Friday, 30 April 2010

Girl Friday, Winona and me

Magorly stressed out from the huge leap forward in dreams and visions of the future, the shock of the new changes and all the resulting mess and chaos around the home front and the almost total lack of funds I decide to chill out before I have some kind of physical breakdown.
The mental breakdown is a given, it's a 24/7 anxiety attack with occassional glimpses of sanity seen in the eyes of friends who bring me food parcels and puppy love...
So I decide fulfilling promises would be good for my soul and I ignore the pressing imperatives all around and finish the portrait of Winona that Winona's dad half paid for weeks ago and I wait for Girl Friday to come around before framing it so G F can have a lesson in framing materials and methods.
Girl Friday brings a camera and hey! there's me! ( I'm the one in the blue shirt, Winona's wearing a faded red T, Girl Friday is the one whose eyes you are looking through).
Tomorrow is Saturday and we have a party to go to, live music and all - fabulous!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Girl Friday and the Smallest Art School in the World

A new addition to the life of this artist is Girl Friday, who I met at a printmaking class I was teaching at our local High School.
At the end of the printmaking course I invited all the class members to continue their work at my studio.
Keri Ann leapt at the chance and in a matter of a week or two had become Girl Friday, super hero, planning strategist, marketing manager, chief collaborator and an indespensible integral part of the studio and all that pertains to it.
And all this while holding down the job of wife of Mark and Mother of two young sons.
I tell ya she's near as manic as me, maybe more so. What a score!!

There are three businesses going on here; various art workshops, artist backpacker accommodation and the manufacture and sale of artist's etching presses.
Girl Friday sees the etching press side of it as a means of funding the proper set-up and ongoing maintenance of the art courses and backpacker accommodation.

We are committed to a year of getting this show on the road just for the fun, making art and to meet people and maybe even for profit or at least the partial underwriting of the cost of our many and various habits such as our addictions to print-making, drawing, painting, coffee, and sticky buns!

A major stumbling block to the official opening party for the Smallest Art School in the World has been the delay in the creation and launch of the new website because of our inability to find a suitable name for the enterprise. A few friends have joined in the hunt for the perfect name and the only thing they can agree on is they don't like my choice; the Smallest Art School in the World . .
Girl Friday wants to get some of her clever girlfriends onto helping make the website with domain name and all and she has experience in newspaper, radio and marketing and reckons that's the way to go John.

Ok Keri Ann, just hurry up so we can have the party!!
I can turn a radio on, light a fire with a newspaper, I know where the supermarket is and what is this that I am writing on right now but a website with an international following of four people???

My musician friend Graham likes the Little Art School and promises to play at the party and do his fire juggling act and his 7 year old daughter Soraya likes Johnny's Little Art School.

I came up with -Art Workshops Waihi- but that is so prosaic and I still like Smallest Art School in the World and all I want is to get the name sorted and invite all my muso and artist friends to the opening so we can PARTY!!
Maybe you can help dear reader?

Someone in Singapore who liked my writing style wanted me to do a blog on certain restaurants and a hotel chain in South East Asia.

As I wasn't offered an all expenses paid trip around SE Asia staying in those hotels and eating in those restaurants I let my new writing career die stillborn.
Well, hell! You are the only person reading this anyway, what were those Singapore advertizing people thinking??

The etching press business has been moved out of the studio into a shed of it's own. Space is at a premium around here with so much going on.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Double booked models at life drawing

Hannah drawn by John

Last night at life drawing class we had two models because I booked Georgia and forgot I had already booked Hannah, our new portrait model.

They both worked and both got paid and I did three portraits of Hannah with pastels on canvas while most of the rest of the class drew Georgia who arrived wearing a red dress, black stockings and heels, truly fabulous, and she posed dressed for the first hour and naked with a kimono loosely fitting for the second hour.
Graham saw what I saw in Hannah, the elfin engenue look, and he is bringing oils next week to do portraits of Hannah. Graham does exquisite moody little oil paintings and is quite a star in his own way.
I told Hannah we would make her famous. She has already been approached by a fashion magazine photographer who wanted to photograph her eyes to photoshop onto some other models face. Hannah told him to fuck off but she understood why I wanted her for a model and said yes to my request.
It's part of my job as teacher to find for the artists and students interesting models.

Georgia drawn by Sandra

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Life Drawing on Canvas

Chalk pastel on prepared canvas. I hope this one turns out OK when painted, think I will use shark oil and oil colours when the time comes

Monday, 12 April 2010

Art School Waihi

Last Saturday the World's Smallest Art School was officially created. The launch of the Art School was a splendid formal occassion attended by such dignitaries and jet-setting glitterattis as Keri Ann and John.
Lucinda Williams entertained the guests live on the stereo and a sumptuous repast of home made plum wine was served.
The New Zealand Art School is unique in that it provides international no star Class Backpacker Accommodation for visiting artists and has solid financial backers including Waimata Kiwifruit Packhouse where John works part-time for minimum wage.
Built upon a firm foundation of vast imagination and endless hope the school is truly infinite in potential.
You, one or two of your friends and some other people are welcome to visit, attend classes and bring something nice for morning tea like chocolate eclairs anytime.
All are welcome. And if you are a musician you get free entry to the beer fridge and plum wine stash.
We'll let you know when you've had enough.
Fuckin amazing or what?!!
And this is only the beginning, I'm like, Wow man! Let's go!

At the New Zealand Art School we support and provide succour and much needed vital assistance to repressed minorities like children.
And their labour is so cheap!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Painted Life Drawings 7 April '10

At life drawing class I am continueing to experiment with fast acrylic painting. This one is painted on a canvas that had a not so good fast life study on it that I scrubbed out with solvent and painted over with primer in order to reuse the canvas.
I am trying to get, every week, something magic in one go. Don't think this one will last too long, I painted, then overpainted, the figure 3 times and painted and painted again the background 5 times.
Overworked. I kinda like the colours though.

One Hundred Strokes ( and what it will do)

After brushing Soraya's hair with one hundred strokes she not only had great looking hair but also felt great and had to try on and show me her two best dresses, kiss her Dad and pose for photos like a fashion model. Grooming and playing dress-up and getting all excited and then I shoot off home and leave her Dad to face the consequences.
Other peoples children are the best fun and there is no down side.
And anyway what would I know or care about red food colouring, too much sugar and over excitement. Cleaning that up is the parent's job . . . .

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Portraits of Children 2; Enter the Rat ! !

Soraya, Stardust and Winona

I can use this and two other photos to get the second portrait right. I was hoping to draw a finished portrait from life but that dream, like many another, ended up in the too hard basket.

Here I am on Easter Monday hard at work tuning up the portrait of Winona I began on Easter Saturday.
Soraya has grabbed my camera, Winona stole and hid my clip on sunnies and I must fondle a rat in a desperate attempt to coax a little girl to SIT STILL!!!
No way.
I count myself lucky I was able to coax Winona into sitting for a photo for the several seconds she begrudgingly favoured me with.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Portraits of Children

This is a work in progress, a commission to make a portrait of a friend's daughter, Winona, first sketch above, second sketch below.
I have not caught her yet, it's a good likeness but the magic isn't there. I've gotten familiar with Winona's features though.
Try again tomorrow morning. I want to get this from life and not use the camera at all but we will see what we will see. . . . It's a nice way to spend mornings over the Easter break anyway.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

A 20 Minute Portrait Painting

At life drawing class I am exploring fast painting from life and encouraging the other artists to come along for the ride.

Waihi Printmaking Class

Etching Press Sale Enquiries:

Creative Waihi hired me to run a printmaking class for beginners.
Two hours a week for 6 weeks.
If you know anything about printmaking you will know that that is an almost impossibly short time to have 13 total beginners each produce a pleasing print at the end of but all went well and the class was a success.
To begin with I was teacher and we went through preparing the plates, applying the grounds and transferring the various designs and etching the plates in acid.
Then came the first printing and we discovered that all the plates were overbitten and not printing well because of my underestimation of the strength of the acid and the time the plates should spend in the acid.
Week 4 I softened the ink with plate oil, introduced best quality printmaking paper, increased the press pressure to the max and encouraged the students to leave some plate colour so as not to wipe off too much ink.
These measures worked and reasonable results were achieved.
Week 5 and 6 they all went crazy!
My expensive paper was vanishing at an alarming rate, they were tearing into all the coloured ink and making their own colours, queueing at the press, not listening to me, not going home at home time but working on and on. Ink and mess all over the place. Like kids in a toy shop on a sugar and colouring rush. The energy was amazing, the time flew by, as no one was listening to me I had to teach by example and inked a few plates in unusual ways and introduced texture effects and was constantly interrupted by pleas, demands and questions so my head was spinning. It was an amazing experience and we got some great results and many printmaking techniques explored and many interesting and elusive effects changing a simple and pleasant design into something much more.
The poor things are now all addicted to printmaking.
My God! What have I done!!