Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Foxtrot, Queen wasps and Christmas!!!??!!!

I am listening to my favourite music app at the moment and that is Pandora. In New Zealand it is either Spotify or Pandora as the new way to find music via the internet. You can listen to it all day long and not have to think what shall I listen to next! Its an absolute bonus having it play in my open Studio/gallery/gift shoppe....I am constantly entertained by a stream of music that also showcases artists that I never knew existed and now I am crazy about, so it's a learning tool too, however more importantly I love to spontaneously get up and have a bit of a boogie on down in the shoppe or when I am painting!!!! I can't help but move the body in time to sway and I have mentioned in earlier postings I love music and dancing so it will crop up in my artworks...Hence my latest artwork..'Fancy a quick Foxtrot?'
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 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 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 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. 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 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 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

Monet, Mermaids and Polar bears

This artwork which is fresh off the easel is titled...What Monet really saw in his Lily pond....I am so delighted and relieved that I have finally gotten around to painting this image which has in all honesty been muddling around in my mind for years. Firstly I love the impressionist art movement even though it has been ridiculously overexposed and randomly and not at all connected I love Mermaids, Sirens and water nymphs. So here, very much tongue in cheek (Monet who is famous for his artistic captivation of his Lily ponds and his paintings of them onto huge canvas's) actually had another secret fascination and that was at twilight he would venture onto his bridge and call out to his beautiful nubile mermaids who would frolic and flirt with Monet. Monet did realize, though, that his captives were lovely to watch and feed, but extremely dangerous, like all sirens if he should accidentally fall in the sirens wouldn't hesitate in gobbling him up!
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 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

You Can eat your cake and Keep it too!

Hello Hello Hello...I have been suffering from a little 'blogging' withdrawal syptoms! I have to say I have been rather busy in my little Shoppe and studio. In the Shoppe, Annie's Art +Treasures I have been Spring cleaning, putting and tooking and unbelievably gearing up for the delivery of Christmas goodies and stock. In the back where my tiny space services for a studio set up and storage I have been busy baking a cake, but not as you would ever believe! Obviously not really baking in literal terms, but baking in an artistic sense.

  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'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 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

                                        ANGEL RASPBERRY LAYER CAKE
                                       CANDLES FOR ARTEMIS
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!