Monday, November 29, 2010

Completed piece.....

Well, here it is almost December already and my favourite holiday fast approaching. This is the worst time of year for me as far as my concentration level is concerned.....there is so much going on with winding up the end of the year and there never seems to be enough time to do everything. I'm not complaining though....unfortunately I'm one of those annoyingly cheerful people who love the hustle and bustle, the copious amounts of fairy lights, the cheesy movies and everything else that goes along with the season....well, almost everything. Stress and drama I can do without and honestly, if you can't make an effort to be pleasant at this time of year, what hope is there?
All that aside, I managed to complete this piece yesterday and while they are still not named, I do know that they are two old friends who have shared much in their lives and are completely comfortable and at ease with each others company.
I'm hoping to create one more piece before I take a break over Christmas and replace the clay with gingerbread and fruitcake.
Till next time.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New piece in progress....

So, a number of things have kept me from blogging, facebooking, twittering etc. of late. Not that I'm exactly what you'd call 'prolific' regarding any of these....I just find it very difficult to spend that much time on my computer....but this has definitely been a 'less productive than usual' couple of months for me.
Aside from a general feeling of melancholy (a common occurrence but no less irritating for that), I've been having some major dental work which has involved extraction of wisdom teeth among other delights. I have a classic textbook fear of going to the dentist (heart racing, sweats, sleep disturbance and on and on) and although I have found a wonderful, gentle and sympathetic dental surgeon, the whole process is stressful and exhausting. Unfortunately, my dental health suffered very badly during chemotherapy several years ago and now I'm facing a considerable amount of repair work (partly my own fault of course for letting things go too long.....see *dental fear*). Anyway, the worst of it will soon be over and I've decided to have a break after my next appointment until the New Year. A Christmas season without anxiety is what I'm aiming for.
I've been working on the above piece for a couple of weeks and just finished painting them today. The first two shots were taken after firing and before painting and the next two are after the painting has been sealed. The next step is choosing fabrics and fibers for these two little friends and designing their costumes.
The drawing at the bottom is an idea for another 'Tree Faerie', this one not so frightening as the last. It's colored pencil and ink on cardboard, which is a new surface for me and one that I'm enjoying very much....although it does tend to lift if you muck about with it too much.
Before I go, my awesomely talented friend Linda Catchlove has just released a beautiful range of greeting cards featuring her incredible work. They are superb quality cards by a truly gifted artist and you can see and buy them here.
Till next time.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tim Burton exhibition....

It's just over a week since we returned home from our holiday in Melbourne and the Grampians. Guy and I planned this trip way back last year when we found out that the Tim Burton exhibition was coming to ACMI. Being a borderline obsessive when it comes to his films, I have to say that this was THE most greatly anticipated exhibition I've ever attended.
It did not disappoint.
On the contrary, there was so much to see in this enormous collection of artwork, film, costume, models, notebooks, props etc, etc, it was often overwhelming....but in a very good way.
I was a little put off initially by the huge crowds of people but in actuality the slow-moving snake of visitors lining the gallery walls kept my excitement level in check and prevented me from running around like a maniac from one object to another. As it was, I was trying very hard not to look ahead to see what was coming up and so was surprised and delighted every few minutes! There was ample time to examine each piece in glorious detail.
While the big, drawcard pieces (costumes from "Alice", Batman, Edward Scissorhands etc.) were wonderful (Alice's shoes and the Mad Hatter's hat were particular favourites of mine), it was the smaller individual pieces, in particular the drawings and personal notebooks and letters, which gave me the most joy and the most insight. To see Tim's progression through his early years with the influences of Dr Suess, MAD Magazine and illustrators such as Gerald Scarfe and Ralph Steadman (other favorites of mine) was fascinating and certainly something I could relate to personally, having grown up on these same influences myself.
There were also a large number of models built by Rick Heinrichs which were beautiful even in their decay (I thought my heart was going to beat right out of my chest when I saw the puppets of 'Vincent' and the long-suffering Abercrombie wearing the experimental headgear!) and the puppets for 'Corpse Bride', built by Mackinnon & Saunders were, without a doubt, some of the most exquisite objects I have ever seen.
Overall, it was the sheer volume of work by this man who is only a couple of years older than me, that was most inspiring. People like to imagine that to be an artist means that you must exist in a continual state of inspiration and creativity. That may be true for some (lucky them!),
but for most of us inspiration is minor compared to the amount of actual work that needs to be done to realise those precious ideas. Tim Burton has done the hard yards. He's weathered rejection, criticism and the worst kind of 'art snobbery' to bring to fruition his unique vision of an imperfect and totally fascinating world. It's plain, if the huge attendance numbers for this exhibition are anything to go by, that this is an artist who connects with people on a very human level. He certainly does with me.
(Sadly, cameras weren't allowed inside the exhibition, so the photos above are all I have to show.)
Till next time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Distractions, distractions......

Once again I find myself distracted from the task at hand.....I've completed sculpting two of my "Seven Deadly Fae", but the last few weeks have been taken up with a bit of a mish-mash of small projects, some long-overdue, that have needed my attention. As a result, I have strayed from the path.
I found the little sketchy drawing at the top last week while sorting through some paper and immediately wanted to make a sculpt.....I don't remember when I made the drawing and it doesn't have any notes on it, but the friendly little face is very appealing so should make a nice piece.
Unfortunately, on completing this head I made the error of doodling around with the lovely , soft, leftover clay and another wrinkled little face began to emerge....I made a few modifications and transferred it to some armature wire and spent the rest of the day lovingly adding and smoothing lines and crevices. With Halloween fast approaching, I'm thinking she will be a witch, but maybe one of the 'hag' variety, with shawl and hood instead of the traditional pointy hat. However, with my attention span being somewhat less than optimal at present, anything could happen.
The ink drawing at the bottom was made yesterday after going through my pen collection to weed out the ones whose ink had dried up. Every time I start drawing like this, unplanned and with no pre-conceived ideas, I wonder why I don't make a greater effort to do it more often. I love graphite, but drawing directly with ink (no pencil outlines first) is wonderful because while it is unforgiving it also inspires you to have confidence when putting the marks down. There is no middle ground....the drawing will either work....or not. This is a particularly valuable lesson for someone like me, who likes to have total control over every little thing. Sometimes it's nice to just go with the flow. So I will.....for a little while.
Till next time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The end of SALA and an exciting new project.....

After a very slow start, the SALA Festival has ended on a high note for me with an extraordinarily busy final week and a number of last minute sales. The beautiful, sunny weather we had last Sunday certainly encouraged people to get out and about and my tiny gallery space was full to bursting several times during the day.
It was one of the most enjoyable weekends I've had as it was also my husband's birthday and our family celebrations extended from Friday to Sunday with wonderful food, music and company each day. I've never known a person who enjoys their birthday as much as my husband does (the night before is referred to as 'Birthday Eve' and the day after is 'Birthday Boxing Day'!) and I derive enormous pleasure from making his day (or in this case, his weekend) as special as possible. As a consequence, our house upstairs was filled with the delicious smells of baking, which wafted enticingly downstairs to the gallery visitors.....pity we weren't selling morning and afternoon tea, we would have made a fortune!
So, on to the next project. A couple of months ago the TV show 'Masterchef' ran a challenge where the contestants had to create dishes based on the 'Seven Deadly Sins'. I immediately began thinking of faerie creatures based on this same theme and have been planning and researching for my own version of the sins called "The Seven Deadly Fae". I just recently completed sculpting 'Gluttony' and have started work on the head of 'Pride'. They will all be sitting or standing on their own small, decorative pedestal and will each have a found object (made of silver or pewter) which is relevant to them. So far I've found a fork and spoon for 'Gluttony' (the spoon even has a 'G' on it!) a mirror for 'Pride', a knife for 'Wrath' and a pot for 'Greed'. At this stage I'm leaning towards the sins all being very pale and neutral with perhaps one introduced color.....but that could change as I move past the sculpting stage. Early on I was toying with the idea of also making the "Seven Heavenly Virtues", but truthfully they're not nearly as interesting (or as much fun) as the sins and the last thing I want to do is come off as 'preachy'......or worse, boring.
I'm very excited about this project and am planning to publish a small format book when they are all completed. I hope you enjoy the pics of the project so far.....will most more wip shots as I progress.
Till next time.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cold and wet start to SALA.....

The SALA festival kicked off with a bang last Friday, with one of my pieces selling on the first day. Since then, it's been cold, wet and miserable and consequently, VERY quiet. Not to worry....the visitors I've had have been delightful and the response so far has been very positive. With any luck, the wintry weather will let up long enough to encourage people to get out and about.....*fingers crossed* I've taken a few gallery shots and you can see how overcast and bleak it is at the moment, as there is hardly any natural light coming in.....I dislike using the camera flash, so let's just call these 'atmospheric'.

In all other respects, it's been a very busy week. I'm in the planning stages of a new project that I'm very excited about. I don't want to say too much until I have something to show for it, but I will say that it is a multiple piece project and although the theme is one that has been explored often, I hope that I can create a 'different' vision on a familiar subject. I will also be creating a limited edition book in conjunction with this work, but more on that later.....

I'm also planning pieces for next Octobers exhibition at Imagine Gallery in the UK. There are several ideas for themes running around in my head, but I'm having difficulty making the commitment to just one. Perhaps I'm in need of a 'close your eyes and point' type of approach.

Before I go, this Friday is the opening of the 'Schaffas' exhibition. The pieces are being auctioned for charity so I hope that those of you who can will come along and bid (on my piece, of course!) and feel good knowing that the money is going to support improvements in indigenous health.....a very worthwhile and much needed cause. The auction starts at around 7.00pm and as there are over 100 participating artists and designers, it should be a fun night.

Till next time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Beginning to see the light.....

Just a brief post as I'm about to rush off to tackle one or two items on a lengthy 'to-do' list. This is the third 'white' piece and the second to last piece that I hope to complete before SALA opens next Friday.
I don't often make sleeping figures....for me the eyes are too integral to the life of the piece to have them closed, but when I tried to 'wake' this little faery up she was quite adamant that she did not want to be after three failed attempts, I gave in. As it turns out, she is the family favourite at the moment and the reaction to her doesn't appear to be lessened by her closed eyes.....actually, there is a vulnerability about this faery that makes me feel very protective of her, a more child-like quality than I usually portray. She is still waiting for her wings, which I'm currently working on, then hopefully I can get some nice shots of her....perhaps some by candlelight would look effective? Hmmmm.
So, now I'm on to the last task, which is to complete the life-sized 'goblinish' fellow that I started some months ago and then became side-tracked from. I think he would be an eye-catching addition to my new little gallery downstairs. I've set myself a very strict time-table to work to and, if no major disasters arise, he should be finished by Tuesday next week.
Before I go, I'd just like to mention that my dear friend Koldo Barroso has completed his "Kooky Pets" book and it is now available to pre-order here. I can't say enough good things about this amazingly talented artist and writer. Besides his gift for making beautiful, imaginative and very often humorous art, he is a truly kind and generous person. This is evidenced not only in the incredibly reasonable price of his gorgeous book, but also by the fact that he is including an original (!!) drawing with each of the limited edition copies! Far too good to miss out on .........!
Till next time.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A nanny-goat and a red wall....

I completed the 'goat-woman' piece yesterday after working obsessively on her for the past week....the paint job was more difficult on this piece because she has mostly smooth surfaces on her's not as interesting as lots of wrinkles but there still needs to be some subtle variations or it comes out looking too flat. I think what finally brought it to life was painting in the blue veins just visible on her breasts and the backs of her hands....her skin is almost white so this added some believability, I think.
I still can't believe my luck in finding the perfect hair for her. Initially, I had planned to give her some beautiful, long, white Tibetan lambs wool locks, but on trying them out they almost cancelled out the horns and really were too white for the piece. Rummaging through my collection of hair (only a doll artist could write that sentence!) I found a small piece of fleece that was exactly the right size and is a near perfect match for the linen fabric of her dress. The 'crook' was an afterthought....she needed to be holding something and I have no doubt that she would not hesitate to use it as a weapon, if provoked!
I've also included a photo of her 'unclothed'.....the lower part of her body is lamp base, one of several that I picked up on sale at a craft supply place. I'm really enjoying these 'pedestal pieces' and have found the absence of color to be oddly liberating. I find that I'm thinking about things in a way that I haven't before. I've always thought of my sculpting as drawing with clay, but this feels even more so.....although there is less to convey the mood of the piece, there is somehow more.
The last few photos are of the downstairs gallery space and my delicious red wall. It still needs its final coat, as do the now cream plinths, but already the room is lifted. There is so much dark timber down there, it really needed some lightening up.....the black plinths were just too heavy and the beige walls too bland. The carpet cleaner comes on Friday, so hopefully will be able to start setting up on the weekend. Will post more pics then.
Now, it's back to the sculpting table.
Till next time.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

So much to do, so little time....

It's just under three weeks until the SALA Festival and things are finally starting to come together. This will be the first time that my new "gallery space" will be open to the public and so I am anxious to not only have some completed work for people to look at, but also to have the (very small) space looking its best. To that end, we (my husband & myself) have been re-painting walls, re-painting plinths, cleaning and polishing timber work, having carpets steam cleaned, framing prints and drawings and generally running ourselves ragged on the weekends and evenings, which is the only time we have to do this stuff. I was starting to think it was all a bit much until about an hour ago when Guy completed painting the main feature is now the most delicious, opulent red I've ever seen and I am totally in love with it....I keep going downstairs just to stare at it and picture how wonderful my new cream plinths and 'white themed' pieces are going to look in front of it. As far as interior decorating goes, to me there is nothing more exciting than putting 'big color' on a wall. It has completely transformed the room and given me a space in which I'm proud and excited to display my work.

The top three photos are my newest completed piece and the horned woman underneath is further along now and will be completed early next week.....another 'white' piece. The little goblin at the bottom was a diversion and will most likely be a full sculpt, although I probably won't get back to it for a few weeks.

So, the plan is to complete the horned woman, create one more white piece and finish the lifesize goblin I built a couple of months ago, in that order, before July 30th. Oh, and then there's the designing and printing of new cards, brochures, bookmarks etc, updating the website, re-painting the porch with non-slip paint so I don't get sued if someone takes a tumble in the wet weather and at least a dozen other things that aren't even remotely interesting but still need to be done.

I figure if I reduce my sleeping to a few hours a night and forgo any semblance of a social life, I might just about make it.

Till next time.