Poppies may be ‘done & dusted’

Over the last week or so I have been working on six paintings for the Reflections of Italy exhibition in Wellington next month. My initial trial piece wasn’t right, and it took a good friend to point out that it didn’t reflect me as an artist. I was trying to hard to make something that would sell. Onto a new trial piece, which sold overnight – just to reinforce the message (thanks to the Universe for the lesson). So I grabbed a couple of buckets of water, my six full size sheets of watercolour paper and got messy. Green paint everywhere! I splashed and washed and dripped my way to six backgrounds then left them to thoroughly dry. Not easy in this damp weather. Once they’d sat for a couple of days I stencilled on my poppy outlines and sat quietly filling them in. I love the feel of stenciled flowers; there’s a crispness and uniformity to them that pleases me.

Once the main flower colour — red, red, and red — was dry it was time for some details, like the wee black dots that say “poppy”, and checking that I had enough splashes of dark in the background. I have two of the pieces on my study wall at the moment so I see them all the time. If nothing strikes me in the next day or two I’ll declare them done. The other four can stay out in my art room for now. Next on my agenda is booking the accommodation so Mum and I can spend a couple of days in Wellington and go to the opening. Hopefully, I’ll also be able to help hang the works. Still not entirely sure how to hang mine, mind you…I think the answer might be tiny stainless steel dressmaking pins. It will depend, in part anyway, on what the walls in the exhibition are made of.

Poppies #1

Poppies #2

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*Much* better day in the studio.

A couple of posts back, I was having real trouble with some works I’m doing for the “Reflections of Italy” exhibition in Wellington in May. Yes, that’s right, it’s only a few short weeks away and I have nothing to go in it – yet.  A good friend contacted me by email and said – you’re trying to do things that are too touristy. They don’t reflect you’re passion and they don’t show you, the artist. I had a good look and she was right. Funny that! I was thinking too much about being marketable and so on, and not enough about what I care about – my passion for process and throwing paint around.

Yesterday and today I have spent hours in my art studio and I have a lot to show for it. There is green paint, in various shades, on watercolour paper, in my hair, on the floor, my desk and some (thankfully well wrapped) new canvases. I haven’t checked the cat or dog, but you never know…

I have completed a 56x75cm, trial piece which I am happy with and have done all the background work for 6 pieces the same size. I’ve also made a stencil for the large poppies that will be in each piece. I love the uniformity that a stencil gives, tying th works together when the backgrounds are so random and abstract. Below is the trial piece, and a close up of some of the detail that forms the background.

So, two happy days in the studio. Thank goodness for honest friends who know me well 🙂

Reflecting on poppies. Cathy Sheard. 2011

Detail - Reflecting on poppies. Cath Sheard. 2011

Crusade No 50: In case of emergency

This month’s Crusade over at the GPP Street Team site is ‘in case of emergency’. Michelle Ward encourages this month’s Crusades to talk about ” The people who are important in your life.  The ones who should be notified In Case Of Emergency.  Think about who is on your Go-To list.  Who do you connect with on a daily basis or who is the first to get a call when you have news to share?  We all have special people in our lives.  Some we depend on for love and support, others we rely on for friendship..”

I can do that. There are 5 key people I have talked about, and two who would not be pleased if I did so publicly, so I left them off. Oh, and yes, I do refer to my dog on this journal page as my daughter. Faith is the baby I never had, to replace the many babies who died long, long before I could ever hold them in my arms.

I have shown the page with the tags in place, and without, for clarity. Thanks for another month of inspiration Michelle – You Rock!

Not a good day in my art studio

I set off into my art room this morning with a pile of photocopies of original photos from Italy, six full size sheets of Arches watercolour paper, four favorite Golden Fluid acrylics, some paper towels, rubber stamps and a bucket of water. Oh, and a very clear idea in my mind of what I wanted to achieve. Normally by the time I touch the materials I know exactly how it will all go together and actually making the work is fast; it’s the initial thinking that takes me the most time. But not today. I have not finished the first work but it is certainly not looking as I had expected and I am not sure that it’s going to by the time I do more to it either. I can’t even articulate clearly what the problem is, which means I can’t fix it. I’ve been flicking through some art magazines tonight, feeding my mind. I probably won’t sleep well, but hopefully my brain will have an “aha!” moment in the night. Hopefully…

In the meantime,  here’s a previous work and some of the photos that were meant to be inspiring today’s effort.

NZ Art Guild Challenge – celebrating friendship

It’s been a hard couple of weeks, culminating in the death of my much-loved Aunt Julie. I’m so pleased she is at peace now though, with the horrors of dementia behind us. Through it all some of my best friends have supported me; my sister Ailsa, best mate Sandra, and husband Tony. This fortnight’s NZ Art Guikld challenge was to create a work about a best friend, so here it is. There is really nothing else I have the heart to say for now.