Art Auction – Italy poppies

I’m not generally a big fan of the “please donate art to our auction” fundraiser. No one asks the accountant, lawyer, or plumber to donate the equivalent. Artists are targeted because they have a physical product and “you can just make another one – right?”. Anyway, that aside…

St John in Hawera are doing an art auction to raise funds towards a new station. Tony was an ambulance officer for about 16 years, and Mum was a very regular ambulance user, so it’s a charity close to my heart. Heck, I’ve used them a couple of times myself ūüėČ

My artist’s statement for the exhibition:

In 2010 Tony and I travelled to Italy as I was one of 40 New Zealand artists who had works in the Legato exhibition in Cassino, Italy. I took 4 works over, celebrating 4 men including my father, Patea grocer Mansel Barker, otherwise known as Able Seaman Barker.

The trip had a profound impact on me, and on my art. I have continued to paint the Italian landscape, and works which depict in some way the lives that were touched by WWII. Two of the works which went to Italy have been exhibited here in NZ as well, and newer Italian works have been exhibited in Wellington. In 2016, by invitation of the curator, I exhibited works in Italy for the Legato exhibition which coincided with 70th commemorations.

This series of essentially black and white works is inspired by the poppies, which grow amongst the rubble throughout Italy, bringing colour to the landscape.

Poppies at the railway station Italy 2012Poppies at Sorrento 2012

Paint under my nails…

I’ve had an arty sort of day. I’ve worked in my art journals, but also felt inspired to grab a canvas and spread some paint around. Not sure if it’s finished yet, will leave it lying round and see what I think. As usual, there are messages in my art journal pages, which some people will recognise as relating to them…

Last night Tony, Sandra and I went out for dinner then enjoyed the Rocky Horrow Show shadowcast by Flash Mob Taranaki. I haven’t laughed so much in years. “Eddie – drawn, not sketched…”

week 44boundaries 2018-11-4choices 2018-11-4IMG_5034rockySandraTony and I rocky



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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Italy on my mind

Our Italy trip has been on my mind a lot lately, for all kinds of obscure and tangential reasons. Things like the financial woes in Europe, the¬†realization¬†that Tony and I probably won’t be going overseas again, seeing some poppies growing locally,¬†graffiti¬†that reminds me of the trains in Italy…

I’ve been wanting to start a new series of paintings, using mainly black and white with a little red, and over the last few nights have dreamed these into existence. As I start painting Tony often asks, partly to wind me up, “what’s it going to be?”. He kept coming and looking at these three, a bit baffled. When I had finished he said “poppies”. Yup – but think of the viaduct, and the train tracks. Oh yeah, you have the¬†graffiti¬†underneath, and the old roman viaduct. Yes, Tony, I do!