Thursday, 30 October 2014
So here are my darling Fox's in the dead of night under a full moon, totally and amorously absorbed in each other doing the romantic and feisty Fox trot. As much as I love dancing I categorically rate myself as a free form floater. I admire the people who can Ballroom dance with the ease of a seasoned professional and I am definitely jealous of those who can Ceroc, Mambo, Tango or Tap dance. If I attempt any structured moves I suddenly get two left feet and breakout in a sweat and quite frankly lose the 'passion' of moving...So I remain a observer of dance, because who knows when I might get the desire to paint the 'The Tigers Tango'....Watch this space.....
I love all Gods creatures apart from two...in the insect world..I find Flies repulsive and Wasps darn right unnecessary in the realm of nature..and they scare the bejesus out of me, having been stung numerous times in the summer months. I am almost sure they just want to sting, just because they can! So here we are in well into Spring and I am concentrating on the artwork above and then suddenly Ruby my precious hairy muse who usually dozes in her doggy basket in a serene manner, suddenly let rip with a bark that set my paintbrush fly from my hand, such was the surprise she gave me. Turning around to see what had made her react I saw the biggest wasp in creation hovering centimeters above her nose!!!!!....From there it flew in a droning sort of manner towards me!!!!OMG on high alert I managed to deflect it by flapping my arms and escaped into my tiny kitchenette area and grabbed the fly spray...and blindly sprayed in the wasps direction..eventually the wasp must have realized I had a weapon more lethal than its sting and flew towards the window ledge and started to do that dying thing so for good measure I gave another good squirt of spray and the Queen was no more, lying inert. I scooped it into the dregs of my takeaway paper coffee cup...so effectively drowning it too and popped it into the waste paper bin outside. End of story, but NO....I was listening to the radio and there was a story/interview with a bloke called Bob from in the South Island doing a study on Queen wasps...he was from the Abel Tasman park organization..and he was asking for any listeners who catch a Queen wasp to send it down to him...at this stage I was feeling a tad guilty for my over reactive behaviour and to make amends with karma I went out to the bin and retrieved my coffee cup and soaked wasp. I laid her out on a napkin to dry out and went back to painting. Well...my goodness...about a couple of hours later....just like one of those B grade horror movies Queenie Wasp seemed to gasp and then twitch and kept twitching and oh quelle horreur started to faintly 'drone'. Resisting the urge to reach for the fly spray I wildly thought about what I could contain it in just incase it really did come alive again and come FOR ME?!? So I picked up my trusty little pencil sharpener container and scooped it into that and firmly screwed the lid back on. Thank goodness it was the end of the day in the shoppe so happily left my captive to squirm and drone to its hearts content....I am thinking you are reading this and think I am pretty heartless...and me thinks I am just plain gutless! The following morning I opened up the shoppe feeling slightly intrepid and with a twinge of guilt I checked out my pencil sharpener and Queenie lay there inert...finally she had died...next was to package her up for send her to Bob...I do have mixed feelings about the whole ordeal. I think on my shoppe door I should have a sign...Every creature welcome except big black flies and wasps and definitely no Queen wasps!
I did not mean to write so much....you are more than welcome to speed read the rest or just look at the last picture! Christmas or Christmad! as I like to term it. This is the third year of being a shoppe/gallery/gift shoppe, but this is the first year of big organised Christmad gift buying which has to be done here in New Zealand mid July!!!!...Well having an upside down seasons..our July is cold so with a pinch of imagination buying Santa,Snow and Deer themed gifts isn't to hard. Being my first time I had a sales rep make a visit and she quickly bamboozled me with umpteen catalogue's of temptation!..I don't what possessed me but I think I had a moment of insanity and started ordering like I was head buyer of a major department store!...Not that I remember, but when mid October 8 big boxes arrived via courier, not santa...I nearly died...and I twice nearly died when I saw my invoices...Crazy artist over buys Christmad stock for tiny shoppe in quiet out of the way by the seaside village. Well I had to bite the bullet and put it all out in my now overcrowded Christmad themed shoppe...Luckily no-one has scowled in Scrooge like tones about...or if they are hopefully being the mad artist they think I am ..the just sigh and say...'ah well, that's Annie for you'....and to celebrate my entrance into an early Christmad celebration LETS ALL DO THE POLAR POLKA!!!!!!and hope like crazy I sell enough to pay the flipping Christmad bill!...BYE for now!
Monday, 13 October 2014
Over many years I have been building up in my imagination what Mermaids are like. Much of this realization has been through reading about these sea and water creatures since my childhood days and then again through story telling to my two boys when they were much younger. One of our favourite family expeditions was to go searching for treasure on our local beach. Amongst the shells and stripey pebbles we found shards of sea worn china.It was such a thrill to find these pretty pieces, usually they were blue willow patterns and I often wondered where or why it rolled up on the beach, some pieces seemed to be very old! So it was when one of my boys asked me where it had all come from...I just automatically replied that it was because deep in the sea after Neptune and his mermaids had eaten their dinner the naughty mermaids couldn't be bothered to do the dishes and just tossed them over their shoulders and of course they would break and eventually many moons later arrive onto the beach! For next few years my boys were convinced this was true..until obviously, like the belief in Father Christmas waned they weren't so convinced by my reliability of telling the absolute truth and just humoured me as I was the child that refused to grow up!
Mermaids are very naughty, dangerous even, as they wouldn't hesitate to eat humans. They are extremely vain, however they have a soft spot for Polar bears...mainly because the Polar bears are completely besotted with the mermaids and they are often seen together, frolicking or generally lazing around. Polar bears are quite happy to be servants to the mermaids.
As you can see here at this seaside beach fete the Mermaids are having a jolly good time with their faithful companions the Polar bears lumbering after them. Having been to the Penguins fish stall and the Seals 'balls' stall the mermaids are now stuck at the mirror stall....such is their vanity they can never have enough mirrors!
I painted this artwork in 2002 and since then I have painted several other 'Mermaid' artworks, but sadly I never really got a good clean scan or photograph of them....so some artworks may have to be reinterpreted and brought back into life in Annie's Art collection...Plus there are many other Mermaid tales to be told!
Back to reality my little shoppe is just about to get it's Christmas make over...With Spring definitely well sprung and the promise of summer wafting on the breeze it is odd that here in the southern hemisphere Christmas in all it's kitschy glory will be glinting in summer sun and not under the street lamps and winter chill like of the northern hemisphere. What do you feel is better..Christmas in the summer or the winter?...I wonder what the Mermaids would pick....?
Friday, 3 October 2014
My mother was a great baker of cakes and similar elk. All my childhood as far back as my memory stretches our cake tins would be overflowing with mouth watering treats! After school meant scrambling home as fast as possible, ravenous and piling a plate up with cake and glasses of milk. Over the years 'Afternoon teas' have always been an important feature of our families, centered at the parental home. My step father loved a cup of tea and cake around 3pm in the afternoon and if we happened to be around at the same time...lucky us! Every celebration like Birthdays and Christmas's we could rely on our darling mum to conjure up our favourite cake. Sadly five years ago my beloved stepfather died and my mum slowly lost interest in baking cakes, although for a few years she kept up with the Birthday requests..she is now living in a home and her baking days are over. She still has all her recipes in her bulging higgley..Piggley blue notebook..and when we go and visit her we fondly remember the memories that revolved around a slice of cake!
Now I am going to feel awful here, because I can almost hear you say why don't I carry on with the baking prowess. Well I did bake cakes and biscuits when my boys were small, but sadly I didn't have the urge to bake. It was more of a chore than a passion and when they the boys left home the tins remained empty...Once and a while my husband, James gets an urge to bake something but I guess we don't really have a sweet tooth urge as we used too....BUT....it's a completely different kettle of cake if you asked me to paint one!!!!!..Now that gets me excited!!!!!
Just recently I was approached by a couple who knew that I had illustrated a Cake and Special dates book and they are just about to celebrate their Ruby (40yrs) wedding anniversary...so they commissioned me to Paint a special Cake for them that they could hang in their kitchen. They asked for a chocolate Black Forest Cake with chocolate, cream and Raspberries...they also wanted to be on top of the cake, however the rest of detail and outcome was left to me. so whipping out canvas and brushes with paint and palette I set to the task and watched it evolve. Being a 'forest' cake I knew it would have to be in the middle of a forest with a grand old tree acting as a pedestal. Naturally they needed to climb up onto it so a rich red ladder appeared and when I started painting the butter icing it reminded me of waves so I felt they should be in a boat with 4 sails/candles(signifying four decades) and naturally the boat is called 'Ruby' so here they are surveying their celebration from a cake they can keep forever!
As I mentioned back in 2008 I illustrated a book called Celebrate....'A calendar of cakes and special dates'. The author is Annabel Langbein a well known entrepreneurial chef in New Zealand who also has a swag of books and fronts a her own T.V cooking show. The book was fun to do, but only had a very small print run and isn't available anymore...but I can share some illustrations I did. Below is a
A GREEK CITRUS CAKE
I hope Annabel won't mind but I am just going to quote a passage she has written about this illustration..........The birthdays of Greek deities were celebrated each month and therefore each god was honoured with twelve different fetes a year. The birthday of Artemis,goddess of the moon and the hunt, was celebrated on the sixth day of the month. Worshipers made a large round cake with flour and honey, representing the full moon. Candles were lit on the cake as a symbol of the moonlight, the goddess's earthward radiance.
I am feeling quite replete with all the story telling about cakes, but I now need a nice big refreshing cup of tea!....Till next the blog...Keep Smiling and if you'd like a recipe for the last three cakes I am very happy to oblige...X P.S The weather is mad today! Sunny, cold, warm, windy and raining nearly all at once!
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
I am starting back to front in this posting...but before I digress any further I just want to declare that I am NOT going to mention anything about the weather! I have looked back on the few blogs I have written and it appears that I am weather obsessed...which may be the case, but for this blog posting it is all about my latest artwork fresh of the easel. It has the longest title I have ever concocted in my career as an artist... so introducing the title... 'The main characters didn't like where the plot was going so made a hasty escape' or in short title...'A hasty escape' Yes a long title to a pretty quirky artwork! This would work as an illustration to a book, however there is no book ( any writers out there who wish to write a story around this artwork feel free!) The story has been rumbling around inside my imagination for quite awhile now and the inspiration has come from my love for 'little people' and my passion for reading. The one thing that upsets me is starting a book and wading through the first few chapters and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere or the writing style is like eating stale toast and then it's equally not nice when you don't gel with the main characters. That is when I put my book down in the failed pile. So with all that in my mind I came up with the idea ....what would happen if the main characters didn't like the storyline or plot and escaped out of the book and ran away! I imagined the author has left his story writing and has gone to make a cup of tea or running an errand and it is while she/he is away they do a runner! Clever characters! Although I am worried about how the dog is going to get down the paper clips. I am hoping the pooch gets down safely along the owner..I think the man in the blue sweater offers to help them both down....meanwhile the author comes back to sit down with his cup of tea and OH NO! he can't write anymore...The old writers block has got him...what happens next is a mystery to me. Maybe I've got writers block now!?!
while we are all thinking about small people escaping how about the antics of miniature animals!Again with my love of all things tiny I have had since my childhood been captivated with early Brittons plastic animals. I still have a few originals that have been saved from my childhood, however they are pretty chewed up..just recently I have started acquiring these little beauties again and enjoy having a little photographic fun with them as I am sharing with you now at the top the photo is called 'PIGGY BACK' and the next just above is 'MUMMY PIG WITH HER PIGLET PILE UP!
Now for my finale ...'why did the chicken cross the road?' because he had a trike...of course!
If you would like to purchase or keep an eye on my Esty shop ( which is new) please click on
By the way the weather today has been perfection! Springing sunshine and puffy little white clouds gamboling around in the blue sky like new born lambs!
Friday, 5 September 2014
The week before the weather was miserable with storms and then turning on a sixpence the weather this week heralded a true sense of spring with a gentle warmth in the sun... a huge sigh of relief was echoing around the village. Mother Nature parades her Spring glory; The grandeur of Magnolia blooms, rich pink camellias and Kowhai trees with blooms of golden droplets that can be spied in nearly every local garden. The biggest star in the flower realm is of course the Daffodil. With its sunshine yellow colour it is captivating everyone's attention by either popping up in gardens or being sold by the bucket load at every florist, dairy or fruit store.
I am inspired every year by Spring flowers and this year it was the turn of Miss Daffodil to be showcased . Being the showy girl she is Miss Daffodil entered the 'Spring Bonnet' competition. With her glowing yellow petals radiating out from her golden bonnet like sun rays she really didn't have much competition and proudly accepted first prize! Second prize went to Miss Tulip and third prize went to Miss Magnolia. Miss Daffodil is showing off her beauty at most places near you...hurrah for Spring! Miss Daffodil, beaming, nods in agreement!
Miss Camellia awaits her time
In both of these artworks I have a half man/bird. Let me introduce to you another native bird...Mr Tui, slightly larger than a blackbird and bedecked with shiny black and dark green feathers with a tuft of white fluff on his throat his throat. All very aristocratic and slightly pompous. Living where I do which is almost rural by the sea we also have the benefit of government protected bush land on our adjacent hillsides. So come Spring the bush teems with fervent bird life and Mr Tui is without doubt the loudest when it comes to birdsong. I can only describe it as melodic gurgling..from low toots through to swooping crescendos of cackling! In my artworks I am showing Mr Tui behaving as a paramour dancing amongst Spring shrubs and trees. In 'Miss Camellia awaits her time' you can see in the background Miss Daphne is in a passionate embrace with Mr Tui as he flirts and flits from bush to tree. As Spring evolves Miss Camellia resplendent in her spring robe waits rather impatiently for the attentions of Mr Tui because her blooming time is almost over.
Mr Tui does have a true love in Spring. With the giddy golden blooms of Miss Kowhai Mr Tui goes into a spin. It is a match made in heaven!. When Mr Tui sips on Miss Kowhai's golden nectar it sends him into a crazy dance of passion! It isn't unusual to walk past a Kowhai tree that's populated by several Tui's. Apart from the raucous birdsong, drunken brawls of territory bagging can happen. This all reminds me of drunken sailors squabbling outside a seafaring pub....all the while Miss Kowhai watches on delighted but slightly bemused! Her blooming time in Spring is brief so to celebrate the union of these two lovers I have painted them embraced in a passionate dance.....The Tui Tango!
playing his vintage Organ grinder on Rimu st. The sound that emanates from these gorgeous music making machines is captivating. One can't help but feel joyful when you listen to the music it creates...I can just imagine my flower folk and the Tui's twirling and dancing up and down the street...rapturously in love with life and living in the moment of movement... and I would have joined in and for a glorious second I could imagine that I was in Paris...Paris by the sea!
Suddenly a gentle spring shower breaks the spell. Mr Moonen wheels is music maker away. Families turn their attention to shopping for dinner and soon the street is empty....time to close me thinks it"s Five o'clock ....in the distance I can hear Mr Tui singing Goodnight..I wonder who he will flirt with tomorrow?
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
My last post was all about embracing Spring with yellow Daffodils. Well it seems the minute I posted the blog we had a massive hail storm. The sun strived to shine afterwards, but a howling southerly storm whipped any golden glow out the sky and for the next few days Winter returned like an angry tiger ripping trees over and lifting roofs off houses and it even closed our 'one-way in and out road' that connects Eastbourne to the outside world with wild waves cascading over the road littering it with huge tree trunks and debris. Then to add to the mix I went down with a serious head cold which included an inner ear infection, yucky!, but luckily I did manage to finish my latest Artwork inspired by my little Weather Haus and Hans and Gretel.
The title of this art work basically sums up how I think our locals feel;
'Even Hans and Gretel needed a break from the weather'
Just looking how Hans and Gretel who seemed to be in and out of their little house with such alacrity I was beginning to sense that they might be getting a little fed up with their job and the inclement weather. So they decided a break was what was needed and with their bags packed and followed by their deer ( well I couldn't let them be left behind could I? ) they departed for a much desired holiday! I finished this artwork and promptly fell sick the next day. So unlike Hans and Gretel off on holiday I put a note on my shoppe door 'Not well, in bed,but back soon'. We just need the sun to shine it's healing light and heat to lift our spirits and entice Hans and Gretel back. Funnily, I do a rough sketch before I translate it on to canvas..and when I came to paint Gretel she really did develop a kind of 'pissed off' look with not too much painting input from me and poor old Hans well I have seen that look before on my husband when they know they are in the wrong, but even though they are listening to their partners..it is sort of going in one ear and straight out the other! Which brings me to another title that might work...
"That's the last time I go on a working Holiday with you!"
Bless us all and roll on Spring...Pretty please........
Monday, 18 August 2014
I have been inspired by the daffs to create a yellow and aqua window display. Starting with a retro tin that once upon a time used to store Cadburys drinking chocolate and then I found the absolutely perfect shade of Daffodil yellow lampshade. Then its the job of my very clever husband to up-cycle the components and make up a 'one off' lamp. I'm in love with it and I am feeling a little reluctant to sell it. I have called it 'The happy lamp'. Beside the lamp is a simple is a little ceramic house that covers a tea light and behind the lamp is a framed print of an art work I painted several years ago.
Obviously the fanned tail doesn't look as opulent as the one I have painted ...my imagination just went on a little stretch of the truth and here is, indeed A very rare Fantail with its tail that's morphed into a real fan. The fan is embellished with native New Zealand flowers and blooms. Kowhai and Pohutukawa just to name a few. Once spring has settled and the cherry blossoms have almost finished the Kowhai tree suddenly erupts into a cascade of golden blooms like large droplets of glistening jewels. when they are in bloom another native bird the 'Tui' comes out to feed on its nectar...but wait... I am leading you into another artwork story...it's time isn't due just yet..for now the Daffodil rules my heart and imagination..I can feel a painting starting to emerge.
Tuesday, 12 August 2014
I started by scanning the original PCs so I didn't ruin them which would be very sad. Then using a template I traced out three different sizes of butterflies using one PC for each of them. That way I felt they would look like individual species of butterflies. I love the way I can see little fragments of words written in such lovely handwriting. the second butterfly carries the address of where it was going to fly too and at its very heart is the little warmth of colour with the stamp. The cutting and placement is somewhat fiddly but so rewarding. In a box frame I can enjoy the collage/assemblage until it finds a new home.
A close up...all those lovely little words and xxxxx
Onwards and upwards!
Sunday, 3 August 2014
Right now being the end of winter (hoorah) I am having a yellow dot sale, with 15%plus off most stuff. I have loads of fresh flowers always on display and with Spring just around the corner yellow daffodils are my favourite. Sunshine even on a gloomy grey day. I live for colour in my life..the shoppe is bright and bursting like a rainbow,but I also enjoy and need quiet and calming colours. The abstract on show I painted to reflect the subdued winter palette that surrounds us living on the harbours edge. It's entitled 'All is calm' Life can be so hectic I am hoping this artwork will be bought by someone who really needs to feed off its gentle demeanor and hang it in a nice quiet spot like the bedroom or quiet den.
you've probably noticed I have two distinct styles or genres. My whimsical figurative artwork is what most people know me for...but like a lot of artists we seek new ideas all the time, I guess that's called 'creating' hence I love painting abstract work dealing with colour and emotion.I love assemblage,box art and photography. If you follow my blog I will take you on my journey being an artist. Showing you what inspires me, what I'm creating at the time and the daily happenings of my funny little shoppe...see you soon.