Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Murals, Etching Presses and Duck Refugee Camps

I have been commissioned to paint a mural on a boarded up shop in Waihi. The original shop was built in 1909, was moved and rebuilt in the 40's and all that remains of the original shop is the 1909 cast iron framed verandah over the pavement.
The mural is to be a 1909 grocery with all authentic period architecture and stock and signage on the verandah.
All done with artistic cunning to amuse the passersby. It's a history painting and the research for it has led me many places: to the Waihi Library, to the Alexander Turnbull library in Wellington whose vast photographic resources are available on line, to various local identities who have lived a lifetime in Waihi and finally to an antique Grocery Museum in Opotiki, three hours drive away across the Bay of Plenty. I must go there to photograph in glorious living colour, all the original period cans and boxes and sacks and jars of an Edwardian Antipodean small town Grocery.
The concept drawing I made for this job has passed muster and it's all go on the final working drawing and the painting of the mural. Good money too and me a poor artist sorely in need of a few bob at the moment..
AT THE SAME TIME.. I have sold one of my beautiful etching presses to an old friend of mine, he has paid a deposit after visiting and making his choice of the variety of styles of etching presses I have available.
There remains only a week or so of work to do on this press before it is ready to be picked up and fully paid for. More money for the artist sorely in need etc. etc.
The press comes first and after a couple of days on the concept drawing for the mural I was happily working on the press when down comes the rain.
Two storms in a row, a regular monsoon with the odd gale force wind thrown in and upsetting the delicate process of painting the component parts of the etching press in my rudimentary, breezy, press workshop.
 So I have been doing research on the mural and working on the press when ever it is fine and getting behind on both jobs and stressed out, both jobs being extremely complicated and my poor brain being only as big as it is, normally quite adequate for my purposes but just a tad overloaded right now and all that money (sorely needed, poor artist etc. etc.) located somewhere in the future.
My understanding of Quantum Physics and the many and various Spiritual views of human existence leads me to believe that there is no such thing as the future, nor the past and that there is only now, always has been now and always will be now. Holding that belief and pondering the future has put me in the land of paradox, a great concept to discuss with good friends together with slightly immodest doses of Celtic lubricant but not a good place for a mere human being to live in. Stress comes along together with the Monsoon-like weather.
So this morning, being a rare and unexpected sunny day after a day and night of torrential rain, the dog and I went for a walk down by the river and it is in full and raging flood with all that rain and there on the higher reaches of the river banks I saw all the ducks in scattered groups mourning the loss of their homes and looking like refugees in a crisis.
Fuck paradox and stress! At least I am not a homeless duck and I have a way cool mural to paint and another etching press sold.
And fuck money too, I have enjoyed writing this. :)