Superb FairyWren — acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 mm, 2020. Available.
It has been heartbreaking to watch the bushfires wreaking havoc day after day, week after week, month after month. We watch the news from the safety of our living room in New Zealand, more than two thousand kilometres away, and feel completely helpless. I have family over there. My mother grew up in that beautiful countryside. We spent many Christmases in Victoria when I was young…
How do you paint when the world is on fire? What do you paint? Why even bother? And then I found my answer in a Maxine Hong Kingston quote:
“In a time of destruction, create something: a poem, a parade, a community, a school, a vow, a moral principle; one peaceful moment.”
This little Superb Fairy-wren is the first of a series of small canvas paintings I’m creating to raise money for people and wildlife who have lost their homes as a result of the devastating fires in Australia. I will be donating 50% of the sale of these artworks to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund https://www.gerf.org.au and Wildlife Victoria https://www.wildlifevictoria.org.au.🇦🇺
“the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognised as your own”
Te Waikoropupū Springs I and II in the Drawing Room
Happily, these two landscapes are my first paintings of the new year/decade. I began them last year, pronounced them “finished” this year, and have just put a lovely gloss varnish over them.
Te Waikoropupū Springs is known locally as Pupu Springs (never mind) and is one of my favourite places in New Zealand. It is an absolutely stunning place to visit if you are ever anywhere near Golden Bay (at the top of the South Island). Famous for the clarity of its water, the reflected colours ~ especially the ultramarine blues and bright turquoise ~ are breathtaking.
‘Te Waikoropupū Springs I’ — acrylic on canvas, 205 x 405 mm. Available.
‘Te Waikoropupū Springs II’ — acrylic on canvas, 205 x 405 mm. Available.
I’m really not one for New Year’s resolutions but given that this year is a bit of a big deal (and I love the sound of living in the Twenties), I have written down a few New Year’s intentions ~ the sorts of things I want to focus on and how I want to fill my days, encouraging me to find and create “more faith, more health, more art, more music, more… ” 🏡
The image above is an old one that I’ve edited slightly ~ originally created in Bryce almost 20 years ago (2002). It suits my current mood.
A new year drifts in,
Bright with possibilities;
Welcome the Twenties.
I painted ‘My inner critic is no expert’ as a reminder : )
There are days when we are so critical of ourselves… days when we think we can’t or we try but things don’t go well and so we decide we won’t… days when the little things overwhelm us and the bigger picture is nowhere to be seen.
Even if they are few and far between, these days still lurk. They return time and time again. Maybe I’ve just painted* the best thing I’ve ever painted and I feel on top of the world. I move on to the next one and nothing goes right. But why? Yesterday it was easy. Yesterday was a joy. Yesterday I even felt like an artist.
Mark Romer famously referred to this as part of The Creative Process and Danny Gregory has devoted an entire book to the subject (‘Shut Your Monkey’). Yes, I’m a big fan of laughing at our inner critic. We do not ~ repeat NOT ~ have to take them seriously.
Okay, sometimes it’s easier said than done. But worthwhile things are very rarely easy. And creating art, no matter what anyone says, is most definitely worthwhile.
* feel free to substitute any creative activity you enjoy for “painted”