Thursday, December 27, 2012

Season's Greetings

A late Merry Christmas, I hope you've had a relaxing few days. It was remarkably peaceful at my house; usually someone is complaining about what they didn't get, or needs help putting together something with hundreds of little plastic pieces!!! This year everyone was happy!!

I hope you got a present to inspire you - I remember one christmas I was about 16 and got my first set of acrylics - after a lifetime of kids tempera blocks and powder paint they were a revelation! This year I treated myself to some books, including the sketchbook challenge, and got a moleskin journal. The moleskin is still in its shiny wrapper - I hope it isn't too nice to use!! (Do you have this problem too?) But I have been doing some drawing, here are a couple...

Also this in progress work for the Cloth Paper Scissors 'Quotable Art Journal Challenge', you can find out more about it here. There's still time to send something in if you feel inspired.

Best wishes and happy holidays!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Don't give up!!

A month ago I was ready to throw this plant away. We got it last christmas (a curry plant, you have to keep it in a pot or it will run rampant across the neighbourhood! mine was not rampant!). I don't think it grew a new leaf all year, the leaves it had looked sickly. I did everything I should - plenty of sun and regular water. A couple of weeks ago the last leaves fell off leaving a bare stick in the pot. Well, that's that - I thought. A few days later I was amazed to see a ring of bright green feathery leaves emerging - a tiny miracle.

I don't have green thumbs, half the things I plant don't survive, but there are enough surprises - like the rebirth of the curry plant and like this red flowering plant that's come up in my veggie patch - to keep me interested.

Oh, and the pineapples are pretty good too. This was the first one of the season, not much bigger than an orange but very sweet!!

Hope your xmas preparations are going well, school is over for the year so the kids are getting excited, I still have a week of work to go..

Sunday, December 2, 2012

december already!!

Just a quick post with a couple of photos of my stall at the craft fair 2 weeks ago (time flies!!). I was lucky to be inside one of the studios, under the fans and out of the chance of rain - tho fortunately for everyone it was a fine day. Thanks to everyone who visited, stopped for a chat or bought something, it was a lovely day!!

Also I'd like to send you off to visit a lovely blog I found called Jumie Handwerk, it's all in German so I don't understand what she's saying but the photos of her work are gorgeous!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

flags revisited

At the begining of the year I made some happiness flags. Over the last couple of weeks I've made a new batch, this is how my verandah was looking last Friday!

Today I've just been finishing things off - varnishing fridge magnets and putting cards in bags - ready for the craft fair on Sunday. 10-3 at Tactile arts right next door to the museum, if you're in Darwin do come and say hello. I'll try to remember my camera and take a few shots on the day!

After that I have no more art commitments lined up, and I'm looking forward mucking about in my sketchbook!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

getting ready

A quick hello to show you some new cards I've been making ready for the craft fair in 2 weeks time.

Some of them are monoprints hand coloured with my luscious prismacolour pencil set!! Some are photocopies of the monoprints with an acrylic wash over them and then worked into with the coloured pencils.

I wonder what you're reading? I heard a great interview with Paul Kelly on Radio National's the music show a couple of weeks ago which made me go and look for his musical memoir 'How to make gravy'. It includes the words of 100 of his songs from A-Z along with thoughts and memories associated with each. Very interesting and entertaining.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A last fish post

Just one more piece I’d like to tell you about for the fish exhibition – a concertina book. I showed the beginnings of it here a couple of months ago, at that point I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it. Then I remembered I had written a fish related poem years ago about fishing for the right word.

Word Angling

I’ve had my line out
over the water for days
shadows pass below

I should pack it in
this endless casting about
for something perfect

the supple rod bends
the line whirrs running away
‘careful as you go

reeling her in!’ See
such iridescent beauty!
Some words I will keep

pomegranate, brass,
some I’ll toss back with a kiss
until the next time.

This gave me the idea of looking for the striking words in some of my favourite poems. The concertina book is folded over at the bottom to create a row of pockets, there’s a luggage tag in each pocket. On the back of each luggage tag there’s a tiny envelope with a copy of one of my favourite poems, the fish on the front of the tag carry a word from the poem.

I spent a lovely week rummaging through all the poetry books on my shelf, trying to choose which poems to include. It was quite difficult – many favourites had to be left out because they were too long (big) to fit in the envelopes. These are the poems I used in the end.
Tony Harrison – Fire eater
Gwyneth Lewis – The Flaggy Shore
Andrew Motion – On the table
Nikki Giovanni – Seduction
Anne Stevenson – Poem to by daughter
Ted Hughes – Thistles

A concertina book is a simple structure – a good place to start for an inexperienced book binder! It’s good for an exhibition because you can display it open with the content visible, with a normal book you can show the cover or open at a particular page.

You can see some gorgeous tiny concertina books over onNat’s blog 'Smallest Forest', which she included in the miniatures show. She has a really great blog, always worth a look!

I've started getting ready for the xmas craft fair, which will be mid-November, so I'm as busy as ever! I can't believe we're thinking about xmas already, where does the year go? Hope you're having a great weekend!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wild patience - some thoughts about fishwives

Now that crazy month is over I can get back to you with the 2nd fishwife painting as promised! It's called 'To Market'.

(not a great photo it's a bit glary.)

Here are some of the things I've been thinking about while I've been working on these paintings.

These days I suppose fishwife is used to describe a woman who is common, unsophisticated, with a loud raucous voice. If I've had a bad day of yelling at the kids I might note in my journal that I've been a bit of a fishwife!!

I grew up in the north of England, at school we learnt songs about fishermen battling the stormy seas - one that goes 'it was windy old weather...', and a hymn I think that goes 'the fishers watch when night comes down...' The women in these kind of songs - if mentionned at all - are passive, waiting. (I'm amazed I could track these songs down on the basis of one half remembered line!)

In reality they didn't sit around twiddling their thumbs, they would have helped mend the nets, take the fish to market, manage the money, make sure there was food on the table.

There's a great line in an Adrienne Rich poem - 'A wild patience has brought me this far' (Integrity)
I had always thought of this as a contradiction, wild and patience being opposites. Now I've started to think about how patience could be something fierce, full of determination. I think it says a lot about how women's lives have been.

While I was wandering around the web looking for images of fishwives and wondering what their market cries might be, I came across this blog by Kate Davies a crafter in Scotland who's doing lovely work inspired by fishwives!!

Here's the 3rd painting I managed to do for the Fish exhibition called the fishwife's cat.

If you're in Darwin, the fish exhibition is open at Tactile gallery (Territory Craft) until 20th October.
The minatures exhibition 'The goddesses of small things' is still on at DVAA until 13th October.

Best wishes to all, I hope to be around and about on the web a bit more this month!!

Friday, August 31, 2012

September will be ......

Just a quick post I'm afraid. I think they'll all be short until the end of September as things are a bit hectic around here.
If you see me apparently talking to myself at the bus-stop or when I'm wlking around town - that's me practising my song words ready for 'Australian Horizons' a Darwin Chorale concert on 21st and 22nd Sept.

Here's a peek at some more of my little paintings for the minatures show that opens at DVAA on 21st September.

And this is a concertina book in progress, hopefully for the fish exhibition at Tactile Arts at the end of Sept. It's a bit experimental (!!) so who knows if it will be finished in time or 'good enough'. I have another fishwife painting just about done and hope to get some photos of it loaded up for next time.

Have a great weekend - I hear it will be full moon rise and high tide this evening just before 7, must try to drag the kids to the beach for that!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

fish or fishwife?

Just a quick hello!
So I'm supposed to be creating work for an exhibition about fish, but I've got rather sidetracked by the idea of the fishwife...just one painting so far...

...hopefully more to come, inspiration is still thin on the ground!
Hope you've had a good weekend!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Minatures in progress

The exciting thing is that I'm painting!!
Partly inspired by selling some paintings at a craft fair - that's always encouraging.
Partly inspired by a tv documentary about Margaret Olley (1923-2011) - gorgeous footage of her holding a fistful of worn out brushes in one hand and scrubbing away at her painting with the other. One of the commentators/experts described how she painted with the piece of hardboard propped in her lap, in her lounge room surrounded by the clutter of still life subjects, that it was very domestic like embroidery! That idea of approaching it like embroidery really clicked for me, and makes it easier to get started.

I'm also spurred on by 2 group shows I'm working towards in September. One is of minatures, I've been working on some 4x4 inch canvas boards.

I'm especially pleased with this one.

The other exhibition is on the theme of fish - hopefully I'll have something to show you next week

Friday, July 27, 2012

Almost back...

Sorry for the unplanned break!!! It's been school holidays, we didn't go away, but lots of little excursions, lots of reading and a little bit of artwork. The kids have been hogging the computer...and my partner has run off with my camera since his broke down. Hopefully things will be returning to normal very soon!!
Best wishes to all.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Something about inspiration

I wanted to write something about getting inspiration. I've been thinking about it because I've been asked to take part in a group show with a theme that I'm not too sure about. I needed to work out if I could get 'inspired' about it.

I had a look at some quotes online about inspiration, and they seem to give contradictory advice! Some like Matisse are about being disciplined, showing up to do the work and inspiration will come...
'Don't wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working.' Henri Matisse
While other quotes suggest if you're not inspired you're not going to produce anything good...
'Painting without inspiration is like trying to drive a car with flat tyres.' Ron Elstad

I do like this quote -
'The longing to produce great inspirations didn't produce anything but more longing.' Sophie Kerr
Which seems to suggest that you should just start somewhere with some small idea, that the more you look for inspiration the more elusive it is!

It's not that there's been nothing inspiring in the last couple of weeks - last Saturday there was some wonderful African music and dance (and much more) at a multicultural celebration at a nearby park. In the audience was an African woman in a hair wrap that was like a regal head dress, next to her was a white woman wearing a headband with pink roses round it - such an amazing contrast.

On Friday while I watered the garden there was a rustling noise in the low palms, when I moved closer a pheasant coucal took off out of the palms and over the fence, making its amazing 'glug glug glug' call.

Yesterday I took the kids down to the beach for an hour and in the park there was a boy pulling a kite the shape of a bird behind him, while seagulls took off from the beach.

Any of these might turn into a drawing or painting or linoprint... but none of them suit the theme of the exhibition, and maybe that's what I'm really struggling with!!!

So here are my two new linoprints for cards that I mentionned last time. I'm getting ready for a craft fair at the end of July.
And here are a couple more inspiring quotes.  Wishing you a great week and happy holidays if you have them, the kids have just broken up for 4 weeks of glorious dry season holiday here!

'Beginning with audacity is a very great part of the art of painting.' Winston Churchill
'I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them.' Picasso
  'I do not want art for a few, any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few.' William Morris

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Using up the stash

Just a quick post to say hello!!

Once in a while I print a big batch of linoprints which I gradually use in cardmaking and other artmaking.

 I've just made these cards, and now I'm down to the bottom of my stash. I've been chiselling a couple of new linos and hopefully will get chance to print them this long weekend, and I'll post some pictures here soon.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

After the excitement...the housework

I'm in a kind of lull between projects, after all the madness of getting things ready for various group shows and members shows, for the last rew months. Now I can stop and draw breath, and wonder about where to go next...not to mention change the sheets and mop the kitchen floor!!

Here's a shot of some voodoo dolls I made for 'the angry show' - the DVAA member's show which opened yesterday - I haven't been to see it yet. (I'll be putting more photos over on my flickr photostream).

I did get to the opening of 'Unique' at Territory Craft - an exhibition of work by Marita Albers, Ingrid Gersmanis and Karen Roberts. It's a wonderful show, quirky, colourful and bursting at the seams! There's heaps to enjoy!

I have just put together my second mini-zine. It's based on the round handmade book I made last month, of haiku and drawings, it's available at my etsy shop - along with my first zine from last year.

I'm still writing haiku, not everyday, which was my original challenge, but one or two a week if I'm lucky! Here are a couple of new ones.

On the luggage rack
a bag spilling celery
next to her grey head.

Opening the gate
a bird flies past my ear
I feel it's wing beat.

Hope you're having a relaxing weekend. Here it's cool and sunny, and there are flowers on my one surviving tomato plant - finger's crossed!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

More than a few words about Wordstorm

Last weekend was huge!!! I spent as much time as I could at wordstorm. A few times I've started on this blogpost, but it's hard to know where to start. It's like I've eaten a feast and I'm still savouring and digesting it.

So here goes... On Saturday I went to a panel called 'The Aesthetics of Poetry', which started off as a debate about performance poetry versus page poetry, got onto who cares as long as it's good poetry, then how do you define good poetry, the fact that poetry can be so bad it's actually good. A beautiful tangent where people talked about what got them into poetry, what made them fall in love with it or inspired them to want to write.

I saw Emilie Zoey Baker (one of the poets from the panel) perform at the Women of Letters Event in the afternoon. She and Clare Martin were the highlights for me. All the women of letters were very funny and entertaining, but those two left me with something more serious to think about.

On Sunday morning I went to a poetry workshop with Cathy Altmann, called 'you don't have to be a poet to write poetry'. I'm not at all a beginner poet, but I'm often stalled or floundering, a workshop can be a great kickstart. This one was held at the museum, in the maritime section, so that we could write about the boats. The idea was to write about the concrete thing, not feelings, to really pay attention to the thing and its details, and hopefully the feeling will be there underneath. It was a great workshop, just a pity that more people didn't take advangate of it - tho lucky for us who did and got heaps of attention!! (here's the proof of the pudding - I've been doing some writing this week, not boat poems but bus stop ones!) We got some great hand-outs with quotes from poets and poems, hopefully I can find a link to Missing the boat by Naomi Shibab-Nye - completely new to me- which I love.

All weekend there were readings under the trees at Civic Park (and an open air coffee shop!). I caught some of the poetry readings on Sunday afternoon - Kaye Aldenhoven and Virginia Jealous, Leni Shilton and Cathy Altmann - wonderful and I admit there were moments I was sitting there with tears running down my cheeks.

I would like to give a quick shout for Spineless Wonders Press - a new small independent publisher. I have treated myself to one of their books 'Small wonder - an anthology of prose poetry and microfiction'. I'l let you know how it is when I get to it. Check out their website, lots of interviews with writers and a novella competition...

I'd also like to mention Kim's Cubby - named in memory of NT childrens author Kim Caraher - there were readings, performances and activities for children all weekend. Thanks to Di Lucas for overseeing all this!! I led an activity of making a foam stamp to print on bookmarks. It was fun and the kids were great - 4 year olds in particular seemed to be so enthusiastic and pleased with their efforts where older children were embarrased to start drawing, and more critical of what they'd done.

So here's to living life like a 4 year old!! Hope you've had a great week. xxx

(Picture is of a bird box - my second piece for the outside the square exhibition which closes tomorrow)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Another Friday another opening!

This afternoon it’s the Territory Craft Member’s show opening – the theme is outside the square, featuring painting, glass, and jewellery. There will be another members show later in the year for ceramics, textiles and fibre.


Because of the title – outside the square – I decided to work on something in a round format. One of the things I made was a round board book with gouache sketches on old dictionary pages.
USEFUL TIP!!! – I worked on a background of white gouache, and discovered that if I made a mistake I could easily lift it out with a wet brush, and then re-apply the white paint background and work over it again.

If you’re a regular to my blog, you will recognise some of the themes and compositions, which are inspired by my haiku from the first part of the year. I’ve taken copies of these and I’m planning to put together a little zine based on this. Which I’ll be putting in my etsy shop….in typical Kate style I opened my online shop a couple of months ago and didn’t tell anybody (til last week on flickr!) I’ve made my first sale which is thrilling (thankyou Lorna)  and hope to be adding something new to my shop every couple of weeks.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wordstorm is coming!!

Wordstorm is Darwin's literary festival, it takes place every 2 years, and is coming up fast, the second weekend of May. I can't wait!! To co-incide with the festival there is an exhibition at DVAA of work inspired by a poem by Michael Giacometti, an Alice Springs poet. It's a very landscape poem, and I've never been down to that part of the country, I was stumped for a while until I decided to work in fabric. For a while I thought this was going to be a sculptural wall piece, stuffed a bit like the mermaids, but it ended up stretched on a frame like a painting. The exhibition opens this friday. Next weekend (5th May) is the seabreeze festival, which is always wonderful. And the dry season seems to have arrived, I'm wearing a jumper!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Little Something For Poetry Month

It's poetry month in America, or anywhere in the world if you're on the internet.

Last weekend I caught part of a radio programme (Poetica on Radio National) which was favourite love poems chosen by all kinds of different people. It set me wondering what is my favourite love poem? There was something half remembered about a tablecloth!! So I went rummaging through my poetry books and re-discovered this - On The Table by Andrew Motion (please do hop across for a minute and read it).

I like that it's about love after being together in a couple for a long time. I like the conversational voice in the first verse as if he's trying to justify going out and making the rash purchase of a loud patterned tablecloth. And I can completely relate to being so attached to a piece of clothing - to it symbolising something personal - I had a painting skirt at Uni, and even 25 years later I constantly find myself buying red paisley anything, to replace the one that is long gone long ago worn out.

I'd love to hear about your favourite poem, or if you've been doing anything for poetry month.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Walking and singing

Ooops haven't been here for a while, life has been hectic for a few weeks. One of those busy things I've been doing that I haven't mentionned is that I've joined a choir - since January. It has been sneaking into my artwork, my second painting for the Don Whyte exhibition is called After Choir.

After our weekly rehearsal, I come out past a garden of ornamental long grass and tiny finches cling to the stalks. I've written two haiku about it.

Under a full moon
finches sleeping and swaying
on stalks of long grass.

Even though I know
to expect them, every week
the finches are a gift.

The woman in this painting doesn't look like me, but vaguely like one of the altos!

My sketchbook page from last time also has a link to choir. I've had some of the music we've been learning loaded on my I-pod. The drawing is of the moment when some of the music clicked for me, when I sent from learning the music to loving it, when I saw the tree like an upturned boat and burst into song as an Indian couple came round the corner!! (which reminds me of long ago living in London I used to listen to my Walkman and sing out loud late at night to scare off possible muggers!)

I came across this lovely post at Tinnie Girl blog about following your heart/your dream. Sometimes it's hard to identify what it is you need - I hadn't been in a choir for 25 years!!! I didn't realise how much I was missing music - lucky I've been feeling bored and thrashing around trying different things, and lucky the choir I stumbled on is the most welcoming.

Hope you've had a relaxing long weekend. Happy Easter.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Pressure's On!!

I'm working on a couple of sewing projects and hadn't realised how long they would take, the pressure's on now that deadlines are looming. So here's a very quick sketchbook page and haiku, and hope to be back soon with a bit more to say!!
At the park trees are
the shape of an upturned boat
clouds a curled white wave.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Back on the horse!

Yesterday I had another go at my painting for the Don Whyte off-cuts show, and it's getting there at last! I'm hoping to do another canvas before the end of the month when the show goes up.

Here's a close up of the embroidery piece I'm working on, it's the first time I've done couching. Nat at smallest forest blog has a great post about couching, and is doing some wonderful work for a weekly stitch challenge...check it out!!!

Here is a great quote from a poetry book I'm reading -
'After my mother, a sceptical scientist, was dragged to her first poetry reading, she said, 'I see the point of poets now. They notice things.'' (52 ways of looking at a poem by Ruth Padel)
I think that goes for artists too!

Just a quick post as I need to get out in the garden and do some weeding before they take over the whole garden.
Have a great weekend.

Friday, March 2, 2012

On my table

I seem to have lots of bits and pieces in progress and not much to show at the moment! Today I've started on a sewn piece for an exhibition that's coming up in May - a piece of work based on a poem, the exhibition will co-incide with wordstorm the writers festival. Here's a shot of work in progress!

Last Friday I started on a painting for the Don Whyte Off cuts show - an exhibition that happens every year, I've talked about it before and love to take part, but I'm struggling with painting at the moment, the canvas has been painted over twice already (and neglected this morning). This is the sketch I'm working from, and the haiku/moment that inspired it.

Four magpie geese fly
overhead a rainbow gleams
no-one to tell 'look'.

One of my haiku has been shared over on the blog 'fluxustulip' by artist Carissa Krueger, many thanks to her for her interest in my work. I came across Carissa in an interview on the Sketchbook Challenge blog. Sometimes I think I'm more interested in the creative process than the finished product, and the sketchbook is like the secret cauldron of the creative process - interviews like this one with Carissa give a little peek into another artists processes, so interesting and inspiring!

Opening next Wednesday is a survey show of Craft from across the northern territory at the Chan gallery, I'm pretty chuffed to have 2 of my mermaid dolls included, and can't wait to see the exhibition, and hopefully get to some of the workshops - especially yarn bombing!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

wings of change

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink,
taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each."
— Henry David Thoreau

Last year I read ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin, she writes about how she puts herself through a year of challenges to try to increase her happiness, focussing on different areas of life each month, such as work, family, friends… it’s an interesting and thought provoking read. She has a blog/website that you can check out. I have signed up to receive a daily happiness quote by email. The Thoreau quote above is one of these.

The quote struck a chord with me, maybe because I feel as though my life has entered a different season… for the longest time I’ve been the mother of little kids who seemed to need me all the time; now I’m the mother of big kids who just need me for food and chauffeuring!! It’s a big change that’s caused me a surprising amount of heartache as well as the thrill of a little more freedom.

At the moment every time I open my sketch book I end up drawing women with wings, I think it has a lot to do with this opening up of possibilities.

And a haiku!

Waiting for pizza

a flock of birds swoop and loop

I wish for wings.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happiness Flags

Between xmas and new year I dragged out my neglected sewing machine and made some 'prayer flags'. I'd been thinking about it for a while (I have 2 sets made by lovely Marita, in my lounge room and they make me happy!!) Then a friend have me an xmas present wrapped in a lovely yellow gold fabric, and I thought it would be funny to make something with the fabric that I could give back to her.

I used some of my old lino cuts that I've used before for card making. I gave a set to my friend and have a couple of sets for my stall at the next craft fair. I am still not really friends with my sewing machine, it takes a fair amount of swearing to do even the simple straight sewing involved in this project!

I've just been for a couple of days away with my family in Kakadu. It's still school hols here. In some ways it's not a great time to go to Kakadu as it's the wet season and large areas of the park are closed because the water is over the roads and crocodiles are roaming. But it's also a lovely time to go because everything is so green, accomodation is cheap and we practically had the whole place to ourselves!! I'm keeping up with a haiku (or something like it) most days, here are a couple from last week.

Native ginger blooms
in the shade of ancient rocks
wet season treasure

(this one about my daughter)

she lies on my bed
singing a song from the charts
milkshake round her chin.

Some People Catch Fish

People running
to catch the bright red sun
with their cameras.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Starting the year

I'm starting the year with just one resolution, to be positive. Especially when I'm feeling emotional or defeated to go and do something positive, some sewing or lino chiselling, something that keeps me going forward instead of getting bogged down!

Over on flickr I'm playing catch up, I didn't post any of my work in the second half of the year so I'm trying to get all those into my photostream over the next couple of weeks. My internet connection is so slow in the evenings that I'd practically given up, but I've discovered I can get a lot done in half an hour in the here I am!!

The sketchbook challenge is on for a second year, so I'm going to have another go at it... this month's theme is doodling.

I have set myself a little writing challenge, to write a haiku a day, I've bought myself a cheapo diary that just has room for a poem and a note about what I'm reading... here are a couple from the first week.

Lightning in the night
circling the house again
rain wave on the roof.

Last weeks pumpkin soup
seeds pushed in the ground sprouted
stems with twin green leaves.

I wonder how your resolutions and challenges are going. Cathy Cullis has a lovely post about daily challenges with a philosophy that is very forgiving!!

Hopefully I'll be back next week with some artwork to show! Have a great weekend.