Personal Mythologies

Looking at what I want to achieve within the field of my own art this semester, I have decided to work within a concept of personal mythologies. In my last post I talked about wanting to answer the question of why I make art, why I love the things I do. This is what my mythology or my story is about. I plan to explore my own myths and symbols that I have gathered throughout my life. I will do this using different media, including drawing, painting, mixed media, photography, stitch, the use of recycled materials and poetry.

In her book Art is a Way of Knowing, Pat B. Allen says:

Our personal myth is so deeply embedded in us that it is difficult to see, yet we live out of it every day. Our myth is what generates the patterns of our behavior, how we respond to others, our expectations of life. (Allen 118).

Sometimes, creating art can seem pointless, I want to find some answers within my art that I can look to when I get those ‘Why bother…’ days.

The images below are part of a series of Artist Trading Cards, that I did a couple of years ago called Dark Gardens.


Quote sourced from:

Allen, Pat B. Art is a Way of Knowing. Boston and London: Shambhala. 1995

The Why’s of Art & Joy

The past week or so I have been thinking a lot about why I make art, and what I want to show with my art. It’s a tough question, which has been brought to the fore by the new semester at college, and having the freedom to create our own brief. Jean-Paul Sartre said that freedom bears the pain of responsibility, how true this is.

I have made art for many years, in fact all of my years, I have to create, it is akin to breathing for me, but I don’t feel like I have any big message I want to get out there. I want to make art because I love doing it, and if other people like it then that’s an added extra. I want my art to be about my story, about the things I love and through it I want to explore what it is about these passions that draws me in.

I want to use my art to delve into why I love winter, why I love books, storytelling, fairytales, poetry. Why the site of a naked bare tree against a storm sky fills me with joy and yet a blue sky and a tree in full leaf just doesn’t do it for me. Stuff like that…

So I am going to play, experiment with different media, practice drawing, get over my fear of painting and use a lot of recycled materials. I like to use recycled stuff not just because it is earth friendly, but because it already has a story to tell.

There will be much more about this, but for now I will leave you with a drawing I did earlier of Jean-Paul Sartre and one of my favourite quotes of his.


Tree of the Day

Trees without leaves, all dark against wintery skies… they move me…

They make me grab my iPhone, and take photos, trying to capture the feeling I get in those 5 megapixels…

A 100 megapixels would not be enough, but I can try…


I love to shoot into the sun in winter, such a simple way to make magic…



Minus 11

I woke today to a glorious world of white. I love winter. I don’t mind that it was minus 11 degrees outside my kitchen door, or that my car windscreen froze over again right after I de-iced it. I don’t even mind that the water tank is frozen and there is no water for a shower or a cup of tea.

I don’t mind any of it, because I LOVE WINTER!!!




We live here…

When we first came to this land, I felt like a Borrower… The Borrowers are from a children’s book by Mary Norton. They are little people, they come out at night when noone is about and borrow things. they live in the same house as the big people but noone knows they are there. That’s how I felt… we lived here but noone knew, it felt surreal and dreamlike.

I still get that feeling 9 years later, often on the drive into town. I feel a long way from anyone, even me sometimes. And then views like this on a daily basis, just add to that feeling of surreality.



The Secret Ministry of Frost

I love winter mornings when the frost has performed it’s secret ministry, and the sun rises just high enough to throw shadows across the garden… , and see how it paints that patch of purple just past the willows? This is my Utopia… simple really, some special little people, three cats and two goats in a winter wonderland.

I fell in love with Samuel Coleridge when I first read Frost at Midnight… here are the last few lines, just to set the scene, here the poet is referring to the iciccles on the eaves of the thatched roof:

Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.





The Sunset & the Supermoon

Two great views within a couple of hours…

Wakapuaka Sunset


I like my iPhone camera… I may consider another DSLR… if I have a windfall… I havebeen having  yearnings lately… Must contact the Rebels… my old photo buddies from the days of the first Canon Digital Rebel, or the 300D as mine was called back in Blighty…

Bites here and there…

I have been playing with The Shining Tribe Tarot by Rachel Pollack. It is a deck that I was never attracted to when it was first released, but currently I am loving in. I managed to get a very cheap kit, and the book is great. Part of the reason why I decided to look at this deck again, was another book of Rachel’s called The Forest of Souls, which features this deck among others. I am reading the books by dipping in and having bites here and there – sometimes it’s the only way.

Anyway, I knitted a bag, in gorgeous thick wool in a kind of warm apricot pink… to celebrate the joy and colours of the shining tribe…

Shining Tribe Bag

All Light on the Night…

Well I am glad I got some pics last night because it looks like Light Nelson may be cancelled this evening. These are some of my favourite installations. There were a lot of quite technical things this year, but I like the simple effects of light and shadow much more. I also like the recycled aspect. I thought this was a recycled event actually.

I think it is important to reeducate people though art, and recycling what would otherwise end up as landfill, into something beautiful, is a great way to do that.

So, without further ado, here are some of the best according to yours truly:

The Wormhole


Purple Haze


A bit of battiness


The Beatles meet Bach, or – While sheep may safely graze in lilac fields and last forever…


Goldfish and Pinkfish


A rose by any other name


Nature is hard to beat …


The Suter Cafe as Fairy Grotto


Underwater wedding dress


The unbreakable lightness of leaves – A light bulb garden…




Stopping by woods…

We set up for Light Nelson today… the real thing. I added new branches, and adjusted some old ones. Rebuilt the polystyrene bases and fixed them together with very clever ‘staples’ made from naturally forked twigs.

It looks great… all of the installations at NMIT look fabulous, an awful lot of work went into them. I waited until well after 8.00 pm , but no one came from the opening committee or the press, which was a shame. Anyway Phoebe and I sneaked a look around Queens gardens as the weekend is supposed to be wet, and to be honest, it is much more fun when you can see stuff, and breathe without being squished in the crowds. Sneaky, but necessary imho.

There is some very cool stuff out there… lots of bells and whistles. I will post pics tomorrow, but to be honest I would still rate my forest as one of my favourites, and am not usually one for self applause. I like its simplicity, that few resources and materials were used and the fact that it was all recycled except the bulb. I especially like that it looks beautiful in the daytime too.

So here it is, sadly as facilities did not get the sound fixed in the gallery, so my creepy sounds were only there when I was hiding in the cupboard with my iPad!! It is such a busy time for the staff that I am not sure if it is a great idea to have it as an actual part of the course, but I loved doing it, so maybe it is! It was a slog getting this effect just right, I wish the sound had been working, I could have maybe bought a cheap CD player or something had I thought it wouldn’t get fixed. Still, I will know next time.

Phoebe and her shadow walking in the wintery woods…

Phoebe Forest

It is difficult to photograph the halogen light with my iPhone, the pics look better desaturated!

Forest Room

I was so happy how the shadows filled the whole room, including the ceilings!

Forest Ceiling

I love images of things that are not really there… holes in the light…

Forest Wall

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