cjs18 day 8 Diana Trout

Today’s artist was Diana Trout; the technique involved an initial medium on the paper, drawing into it and watercolours. The medium I chose didn’t cope with all the water I used, so I ended up with some odd patches but that’s ok. Although not a good painting by any stretch of the imagination, I had fun with this and will try the technique again. Incidentally, the painting is based on a photo I took of relics in the grounds of Monte Cassino Abbey in Italy in 2010 when I was part of the Legato exhibition.

day 8 diana trout

Working on the details

This morning I am adding spots of colour, layers of gesso over the photos, and obscuring some of the writing. I’m also transcribing a letter I have from his daughter so I can write all the info onto the canvas. It is *not* as bright as this looks, but my camera’s being unhelpful!

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Making those incredible links

In 2010 Tony and I took four works I’d created to the Legato exhibition in Cassino, Italy. They honoured four men who had swerved in WWII; my dad, my best friend’s dad and uncle, and the father of a woman who had worked for dad.

I am sending work next year, when the commemorations will be all the more special as the world marks 100 years since WWI. I’m already doing a large landscape based on my recollections of the walk to one of the memorial services we went to, but have been hankering to do something honouring a solider as well. But didn’t know who, or why. I should have known to listen and wait, because the answer always comes.

My good friend Joanne D had asked me a while back about doing a piece to honor her grandfather but we didn’t pursue it. She and I have been emailing and I’m going to do a piece that she can show her Granny then it can travel to Italy, then return to her family. Fantastic!

Before I knew that was happening, I decided to search the internet for local people who had served that could have relatives I could trace and talk to. My mother was adopted, and didn’t find out until she was in her 60s – but we were able to find out both her mother and father’s full names and are in contact with some family members. I was scrolling through names and there was someone I thought had to be her uncle. I range her half-sister and she confirmed this but went on to say that her father had served in WWI as well. Would I like her to send me some copies of war records etc so I could do a work about him.

I had to end the conversation and think about what I had just heard – that I was being given the opportunity to honour the grandfather I never knew by creating a work about him and sending it to Italy to be honoured by hundreds of people. I felt utterly overwhelmed. I wrote back today to say “yes, please do send me some copies” as I’d love to do this.

When we connect with people, and tell others what we need, it’s incredible what happens. Here’s a photo of Mum, and the piece I did of Dad – I knew they’d both be excited to hear this.

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Trusting myself to paint

The piece I’m working on was looking quite ‘pretty’ but I knew it needed an ancient wall. This meant trusting my instinct and being prepared to act – something I have been not so good at in recent times. with my art This afternoon I took a deep breath, made a mask, grabbed some brown and black inks and started making an ancient wall right over the top of the some of the prettiness. It feels good to be trusting myself to grab paint and go for gold. Here are some detail shots (in reverse order – oops)

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Preparing to paint

I’m sending work to the Legato exhibition in Cassino, Italy, in 2014. I’ve been playing with ideas for a while, but nothing has worked as I wanted it to. The problem has been my head-space rather than my actual art practice. Last night I think I finally got into the right place mentally to get on with it. Fingers crossed.

Legato is now an established part of the annual WW2 Battles of Cassino commemorations held in Cassino, Italy in May each year. The 70th commemorations will be a special time with surviving veterans, international dignitaries and families of veterans participating as well as the local Italian people who are committed to remembering and honouring the people who were there during WW2.

I have some full size sheets of watercolour, a bucket of water, a couple of photos, my memories of Italy, some stencils, inks, fluid acrylics, brushes and a new roll of handytowels. Oh, and my camera. Here’s a few visuals of what’s involved.

2012 as a blogger

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views. In 2012, there were 57 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 559 posts. There were 129 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 190 MB. That’s about 2 pictures per week. The busiest day of the year was June 10th with 177 views. The most popular post that day was New home office / art room.

These are the posts that got the most views in 2012.

Visitors came from 98 countries in all! Most visitors came from The United States, New Zealand and the United Kingdom were not far behind.

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Image transfers for Legato work

Do you like my new tattoo of Dad? It looks a bit wrinkly because of the gladwrap over it to protect it as it heals.

No? Okay, you’re right. I’m too chicken to get a tattoo, and Tony has enough for both of us!

Yesterday I mentioned that I have a plan in mind for new Legato works. The plan involves image transfers. Yesterday I did some laser copies of photos from WWII of Dad in uniform then gave them two thin coats of Golden’s Clear Tar Gel and left them to dry well overnight. Today I soaked one really well then rubbed most of the paper off the back. I let it dry to see how much paper pulp was left then soaked it again, and draped it over my arm so I could use my other hand to gently rub more paper pulp off. I find having it on my arm means fewer creases in it, and I can feel how much pressure I am applying – rub too hard and the image gets damaged. I’m pleased with it so far – it’ll be interesting to see if it is totally clear once it’s dry.

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Poppies, and stencils

When Mum passed away recently a friend gave us some flowers which included poppies and seed heads – awesome! I have been fascinated with poppies since we visited Italy in 2010 and use them a lot in my artwork. Having the real thing on display in the kitchen inspired my to take a bunch of photos, do some drawings, and finally cut some stencils. Huge thanks to Michelle Ward for lessons learnt while doing the Crusades – without your lessons I doubt I would have managed it. I have now got stencils for two flowers, and two different heads plus the masks for all but the big poppy. I couldn’t work out the bridges to keep it in one piece but may have another shot at it yet.

I have had a quick play with them on newsprint and am happy, so tomorrow I’ll start playing in earnest. Earlier in the year I was given some lovely old, never used and in mint condition, prints of  John Abbott’s The insects of Georgia produced by the Alexander Turnbull Library. I am going to be participating in Legato 2013 and have a vague plan in mind involving the prints, transfers of photos of Dad from the war, and the poppy stencils. We’ll see…

(the images are wrinkly because I am too impatient to wait for the ink to dry before scanning)

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