bed in the hospice by Friday. His daughter has basal skin cancer that has to come off next week. His granddaughter is about to have her 1 year check up following removal of a nasty cancerous tumour in her leg last year. So we’re going through one of those rough patches. There has been a lot of cancer in my extended family, on both sides.

Now for the plea. Please, please – get skin spots checked, have your breast screening done, get checked for prostate cancer. Don’t whimper and whine; like Nike says – just DO IT.

More mapping, of a sort.

I am still deeply fascinated by the way in which Aboriginal artists map the land. I have been going through some of my stash of photos, and there’s quite a few of them, looking at the land and what has taken my eye in the past. Is it mountains, the sea, grass, buildings – what? Turns out the sea and Mt Egmont feature pretty prominently.

Then I got to thinking about what I like in others people’s work, and in my art journals. And what I like – and don’t like – about the mapping sketches I have done so far. I like simplicity, but I also like layers. Into Photoshop for a while, and I came up with 3 images that I like. This week I will be taking them onto paper for a play round to see if the ideas translate into the material world. You just never know until you try it. For the record, the images are a combination of  Waverley beach and the lillies we have growing outside Mum’s room so she can enjoy them.

beach flower 1

beach flower 4

beach flower 3