Making Changes Over Time

I have many paintings that hang around my house–in the basement, in the loft, in the studio, and some on the walls. The ones that are hanging around in all corners are there because they are bothering me for some reason. Often, I have to rework them because something just isn’t right.

I recently consulted with a friend who understands paintings. She took a quick look at three of them and informed me I needed to tighten them up. I know this is a weakness I have. Going into the painting to add and highlight the details is not the work I like to do. It is messy, it angers me, it frustrates me….and from there the work is brought around to a new appearance.

I have added a few old works to the ‘new work’ because I have tightened them up and am ready to abandon them once again. Let me know what you think.

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Looking and Seeing

sketch in the afternoon

When I sketch quickly I am trying to get the idea of where trees, buildings, water etc. are placed in comparison to each other. This includes the need to understand the size of one item in relation to another. For me, it is sometimes difficult to get the angles and lines of buildings to show the correct perspective.

As well, there is a need for me to get the feel or the essence of the place. Usually, this is best displayed in the items in nature, not in the buildings themselves. It becomes about documenting a time, and place. I just completed a quick and cheeky road trip to Florida which allowed me to do just that. A time to sketch and photograph where I was and the feelings that were there.

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All In Good Time

The return to the studio has been bitter sweet. At times, the painting is going well and at other times not so well. It would seem that the time I have available to paint is not my most creative times. Likewise, when I am not in the studio are the times when I feel creative and should be in the studio.

I will continue to find and make the time in order to keep producing the work that I feel inspired to create.

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A Return to the Studio

travelling in FigiI spent the summer sketching abroad. This has enabled me to return to the studio and finish work from previous travels.  With these paintings finishing I can now put together the body of work from Figi, New Zealand and Oz.

I am unsure how the body of work will take shape because usually I begin my paintings directly on the canvas.  This journey allowed me to create sketches for my sketch book and use photographs to document my locations.  Now will begin the work of takings ideas and moving them to the canvas.

Part of the dilemma is the idea of theme.  What was the purpose of my documentation.  I have a collection of photos that are my shadow in the places I was.  There are the collection of sketches from each country.  And there are photos that capture time, place and people.  I am working on discovering the relationship between them all and how that relationship would be best displayed on the canvas.

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Cairns. Port Douglas, Gold Coast

I took a boat trip out to the Great Barrier Reef–actually, 90 minutes from Cairns.  We were at a great time because the weather was over cast and the winds were calm.  This meant that the sand wasn’t churning up from the floor bottom and the water was clear.  I paddled around the enclosed part in the morning and saw colourful corral and fish.

In the afternoon I set out with a Marine Biologist and a group to explore the outer side of the reef.  Immediately after jumping into the water I saw a shark…now I was frozen.  Other people were asking the guide–is that a shark?  Had I opened my mouth it would have screamed SHARK and I would have scrambled over anyone to get to the boat.

Our guide said nonchalantly, “We are a large group and it just doesn’t know what to do with us, so stick close.  Look there are two more sharks. Amazing!”  And we all moved closer together as if on cue! 

The weather warmed and I headed up into the rainforest and saw some great sights.  Then onto Port Douglas where the heat went up to 28 degrees celcius–gorgeous.  Learnt some better ideas of how to promote my art and how to travel and complete some artworks.

A small flight and 90 minute drive later I am in Gold Coast…and here I stay until Thursday when I have a 24 hour trip home…yet, I leave here on the 23rd and arrive home on the 23rd…how strange travel is…

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Things I Haven’t Gotten Use To

Well, it has been almost 7 weeks and I am still not use to the driving here.  Not that the driving itself is much different, it is simply on the wrong side.  When I am crossing the roads I am now conditioned to look one way then the other….and expect the cars to be running in the right lanes.  I have been caught off guard a few times and start crossing when I believe it to be clear…it is not.  And these drivers do not slow down, nor to they honk…I don’t believe I have heard a horn since my arrival.  I just need to kick into high gear and move it!

The round abouts are another thing entirely.  I see the use and I get that it keeps traffic moving without the use of lights.  They are cause to make you hold onto your gear or it will leave the seat and quick.  The best round about was in Waitomo, NZ when we had just finished our black water rafting…now we were wet and cold, but without thinking we let our driver know that another driver was going to go for the record amounts of circles in the van.  We keep going, and going, and going until I thought we would never get off that ride!!  Over TWENTY–crazy.

I think I was most caught off guard when I saw a small child climb out of the driver’s seat….what the…Oh, yeah, the passenger side.  A number of times I have gone to clamber into the driver seat without thinking, oh yeah, other side…..

We are creatures of habit….today I will stay on the sidewalk and check both ways before beginning to walk….

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The Outback

I spent a few quiet days in the outback.  I have a couple of great sketches of the Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Kjuta (The Olgas).  Both rocks jut out of the ground within eye distance of each other and are equally impressive.

The climb was closed on the day I was at the foot of Ayers Rock.  The driver really wasn’t in favour of people climbing.  He didn’t say you can’t; however, there were some compelling reasons given about why one shouldn’t climb.  And over time I would think this has been the reason the number of people going there to climb has decreased.  A deal was made in 1985 to give the land back and in so doing, educating others about the sacred values is part of the deal.  Not only is it considered sacred, people over time have been leaving an environmental impact on the rock–a white line. 

Likewise, the one side of Uluru is photographed more often than the other–the side we all recognize.  When we were travelling around the rock–the other side is sacred and we were told not to photograph it.  The fine for one photo of that side is 1400.00.  That is per photo.

I spent an evening dining under the stars enjoying the meal, and conversation. Well just what I can understand of Italian–two honeymoon couples from Italy, and my special chicken.  So, I did not try the crocdile or kangaroo that were on the menu….another day.

I saw a couple of kangaroos wiz by while I was on the bus…they were so quick I have a photo of dust…I did capture a photo of another getting a drink while I was visiting Alice Springs.  In Alice Springs I learnt about the School of the Air and the Flying Doctor. 

The School of the Air delivers programming for students that are in the outback.  The original schooling was done over the radio air waves.  Now classes are delivered by state of the art computers and the teachers are in studio delivering their lessons while the students log in.

The Flying Doctor is just that.  An emergency flying ambulance complete with everything necessary to keep a person alive until they can reach a hospital–this is also to allow people to live in the outback and have the opportunity for help if needed.

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I toured around the city this morning–checking the architecture.  They have been diligent about maintaining the historic feel by keeping the old brick facades and gutting the inner buildings–what looks old is brand new inside.

I then meandered through the halls of the art gallery–the indigenous gallery first.  The paintings used layers of vibrant colour that created textures that were like woven tapestries.  All telling a story to explain how things came to be, or how things are viewed.  They use–synthetic polymer paint–is that equivalent to my acrylics?  I don’t know.

I was then intrigued by all the people taking photos of these works—is this not a copyright type of issue??  As much as I would like to have photos on hand of peoples’ work–I thought is was just a given–no photos allowed…

I finished the day at the MIFF–Melbourne International Film Festival.  I saw two  documentaries, both well done.  I had seen on the news that Wil Farrell was in town, I was lead to believe he was promoting a film festival film….nope, he just red carpeted his film which is coming to the regular theatres, he is something, I think he was in character the whole interview.

Tomorrow I leave for the outback…Alice Springs and Ayers Rock.  Today I saw works by Billy Bean–this person’s interpretation of where I am heading.  Then I can compare sketches–mine and his.

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So Long New Zealand

I finished my time in New Zealand on Sunday, August 5, 2012.  After Queenstown I headed up the East coast of the South Island, across the ferry to Wellington then on up to Taupo.  It was here that I spent two nights because I wanted to catch the two things I had missed, due to poor weather on the way south.  I did skydive on the Wednesday then on the Thursday hiked the Tongariro Crossing. Mt Tongariro is the volcano that just erupted for the first time in a century.

We were 3 hours into the hike when the weather was rainy, windy and miserable, so they turned us around.  I never was able to complete the crossing.  Once back down, the weather was warm and the Mt. Doom was visible–mother nature!!!

In Rotarua was able to go to Hobbittown where the set has been kept after the filming of The Hobbit.  The same area was used in the making of Lord of the Rings, but the outer buildings were made out of styrofoam which has been removed.  This time around the set is permanent and tours will continue indefinitely.  They are actually creating an addition to the pub-The Prancing Pony, so people can hold functions there–like get married etc.

I have been in Australia for a couple of days now and tomorrow I head to Melbourne.  Here I was out on a harbour tour and saw the Opera House, Bridge, the Mint, the botanical gardens, the Barracks, Hyde Park, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Bondi Beach and finally, the Contemporary Art Museum.

I have much inspiration now and have time to consider a few things–Figi and Australia do not offer as many or any gluten free items.  New Zealand was a mecca for these luxuries.  However, the sinks in New Zealand were so ridiculously small I have no idea how I used them–or anyone does for that matter.  Here I am back to having a close to regular size sink…here as in all places, some things are luxuries, some are staples and some things we continue to wish for.

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Heading Back up North on the East Coast

I left Queenstown, but not without having eaten 3 Fergburgers before hand.  By my third visit, the girl knew exactly what my order was…I don’t think many people order the gluten free bun!

I visited quite a few art galleries while I was in town–there was an interesting artist Aaron Kerropa, he carves surf boards.  At a first glance the work is symmetrical and upon closer inspection it is interwoven with many different stories and layers all relating to the water, land and conservation of it.

Today I was looking at another artist’s work here in Taupo.  I am learning by watching and hoping to capture a little more of myself and beliefs in my works as well.  I will have to get to work when I get back in order to try some new things out.

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