New artwork from Tanya Dann in my collection

Every year the NZ Art Guild organises an Art Swap amongst its members. Artists send in details of a work they are prepared to swap and these are loaded on to the website. Participants then choose the top three works they’d like, and the organiser spends hours figuring out how to make sure everyone gets a work that was at least in their top three choices – I suspect it’s quite a task. I entered one work this year – ‘a pink pear’ and hopes for a Tanya Dann work in return. I got my wish, and then Tanya and I did a deal which saw me get a new work, just for me, in my favorite colours; purple and orange. Awesome! I am just so happy with it. The colours are spectacular.

Have you ever thought about why owning original art is important? Have a look at this short piece by Kirsty Hall – I think she makes some good points.

A Pink Pear by Cath Sheard 2009

Light Fantastic by Tanya Dann 2010

NZ Art Guild challenge – Ralph Hotere

This fortnight’s NZ Art Guild Challenge was to base a work on the works of Ralph Hotere. Fantastic! But so much to choose from; dark and brooding paintwork? A cross? Sketchy lin drawing? Aluminium? Text? Oh, the choices … and all of them appealing.

I spent some time on Google images, looking at some of his works, then got out a couple of books I have of his works, and perused the pages. Finally, I decided on black and white with text. I started with a back background and added white pastel, white wax pencil and white gel pen. Next, I erased some of the pastel to give me some lines in the white. I scanned it into Photoshop and added a semi-transparent layer with the words of a HIM song, Like St. Valentine, in white using a font that’s based on my own (untidy) handwriting.

Hotere & HIM; Like Heaven

Crusade #45 – back to back

Michelle’s challenge this month over the GPP Street Team site was to make colour copies of the backgrounds we scraped together last month, and finish them a few different ways. Today was a rare day for me; aside from the washing, there was *nothing* I needed to do. No paperwork, no artwork due, no anything!

So, I did a pile of colour copies, grabbed some supplies and ripped into it. I used stencils, Sharpies, transparencies, foam stamps, bubble wrap stamping, hand writing, collage, stickers. With some of the pages I then re-scanned and added text in Photoshop.

All up, I did around 20 pages. Here are a few that I particularly like (I’m showing a couple of the original backgrounds too). In some of them not all of the writing is visible. This is because some of them became like journal pages as I worked and the messages on them feel reasonably personal given that I’m quite introverted. If you can read it all, go for it. If you can’t, never mind!

As always, thanks so much for the inspiration Michelle. If you enjoy looking at these, you’ll find links to other artists who are playing this month on the left hand side of the GPP Street Team home page. And if you want to join in – cool! Can’t wait to see what you create 🙂


background 1



background 2



I value diversity



My guarded heart



Valued tools



Painted hands






My hands...


Playtime in my art studio

It’s not often I get time alone at home; being full-time carer for my Mum means that I almost always have someone at home with me. On top of that, during the week we have two different caregivers coming in and out, etc. I value their help, we could not manage without them and both still work, but it’s more people in my days. For a real introvert, this is not always easy. Today my husband Tony has gone to visit his cousin Alison and my sister Ailsa has taken Mum out for a drive. So it’s just me, the cat and the dog. Bliss! I love my family and would not change my life for anything, but I do crave time alone.

So what does an artist do when they get some unexpected time out? Yes, that right, they head for their studio … and I did. I have started on some backgrounds, just playing with texture, colour and pattern. I’ve also done a few small, connected, abstract landscapes using my favorite Unison pastels.

I love the feel of pastels plus there’s such a depth of colour; I enjoy the way the light hits those fine particles of pure colour. The only downside for me is that if I use them too much the ends of my fingers get sore from wiping them clean all the time. I try not to be too compulsive about keeping my fingertips clean and that helps!

For the backgrounds I gathered up foam stamps, liquid acrylics, a white wax crayon, rubber paint spatula, letting stencils and some scraps of patterned paper. I fairly randomly layered the colours and patterns on. These are nothing finished about these at all – they are very much at the beginning stages so it’ll be fun to see what develops over the next few days.

Now I am going to sit down in the sunshine and start working with some ideas I’ve had for Christmas gifts. There’s less than 3 months to go, and I want to make one or two textile items for family members. Fingers crossed that my new glasses give me sharp enough focus for doing needlework. Time will tell…

Starting on some backgrounds; these will uncurl as I add more layers.

Working on small landscapes in pastel.

I love the way Unison pastels catch the light.