Patea Freezing Works – Freeze Dried

During the week I finished another of the Patea Freezing Works series, and have one more almost done. All three have the same vibrant reds and pinks in the background, and a lime green accent. The starting point is a series of photos taken by Aaron Cubis, whose work can be seen here. It was very generous of Aaron to let me use his images; some of them are stuck on the wall above where I work as inspiration. My husband looked at this one and pointed out that I have used two different points of view – true, but for me the photo is a jumping off point and these are about colour, texture and pattern, not the geometry of the machinery.

These three works in the series are off to Hamilton to the Thornton Gallery this week for the ‘One size fits all’ exhibition. It’s exciting to be part of this annual event. Here’s a little bit about the Gallery.

Their website says: Thornton Gallery has been established in Hamilton since the early 1970’s, is well known throughout the Waikato and Auckland regions. Thornton Gallery is one of the largest privately owned gallerys in New Zealand. Thornton Gallery stocks an extensive range of New Zealand Artists. Along with original art works by New Zealand Artists  including paintings, ceramics, sculpture in stone, wood, copper and bronze, art glass and  jewellery, Thornton Gallery sells New Zealand limited edition prints, reproduction art prints and a large range of imported graphics, both framed and unframed. Quality is an important criteria for the works exhibited in our gallery, along with integrity. We believe that art enhances life and is an expression of being.

As for the Freezing Works itself, the cleanup has not gone quite as smoothly as hope and is costing around $1 million more than anticipated. Council projects manager Viv Eyberg said the contractors had found more asbestos than expected below the foundations of some of the buildings.  Any asbestos below one metre had been capped with a protective membrane. Once the site was finished and certified there would be soil monitoring and nine monitoring wells set up along the estuary where water samples were taken to ensure no contaminants leached, Mr Eyberg said. Here’s a newspaper article about it if you’d like to know more.

Freeze Dried 2010

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Rouge Poire / Bleu Poire for Pocket Rocket exhibition

The Pocket Rockets exhibition, being held in Dunedin, is only about 10 days away now. I am sending off 4 works to organiser Tanya Dann in Monday’s courier post. I seem to have a few exhibitions coming up at the moment, so I am sending two older works and two new ones. The two newly completed works are part of the ongoing Pears series, in this case Bleu Poire and Rouge Poire. The photograph of the blue background is pretty accurate but the other one is hopeless. I have had a few attempts at getting a decent pic but for some reason the camera just won’t pick up the yellow colour of the background. In the photo it looks very washed out but it is actually quite a vibrant yellow. My camera is normally really good so not sure what is going on. Ah well, anyway … these are both 10×10″ in acrylic on gallery wrap canvas.

Last weekend I decided to have a very brutal clean-up in my studio. Tony took a carload of junk away, not all from my studio I hasten to add, but some of it sure was.  I had a wee pile of old paintings that I hadn’t sold, and in many cases had never shown – none of them fitted in with what I do now. They took up a lot of room and, more importantly, every time I went out there they were looking at me. Some I felt I could recycle. The others? I put black paint all over them so no one could grab them, and Tony took them to the rubbish dump. It feels *so* good to be rid of them – like there’s this huge weight off my shoulders. I hadn’t realised just how oppressive they had become. Now when I go to my studio I just feel excited, which is how it should be.

Patea Freezing Works – Where’s my knife?

I am back to my Freezing Works series; I need to have 3 works finished and sent off by the end of the month. They’re heading to the “One Size Fits All” exhibition at the Thornton Gallery in Hamilton in August. Each work has to be 10″ square and that suits be just fine for this series. I always enjoy working at that size anyway as it suits the way I work in winter – sitting down at my office desk with the heater on. In winter it is simply far too cold to go to my outside studio and stand at an easel. The studio used to be the caravan shed so it has corrugated iron walls, a concrete floor on dirt, and no insulation at all. Freezing in winter and hot as heck in summer. What a wimp, I know!

These three works are loosely based on photos by New Zealand photographer Aaron Cubis. You can see some of his amazing work here on Flickr. I started with loose washes and runs of Golden Fluid Acrylics; Napthol red medium, Quinacridone magenta & crimson, and Phthalo green (blue) and Permanent green light. From there I have just played around, trying to capture the feel of years of peeling paint and rusty metals. What I loved about Aaron’s photos was the vivid contrast of the red and green paint on the walls and this is what I have tried to capture. This is probably going to be the most realistic of the three works as I tend to loosen up as I get into a subject painting by painting.

Photo by Aaron Cubis

The clean-up of the Freezing Works following the fire a couple of years ago is 95% complete now; the landscape looks so different with all those buildings gone. I guess the biggest impact on the landscape was when the chimney came down. I am happy to see it all gone; as I come down the hill into Patea the view out to the Tasman Sea is spectacular. Of course the landscape will never be as it was 100s of years ago, because of power lines, house sat the beach and so forth, but it does give a better idea of just how beautiful the untouched landscape must have been here pre-settlement.

Where's my knife? 10x10" acrylic.

Crusade #42: Strip Ease

It’s not long since I completed the last Crusade and I was determined to get in early this month. The task for the month really appealed to me; basically, rip some paper or fabric into strips and stick it down. You can read all about it here. I have done two layouts in my newest journal already.

The first is about deforestation and the impact it has on the world. It’s a topic I studied when I did my Post Grad Diploma and something I have remained interested in. I found some pictures of trees being turned into wood chips, and tore some of the picture into strips like the wood chips they were making. Around the edge I have written down all the different paper I use or receive every day, and I am sure there is more to add yet – I used a green Sharpie for the text. The background is Twinkling H2Os over gesso.

The second page is a tribute to all the history we saw while in Italy, the illuminated manuscripts and the amazing buildings. I found photos of some illuminated texts I had saved from a library book that was being deleted. I tore them into strips and overlapped them in a semi-weaving pattern. I was thinking about the way the trip has woven so many of Tony and my different interests together; royalty, religion, history, architecture…

Thanks for the inspiration Michelle. It is always such fun doing a Crusade then checking all the other blogs to see what everyone else has come up with.

Bloom revealed

A while back I showed you the piece I did for this year’s annual collaborative work for the NZ Art Guild. Finally, after much anticipation, the finished work has been revealed in its entirety. I think it is our best work yet. “Bloom” is a unique artwork which comprises of 64 individual artworks by 62 artists from all over NZ. The theme of this artwork is New Beginnings and Growth. This artwork will be auctioned on Trademe from July 17th with 100% of the proceeds donated to the Mental Health Foundation. (Keyword search is NZ Art Guild). The finished artwork is 1.3m x 1.3m – Mixed media – wood frame. You can see a full list of participating artists here.

I am proud to be part of this venture each year; it’s a great way to work with other artists on something bigger than any of us. The Mental Health Foundation is a very worthwhile charity and I am pleased to be a small part of supporting their work. Can you spot my piece below?