We bloomed!

This afternoon I held a mixed media class, Layered Steps: Bloom. Liz, Mollie, Sharon, Shei, Maria and Denise were awesome. They each did such a great job with their canvas and what I love is that, following the same process, each one ended up with something unique to them. We had such a good time that there’s definitely going to be more classes coming. Here are some pictures of the process, and a line up of the artists with their finished works.

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Mixed media playtime

Started with a collaged background, gesso through stencils, drippage, collaged gelli tissue paper, stencils direct onto the image, a bit of splatter. Brighter than my usual colours – must have been feeling extra happy! This might just be the sample for a new class I’m teaching ūüėČ


New Mt Egmont painting – looking at the values

This week I have four days off work, and I intend spending the whole time painting. I have to get some big works done for an exhibition in Auckland. BUT this coming Friday is Waitangi Day. It’s the day New Zealand celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the document that more than 150 years ago was signed between Maori and the Crown detailing how this land would be in the future. It gives Maori equal rights in law – amazing for a colony in the 1800s – and probably one of the reasons New Zealand has, in the main anyway, thrived as a bi-cultural society.

This Friday my town, Patea, celebrates with an event called Paepae in the Park. It’s a massive day with music, food stalls, speeches – all celebrating our diverse community (Patea has a high percentage of Maori, as has this area generally). Businesses are closed but to support the day I open the library, which is next to the park where the event is held. A top NZ band, Katchafire, is playing this year, and we expect about 5,000 people to attend. The library has disabled access toilets, and offers people time out in the shade and quiet. I also think it is good for the library, and me as library manager, to be seen to be involved in events within the community. Last year the event did not go ahead because of a massive industrial fire in town on the day.¬†The year before I had more than 700 people through the doors on the day – amazing, because at that stage our usual weekly footprint count was only 500.egmont-and-cowsWhat does that have to do with painting? Well — I am going to do some small, 4×4 or 6×6, acrylic paintings of Mt Egmont to display – and hopefully sell – in the library. The Mountain (Maunga) is very important to local Maori. When they have been away form the area, seeing Mt Egmont signals that they are ‘home’. So I have cropped a favorite photo of the mountain to square-ish, and turned it to gray-scale to make¬† the values more obvious. And tomorrow¬† head into my art room to get messy. Love it.

Playing with acrylic & mediums: Golden Landscape 7

I have been working on some small 4×4″ canvas again, in a continuing series, this time using more mediums and a high gloss resin-type glaze over the top. The series alludes to, but does not replicate, the land I see around me here on the West Coast of New Zealand. The strong hot colours refer to the weather we are having at the moment – really hot and quite¬†dry. I love working in this format; I can put 4 or 6 canvas on my desk and work on all of them at once, so that there is a relationship between them.

I use mainly Golden products – in this case I used light modeling paste, pumice gel, garnet gel, gesso, and a then¬†gloss glazing medium. ¬†The colour is all Golden Fluid acrylics – I buy the small bottles and just love them. When I first get them I smear some of the colour on the lid of the bottle so I can see the colours when they are all standing in the drawer they’re stored in – saves me picking up the bottles and checking the colour as I work. I put the paint on with brushes, my fingers, a palette knife, a sponge and even a syringe I got from our local vet. My hands always tell the story of what I’ve been doing, what colours I’m into at the time…

Works in this series are for sale in my Etsy store. golden-landscape-7

Remembering summer’s colours ;-)

The weather has been beautiful here for the last few days; to be honest it’s been a bit too hot for my liking. But this afternoon the weather has taken a turn for the worse. I have gone from wearing a sleeveless cotton dress round the house, with barefeet, to jeans and a medium weight top. But I can still enjoy the colours of early summer with another of the series of four wee canvas I posted about the other day. Here’s a second from the set.summer-garden-8

Summer’s colours

summer-garden-5I’ve been playing round with more 4×4 canvas, stocking up for the Christmas and summer trade. While I was taking photos for my files etc I realised there were some recent works I hadn’t blogged about. Well, can’t have that! Not when there’s nothing else to post about today anyway…

This is one of a set of four that was done about a month ago, and the colours were inspired by wandering round our garden, where the rhododendron are starting to flower. All those lovely mauves, blues, pinks and purples Рand that wee hint of yellow or white in the centre. Stunning.

And an aerial view

This is a view of Mt Egmont that I guess relatively few people see – taken from the air. Incredible. If you fly from New Plymouth, my nearest airport, to Auckland – NZ’s largest city -you get spectacular views of Egmont as you fly past. Providing the clouds part that is ūüėČ

In my two libraries we also act as information centres, so deal with a lot of tourists keen to see the mountain. Especially after it was made famous by Tom Cruise filming The Last Samurai in the region. But the reality is that a lot of people passing through simply do not get to see her – because of cloud cover. Lots of cloud cover!

This is another wee 4×4″ in acrylics on gallery wrap canvas, based on a photo taken on a clear day when there was no real cloud cover, and not a lot of snow either¬†to be honest.

Mt Egmont from the air, 4x4" in acrylics

Mt Egmont from the air, 4x4

New place to hang my work

For the last 10 days or so I have had painting on display with the local Patchwork & Quilting exhibition as part of the annual rhododendron festival. There’s been 30 to 50 people through a day; good numbers for a rural town of 1,000. I took my Mum to see the exhibition yesterday and while I was there I was approached by the owner of Red Rock, a 7 day a week cafe here in town.

Michelle has some art on sale already, but the only painting she has of Mt Egmont,¬†our amazing mountain, is $500 — too much for the average passing tourist. The painting attracts a lot of attention though. She wondered¬†if I could supply smaller, cheaper artwork featuring the mountain.¬†Heck, yes – I love painting Mt Egmont. I’m going to start with some little acrylic 4x4s and them perhaps some 8x8s in oil. ¬†

In the meantime, here are some of my reference photos for you to enjoy.

Exhibition all set up

Tonight, with Tony’s help, I set up my paintings in the Patchwork & Quilting Group’s exhibition which opens tomorrow. The women have some amazing quilts and hand knitting – beautifully crafted goods and really colourful. These women don’t buy into the idea that textile work has to be expensive; many of their materials are sourced from second hand clothing shops. Beautiful silks and cottons and velvets, all for a song.

I have displayed a variety of work, from small abstracts on 4×4 canvas at just $24 through to a couple of 15×50″ Tuscan landscapes in the $300+ range. You just never know who might be passing through Patea during the festival.¬†It’s an incredibly busy time in Taranaki