Bit chilly on the gills - good dump of snow on the mountain.
Winter is a good time to reflect - here's a summary of summer:
It was the summer that kept on giving. It was long and it was hot. We took the van on it's swan song summer rendevous, to the top of the south, the top of the north and to Aotea Island. Magic moments melting in hazy heat. Upside was warmth, parties, mates, water holes, laughter, ice-blocks, oceans, hot pools and funny kids. Flipside was sweaty butt cracks, crash starts, flapping tarps, roadside sobs and tick bite itches. But time smooths quibbles and memory blurs like bonfires blaze. It was a summer for living and loving, lushness and luck.
In January I travelled to Napier for the PCANZ (Print Council Aotearoa New Zealand) Summer School. Our tutor was Dianne Fogwell from Australia, who focused on relief printing for the three day workshop. Generous with her knowledge and very thorough with all technical aspects of planning and execution, Dianne offered us a lot to learn. I came away with little to show - one carved matrix and lots of notes - but armed with skills, techniques and tricks of practice that will keep on giving. Cheers to all who make it happen and to the print studio at EIT for having us.
In late 2015 I was invited to participate in a 100 Day project by local artist Lisa Walsh. The outcome would be 10 artists, 100 days, 1000 artworks at the old Scout Hall in Waverley as part of Whanganui Artists Open Studios 2016. I took on the challenge, so from November to March I was worked on making etchings everyday. The plates were thin aluminum and I played around with a few themes using different drawing tools - an old engraver, fork, pen, fingernail - before settling on the dremel for a series of reproductions of 17th century engravings. These evolved into The Menagerie - An Alphabet Book', a 27 page handmade book with etchings, hand stamping and lettering. During the project I also made some new multi plate works (Storm in a Teacup and Sugar Loaf Islands), a series of botanical works (iris, hibiscus and poppies) and a pair of hand shadow portraits. Apart from getting RSI from the scribe vibration, the experience was a good one for being disciplined and absorbed in the task, aided by the continuity, the counting and the drawing/biting/inking/proofing/doing of it all. But I was pleased when it was all over too.
Due to an exhibition of Frida Kahlo's photographs at Te Manawa Museum in Palmerston North I've been printing many Fridas for the gallery shop. The show is a deep, intimate view into the life a strong and spirited woman.
I've been printing Lovely Nature on plywood. My Luchadore + San Pedro has made it onto the label of some seriously addictive hazelnut and chipotle chilli brittle at Baron Hasslehoffs. I covered a plaster of paris skull with etchings of natives and curled ropes for the Skulltopia event in New Plymouth last weekend and featured two works in the NZ Art Show in Wellington.
,I'm gearing up for the Taranaki Arts Trail next weekend - 10, 11 & 12 June. Opening my studio to the public is both exciting and invasive. I'm setting up a gallery area on the reception side and am planning on doing some demonstrations of print techniques. All welcome - 38 Leciester street, Patea. Opposite the Four Square.
A few weeks ago we went and stayed at the Sisters Of Compassion up the river at Hiruharama. An annual pilgrimage. I am going to go back for many days alone to work on a project that I feel has scope and depth. Something about and for and after Mere and Hemi.
The last five days have been fraught with my dear Grandad in hospital with pneumonia. He is a remarkable man whom I love very much. It is his 93rd birthday on Friday.
And harvest comes and the leaves yellow and fall and here we are. Here and now.