Something. Is that better than nothing?

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watercolour, pen and aquarelle pencil

As I shall be in Wellington for the week, I was aware that I’d not find the time to post a comprehensive blog. I thought, I know, I’ll do a sketch, and sorted through photos from my recent trip. Nothing there that beckoned me, but wait? I’d taken a photo some time back of the lovely white orchid which sits on my desk, blooming beautifully. Okay. I quickly uploaded the image and sketched it. Hmm. As I’ve stated many times before, sketches always work best if one keeps up regular practice. I haven’t been sketching lately, in spite of all my promises to do so. Yet, I have decided to show this ‘something’ rather than nothing. I sketched quickly in pencil first, on 140lb, Canson watercolour paper, adding some aquarelle pencil for colour, before grabbing an 0.5 pigment liner to provide a loose outline for the white on white flowers. Perhaps I’ll take my sketchbook with me?? No excuses with some free time up my sleeve… Maybe I’ll find the inspiration I need.

The painting that found its way to me

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Oil, by John Frederick Lingard Fowlds.

I was thrilled when my brother phoned a few weeks back to ask If I would like a painting of our Dad’s. It is an oil of the Hutt River looking towards the far hills and had hung on various walls of houses my mother had lived in since my father’s early death. When she died ten years ago, the painting came into my brother’s possession, and now, it has found its way to me. There is mention of this painting in my recent book The (almost) True Story of a Man Called Jack.

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Going with the flow

Cloudy skies [6B, B, and HB graphite].

I was meant to be speaking about my book tomorrow at a local library, except … Auckland is not yet done with Covid 19 it seems and we are back in partial lockdown. This means libraries, events, shops etc, are closed for the week. Like all of us, we hope the lockdown doesn’t continue past that. But, it is some time since I sketched anything, and so I got cracking on a small drawing project. I love sketching clouds, and decided to do three; each in a slightly different medium. Yesterday’s was a brooding scene, done from a photograph I took a few days ago. I worked on Hahnemühle cold pressed water colour paper 300g/m. It took the graphite well, as I used the back, which has a slightly smoother feel, but still gives enough bite for the leads. I used 6B, B, and HB pencils. I shall use the same paper for each sketch.

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Well I never

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Many of you will know that I put out a book a few months ago. I was involved with two book launches, a radio interview and two library talks before the end of last year. I was extremely busy organising the advertising and the events, getting the book into bookshops around the country, as well as posting copies to those who had ordered from me. Yes, being the writer, publisher and distributer proved to be a job and a half. And, because of Covid delaying events in many libraries last year I still have more author talks lined up to do. I am really looking forward to these talks, as they are the fun part in the process. It really is a joy to speak about, read from the novel and share the experience of writing it with others.

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Maverick Modigliani

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Amedeo Modigliani

The heading refers to a new documentary on the famous artist Amedeo Modigliani, best known for his lean-faced unpretentious portraits; portraits I have admired, even copied as a student, over the years. I viewed the film a week or so back, and was pleased to be re-acquainted with the man. I knew a lot of his life story, as he has been much written about, and I am lucky to have read many books about him.

The documentary, directed by Valeria Parisi, was released on the 100th anniversary of Modigliani’s death (Jan, 1920).

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A dilemma

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Drawing the nude was second nature to me at one time, and I drew a lot of figures over the years, becoming quite skilled in that area. I was intending to write about the life drawing session I held in my home last weekend, thinking that I’d have produced pages of work and have plenty to say about the process. When the session didn’t prove as fruitful as I’d hoped – meaning I wasn’t that happy about most of the sketches – I realised I faced a dilemma.

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Granada 2019

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Looking towards the Sierra Nevada Mountains

It’s not like me to miss a week posting something on art or travel, but I have been ‘out of sorts’ for want of a better word to describe my sporadic exhaustion and brain fog. However, this morning I returned from my walk with a blog idea! I hope you’ll join me as I sift through the travel notes I jotted down when visiting Granada, in May last year.

Thursday 9th May. The bus trip from Cordova was great, the landscape fairly repetitive in the main – rows of olive trees mostly, the soil clay-coloured and arid looking – but what a surprise as we neared our destination, to see the high snow-capped mountains of Sierra Nevada, a majestic backdrop to this Andalusian city and the fabulous green belt of trees. 

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An unexpected purchase

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Robyn Gibson’s artwork

I had popped in to the Depot Artspace to view the new exhibition by Robyn Gibson. It was great seeing the sales already made. It wasn’t surprising to find that the smaller works had been snapped up; as Robyn’s quirky renderings are popular. Her works amuse, yet they hold subtle messages about the consumerism of society. She is a multi-media artist, although this exhibition showcases an assortment of acrylic paintings in the main.

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Ah, Avignon

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Avignon jug, watercolour and pencil

One action always precipitates another, and in this case offered me the subject of my next post. My husband was straightening a long bowed shelf in the pantry and began lifting down the vases and other crockery which often get thrust into those seldom-used spaces. He set down a large yellow jug on the bench, which I quickly scooped up and popped in my studio. I would sketch this jug and tell the story of it crossing the globe in my back-pack, following my first visit to Europe, oh, so long a go. Even before the days of cellphones and the internet!

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Changing our perceptions

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smartcapture

catalogue cover

For the past three Tuesdays, while at my volunteer job in the local community art gallery Depot Artspace,  I have found myself in an interesting situation. The current exhibition   is titled Sex Workers of Aotearoa: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF, 2020, curated by a member of the group. And although the curator and many of the artists have shown their names, for privacy reasons I have chosen not to include them. Our manager had said that we may need to be aware of some peoples’ reactions, and if we felt uncomfortable with speaking about the artworks, to seek assistance from management. Continue reading