I finished the new painting for Kennedy Point Vineyard yesterday. Tomorrow I will install it in their tasting room and hopefully assist in raising a few smiles. I need some new work for the open studio weekend over Queen’s Birthday.
I met a young lady today named Isabella. She is keen to create an altered book. It was a question that she asked me that I find myself pondering at the moment. “Is your art random?” she asked. My first reaction was to dialogue about letting your last painting inform your next painting. But in truth there is the first day in the birth process of a painting when I really let loose and become very random. It is my favourite part of the painting. That no wrong answers period, when I just flow.
Isabella was no doubt using the term “random,” in a slang manner.
“I am the most random artist you will ever meet,” I gloated. Okay, so after they left I looked up ”random.” When referring to a person as being a “random,” it means they might have showed up to a party and didn’t fit in or wasn’t invited. Not wanting that definition applied to me I chose to stick with another slang definition that suggests “random” can be used as an adjective and might mean; surprising, unexpected and unpredictable. Okay, I fit into that category on day one.
After day one I grow up a bit and start using a more critical eye. But ya know what? I quite love the random alchemy that happens when using mixed media. It is the very randomness that keeps me coming back for more.
I can tell that Isabella likes randomness too. She did say that she prefers paintings that don’t try to replicate the real thing. Can’t wait to see what else she teaches this old dawg.
and so is the painting. I only know tidbits of the “real,” story about Hoppy the Magpie from Kennedy Point Vineyard. This is the story that has emerged from this painting.
Hoppy, then known as Big Boy Magpie on the Hill noticed Neal from afar. Neal appeared to Big Boy as a threat to his community, so he got into Neal’s personal space day after day to let him know his place in the pecking order.
What did Neal do you might ask?
Well, frankly, he shot Big Boy to give a clear message about the rules surrounding one’s personal space.
Some time passed and life went on around the vineyard.
One day Neal noticed a one legged magpie that looked an awful lot like Big Boy, looking in at him from the patio.
“Could I have only hit him in the leg?” wondered Neal.
From Big Boy to Hoppy in one fell swoop.
Hoppy had no problem moving into Neal’s inner sanctum after this.
Was it guilt? Nah, Neal felt that Hoppy had earned his place at the big house fair and square.
Hoppy in return took on the role of head of Kennedy Point Security and began patrolling the vineyard like a Sargent in the special forces. Every day he reported to Neal at the kitchen window. To Neal this vocalising sounded a lot like jazz.
More time passed and life went on around the vineyard.
To show his appreciation, Neal presented Hoppy with a prosthetic leg.
I have painted plenty of birds over the last 12 years. But now I find myself adding a new bird to the mix. A bird with a bad reputation. One that will dive bomb you and fly away with a chunk of your skin in its beak. The one, the only…New Zealand Magpie.
Dale says they sound as if they are saying, “doydle, doydle.” My research tells me that they can imitate lots of sound from their environment.
So why am I trying to paint this bully of the bird world?
It was the Grimm’s Fairy tale of Hoppy and Neal, as told to me by Susan McCarthy that sealed the deal.
Here is the rough draft backdrop of Hoppy’s one legged domain. This will be a tale of Hoppy and his attachment to Neal, the grapes and a red trumpet.
the lay of the land
first draft Hoppy
blocking in Hoppy
Rock Oysters – a love hate relationship. Riding the fence on this one for sure. All this tells me is that I need to do another one or two or six.
I have been working on three panels 30 cm x 50 cm. Each panel shows a different perspective yet when I put them together in a panorama format, I can see them hanging together as a tryptych. They still need a lot of work, but here is where they are right now.
And at the end of today the panels connect in a different way. I have spent time softening and redefining, back to softening. Only a couple of places that I am not happy with. My goal was to get them finished today but I was dreamin’.
These oysters have turned into a daily therapy session. I stand back and look at them hanging on the nails on my studio wall. Why does a person who puts a paint brush into their hand day in and day out, feel so compelled to do so? My friend Kimi sent me an email today and attached her latest painting…Something to Crow About. She listed all the techniques she used in this painting and ended with a finale of the application of copious amounts of glitter. (whether it is okay or not to use glitter is one of our constant discussions, I am on the no side) So after all this I am going to show my almost done tryptych semi abstract rock oyters. Just one more layer. Yeah Right.
Since moving to New Zealand I have struggled with and many times tried to run away from “wintertime.” As soon as the rain and cold winds show up and the house feels perpetually damp, I start to get twitchy.
“Give me a project,” I shout, “something with colour and movement perhaps.”
Thus begins a phase of self help books, online art classes and the picking of my focus for a series of paintings. When my chosen subject matter takes a long time to get my attention, I get more than a little twitchy. I even question my reason for living. Artis wants me to tell you that you should really call that last self observation for what it is… a bit ott.
So rock oyster shells are to be a platform to drive my art practice for a good stretch of time. Whew, glad that’s been decided.
Along with interpreting rock oysters, I am going to take a couple of online classes on Artful Gathering (took one class last year and learned oh so much) and go fishing as much as I can. Oh and there’s the movie festival. Before I know it, the spring veggies will need to go in.