The colour of hope

I’m doing two #100dayprojects, and am up to day 84. One of them is about making a collage a day, and I’ve been playing along with Froyle, as she inspires us to try different colours. This week she asked what colour represents hope for us. My initial thought was orange but, the more I thought about it, that’s not true. I love orange, it’s about fire and passion and danger, not hope.

For me hope is a mix of blues and greens; the colours of nature and the sea. The land and waterways being healthy is what will give me hope for earth. I particularly love the colour of the Hokitika Gorge, and the greens of the land as it meets the blue of the distant hills on the West Coast. When I’m there I create lovely gelli prints inspired by the land around me. When I get home I stop. Not because I’m home, but because – as beautiful as it is – the land around me doesn’t inspire me in quite the same way.

Here’s the first of this week’s collages inspired by the colour of hope.

Holiday, with art…

I’ve just has 12 days away, staying with Alan in Hokitika. I wanted a break, Penny & I needed to get some work done on our joint exhibition, and it made sense to go while Tony’s resthome is in lockdown. I spoke with Tony a couple of times every day, and he seemed to cope ok. Because the pandemic is still having a big impact, I took short leave and worked 2 to 3 hours a day, and I’m pleased I did – the technology worked fine and it was good to stay on top of decision making.

I fancied some art supply and clothes shopping, so we stayed in Christchurch instead of heading straight back to Hokitika. It was the first time I’d shopped at The Drawing Room – lovely shop with some different supplies and great service. Clothes shopping – say no more! We also went to Orana Wildlife Park and had a good look around. The Gorilla is incredible, you can sense the contained power & strong personality. I walked 9,000 steps, which is the most I’ve done since my second total knee replacement and was ok for it

Penny and I spent an afternoon working out which pieces of art felt finished, deciding what pieces belonged together and what walls they’d go on in Left Bank Art Gallery. It’s a lot of decision making, and we got through it well. By the time we’d finished, we were both feeling positive about the exhibition. We’ve decided to have an artist talk on the final day, and I’m going back down for that.

Alan took me up the Taramakau River in his jetboat to do some Salmon fishing. We got 3 Trout strikes but didn’t see any salmon. From talking to various people, it seems there have been almost no salmon this season in the whole region which is a bit concerning. I love going up the river because it’s so peaceful and the view always inspires new art.

Penny and I also has lunch at Monteith’s in Greymouth, which I love – although it was very busy and a lot of people on the coast aren’t careful re masks etc so that concerned me a bit. Alan and I had dinner with friends two nights in a row, visited his older neighbor, and spent an evening with friends finalising Tahr hunting trip details. For me, that was a lot of socialising!

As always, I’m grateful to have had a good break; rest time, art time, a bit of shopping, and nowhere I needed to be in any great hurry.

Circling back

I’ve been learning to draw faces. Today is day 50 of this #100dayproject. I can draw a recognisable face with no real effort now. What I can’t reliably do is convey a specific emotion, but hopefully in the next 50 days that will come.

I’m also doing #100daysofcollage with Froyle Art and loving it. We’re doing a different colour each week. These are in a small Dylusions journal, so not overly time consuming. I’m using up some of my stash of gelli print and hand printed papers.

But I’m also circling back to my earliest art journal love, Tim Holtz and Distress. Sometimes I put it away for a bit, but I always come back. I just got some new paper dolls, transparent wings, and some other bits and pieces. Heaven! Thanks to Fiona at Create for having great stock.

Influences

Is my art original? Yes. Am I influenced by others artists? Absolutely. There’s a core group I’ve followed for years, including Tim Holtz, Teesha Moore, Traci Bautista, Dina Wakley and Dyan Reaveley. Some of them are designers with Ranger, so I’m influenced by both their art and their new products.

Artists whose work has influenced me include Jasper Johns, Richard Serra, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell and Cy Twombly. I was fortunate to study some of them at The Learning Connexion during the four years I studied art.

Teesha Moore, whose work I love, has been sharing some of her older art journal pages on Instagram. She’s had some health problems, so I don’t think she’s creating much at the moment. I’ve made her style of journal before, and often use her collage style in my journals.

Tonight I hunted round in the cupboard and found a blank journal I’d made from Fabriano paper, based on a video she did of her process back in 2010. I’ve started colouring the pages using Golden Fluid Acrylics. Once it’s fully dry I’m going to use magazine images and downloaded mixed media papers to create my pages. I’ve just bought some of Denise Lush’s new collage papers and think they’ll be perfect for this project!

Journal homage to Dr Wayne Dyer

I’ve been a follower of Dr Wayne W Dyer for decades. I have his books, CDs etc. and refer to them semi regularly. A while ago I bought a withdrawn library book, The essential Wayne Dyer collection. I’ve taken out all the key messages, which I’ll handwrite into my journal; the act of writing helps build neural links. I’m gelli printing on some of the pages and I’ll use them in my art journals.

I’ve been making a small art journal of collages and adding words or phrases I’ve cut out of the book. Seeing them helps me remember his key messages, and creating art with them further develops the long term memories because, for me, art involves emotion.

I recently started following Froyle and she’s doing a #100daysofcollage project. I’m already doing a face a day for 100 days but her enthusiasm has won me over and I’m going to do my Wayne Dyer journal as another 100 day project. Here’s some of my first pages.

#100dayproject

I’ve done a 100 day project before; it’s a good way of doing a deep dive into a topic. This year I decided to improve my drawing skills with the aim of being able to draw faces in my art journals. I signed up for Dina Wakley’s Facing the facts class at https://dinawakley.com/store/.

I drew a face at the beginning of the journal so I can look back at where I started. When I did an Advanced Diploma of Creativity (Honours) over 4 years by distance with The Learning Connection we did some drawing, and I improved, but didn’t keep it up. It’s definitely a skill that needs constant use, for me anyway.

I’m on day 10 and already seeing an improvement and feel able to start making the faces a bit more my own. It’ll be interested to see what I’m achieving at day 100.

Shallow cracks run deep!

My art practice runs deeply through my life, and sometimes cracks appear. Life gets in the way, and my art practice takes a lower priority for a time. From the outside that probably looks like a wee crack on the surface and no big deal. But actually those shallow cracks run deep – art is vital to my life and it’s important I always find – make – time to move my hands.

Since Tony moved into the rest home I’ve found less time for my art. At first glance I should have more time, not less – but that’s not how it works. By the time I work, and visit him 4 weeknights out of 5, then bring him home at the weekend, time is precious. When he was at home, sure things were difficult, but I sat at my art desk while he slept the days away.

Over the last few days I’ve made a concerted effort to do a bit more art and it feels good to be moving my hands. I need to prioritise my art time better! These pages are all in my Dina Wakley journals.

Collage ideas

Today I’ve made nine A5 collages, using a variety of gelli printed and stenciled deli, tissue, rice and copier papers. The circles were inspired by Froyle, who I’ve started following on YouTube. I love doing small collage, it’s a great way of testing ideas. The ones that are successful are a good price point for selling.

Here’s a sample of today’s work, plus a shot of the chaos while I was creating; I make a point of cleaning up when I’m finished so I don’t feel overwhelmed by the mess when I next sit down to create.

And more gelli printing

Tony bought me the Klimt inspired masks and stencils designed by Elizabeth St Hilaire from Joggles.com for Christmas. Good shopping Tony! This time I’ve been playing on 6×6 paper, with Reeves paints and Golden metallics. I prepped a heap of dark backgrounds then used layers of mixed colours, and a final layer of metallics. For a few of them I used the one background layering stencil at right angles to itself, and love the grid effect. This is a small sample of about 30 prints I did last night.

I went for a walk!

It’s 9 weeks on Thursday since my second total knee replacement. This morning my best mate took me for a walk to the Manawapou Viaduct on the old Ingahape Road. It’s a paper road no, but still largely sealed, so a relatively even surface. It’s a 2.5km round trip from the rest area at the side of SH3. The hardest part was climbing the fence at the start; the stile is missing one board at the bottom so it’s quite a step up & down for someone with two new knees 😉

The walk’s meant to take 10 minutes to the viaduct – I did it in 15 which is pretty good considering. By the time we got back to the car I was limping slightly, more from my hip than my knee. My hips have had a difficult time adjusting to my significantly change posture.

I often walk 4km in a day, but that’s bits and pieces, not a sustained effort. I’m so pleased I was able to do this – after 9 years of using mobility aids it feels like a huge achievement. Thanks for helping me accomplish it Sandra; you’ve got a new (sometimes) walking companion!