I have just sent a new series of four paintings off to the “all things small and beautiful” exhibition in Tauranga. All works had to be 10×10″ – one of my favorite sizes to work in. The four works are all very similar in color and style and are all titled ‘sunset at the tidal pool’. They are loosely based on memories of seeing Dale Chihuly glass at an exhibition Tony and I went to in Hamilton on our honeymoon some 15 years ago. The sheer wonder of seeing his work in the flesh is still with me today. Dale’s incredible work can be seen here.
After sitting with these for a week or so, I have decided they are finished (with one possible, slight, adjustment still in my sights…). This afternoon I got the best photographs of them I could manage given the weather etc. The four men featured are:
Mansel Barker, my father, otherwise known as Ableseaman Barker.
Jack Robinson, my best friend Sandra’s father, who served with the 5th Field Ambulance.
Roy Lehndorf, my best friend Sandra’s uncle, who died within a few months of being posted overseas.
Alan McLeod, Margaret Prince’s father, who lost both legs to a Schu mine.
Last week and over the weekend I was working on the four mixed media paintings that I am taking to Italy for the LEGATO exhibition in May. I thought it was time I shared some snapshots of the process – I have not taken photos of the finished works as yet; partly because I am not 100% certain they are finished. I am living with them for a week or so while I eye them up! Here’s how they got to the “I think these are done’ stage…
I have had the last week off work to concentrate on paintings for the upcoming LEGATO exhibition in Italy. So of course my new museum-grade canvases took a while to arrive… I used the time to do some more Patea Freezing Works paintings. Here is the latest to get a signature and coat of varnish. I love the rusty old red pipes against the purple buildings and mossy old walls.
This is the latest in the Patea Freezing Works series. I haven’t done much on the series for a couple of weeks as I have been busy with work for the LEGATO exhibition in Italy. Tony and I are both going over for the exhibition as it is such an exciting opportunity. Anyway, back to the Freezing Works. This painting is based on a shot by local photographer Phu Tran; you can see his amazing photos on Flickr.
The Freezing Works as I knew it is no more! The demolition work has been going on for over 3 months now and most of the above-ground buildings have gone. Most significant of all, in terms of the look of the site, the chimney has gone. This was quite controversial, for reasons I won’t bother going into, for now at least. You can see in the photo below, taken by Sandra Robinson, just what a mammoth structure the chimney really was.
So, increasingly, this series of works is from photos and from memory, rather than from photos and a daily view of the works. This isn’t a bad thing; the point of the series was always about the “remembered landscape”.
Derelict XI, one of the Patea Freezing Works series, has been sold to a local couple. They both enjoy walking down round the river area and love the old cool-stores. She recognised the buildings instantly in the painting and decided they had to have it. I sent it home with her for a ‘test run’ to see if her husband approved and he was back within probably half an hour – sold! I hope their new artwork brings them much joy. I certainly had fun painting it.
Do you see a slightly grubby desk? Paints in cut down old cartons? Nothing much? I see two things – opportunity and happiness.
Opportunity because the paints are sitting on my desk so I can make use of any spare minutes, without going in search of supplies. Opportunity because every time I pick up a bottle of paint I have the opportunity to create something new. Opportunity because paints give me freedom to express myself.
Happiness because painting relaxes me. Happiness because those paints sitting right on my home-office desk means that my family and I both accept my need to create. Happiness because I can afford to buy paints (I work fulltime, and know jobs are a scarce resource for some). Happiness because I did not always paint, and am so grateful I found my love of creating.
So what makes you happy? What opportunities face you each day?By the way, when I get a new bottle of G0lden Fluid acrylic, I open it up and smear some of the color on the lid, That way I can easily find the color I want, without ratting through all the bottles.