Our community is busy making a panel for Velvet the eel (check out the story at bowmansart.com/portfolio/childrens.htm). This tapestry is travelling around NZ, with groups each making a panel which measure 2m x 1.5m, then joining them all together to tell the life story of a long finned eel. So far the quilt measure 128 metres! Velvet's story began here at Lake Rotoiti, so I was asked to paint a "backdrop" for our panel, depicting the lake, which will then be appliqued over....the white bit in the centre will be covered by our segment of the eel's body!Painting with silk dyes onto canvas was something I hadn't tried before, but it's given me lots of ideas.....
One day we stopped beside Lake Ianthe on the West Coast with two artist friends. Lucy looked at the stunning view and remarked that sometimes things are too perfect to paint and you should just enjoy them. Living close to a lake which is often mirror like the temptation is sometimes too much for me! But I'm not trying to portray perfection, just the total serenity that I find there. I hope you can feel it too.
I was fascinated watching the First Crossings programme last night, following the journey of Charles Brunner and his Maori guide, Kehu.We live near the source of the Buller river,where it leaves Lake Rotoiti - one of my favorite painting spots. The Buller is a big river with a huge catchment area - it can rise rapidly and is an awe inspiring sight when it's in flood. To consider attempting travelling down it's banks with very little food and equipment, in West Coast rain , was a mind boggling undertaking. But they did make it eventually...then turned around and came back! This is a painting I did on a benign summers day, when the river was quite low and friendly - a huge contrast to the threatening monster that those two faced.
Last night our little school held it's annual Matariki walk. The children were all very excited, having made their own beautiful paper lanterns to carry. We all walked down to Lake Rotoiti - what a sight! A string of jewel like lights trailing along in the pitch black(we don't have many street lights). It was freezing cold and hard to hold the camera still- hence the special effects! When we reached the lake they lit some bigger lanterns which were released to sail off over the lake. What a beautiful way to start the New Year.
This morning the mountain forecast was diabolical, so I went out painting with another artist from Nelson. I must admit that I would rather have curled up by the fire with a book, but once we got going it was very invigorating! Sometimes you need someone to poke you and remind you that places can be beautiful still even when it's freezing.And now I can curl up by the fire with a clear conscience :)
The kea is our NZ native parrot, endangered because of introduced predators. There are a pair who fly over our house every afternoon- hearing them call makes me think about being up on the top of the nearby mountains in the mist, with damp tussock around me and only the kea's cry for company. When you see kea hopping about on the ground they are a dull olive green, but when they fly above you they have the most beautiful red and orange feathers underneath their wings - magic. My painting is available as an unframed watercolour.
Plein air painting can be frustrating, exhilarating, but is always my favoutite pastime. Today I was lucky enough to paint at the top of the StArnaud range -the silence is very loud up there. Any other plein air painters listening?
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