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.

Friday, August 2, 2019

'Inspiration' wins a Merit Award

Thrilled to win a Merit Award for my dot mosaic sculpture, titled ‘Inspiration’. See the exhibition, which is on throughout August, at the Estuary Arts Centre, Orewa.

'Inspiration' - in daylight and in the dark

Receiving the award

On display with judge's comments

Exhibition details

Monday, July 29, 2019

Auckland - City of Sails (commission)

Although I am taking a 'creative break' this year, I have managed to finish this piece, which was a commission.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Friday, March 15, 2019

Videos of my winning piece - Inspiration

Here is 'Inspiration' filmed in daylight

and here it is in the dark

2018 International Polymer Clay Awards - a winner

Just watched the live announcement of the 2018 International Polymer Clay Awards. I was thrilled to get an award for my sculpture, Inspiration, in the following category: Applicant Artists Members Choice for Non-Functional Sculpture and Hanging Art. So now I can reveal the piece.

Inspiration - in daylight and in the dark

Title: 'Inspiration'

Description: The meandering line of small glow in the dark tiles represents the initial inspiration or brainwave. I often get my creative inspiration in the dark of the night. The graded colors that ripple out from this brainwave represent the development of an idea into the whole concept. The choice of shades of turquoise reflects the restful, calm, contemplation that forms part of my inspirational process. Each mosaic tile that covers this sphere is like one small part of a grand plan, and it is very satisfying when they all come together, to create the whole thing. As I was making this sculpture, I was already getting inspiration for my next creation.

Materials: Polymer clay tiles and acrylic paste grout (over stainless steel sphere)

Dimensions: 17 cm (63/4 inches) across x 17 cm (63/4 inches) high

To view the winners of all the categories in the 2018 International Polymer Clay Awards click here