Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Midwinter Mingle - Sunday 16 August 2020

I joined the Arts Collective Whangamata last year and this will be the first event since the Covid-19 Lockdown. Really looking forward to getting back into the art/craft scene. Due to continuing house renovations, I have not yet had time to create anything new. So, the piece I have chosen to exhibit at this event is my double** award winning dot mosaic sculpture titled 'Inspiration'. It is a piece that I am really proud of and I think it shows my skill and ability well. I will be very sad to see it go, if it sells, as it is one of my favourite dot mosaic sculptures so far. I will just have to try and make time to create more, as the ideas are all waiting in my head.

*2018 International Polymer Clay Awards: Applicant Artists Members Choice for Non-Functional Sculpture and Hanging Art
*2019 Annual Members Merit Awards, Estuary Arts Centre (Orewa): 3d Category

Monday, March 23, 2020

COVID-19 puts a halt on my creativity

What a day! After a sleepless night, with all the uncertainty about the impending control measures, got up at 5:00 am to drive from Whangamata back to Auckland. Thought it was was going to be a normal Monday at work but was only there for 2.5 hours when we made the decision to pack as much as we could in the car and drive back down to our house in Whangamata. This is where we need to be for the Lockdown and to be able to work from home.

Unfortunately, there was no time to pack the mosaic picture I was currently working on (spread all over my work table) or any of my polymer clay, tools and equipment. We had to give priority to food, kitchen equipment/utensils, clothes and toiletries.

Post Script: We have just gone in to May now and I am really missing not being able to use my polymer clay, instead I am having to concentrate on decorating the house, with the supplies that we already have. This is creativity of a different sort, which is fine and needs to be done, but most of the jobs are not quite finished because there is something that is needed that we cannot buy at present. So many artists seem to be making the most of the extra time at home during Lockdown, I feel I am missing out on an opportunity. It is really frustrating being separated from your creative materials and equipment but we should be re-united in less than 6 weeks now (the tenancy on the Auckland apartment we were renting expires on 17 June, so we will have to go back before then to remove the rest of our belongings).

Sunday, March 15, 2020

My new 'studio' is taking shape

Over the last 6 weeks, at the weekends, I have been working on creating my new 'studio' space at the end of the our garage. I have
- painted the ceiling walls and woodwork
- put screen blinds up over the back door and window
- laid vinyl plank flooring
- assembled two units with cupboards/drawers
- cut and fixed the bench top in place

All I need to do now is to find a comfortable stool (although I often end up standing when I work) and bring all my tools, equipment, etc. down from Auckland and find a home for it all in my new set up. Then I can get back to creating properly - can't wait!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Frangipani - my first (and last) dot painting

It became quite clear during January that my proposed creative plan for 2020 was going to change. It took a lot of motivation for me to complete my first (and last) dot painting. It really did not give give me the same creative satisfaction as doing my polymer clay mosaic art. It might have been quicker but was messy (I kept smudging the paint) and I did not have enough control to place the dots as close together as I would have liked.

Acrylic dot painting measuring 30cm x 25cm (12" x 10")

When I look at this finished dot painting, I can imagine how much better it would look if I had done it as a polymer dot mosaic. In fact all the time I was painting the dots, I was re-thinking how I could do my dot mosaics with polymer clay, and have thought of a slightly different method that might be quicker. I have decided to try it out, using the the same picture design, as an exercise. It will ease me back into creating polymer dot mosaics, which I have so missed doing, and when done should show that I am much better suited to the mosaics than dot painting.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Starting my first dot painting picture

Inspired by my first experiments with dot painting, I rushed out and bought a small canvas to try dot painting my first picture. I sketched out a quick design of Frangipani flowers, based on images from Google. Background all painted black, ready to start.

In my eagerness to get started I accidentally picked up a chinagraph pencil, instead of a chalk pencil, to draw out the design. The chinagraph lines just would not come off, everything I tried just started taking the black paint off the canvas. So, I decided to block paint the background in different colours (hoping this might look more like the style of  Brandon Rollins).

Now I just need to pluck up the courage to paint the dots.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

What's on my mind - Whangamata

Here is my dot mosaic sculpture created for the Harcourts Arts Challenge 2020, which has the theme 'What's on my mind'. On display at The Big Arts Day Out Exhibition on 9, 10 & 11 January 2020 at the Memorial Hall, Whangamata, NZ.

Various views of 'What's on my mind - Whangamata'

Imprinted in the round mosaic tiles that make up the sculpture were the thoughts that went through my mind, as I came up with the design. You will find the following:
  • Whangamata
  • Protecting our slice of paradise
  • For future generations
  • Keeping the air clean
  • The forests full of birds
  • Protecting our wildlife
  • Supporting local business
  • Land free of litter
  • Pollution free waterways
  • Beaches clean
  • Recreation in harmony with nature
  • Fish stocks sustained
  • A precious place to be conserved for all to enjoy

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

My first attempts at Dot Painting

2020 is to be my year for mastering dot painting. However, I could not wait to give it a try so, when I had a little time between Christmas and New Year I gave it a go. To overcome my fear of getting started, I decided to do some 'experimental trials'.

Here are my very first attempts at dot painting. Using just white, I tried using a paint brush and the dotting tools I had bought previously.

Painting the dots with a paintbrush was a complete disaster, as I had feared. Maybe it was because it was a relatively cheap brush? I had no control over the size of the dots and they definitely did not look perfectly round. Then I smudged it. Never again, I hated painting dots with a paint brush

Using the dotting tools was so different. They really suited me and I was quite pleased with my first attempt. When I did the dots, they looked nicely rounded and raised, however, now they have dried they are flat. I believe this is because I added water to get the paint to the right consistency (it might also have been too runny). From what I have read, I think I should be using Liquitex Pouring Medium, not water.

I had some small discs, which I painted black, just to practice dotting on. Not brilliant. When I get the pouring medium, I may try again on the other side for comparison.

The Liquitex Pouring Medium I had ordered arrived in the morning of New Years Eve so, by the afternoon, I was mixing it with colours and practicing placing dots with my dotting tools. I was surprised how quickly I managed to complete this mirror frame, without smudging any of the dots. There is a lot to improve on but I enjoyed creating this.

I definitely need more practice at placing the dots, both closer together and selecting the right size so the rows are staggered, which I think looks better. I also need to be more methodical when mixing the grades of colour to get a nice even transition. At least I know what I need to practice. 

Looking forward to whatever I do next 😊

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Review of 2019

This year has seen some major life changes that have affected my creative output. In March (after 4 months of trying), we bought a house in Whangamata (Coromandel, NZ), which is where we plan to retire to in about four years time. In May we finally sold our Millwater apartment and in June we started renting an apartment in Auckland for work during the week. So there has been a lot of packing, moving, unpacking and setting up home (in two locations). We have been going down to the house every weekend, working away at decorating/renovating, which is a long term project.

As a result of all this, I have had very little time for creativity. In March, the International Polymer Clay Association announced the results of the 2018 IPCA Awards. My entry, ‘Inspiration’, won in the category: Applicant Artists Members Choice for Non-Functional Sculpture and Hanging Art. Subsequently, in August, this piece also won a Merit Award in the 3D category at the Estuary Arts Centre Members Merit Awards.

I did accept one commission this year and, between selling/moving, created the piece ‘Auckland – City of Sails’. The only other dot mosaic piece I have made, is for the Harcourts Art Challenge 2020. This challenge has the theme ‘What’s on Your Mind’. I have just finished the piece, which is called ‘What’s on my mind – Whangamata’. It will be on display at The Big Arts Day Out Exhibition in Whangamata on 9, 10 & 11 January 2020.

It was hard at first, not entering competitions/exhibitions that I have normally done every year. However, now I have made that break, it feels quite liberating, not having deadlines to meet. Maybe I will keep things that way next year.

I have had a lot of ‘thinking’ time whilst travelling between Auckland and Whangamata at weekends. My main thoughts have been about what I do next, when I get some creative time. I love and am still inspired by creating dot mosaics, which have had some successful sales. However they are very time consuming, as I have to colour mix and make all the tiles, stick them on and then grout (really do not enjoy this part). After 10 years of creating with polymer clay, is it time for a change?

For a while, I have been looking at ‘dot painting’ online. I could create a similar looking end result, without the need for making the tiles and grouting. This should not take so long to complete. My only reservation is that I do not find painting relaxing, as I am always worried about smudging it. However, a lot of the dot painting artists I have studied online, say they find it relaxing.

For 2020, my plan is to try and practice dot painting, to see if this could replace making the polymer dot mosaics. My main inspirations are:

This picture I came across in a local store in Whangamata (artist unknown) but it reminds of dot paintings I saw exhibited at the Lake House Arts Centre in Takapuna, several years ago, by an artist who I believe was called Robianto.

Also the work of Brandon Rollins (see below). Rather than painting dot mandalas, as so many others do so well, I would rather create pictures, my usual subjects are flowers and landscapes. I would try and paint them using Brandon's technique, with different coloured backgrounds to certain areas of the painting.

If I can master painting the dots and still enjoy creating artwork this way, dot painting could have a number of advantages:
·         Materials would be cheaper
·         Size not limited by the size of oven (for baking polymer clay when applied raw on 3D objects)
·         Wider choice of substrates (especially for 3D) as it does not have to withstand baking temperatures
·         Suitable for outdoor art (if painted on a suitable substrate)
·         Paintings are considered of higher value than mosaics
·         Not using ‘plastic’ modelling clay*

*This is an issue that keeps coming up in my mind, with the current move towards reducing plastic waste. Not that I ever create any waste with polymer modelling clay. The ironic thing is that polymer modelling clay is of very similar make up as acrylic paint, and no-one says there should be a ban on painting with acrylic paints.

2020 will be a busy year, as there is still a lot work to do on our house including creating a studio area at the end of the garage, but I will focus on mastering the art of dot painting – and see where that takes me.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Entry finshed for the Harcourts Art Challenge 2020

This challenge has the theme ‘What’s on Your Mind’. I have just finished the 3D dot mosaic piece, which is called ‘What’s on my mind – Whangamata’. It will be on display at The Big Arts Day Out Exhibition in Whangamata on 9, 10 & 11 January 2020. I will post photos/video, once the judging has taken place on Friday 9 January.