Showing posts from April, 2008

Singapore - day two

We found a guide book for Singapore by foot with suggested walks and highlights.
We were cooling off at a trendy cafe' in the "Arts House," refreshing ourselves with an ice tea.

We had a great day exploring the famous Orchard Road with its many shopping malls and upscale boutiques.
Most stores carried brand names of European and American designer labels, but we saw a few Asian designers as well.

We had a delightful time in the biggest bookstore we had ever seen that carried the most extensive collection of photography, art and design books.

We had lunch at a vegetarian restaurant that served delicious mock duck and spicy mock chicken dishes.

Later in the afternoon we explored some of the art around town.
It wasn't like the alternative art scenes you see in Shanghai or Beijing, but we did see interesting art.

We had dinner at a restaurant that is called "Grains". Although not vegetarian, they served us fried brown rice and green spinach with garlic.
They also served …

Singapore - first day

We enjoyed our first day in Singapore.
We started the day by swimming at the large pool of the Mandarin Oriental hotel.
We decided to explore the city by neighborhoods.
The first area we chose to explore was the Arab section of town.
Small narrow walking paths and one way streets line this compact neighborhood filled with shops selling fabrics, carpets and gifts.
We ate at a Lebanese restaurant a selection of Mezze vegetarian appetizers and drank a concoction of hibiscus petals.
We bought some lacquer ware for our home made from thin wood and covered with a coating of resin from the lacquer tree.

We browsed at a Sufi bookstore and bought some books we will enjoy reading.
In the afternoon we ate a snack of vegetarian Indian food and fresh squeezed juices.

Later in the evening we looked for brochures and advertisements for art exhibits around town. As I looked at some of the abstract art in the brochure, I felt self doubts overwhelming me.

The voice inside suggested that I might enjoy working in …

Flying to Singapore

Sometimes not going to the studio to paint can be refreshing. Now that I do not have to paint to meet a deadline, I suddenly feel less busy and a bit more relaxed.

I decided to spend the day packing for our upcoming week long trip to Singapore, closing up our places and finishing last minute errands.

I packed one more painting for shipping, emptied the dehumidifier in the studio, lowered the timer on the radiators, and made sure everything is locked.

I may be writing my blog while we are in Singapore, but since I will not be taking my Mac Book computer, I will post the entries on my
instead of my usual blog.
Look at it to see photos of Singapore and details of our trip.

Fire and art

I took advantage of the cloudy day and started a fire in our old concrete tank that we converted into a self contained fire pit in which to burn branches and yard scraps.

Here in the Far North, there is no collection of yard scraps.
We have to find days when the risk of starting a bush fire is low and burn our own garden scraps.

I also finished the last of the paintings that I submitted to the exhibitions and continued to pack the art.
I have packed today 14 paintings and feel very tired having doing so.

I had to revive my tired body with three chocolate biscotti and a soy latte’.

It felt good to be putting so much of the prep work for the shows out of my mind.
I usually feel nervous if I leave too much work undone before we depart to the USA.
I like to get things done way ahead of departure time.

We are leaving for a week long trip to Singapore this coming Sunday.
I look forward to this vacation.
I yearn for a bit of leisure time and luxury.
I look forward to strolling the streets of a city wit…


The gray morning turned into a beautiful day.
The weather is changing now and the nights are turning colder.
We have started to heat the rooms with our radiators (set on low). They also help to control the humidity in the house, as well as provide toasty rooms.
Of course in the streets we see kiwis walk with shorts and no shoes while we bundle up.

Today we met with our accountant and banker to complete our NZ residency papers and year end taxes.
We also bought the courier tickets required to ship the art to Auckland and Wellington.
Not a studio day but a very productive day indeed.

Sky Gazing


Packing some art

Today things did not go my way.
I started the day by reworking one of the paintings from the sketchbook series.
I did not like how my attempt at “improving” the piece, so I left it to rest for now.

Because of my failure to fix the piece, I did not feel confident to start a new painting.
There are days that do not go well and I find it best not to be too ambitious, or push myself to create or I will end up with a painting that I am not inspired to continue.

Instead we continued packing the paintings.
It is so complicated to find your way in a new country.
In the USA I know exactly where to buy and order everything.
I know the best ways to ship my art, the way the system works and how to get the best rates.
Here in NZ we are making our way like a blind person feeling the air in front of him by waving his hands at the blank space ahead.

Numerous phone calls later and countless internet searches and we ended up with three paintings packed only.

I will continue to pack some more on Friday.

Back in the studio

How much fun it is to paint again.
After a week long fiddling with the kitchen installation, I was back in the studio to paint.

Jules came to the studio to help with the preparation of the paintings for the shows and he did a great job at the first stage of tagging and packing the art.

I started a new canvas with a new goal. I decided to make a few quick drawings, no more than five minutes each.
To make matter more challenging, I chose complicated poses.
One pose was a view of a male laying down on his back with his legs folded over with his knees up in the air.

The second drawing is a view of a man laying on the ground viewed from his feet.
So you have to imagine (because I didn’t take my camera to the studio) that the viewer is laying down on the floor too and looking through the man’s feet.

I love challenges, even though by no means the drawings looks great. They are simply exercises - five minute loose exercises.

I also started to add to the painting the rest of the sketchbook elements in …

Pompous artists' statements

Today we ran errands in Kerikeri.
We got home late and very tired.
I think we will make a salad and crash in front of the TV with a movie and a blanket.

We did talk about art marketing today as we sat in the cafe’.
We talked about some of the artist’s statements we have seen in this part of the world.
Many exhibits that I saw had a long and elaborate (and sometime nonsensical) artist’s statement.

In my opinion, this is part of the issue that rural people face. They want to be and do things like “city people”. except that the world is constantly changing and especially in big cities, people do thing differently than they did them in the eighties.

Nobody thinks that the art needs the support of a statement. The art should speak loud and clear. the statement could be whimsical or short or anything the artist feel like.

Few days ago I read a Bio of an artist that I liked:

Marissa Arterberry is a Visual Artist living in Oakland, California. She has become known for her acid-bright depictions of wom…

Humor me

Finally I have completed the last painting in the “Unnerving to a frugalist” series. (or the “squiggly style” as I fondly call it).
The paintings look abundant with colors and shapes.
I will post photos as they become dry enough to stand up and photograph.
Now I have about two weeks of drying time before we need to tag, connect the hangers and pack them for the exhibitions.

Now that the kitchen is mostly done, we hang some large paintings from my newest style “The artist’s sketchbook” in our dining room and living area.

I know I am not objective, but I was delighted to feel that they really look great there.
They brighten up the space and bring a fun filled feeling to the whole room.
We have selected an ultra modern bright white kitchen with stainless edges.
Our dinning table and chairs are also white and modern with clean lines.
Somehow the art that is so colorful and full of child-like symbols and doodles, work so well with the feel of the room.

It takes the Italian design that could feel too…

Another kitchen day

I will not write long today because I did not paint today. In fact I didn’t even think about art.
Today was devoted completely to installing the kitchen.
We had workers all over the place.
The great news is that it looks wonderful, even though one fridge arrived damaged and will have to be replaced.

The kitchen does not look completed because the back splashes (or “up stands” as they are called in NZ), are not going to be ready for about ten more days. we also need to reinstall some of the windows architraves that needed to be removed to get the back splash’s template taken.

This is by far, the best kitchen I ever had.
The Italians are masters in kitchen design.
We spent the rest of the day cleaning after the guys left.
I feel exhausted but satisfied.

Renovation day

Yet another day of applying layers to the thick acrylic paintings.
I did manage to draw the lines of the sketchbook on a new canvas, but had little time today to draw anything.
Tomorrow maybe another day full of activity around the house as both the plumber and the electrician are coming.

I can’t wait to see all of this finished.
We booked a trip to Singapore to relax and refresh after all this renovation.
It would be nice to see a new place and be in a big city again.

Kitchen installation

The most exciting thing today was the installation of the new kitchen.
I spent most of the day hanging around the installers, giving my input.
Between overlooking the installation, I applied more layers of paint to the squiggly paintings and dreamt up some names for the paintings.
Jules took me to lunch at our local cafe’ and we had a lively conversation about marketing art.
There is a course being offered in our local community about selling your art.
Our area is brimming with artists so I am sure the course will be full.
We talked about the fact that I am thinking of attending the course, even though I have sold more art than some artists sell in a lifetime.
Still, I believe that maybe I will pick up bits of info and tips I may not have thought of.

Big Foot

I am currently in our house and it is raining so hard that I delayed going to my art studio that is next door.
Looking outside, it looks like somebody turned on the shower at full force and forgot to turn on the lights.

The kitchen installers have arrived and started unpacking the many boxes.
I can’t wait to see how the kitchen looks.

I had a very productive time in the studio.
My art supplies arrived and I was able to apply more layers of paint to the squiggly paintings.

I also continued working on the painting that I will name “Big foot”.
I felt playful and I like the outcome.

Large Feet

We got the delivery of our new kitchen today.
The lean and strong guys brought up our long flight of stairs more than fifty heavy boxes. (with the help of Jules that insisted on carrying boxes way too heavy.)
Tomorrow the installation of the kitchen starts.
I can’t wait to see how it is going to look when they are finished.

In the studio, I continued working on “Resting Pose”.
I played with the canvas as if it is a scrap of found paper.
I played games on it and mindlessly drew shapes and colorful lines through the painting.

Towards evening, while waiting for the delivery of the kitchen, I decided to start a new painting.
I drew a man sitting on a chair. But instead of trying to render correct proportions, I wanted to portray his feet which are closer to the viewer than his face, much larger.

It didn’t quite go according to plan, but I always make loose plans anyway.
Instead of using carefully drawn lines that follow the contour of his body, my hand wanted coarse, restated lines.

Eventually I sur…

Resting pose

This weekend the weather turned colder and the rain started coming down.
Now it feel like autumn has arrived to the Far North of NZ.

After breakfast of brown rice with cut fresh vegetables, I sat down for coffee, chocolate biscotti and a conversation with Jules.
We spoke about the concept of exhibiting art in galleries that do not get much traffic. (Galleries that are not located in big cities but rather in small remote villages), about how it can effect the artist spirit to get no interest, not even lookers.
We talked about the positive aspects of being a part of an art community and the down side of having your art not accepted or liked in this community.
Finally I felt I would be feeling better if I immerse myself in the work.

Up the hill in the studio I continued painting the piece I think I will name “Resting Pose”.
I added images and painted a bright orange field around the figure with strong wild arm movements.
I really put some energy into it.
I did all the doodling in red ink which ha…

I am pressing on

Today we attended an art opening in our local art gallery.
We were delighted to see so many people attending.
The art of Claire Deighton was wonderful to behold.

Up the hill in my studio, I started a new painting.
I chose a challenging posture of a woman laying on her back and spent five hours trying to render her form on the large canvas with charcoal and pencils.

I am not working hard at rendering exact proportions as my intentions is to create a “sketchbook feel”, not a realistic drawing.
On the canvas, I will doodle, smear paint and draw some more.
My aim is to create an impact and improve my skills.

I love the challenges and the freedom that the sketchbook presents me with.
I am curious to see people’s response to my new art.
In comparison to the art being shown in greater NZ, it is very different in sensibility, colors and theme.
But I trust my inner guide and follow her vision.

Like the Bob Dylan song:

Well I'm pressing on
Yes, I'm pressing on
Well I'm pressin…

A view of my studio today

I had a wonderful day working in the studio, making progress on the painting I am going to name “The businessman’s wife” painting (shown on the far easel in my studio.)
My art supplies did not arrive today so I will not be able to work on the squiggly art over the weekend.
Maybe we will go cycling again.

I also photographed the art that I’ve completed last week and worked on applying more layers to the squiggly paint series.

A tamed inner critic

I am feeling more energetic these days.
They say that there is nothing like a deadline to motivate an artist.
We have to pack the art for the shows before we leave NZ on May 15th.
By then the art needs to be dry, signed, tagged and boxed.

The drying time is the trickiest part.
For the art to be fully dry, I will need to complete the pieces by the third week of April.
This will leave two weeks of drying time and one week to pack and get them ready,

Between layers of thick acrylics, I started a new painting in the Artist’s Sketchbook series.
I started with a drawing of a back view of a lady in her night gown.
After much erasing and restating the lines, I ended up with a pleasing beginning to a nice painting.

I notice that these days I hear the inner critic much less.
I even invite her to critic my work before I declare it finished.

I pull a chair in-front of the canvas and ask the inner critic to give me her input.
Anything at all is welcomed. I want to make the painting as powerful as I can.
But she…

Wide appeal?

Today felt like a very productive day.
In the morning, I updated my website with more images of art.
In the studio I continued working on the painting “White Bait” and got to a point in which it feels finished.
I may go back to it later and work on it some more if I see a need.

It seems like the paintings are taking more or less the same time to create. I mostly finish a painting in four days if I do not encounter too much inner criticism or problems.
If I do, It can take more than a week to get the painting to a point that feels good to me.
But I never care how long it takes to work on a painting, I simply note that in my mind.

Jules came to the studio to do an inventory count for the year end tax reports.
We counted all the raw canvases, paints and the finished canvases. (that have not found an adopted home yet.)

I spent the rest of the day preparing the first layers of paint for the squiggly style.
We also place an additional order of paints that we will need to complete this style.

Sending m…

Local art exhibit

This morning we decided that we need to show some support for our artists friends in the community by visiting the exhibit that is closing in a week at our local gallery.
Lindsay Evans is doing beautiful sculptures with found wood, copper, milk paint, gauze and plaster.
We really enjoyed seeing his work.
It also looks very collectable and pleasing.
We wish him great success in his art career.

We headed to our local cafe’ for soy latte and biscotti.
We sat by the rising tides and had a lovely conversation.

Our little town is filled with artists, potters, wood carvers, photographers, writers, poets, musicians and creative people.
It seems that everywhere you look, there are artists engage with their art or craft.
When we walked up the hill, we noticed a painter through her studio’s window quietly working away on a large canvas.

Up on the hill in my studio I continued working on my new painting “White Bait”.
Apparently now is the season, as our local cafe’ is offering a dish of white bait patty.
I a…

Going Cycling

The early morning rain had dried up and the sun broke through the clouds.
By mid morning it was a beautiful sunny day.
We decided to go cycling. A nice gentle ride to get our bodies re-accustomed to biking.
It has been months since we’ve been on a bike, with the ski season and being preoccupied with our properties here in NZ.

But before our cycling trip, I went to the studio to work on the paintings from the series “Unnerving To A Frualist”.
I have been working on them daily, applying layers of thick paints, waiting for it to dry and applying more paint.

I really hope they will have a good reception in the shows.
They did sell well last year, but this year I have a lot more done in oils and they look different from the acrylics ones.

The cycling trip was wonderful. We cycles on a dirt road into a new part of town that we did not see before, circling the harbor. The ginger on the side of the roads is blooming now and even though here in NZ it is considered to be a noxious weed, the sweet smell…

Slow drying

Instead of staying home on this gray Saturday, reading books and watching DVD’s, I decided to go to the studio and work for a few hours.
I continued working on the paintings from the series “Unnerving to a frugalist”, trying to get them ready for the shows.
Because New Zealand is an island surrounded with windy coasts, the humidity level is very high.
Especially in the North Island which enjoys a sub tropical climate.
This means that even acrylic paints, when applied very thick, takes weeks to dry.
We are running a dehumidifier which we empty daily, but still I need to wait at least a day or two before applying another coat of paint.
The paintings that I have done in this series in thick oils take almost a year to dry and some takes longer.

Fishing for compliments

I started my time in the studio by working on the piece I think I will call “Fishing”.
It is a play on the images of the fish as well as the young girls “fishing for compliments” and are a little pouty for not getting enough to raise their self esteem.

While completing the painting, I encounters a mixed range of emotions, ranging from satisfaction with the images I piled on the sketchbook to doubts and even a desire to flee and go do something else.

But I stayed in the studio and painted and I felt quite happy with the progress.

I did take a quick walk to the water pond up the hill and sadly observed the damages done by the wild pigs and the possums.

The wild pigs dig the grass and crash small plants while the possums climb on the fruit trees, and break all the tender branches and eat the flowers and any available fruit they can munch on.

Later in the afternoon Jules brought from the cafe’ a soy latte and some biscotti and we sat on the loungers and talked. I also read a bit about the conc…
"Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art."

— Leonardo Da Vinci

Life gets in the way

I am sure that other artists find that “life” gets in the way of creating art.
But how can we create art if we do not allow life with all its distractions to shape our lives?

We always tell ourselves that it will get easier after we completed renovating and moving into our new house.
We say that we will find more free time to go cycling, kayaking and of course spend more quiet time in the studio creating art.

I know that I have been painting regularly and with the time spent in the studio, creating new paintings and connecting with my creative side on deeper and deeper levels.

I have been allowing layers of fears and self doubts to surface and be healed.
I have been honest and direct with the sketchbook series and despite the fact that it looks like so much fun and “easy” to make, I have been painting with my guts more often than with paint.

It is the continuity of ideas in my mind that I miss in these busy times.
When decisions needs to be made, I get too focused on the projects at hand and …