'Sea Call,' mixed media on canvas painting at the Edinburgh Realty Art Awards Exhibition, Dunedin Railway Station. This painting was inspired by one of my favourite poems 'Sea Call' by Hone Tuwhare. The late Hone lived in a small crib a few hundred metres from our beach home. I often walk along the beach in front of our place and one day witnessed "the land's curve clad in vermilion" (a line from the poem) - the beach was covered with crimson seaweed.
As artists we are always thinking of the next painting or project. Sometimes it's obvious what is next and other times it eludes us. For me it's mostly about evolving as an artist, pushing my work in new directions towards that hidden destination.
I'm not sure if this is because of Art School practise or it's creativity weaving it's magic. I think I can fairly give credit to both sides.
When browsing my art journal this week I was reminded of my mantra for 2017 - 'evolve'. On reflecting on my work I will be choosing the parts that work best and pushing them in new directions, testing, adjusting, evolving....flowing where the tide of creativity takes me. This is what makes creating exciting and unpredictable....you never know what is around the corner.
I will be sharing some of my working practices here, journaling my creative journey.
The image below is a page from my working journal. My artist journal is a place I can scribble all those fleeting ideas and inspiration before they are forgotten. It's a great place to start when the next painting eludes you.
Below - Where the painting begins.....some notes on my latest painting 'Evening Song'. There are no rules here and often noted ideas don't make it into the painting - at the end of the day you have to go where the painting suggests.
Below - A working painting sketch helping to decide the horizon line and mix of colours for the painting 'Evening Song'.
Maybe some brighter colours? Maybe working towards abstraction?
When I work late into the night I make some notes for the next morning.
January has slipped by with the beat of a bird's wing. The height of summer in New Zealand is traditionally a busy time of year with Christmas, New Year and school holidays happening mid summer. My artistic work has had to wait in the background while I juggle other areas of life.
My son turned 21 in January and we celebrated this milestone with family and friends. I have been scrapbooking his journey by going through all those photos that proud parents take. This has been quite a feat and there is still a few more pages to go.
One area of my life that has kept me very busy lately is the holiday home rental of our beach cottage. I manage all aspects of this from bookings to cleaning and laundry. January to February is the peak of the season. For us the holiday rental is a 'means to an end' as it is our long term dream to one day live at the cottage permanently. I do need to keep the end goal in site when I get swamped with all that laundry.
I have also been journaling to gain clarity for the year ahead. It has been hard to find space even for this during this hectic period. But it has yielded a guiding word for 2016 - discipline. I did initially resist choosing this word in favour of something more gentle or inspiring like balance or clarity but discipline kept appearing in front of me. It seems the universe had spoken!
I knew discipline is what I had to practise to give my creative desires space. I had to be tough on how much time I gave to other areas of my life. It was time to find balance again.
When I take the time to look back at how far I've come to fulfilling that big dream that seemed so impossible all those years ago, a feeling of amazing gratitude comes over me.
Sometimes life can be all work and no play but it is important to stop and reflect and give acknowledgement to all that we have achieved - big and small .....
AND find the time to play and relax!
Last month I was fortunate enough to hear Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac sing those very words live ...."climbed a mountain and I turned around"...lyrics from Stevie's beautiful Landslide song. This song has been echoing in my head for a while now. Every time I look at a recent painting I completed of Mitre Peak, I hum this song..
I've been reflecting lately, asking myself "Why did I paint a mountain?" It's a move away from my usual mixed media style gardens. An iconic New Zealand mountain peak couldn't be further removed from a colourful, bustling cottage garden.
But maybe its closer in comparison than you first might think. I like to paint subject matter that I have experienced first hand, drawing on a well of memories and emotions. Most artists choose subjects and themes that have meaning and relevance to them.
So yes, I have experienced the majesty of Milford Sound and the surrounding peaks and valleys. I've tramped on foot through the wild bush of the Hollyford Valley experiencing all the earthly elements....rain, sun, wind, mud and rain. rain. rain, to escape in a small aeroplane up the coast and into Milford Sound. Exhilarating to say the least!
I have also been a gardener for many years, enjoying the natural energy a garden brings to your home. It is a place you can go to escape from the daily chores of life, find calm and be inspired by the seasonal beauty ever present there.
Both places appear to be at opposite ends of natures spectrum but both can offer us that sense of peace, wonder and escape that lifts you out of the ordinary to some place magical....just like the music of Landslide.
So that is why I painted a mountain....or should that be climbed a mountain?
The Tide of Change
It's been a very cold winter here in the south of New Zealand, with the grey cold days far out numbering the bright, light filled ones.
My moods ebb and flow with the seasonal changes which in turn influence my creative work. My refuge, my place to go to restore balance and recharge is our beach cottage at Kaka Point, on the Otago coast. The cottage is nestled into the hillside overlooking the sea.
We wander up the beach and through the rock pools in all weathers and tides.
My favourite time of day to wander up the beach is at dusk when the first stars are twinkling and the sky is a pale wash of pinks and blues. There is time and space to think.
A special encounter....the rising 'blue moon' emerging from the ocean.
My time spent here at the beach has inspired me to turn in a new direction with my art, to make a new alignment with what makes me feel balanced and in tune. I'm inspired to capture the natural beauty, storms and mist, tranquillity, the colours and textures of my seaside haven.....to capture it's moods.
I have explored this landscape through mixed media before, so I can begin where I left off.
Looking forward to sharing my journey and work in progress with you.
"The earth has music for those who listen" ~ Reginald Vincent Holmes