A few days ago a friend loaned my a book that she'd enjoyed - "The Hut Builder"by Laurence Fearnley. I settled down to read it and quickly realised that the setting was Aoraki/Mt.Cook .The story is about a young man from Fairlie who is struggling to become someone other than his fathers butchery apprentice (among other things). He finds himself helping build a climbing hut on the mountain , and begins to see that there is more to life than making sausages :) BUT, what really caught my imagination was that he spent his time looking across to Mt. Sefton (between Aoraki and the Hermitage. I've painted Sefton several times, it's a wildly beautiful mountain with glacial shelves angling down it's face. So I had to put down the book and pick up my brushes....and here it comes.
Usually at this time of year my studio is a quiet spot. For me, winter is a time to regroup , when I reflect on work done, successes and failures , ideas for new paintings . Today it's chilly outside, so I have my studio woodburner cheerfully warming the room, Rolling Stones playing ( meaning occasional bursts of crazy dancing). I'm having a big spring clean , getting rid of dried up tubes of paint, long dead brushes, frames which I'll no longer use. I'm putting together a box of art supplies which I no longer need to send off to a local art group. I find this cleaning catharsis is good for my soul - as I clear away things I no longer use or want I find that I'm beginning to think of new paintings. In itself, just the act of passing on materials for someone else to use makes you feel good :)
Whatever your creative niche , I think that its important to pause sometimes to check that you're still going in the right direction.
Every now and then I need to go through this process of resetting my compass.
As a working artist it's easy to forget the enjoyment of painting when faced with the pressure to produce. So, hopefully things are back in balance now some of the distractions have gone!
keep warm , Jan
The North Island roadtrip has ended and we are safely back in our mountains.
It was good to catch up with friends and family and revisit lots of old haunts, as far north as the Bay of Islands. AND it was great to teach watercolour as we went. I met so many lovely, enthusiastic people who were keen to learn about watercolour , and my gut feeling that rural communities would enjoy a workshop proved true.
I'm always aware as I teach that the room will hold a variety of personalities! Some will come along with open minds ready to soak up the experience, some will come purely as a social activity and will continue to paint as they have for years :) Some are confident, some are very nervous and afraid that they'll fail. Some have huge expectations of themselves and dreams of masterpieces.
My job is to meet the needs of all of these , and it can be a juggling act. It's not easy to help those who are struggling with basics while at the same time making sure the more experienced are extended and still getting the extra knowledge they've paid for.
By the end of the workshop we're all exhausted! But it gives me so much pleasure to see someone master a wash for the first time, mix their own colours and excitedly show what they've painted.
So a huge thankyou to all of you who took part - I learn so much from every one of you and I hope that you'l continue painting and find the same joy in watercolour that I do .
See you next time!
It can be very exciting to try a new pigment.
It's all too easy to be seduced by those luscious tubes of paint at the art shop , and usually I resist because I know that I can mix most of the colours I need from my palette. But recently I've discovered indigo...Indigo pigment was originally sourced from the plant ndigofera tinctoria , a member of the bean family.
Some artists dislike it because they say it's a "dirty" colour. I'm finding it a good mixing pigment , making beautiful moody greys and browns. It's also a lovely colour in it's own right- think of the dusky bloom on blueberries and pinot grapes.
It's a VERY invasive, strong and permanent pigment , so it needs to be used with care , and will reward your efforts with lovely moody neutrals.
This painting I've just finished was painted using a very simple palette of indigo ,burnt sienna and a touch of gold ochre.
"Storm's Coming- Pohara".
A couple of weeks back I spotted a photo on nearby Rainbow Stations FB page of their musterers heading home. After checking with the photographer (Aimee Thomas) that it was ok to use her photo as a reference I began to plan the painting.
If you're painting a landscape and include man made objects (or people) they immediate become the focal point - human eyes zoom straight to them .
In this case , yes, it was about the mustering team heading home after a long day , but the setting was equally important -
the mountains close in on the Rainbow Valley , with huge scree slopes and tussocky ridges. I wanted to portray the tiredness of the team, the weather which might be closing in behind them and the "job done" atmosphere. Did I succeed? I hope so! Would love to hear your comments...and check out Rainbow Station next time you're on FB.
"Heading Home" - acrylic on stretched canvas 560 x 900mm , $1200
A nice job on a damp day, unpacking some new additions to my range of gift cards. I'm happy to post these in NZ - $25 for 5 cards includes postage. Check out my gallery page on korimakostudio.com to see the full range ....
Every season has its own delights to enjoy in our region , winter brassicas (!) spring asparagus , summer stonefruit, autumn feijoas and .....
I get a text from a friend offering "a few' quinces. And then a large carton of quinces arrives. I find these golden globes irresistible , although some people are horrified by their hairy solidness. Over the years I have discovered some delectable recipes for them , baked with red wine and honey till they turn to a pink fluffy mound, quince paste , quince jelly..... and then of course, I need to paint them.
This year I took lots of photos of them on a sunny windowsill before I began dealing with them. While I was taking photos my neighbour wandered past the window - "what's that gorgeous smell? Ah, quince paste drying" - his eyes took on a dreamy glaze, I guess some quince paste will be heading next door.
Autumn is my favourite season at Nelson Lakes. Mornings start out chilly and lead to beautiful sunny days. Why does the sun feel so good for you at this time of year? Maybe I'm storing up endorphins for the winter to go with our big firewood stacks!
This morning I had a call from a local farmer to say that their crop of sunflowers has just burst into bloom , so threw my sketching gear in the car and went off to sit in the sun and enjoy their explosions of colour against a backdrop of deep blue sky.
This is going to be a busy winter , three of my North Island workshops are now full - there are still spaces available at the two day workshop in Whangarei..There is also a beginners two workshop in Marlborough in May.
And this years outdoor workshop may possibly be in Golden Bay in October or November....let me know if you're interested!
Trade me auction #1552993212
"Circle of Friends" is a watercolour and ink painting , measuring 250 x 330mm (unframed).
Painted on Fabriano paper with artist quality watercolour this is a FUNDRAISER auction with all proceeds going to the Marlborough SPCA .
The perfect gift for a catloving friend (or yourself!)
The painting is matted ready to frame and includes free postage to anywhere in New Zealand.
Please share with others and help support the amazing work done by this group of hardworkers for our furry friends.
I do have quite a few of these. I've learned the hard way that it's better to step away from my work often and do something else for a while, otherwise I begin to fiddle.
And when I pause with my cup of tea I often pick up an art magazine to read- my favourite is 'Artists and Illustrators'.
We don't talk much about illustration in NZ , sometimes I feel that the art scene here is slightly precious about anything thats non abstract or flavour of the month.
But other countries treasure illustration. I find it a very satisfying genre - children's books are a case in point , in my role as local school librarian I constantly find myself sidetracked by the delicious paintings in children's picture books - gorgeous pen and wash characters really bring the stories to life.
And lets be honest here, most of us enjoy doodling , which can often be quite illustrative - no pressure to produce a work of art , just scribbling away and having fun.
So next time you're at your local library have a sneaky peek in the childrens section and see if you agree - I'd love to know what you favourite is...and if you paint and would like to try some different techniques , look for the A and I magazine, many libraries stock it.
PS .The little one below is a samoan bus
SPP. Hairy Maclarey is pretty near the top of my list :)
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