Today I've been learning how to make lanterns for next week's Matariki walk.Each year our local school pupils make beautiful lanterns then walk together in the dark down to the lake, where some of the bigger lanterns are released to soar over the water, celebrating Matariki, the Maori New Year. I took this photo at last year's celebration- the reason it looks so abstract was that I was frozen and shivering - but I like the effect! This is a good time of year to think about new beginnings, freed from the chaos of our traditional Christmas/New Year season.For me it's time to tidy up my garden and studio, throw or give away stuff I don't need anymore , and begin planning new projects.
If you're interested on making a lantern for yourself there are some great tutorials on youtube.
This week is an imageless blog, as I am out of the studio minding my two little grandchildren for the week. It's a chance to observe art from another angle - my 18 month old grandson is a wonderful mixed media artist , particularly enjoying creating patterns and texture with food. Preferably as an interactive installation involving the cat, his hair and any unsuspecting victim within his considerable throwing range. i've forgotten how inportant it is to check your own hair and back before you go anywhere !
My "almost three' grandaughter , on the other hand, loves to draw - on paper, the benchtop and herself. She likes to use a limited palette, purple and pink. We settled down with her new felt pens to create a special drawing for Mum - she explained that she was going to draw flowers and butterflies. After a bit I asked her what the drawing was of. She looked at it for a while and replied "A really long line".
So there you have it - some painters have a picture in their minds before they pick up the brush, and sometimes the picture changes en route. Some artists just like to wing it and see what happesns. Me? I'm just off to wash the floor :)
Around our home are mountains. Lots of mountains. Many of my paintings are completed at the foot of these, giving a sense of enclosure maybe? This week I decided to attempt a bird's eye view of the lake- based on a friend's photo taken from a plane , looking toward's Mt.Robert. It's tricky to convey the idea of looking down on something - have I succeeded? Comments and constructive criticism always welcome!
PS. My studio is situated two thirds of the way down on the left hand side - I haven't painted it in yet.....
This weekend every duck with an ounce of sense makes for their nearest park. Hunters , on the other hand , don their camo gear and rush off to sit in their maimai in the chilly autumn weather, hoping to shoot their dinner.
At the Lake we have a large population of (mallard?) ducks who make this their home all year round. They potter about the lake edge, being feed tasty morsels by tourists, and can often be spotted sleeping standing up on one leg - how do they do that? This one was happy to paddle about while I sketched him, showing off his beautiful colours in the sunshine.
This morning I was lucky enough to be invited down to Lake Station , a nearby farm, to watch the shearing gang at work. Although I'm a born and bred Kiwi, I've never actually sat in on a shearing session before.Yes, I've been to a shearing demo at A and P shows, but this was the real thing. I was blown away by the skill and hard work of these guys - my back ached watching them! Each man had a different style , a different set of movements for their sheep. they made it look like a dance, but when a sheep struggled to get away I suddenly realised just how heavy and cumbersome they are and just what hard work this is. And the team sorting the fleeces were amazing to watch , too - tossing the armfuls of fleece as they discard any dirty bits , keeping the floor clear around the shearer's feet. The whole operation is such a wonderful display of teamwork. I'm sure that I sat with my mouth open, gawping for the whole two hours, but I did do some sketching as well! I tried to capture the different poses of each shearer in a series of little pencil drawings, as well as lots of photos. This has definitely inspired me!