Love is an eggplant…

When I was doing art at school years ago we each got given a fruit or vegetable to draw. We had to do a large scale charcoal drawing of our item using tone and line to define it. I looked on as the other students received their pineapples, globe artichokes, slices of tomato etc… and I got an aubergine…

Aubergines, or eggplants, as half the world calls them, are in my eyes the height of beauty, I love to look at them, touch them and of course eat them. The colours are stunning, whatever the variety. I once painted my walls darkest aubergine and it looked amazing. But… it is not easy to bring our their true glory using charcoal, no exciting lines or textures, just, well a kind of bent egg shape. Nevertheless I struggled on and I still have that drawing. I think that was the day that my love affair with aubergines began.

So to celebrate the gorgeous example I bought the other day, I drew it on my iPad… I love it

IMG_0157My favourite thing to do with eggplants cooking wise?

Slice them longways, about 2cm thick. Top with sliced tomatoes, basil and slices of halloumi cheese. Drizzle with good olive oil. Grill or roast in oven for about 20 minutes. Divine.

I found this image of different varieties of eggplant.


Image retrieved on 23/4/2014 from

I want to draw these now :)





From one screen to another…

To start my ‘people drawing practice’ on my iPad, I drew a character from a movie…. I took a screenshot and then copied it as best I could. I loved it. I am proud of my attempt. In fact I may do more.

This is Louise, and she is número uno. Hmmmm she looks a bit like Dawn French, but it is not Dawn French… much as I admire her.


I miSs MaiL ArT

From around the age of 7, until around 2 years ago, I made mail art. In fact pretty much every letter I have written has been a piece of mail art.  I have a problem sending naked undecorated stuff through the postal system. But I made art especially for the mail too, sort of. The mailbox IS a museum.  I miss it… I miss writing letters with decorated margins and words curling around the page. I miss drawing on and colouring and collaging the envelopes. I miss the smell and simplicity of rubber stamps.

I still have a load of old issues of Rubberstampmadness, from the crazy days, long before scrap-booking ever came to light. Well scrap-booking as we know it now that is. The scrapbooks we had as kids bore little relation to the fanciful perfectly choreographed albums I have seen today, even though they pose under the same name. I am going to get out some old stamps tomorrow, get inky fingers, make some envelopes, or postcards, draw and collage and write. And send stuff in the mail.

Watch this space. And if you want a piece of real, honest to goodness mail art, just say the word. Cos I am hungry to send it.

Images retrieved on 21/4/2014 from:

John Lennon by Sandhi Schimmel from:

Pinhole Camera from:




Icons matter…

I haven't really had much time to play with my iPad, but I am dedicating a few hours of the holiday to just this. In my experience the only way to really learn something is to jump right in. Make mistakes, get frustrated, get lost and muddle your way through. Create your own map.

That in mind, I am now writing my first iPad blog post on a very neat App called Blogsy, which you can find here

I was attracted to it because it has a gorgeous retro typewriter icon… On my iPad icons matter.

Meanwhile… Learning is thirsty work… Requiring large many cups of strong black tea. Meet Henry, possibly the only mug of his kind in NZ…




Yesterday was the day of the installation of my identity work. All through the night, gales with gusts approaching 200kph howled around my house and kept me awake. It is hard to access the comfort of sleep when you are afraid the roof will take off and leave you exposed to the elements – or worse. This morning the gales were still raging and driving was not advised. In the end I didn’t leave until 10.00am, and it actually didn’t matter because even when I got to college I couldn’t do anything.

G-Block was overrun with little people, we were unable to access most of the rooms, and I spent a lot of the time dodging in and out of the workshop and the Mac lab, trying to get my work finished, and helping others with Adobe stuff. I love it when I can help, and G-Block is a great place to be for helping and getting help – with all aspects of art.


Anyway, after 3.00pm when the little folk had vacated the building, I started moving all my stuff into the gallery. It was easy to assemble, I added finishing touches, like my red Dymo labels and masking tape on some of the posters and a cool sign on the top of the big stack of boxes. All that was left to do was to photograph it, sit and wrote my studio critique and gove myself and everyone else who was still around, a big pat on the back!

A view of the full installation:


A close up view of part of the installation:



The Kit Box

I made a new kit box today. I was trying to work out whether to paint the wine box black or white, and then came up with the brilliant idea of turning it inside out! This left me with a lovely plain brown cardboard box to adorn with the labels I designed and printed earlier! I love it! I even purchased a special font for the purpose :)



Slightly different view… note real bar code :)


The Black, White and Red Revolution

My installation reminds me of propaganda and revolution, I am wondering if this is why Barbara Kruger chose these colours for some of her work. I did some research online and found some great posters and artworks, all in these colours. There is a fascinating site here that gives a history of propaganda posters going back to the early 1900′s, you can see how the posters have been inspired  over the years by art movements of the time. Below is an example of an early Russion revolutionary poster, clearly influenced by modernism and the likes of Marc Chagall.


Image retrieved on 17/4/2014 from:

The poster beow is a Chinese woodblock print, celebrating Chairman Mao.


Image retrieved on 17/4/2014 from:

Then we have my favourites, the Che Guavara posters, both old and new. There is something about the wild eyes Che, that stirs my heart into a revolution of it’s own. Skown below is an older poster featuring Che’s famous chant: Hasta la Victoria Siempre –– Until Victory – Always.


Image retrieved on 17/4/2014 from:

The next poster is a modern design, using vector graphics, I like this, it remnds me of my dymo tape labels.


Image retrieved on 17/4/201 from:

The final poster is another contemporary image, showing great use of colours and fonts to depict the evolutionary hero.

Image retrieved on 17/4/201 from:



Naming Me

I was looking through some of my old poetry and I found a couple about identity, I like this one, it is full of names and labels that defined me in the eyes of others, I may use this in a future piece of work which will also use some of the fragments that I created for this project and then decided not to use.

Anyway here is the poem:

The Naming of Me

The one who came at 4.00am
The firstborn
The one whose spring was autumn
She who was born on a Friday
New baby for St Swithin’s Day
Woman they call a Witch
The child who came from a caravan
Princess of a thousand books
Siouxie with hair like an Indian squaw
Who is a builder of towers
The dreamer who wakes up contented
(although she rarely sleeps)
She who ran away to the bottom of the world
Mother of Shoog, Chickpea and Beetroot
Mother of angels who walk through her dreams
Mother of Tabby and Polly and Phoebe and Boo
Sister of the worlds best sister (and aunt)
Hippy Tripp and the attachments
Bib best forever friend and soulmate of Dilly
She who cooked Bob Dylan’s breakfast
One he calls Bonegirl the lover
She who can burn in her passion
One who loves once and forever
She who plays guitar late at night
She who wants to sing like Janice and Patti
but who sings just like herself
Brighid the Goddess of Poets
Dylan the wanderer from the sea
or a rabbit on The Magic Roundabout
Daughter of the Moon
Daughter from the wild side of life
Daughter and Sister who was lost (and so
collects waifs and strays)
Daughter who was a boy named Sue
Wife who was a girl named Bob
She who followed the hares
She who whispers with goats
She who waits to be found
She who you all gave names to
She who misses you all, in every moment

It’s all true, all of this is me… and some…

It is really just multilayered…

We did our studio critique today. It was a great experience, there is nothing better than to be surrounded by other artists all talking about art and what it means! Apart from possibly being surrounded by poets or Tarot readers :)

I was really pleased with how my setup looked, considering I was completely flummoxed as to how to present it a week ago. The first comment was ‘Wow’ !and to be honest, that is what I thought when I walked in the room for the first time after setting it up. It does look good at first glance, but I think this is because of the uniformity of the shapes and the colour scheme. It is hard to go wrong with these colours against a white wall I reckon!

Anyway, this is how it looked today. I present my identity project, in it’s 80% finished state:


I looked at my feedback and everyone got the constructing identities part. Pauline was very encouraging, and that made me feel good. Barbara  Kruger was mentioned by Natalie and when I discussed it with her after, she said it was the red labels. The labels will actually be giant dymo tape images in the final thing but I didn’t have time to make them today, so I quickly hand wrote some to give the idea. One comment that was cool was that the work felt like a media ad, because of the pixelated images, and the colors. As these colours remind me of the newspaper joke I found that interesting. The pixelated images are actually blown up photographs which I had converted to halftone, which I did on purpose to represent a magnified view of life which brings it down to dots, or points in time. Kind of like looking at life or a person under a microscope, but focusing on moments, rather than cells.

I am not sure I got the kit part across as the poster was a bit small. I think I need to make the advertising poster about four times the size, and maybe place it more strategically. Also I will make a proper box for the  Identity Kit, instead of the little one that I used for show here. The images and labels and building blocks are larger than life because that is exactly how companies sell things to us, with a promise of something that is way bigger than the reality.

The identity in this project is focused on me, but it could be anyone, the message is that anyone can make themselves anything, with a camera and the right clothes and accessories, (or my wonderful identity kit toy!), but it is always only an image. To make the truth, or a reality behind the image takes much longer, it requires solid building blocks. I tried to explain this concept, using the image of myself and Pollyanna as a newborn, I looked like a mother, but I was only a mother by name. I am still learning how to be a mother 19 years later, those are the years of experience that make the building blocks. I can see why Kay thought that it may be two different pieces, but it is really just multilayered  and it can be deconstructed as far as anyone cares to take it.


Anyway I will try and talk to more people about this, and see what I can do to make the work clearer to the audience. Although to be honest, does it matter? Everyone picked up the basic theme of constructed identity, and it is a fluid do it yourself kit, so people can play :)



Black White and Red…

As I mentioned previously, I had not heard of Barbara Kruger before I started this project, but the first box I made was so much like her work that one of the tutors suggested I look at her. It seems crazy I had not heard of her as her work seemed so familiar, at least the work with the black white and red colour scheme. Today after setting up part of my work in G-Space for the critique, I started to think about my colour scheme and why it seemed to much a part of me, just natural colours for me to use.

When I got home I went through some old sketchbooks and art stuff, and there it is over and over, black white and red. I wonder why I like these colours so much? The images below are from smaller pieces of art that I did between 2009 and 2012:

BWR 1 RWB2 bwr3

And the image below shows my workings and designs for posters and a T-Shirt for NMIT Creative Industries, these were done throughout 2013.





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