Apologies if you couldn't see the slideshow in my email - try clicking on the link Blog ....
When I began planning my 2018 calendar I asked friends and family what New Zealand means to them – I was surprised by the answers!
Flora and fauna, the people , the hospitality and the landscape (did you know that New Zealand has 14,000km of coastline?) , we all have special memories of our country.
I had fun painting from both these ideas and my own. I hope that the paintings bring a smile to your face, and if you’re away from New Zealand , fond memories.
The calendar price of $25 includes NZ postage plus a complimentary gift card - please contact me for overseas postage costs.To order just email me email@example.com
For a preview of the images please check out the slideshow below.
"Dreaming of Summer"
What miserable weather! Though I suspect that it's not as bad here as other places - so far the snow has kept to the ranges, though it's creeping closer. Everyone I meet is so over winter and just longing for some sunny dry weather.
As a painter, I sometimes find it difficult to stay inspired when it's gloomy outside , so today I lit the studio fire , put on some favourite music and sat down to think about summer in the garden.
Monarch butterflies are something that most kiwi kids grew up with - remember watching the swan plants to check for each chrysalis appearing? Then keeping an eye on them to see that miracle - a butterfly emerging from where a caterpillar had been. Those glowing red and orange wings drying out in the sun and they're off!
I hope this little watercolour reminds you of that wonder. I think this one might be going on my 2018 "Taste of NZ " calendar , which will be going to the printers shortly.
Keep warm and happy , Jan
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"Life is 10% what can happen to you, and 90% how you react"- Annette Presley
When I read this in a magazine today it stopped me in my tracks. We actually have far more choices each day than we may realise. Each time we interact with another person we have options to react in different ways. And each of those reactions will have a different outcome. A sobering thought - our lives can go in different directions so easily!
This is why every artist sees the world in a unique way , I guess. We are all attracted to subjects for different reasons , and will react to the same subject in different ways.
Walking down a Wellington street some years ago I passed some Japanese anemones growing beside the footpath.I had passed them before, but they hadn't taken my attention. This day my eye was drawn to the way they were dancing in the sunlight, so I went home and got my camera. Once I stopped and checked them out I was fascinated by the way the light was striking them.Someone else may have noticed the shadows they made on the background fence. Or thought they were a weed and pulled them out. But I decided to take the time to observe them and this was the painting that came about.
Maybe tomorrow you could consider your reaction to something or someone , and try another option- who knows what might happen?
Did you wonder where I'd gone?
We've just returned from an amazing 6200km trip through outback Australia- Brisbane - Birdsville- Adelaide- Broken Hill- Darling River Run- East Coast.This is a good time of year to travel through the desert , with hot days and cooler nights. The trip took some organising , as you need to be self sufficient with food, water and fuel , since you're sometimes 500kms away from anywhere or anybody - we're talking Wellington to Hamilton distance here, which is a sobering thought. And it was certainly worth it!
From a painters point of view it was wonderful - the colours are quite different to NZ , so much orange, red and
purple. Mulga bush is a beautiful silvery green and there are unexpectedly beautiful wildflowers growing on the sand dunes .
The views go on for ever, literally. I've never before stood on top of a dune where you have a 360 degree view and can see the earth gently curving on the horizon. The sky is huge. Especially at night when there are millions of stars (and howling dingos nearby).
There were new challenges....remembering to check for anthills before I sat down to paint, watching for snakes (luckily they seemed to be snoozing their way through winter) , flies , kangaroos who fling themselves blindly at your vehicle ....
The Simpson desert can be a dangerous place too, apart from the obvious risks of breakdown away from the track there is also the frightening speed with which you can become lost. I found that as soon as we left the main track I also seemed to lose my sense of direction , and its very hard to see the road unless someone else drives along it in a cloud of dust - and it can be a long stretch between passersby.
As far as the painting itself went I found that pen and wash was often the quickest way to capture images, and managed to paint from the backseat as we drove!I found myself reaching for earth colours (we actually passed Aboriginal ochre pits in one place).
I've come home with photos , sketches, a few small paintings and a head full of ideas . And an overwhelming dream of returning there...
If you ever get the chance to visit the outback yourself make sure that you go armed with flynets, a good 4 wheel drive , several drivers and a sense of adventure, it's magic place to visit.
Last weekend I gave a workshop based around painting and collaging birds.
As I told the students, I felt as though I was "winging it" (sorry) myself, as this was the first time I'd taught collage.As it turned out, we had a great weekend, lots of laughs, a bit of cursing (mainly as people became attached to their work), and we all learned so much from each other.
With something like collage you can really only teach the tools and techniques and show your process , it's such an individual way to paint.Within 10 minutes there were all these glorious paintings appearing.Everyone had their own take on how to do it, some things worked, some didn't. Materials came from bags and boxes , roosters suddenly became sequinned!Sometimes one of us would pause and get out the paints to glaze an area or add a detail, then off we'd go again.
The workshop wasn't anything like what I'd envisaged, and was so much more than I'd imagined. Sometimes you just have to spread your wings and take that leap - you may be surprised at what happens.
1.the intervening substance through which sensory impressions are conveyed or physical forces are transmitted.
2..an agency or means of doing something.
3.halfway between two extremes of size, amount, length, etc.; average.
Sooner or later visitors usually ask me which is my favourite medium. I'm guessing that they're asking about paint, not spiritual channeling :). But , hang on a minute - "medium": has quite a few meanings...especially for a painter.
The first is probably the most obvious- watercolour. oil, acrylic , pastel , ink etc etc - the chosen tool for the task.
The second - a painter is the "go between " for subject and viewer- we are putting down on paper our reaction to something , it won't (usually) be photographic. It may not even be realistic.There may be elements of artistic license.There will be personal choices made about colour, size, tone,composition.
We also sometimes use "mediums" to change the way the paint behaves - Liquin, turps or linseed oil with oil paint , oxgall or water with watercolour, and numerous acrylic mediums for all kinds of painting. These act as a go between for painter and paint.
And then we have the "average" medium - as in steak? Hopefully I don't fall into that category ,though it can sometimes be tempting to go for the safe option. But maybe medium doesn't mean the same as mediocre.
PS. and if I was forced to choose , it would probably be watercolour :)
I've just heard that that I'll be the featured artist for the premier programme of Colour In Your Life as it begins screening in Britain - on Community Channel on 3rd April- if you have friends or whanau in the U.K. please pass the word around...
If I had a dollar for every time that someone has said that to me I'd be a rich woman!
It's easy to tell yourself that there are more important things to do with your time BUT life is very short.So if you have a wish list then get it out and start making those wishes come true .
This week I've been busy making chutney instead of painting in my studio - but there was still time to sketch as I stirred. I enjoy these random little paintings in my sketchbook , purely for my own satisfaction , no pressure to create a finished painting.
Maybe you can draw what you're cooking for tea tonight rather than waiting for a clear day to paint that masterpiece?
" A journey begins with a single step"
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