Thursday, January 17, 2013

I've moved!

I've moved.  It's been awhile since I did anything in this space but looking at the stats, people are still finding me.  Please come across to my new home at

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Exhibition opening night (and my 6 still lifes in oil)

Here are some photos from the NZ Art Guild North Island Members Exhibitions which is currently showing at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna, Auckland for the rest of May. To be honest, actually getting 6 paintings completed and hung was a major achievement for me given the amount of things going on in my life at the moment (more on that in another post).

I am really happy with how this series turned out overall (although I can look at individual paintings and see things I would like to change as per normal) and I am satisfied that I did manage to do a mini series of still life's which I have wanted to do for a long time now.

For me, as I have mentioned before, it is about finding the beauty in the ordinary. The best gift I believe I have received from being an artist, is the openness to the beauty that is all around us at any time. I feel that I spent many years caught up in my head space not noticing things and only occasionally sitting down to watch a beautiful sunset or to appreciate the waves crashing on rocks.

Now that appreciation is a daily thing. Each morning I drive on Tamaki Drive to work which is along Auckland's waterfront. I leave home early so I catch the early morning sun rising and the reflections on the water, the boats moored in the placid ocean and the sky golden over Rangitoto are awe-inspiring. It makes me want to stop my car and just soak it in.

So while these paintings are of vegetables and fruit, they are not about that to me. It is about the true beauty in the things we take the granted, especially the gifts of nature that nourish us and provide us with the means to live and flourish. It is about appreciating that humble orange, enjoying the glow in the sunshine and then when you open it and eat it, that rush of pure sweet goodness. It is the pepper or the onion that provide that taste sensation and also just look so good. If I could hope for anything from this little series, is that maybe one other person may look at a humble vegetable or fruit in just a slightly different way and see the beauty that they may not have noticed before.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Beauty of Simplicity

The Beauty of Simplicity - Oil on canvas 300 x 300mm

For me as an artist, seeing beauty in the normal, in the simple, in the day-to-day, is probably the greatest gift I have received since I started exploring my creativity. Whereas once I may have gone through each day lost in the thoughts in my head, I am now more mindful, I see, I'm entranced, I soak it in.

That is not to say that I exist in a constant state of wonder (although having young children is a lesson in this) but I do appreciate beauty, I am grateful for the play of light on something that briefly illuminates it and showcases its beauty.

I have an exhibition coming up next month as part of the NZ Art Guild and for this I have a panel which is a certain width and height and which I can fill up in any form I wish. While I was trying to decide on what I might like to paint and what I would like to express for this exhibition, I kept on coming back to the simple, the ordinary and the beauty in that. I decided to do a six part series of still lifes, focusing on the simplicity and the beauty in these ordinary objects, and try and do my best to show that illumination.

So often, we want beauty to be large and overwhelming so we can clearly identify it and say, that is beauty, that is special. But I am beginning to believe more and more that it is the beauty in every day, in the simple things, in the sunlight on the water that I drive past every morning, in the fog and rain smothering the skyscrapers on a misty morning, in the play of light on a child's toy sitting in the sunlight on the floor - that is what is meaningful, that is what gives colour and light to this life we chose to live.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Drawing as meditation

I may have mentioned here before that drawing has a meditative allure for me. Prior to a couple of years ago, the thought of spending hours and hours on a detailed drawing would have not appealed. I am normally someone who likes results fairly quickly.

However once I started drawing, it became less about the result and more about the process. When I draw now, I slip into that timeless state where all I am focused on is that line, that scribble, that tone compared to the next. There is no room for any fearful thoughts, any second-guessing, it is all about that one mark with the pencil at a time. I guess it is what Eckhart Tolle calls the Now.

I have been working very very hard finishing off a work project so I can start a 5 week contract with another company on Monday, so last night I was feeling burnt out, tired and exhausted. That is when I reached for my pencils and started this horse. That continued all morning and I got so lost in time that when I finally questioned why my children were constantly coming to me with food they had "hunted" from the pantry, I looked at my watch and realised it was long past their lunch time and actually into nap time.

But I can tell you now, that I feel refreshed and invigorated, my brain feels inspired work-wise once more, and my drawing meditation has done its work. Perhaps it is this same state that Tibetan monks enter when they create those beautiful sand mandalas .
This morning, we were also repeatedly visited by a stunning monarch butterfly who graciously enabled me to get close enough to take 149 photos. Here are two of my favourites. I really would like a macro lens and explore photography further.
Wherever you are reading this, and whoever you are, I hope that you have your form of slipping into this present state, because it truly is the best.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A seascape in oils

For the last couple of weeks, I have been trying to bring to my canvas the peace and serenity I felt on my morning walks on the beach while at Maraetai. I am not sure if I am quite there yet but if I play anymore today I am going to push it too far. So I will sit on this for a couple of days and decide then if it is finished, or it not, what I will do in order to get there.

Ummmm, will let you know............................

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Year Intentions (and how to be challenged immediately)

During the lovely week at Maraetai which involved lots of soaking up moonlight over the ocean, walks along the beach and swimming in turquoise waters, I also spent some time working through what 2009 meant to me in terms of what I was grateful for and what lessons I learnt, as well as creating what 2010 will look like. I was so pleased to come across this which I found was a lovely gentle process of crafting my intentions about 2010.

I came home feeling all inspired and so so ready to kick into it all. I decided my word for this year would be Balance as I have some HUGE goals relating to my business but also the reason that I want to have my own business and do my own thing is so that I can have a fabulous life which also involves being an involved mother, an artist with a fantastic relationship with my husband and have time to immerse myself in all the many interesting things in life.

However, while I was so focused on my work goals and getting everything sorted for Possibility, I kind of forgot that daycare doesn't start back until 21st January and until then I have a very active, dudette 2 year old daughter (who is determined that she actually is 3) and a 3 year old son who is just as active and fun and dude-like. So for the first week back I felt more and more frustrated every day as I wasn't getting stuck in (as I couldn't), and I wasn't achieving anything (which is an important feeling for me). I stopped enjoying each day, lost all energy and only perked up in the evening when I had some time to myself again.

So early on in this week, I decided it sucked feeling that way, and the only reason I felt that way was because I was letting myself create those thoughts and stories and how about I create a new story about enjoying the last week with the kids and being the kind of mum that I want to be.

And since I made that decision, life has been much happier. I have thoroughly enjoyed the days with the kids and we are going somewhere on an adventure everyday (doesn't need much to be an adventure for a 2 and 3 year old which is so cool to see that through their eyes and is making me appreciate normal everyday things more). We have gone to Cornwall park and hugged trees and looked for fairies, we have painted and gone swimming and I am so enjoying it.

I found it so interesting that after setting an intention, I got challenged and felt so frustrated and it was only when I looked inside and realised that my intention was all about me having the time to play and explore with my munchkins while building a successful prosperous business, so this precious time before daycare starts is a gift to me.

PS The top photo is of a Pohutakawa flower I took early one morning at Maraetai and the Buddha is a new addition to my garden and I am sure I feel just a little more peaceful when I look at him.