Looking back at 2010

At the end of each year I think back on what I have done; it’s easy for achievements to sort of slide on by barely noticed. Knowing what we have done, and where we’ve been, helps map the road forward – so here a quick recap of things that stand out from 2010 (edited following comments from my best friend Sandra – thank you):

  • Completed my 3-yearly professional registration with LIANZA
  • Entered numerous art exhibitions around the country
  • Supported my best mate Sandra and her mother through another difficult year
  • Kept Mum happy, and quite well, through most of the year
  • Sold a few paintings
  • Lent Sandra my notebook for a couple of months, to save her sanity, when her laptop got stolen
  • Moved Auntie Julie to a new rest home
  • Tidied up my online presence
  • Made Sandra laugh when no one else could – or even thought they should probably
  • Completed a lot of the NZ Art Guild Challenges
  • Bought an exercycle and have actually used it
  • Joined in the Crusades at the GPP Street Team site
  • Lost 25 kilos
  • Gave my father, and Sandra’s father and uncle, the acknowledgement they deserve through the Legato exhibition
  • Became Co-Chair of a national committee for public librarians
  • Went to Italy with Tony for the Legato exhibition
  • Stepped things up another notch at work with my awesome team
  • Was able to wind up a Trust I was part of (with the help of the other Trustees)

My word for 2010 was Map. At the end of 2009 I said Map relates to those (art) works and to the thought processes behind those works. MAP worked well for me, both with my art and in personal goals. I mapped out all sorts of endeavours and achieved them. So my word for 2011 is – well, that’s a post for another day.

The final ‘art share’ painting is complete

As many of you know, I sold approx 60 art shares for our trip to Italy for the Legato exhibition, and each share holder was to get a 6×6″ painting inspired by the trip. 59 down and 1 to go heading into the festive season. I left this one painting till last because I agreed to do something different for one couple. I probably shouldn’t have agreed, but I did, for reasons I think I have some small understanding of. Everyone else got a poppy painting, but this couple wanted something about Dubai; the Burj al Arab to be precise. I won’t go into why they wanted Dubai instead – that’s their story to tell, not mine.

Recently I received a commission for 3 more Poppy paintings, and over the Christmas break I have completed those and am happy with them. I hope the customer likes them just as much. With no excuses left, I started in the Burj painting and it was not as tricky as I’d expected (one of the main reasons I had put it off till last). So, aside from varnishing, that’s the final art share painting done, and all my obligations met. What a great feeling.

Burj Al Arab: C Sheard 2010

Following a few blogs…

B Wilson, 2008

This year I have been watching a few blogs regularly, but have cut down the amount of time spent online overall. I found I was reading and watching, but not doing. It seemed a bit pointless being inspired if I never found the time to do anything with it. The blogs I *have* been following have been a huge source of joy to me. I thank each one of these amazing artists for sharing their art, processes and artistic self so willingly with others. Here are my main blog fixes:

Martha Marshall – I have been following Martha for years now. Martha is incredibly generous in sharing her art processes, and insights into her garden and kitchen. One of the things I find so inspiring about Martha is her sound work ethic and the joy she feels in the process of creation. I own 6 small works by Martha and hope to add more as I can afford to invest in more artworks.

Tanya Dann – I met Tanya through the NZ Art Guild and appreciate the way in which she juggles her time and commitments to make time for art, and a role in the running of the Guild. We have two of Tanya’s striped works on our walls, and love them. One was created especially for me, and has the most amazing oranges and purples.

Sophia Elise – again, I met Sophia through the NZ Art Guild, which she is manager of. One of the reasons I follow Sophia is the sheer generosity and kindness with which she treats other artists; she has a spirit worth knowing. Tony and I are the proud owners of a work by Sophia, which isn’t quite in our hands as yet…

Michelle Ward – I have been following Michelle for a number of years, having first seen her work in a Somerset magazine. I follow her because she is very inspirational, freely sharing her techniques with her followers, and challenging people to push themselves artistically. I don’t own any artworks by Michelle, but I do own some of her rubber, and I try to participate in her online challenges most months at the GPP STreet Team site.

Tina Mammoser – Again, Tina is someone whose blog I have been following for years. And yes, I own a small work by Tina and love it. I always enjoy reading about Tina’s process and admire her work ethic as a self-supporting artist. The other thing I like with Tina is that she seems to have this clear vision of what she creates and why, and that appeals to me.

Rebecca Crowell – this is a blog I’ve been reading for about two years. Rebecca has a restrained palette and creates works with this amazing sense of depth and texture. I wish I could see one in real life. I love reading about her process, and the way in which she works through any obstacles in the process of creation. The final results have a real sense of age about them.

Babs Wilson – yes, it’s a blog I have been reading for a long time too! Babs creates fabulous works but, more than that, she feels real joy in the process and shares that joy with exuberance. I love reading about her adventures in creating and her playful artistic spirit. I own a small piece by Babs which I treasure.

When I look back at this short list a couple of points stand out for me; I love it when other artists talk about their process and I am consistent in what I like and why I follow. If I enjoy a blog and develop a relationship with the artist (comment by comment by comment) I am more likely to end up owning a piece of their work. What does this mean for me? In all likelihood, I should describe my process, because people like me care about the process of creation. And building relationships with people is what it’s all about in the end, whatever the setting – gallery, blog, weekend sales table, website…

Handmade Christmas gifts


This year I have had a few works done as prints for family members, and they have come up really well. I find Snapfish, here in New Zealand, do quite a good job. But there’s one gift I wanted to make from scratch. My sister and brother-in-law are devotees of Sri Chinmoy and meditate every day; they also love the sea and going diving. I am a bit inclined to scoff, being cynical by nature, but all the same I totally support their right to do whatever makes them happy. I wanted to make a prayer flag for Jim, but ran out of time. So I came up with the idea of Sri Chinmoy quotes on three small canvases, with a sea background. I rubber stamped the fish because part of their guru’s philosophy is about simplicity and accepting imperfection as being perfect. (or something like that…) The photos show the mess of creation, including on my hands, and then one of the finished canvas. I just hope he likes them and understands what I was trying to say to him.

Canvas – time to buy some new ones

Gordon Harris Art Supplies in Wellington has these great ‘Museum’ brand canvas; heavy duty, well constructed, tight canvas. I love them. I’m going to be exhibiting in May next year with some other Kiwi artists – details to come in another post – but for now let’s just say I want some new canvas. $400 worth, which is not too bad, except that it’s Christmas time (as in, we’re spending money on presents, not canvas). Perhaps Tony wants to buy me 4 canvas for Christmas and birthday combined?