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.

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