A couple of favourite pieces from the last few months.
A portrait Based on a reference photo of Georgia O’Keeffe (by Philippe Halsman). I know I’m not alone in finding her an inspiration.
And a portrait based on a photo of Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth in the film, Elizabeth, the Golden Age.
(using acrylic paint)
And these two drawings from the evening class I’ve just started going to.
(using charcoal to sketch, and Conté à Paris colour crayons – these materials are a whole new experience!)
there is beauty in your ravaged body
and shelter still between your naked arms
not barren, only sleeping
not alone, the night birds are watching
Ah – another late post.
It wasn’t until I re-read this that I realised just how dark my words can be. What was written at the start of this year as a metaphor for winter, seemed to be speaking to some deep psychological state. And perhaps there’s a truth in that.
August came, and I slipped into the darkness that sometimes settles over me at the end of winter. The days are so short and the light is gloomy. Motivation dissipates, and all I want to do is to snuggle under a blanket and keep warm.
I’ve kept up with my artwork through the weekly classes I’m going to after work. But I haven’t put in much effort on the weekends. I was having a tidy up a few weeks ago and rediscovered my stash of wool – so knitting has become my weekend activity. I think that’s because I can do it while snuggled under the blanket mentioned above.
Anyway – today – I’m wondering if I’m starting to turn a corner. The weather is still awful, cold, rain, even thunder and sleet today! But I stood at my new easel and finished the drawing I’d started in class last Tuesday. Its good to be looking forward.
a little of madness, a little of wisdom
spin the compass in the midst of winter
a wild circling, a dance that keeps your heart awake
July – midwinter – sitting on one of the turning points of the year and feeling both the pull to go out into the dark, the cold, and the desire to keep warm and safe.
And realising that sitting in between these points achieves nothing.
There are choices to be made, risks to be taken.
Sometimes we need to use a tool to give us direction, and sometimes we need to be prepared to feel a little vulnerable, a little reckless.
It all keeps the blood pumping rich and hot, even if our breath and fingertips are freezing.
deepen your shadows,
rich histories beckon as we go into the dark,
slow mysteries in the undergrowth,
bright eyes watching
June – the start of winter.
Time to reflect and remember- to open our inner selves to the dark while we shelter and keep our bodies warm.
Time to notice the life that continues all around us, though it might slow and withdraw into the shadows.
Time to check the mirror for our own reflection, to notice our own bright eyes looking back.
release the lost ones
shelter those come home
clear a path, light a candle, set the table, close the door
The start of winter, days are shorter, nights becoming long and dark. This is a time to release the past, the people and places we’ve moved on from, or those who have left us. It’s a time to hold close the special ones who enter the circle of light that shines from our doorway out into the darkness. It’s a time to keep warm, to feed the soul, to rest.
bright jewels fall
from your fingers, paint the ground
in colours from a royal palette – amber, ruby, amethyst
Its taken a long time for autumn to start making her self felt, but the last few weeks have had a chilly nip in the air, and the daylight hours are getting shorter.
Many of our New Zealand trees are evergreen, and our winters are often more richly green than in the summer. But we have many exotic trees as well, and the contrast makes their fallen leaves and bare branches even more special.
January to February 2019
I’ve been working through a portrait painting series of workshops called “Take Thirty” by Misty Mawn. This is available from her website http://www.mistymawnart.com/ .
These are my efforts from the first nine workshops. There are a couple here I really love as they are, and many that would be worth starting over again. Proportions, angles, shapes, relationships that are not right. But just to show that we all have to start somewhere, and we all have days when things just don’t work out that well – I’ve decided on “full disclosure”. So here they are – all nine so far.
What I’m finding is that I am beginning to work more quickly, less obsessing over getting every detail perfect, and more able to tune in to a more intuitive process. I say that – but I’m still aware of being quite analytical, constantly making comparisons, choices, decisions. But sometimes this process seems to slip just below the surface, so I can feel it happening, but there is equally that emphasis on the word “feel”.
Perhaps its more about the power of practising something enough that you begin to draw from that in a way that feels more natural, more personal, because its based on your own experience and knowledge of what’s worked previously.
I’ve discovered that now my creative practice has shifted into this visual form, I’m writing much less. Its as if my brain isn’t comfortable working on words and images at the same time. And yet, there is a time when I want to be able to merge the two.
I’m about to start the eighteenth portrait – so I’ll be sharing that soon.
the falling begins
the withdrawal, the sheltering
hold life close to your heart and release the past
Our Autumn usually begins in March, but we’ve had such a long, hot summer its hard to imagine the weather changing. But just this morning – it was cooler, I wore a light-weight jersey to work, I fiddled with the air-conditioning trying to change it from cooling to heat. I realised that I am noticing the change, ever so slight, that is starting to happen. And when I went outside to cross the road to the little sandwich shop opposite, the freshness in the air was a shock and a joy. The air felt fresh, clean, as if it was somehow more full of energy and oxygen than usual.
So – welcome Autumn. Come and bring your falling leaves, your cool temperatures, and I will begin the sheltering. This is the time when we move indoors, not to get out of the sun, but to conserve heat, to wear an extra jersey, to throw a rug across the bed. I should have realised the change was coming when the cat began to sleep on the bed again after weeks of night-time exploring – he had begun to notice the drop in temperature on his midnight rambles.
So – welcome Autumn. And as I start to move inside, I’ll notice the treasures I have around my house, and I will light a candle to the memories. But I will hold hands with the present, with the here and now, and what gives me purpose and pleasure.
So – welcome Autumn. And soon you will bring your sister Winter. And that’s when things get serious.
filling the space,
every window shows your face,
your multitudes, your bright insistence
February calendar post at last!!
Why has it taken so long – no idea – beyond printer not working, going back to work after summer holiday, and putting my time into painting.
Anyway – here ‘tis. This is my world, my green view – this is what I see if I feel like a spot of daydreaming.
And now that the cicadas have come out in force at last, I wonder if a big shiny insect might have been a better image. Still – they need the trees and trust me – they are all over these.
granddaughter and the wolf
I will build a small house in the woods
with a library and a kitchen and a studio and a bed
and when the wolf comes
I will invite it in
and read to it in a quiet voice
with an even rhythm
and a slow pace
I will cook the meat it brought me
and we will lie on the floor
holding the bone between us
and chew our way to the centre
until our noses touch
I will use a large brush to paint its portrait
in gold and silver and grey
with eyes closed and mouth just open
and when it is tired
it will crawl onto the bed
and I will lie beside it
and comb its fur while it dreams
in the morning
we will drink the broth
and polish our teeth
the question is – who is the granddaughter?