Growing Old Disgracefully
Blog Posts . . . Missing In Action!
Lots of Bee Doughty-Pratt Growing Old Disgracefully posts are temporarily missing from this blog but catch-ups are on their way. I have decided to add my personal Growing Old Disgracefully blog to my professional Bee Doughty-Pratt website – publicly merging my private and arty lives together . . . for better or worse. This is requiring some serious editing!!
Now you may (or may not) like to read about the challenges and rewards of a forever young (yeah right!) Kapiti artist meeting her various arty commitments up and down the country? Then again you may (or may not) be interested in hearing about the delayed delights of living on and developing a nearly vertical, bare building site without a house let alone a studio, at the same time. Finally you may (or may not) empathize with what happens when you try to ignore the disgracefully nonsensical, inevitability of growing older by the day – until, against all expectations, you don’t!
You can choose to read blogs by category . . . or you can take a break from reading any blogs at all today.
Any which way – more catch-up posts coming soon!
Growing Old Disgracefully
AN INTRODUCTION FOR NEW VISITORS
So I’m doing a blog. It is not really an arty blog although there are some arty posts. There are many more posts about what goes on in the down-time between starting and finishing paintings. You can skip all this non-arty stuff if you want to and just follow the Arty Development posts – see heading in the right hand column. Alternatively read on to follow me Growing Old Disgracefully.
So I’m doing a blog – I’m not sure why I feel the need to share my private thoughts with the world at this (late) stage of my life. Being several decades in and probably only a couple of decades left does highlight that time is running out somewhat. Dear devoted husband Snow say’s that’s OK, keep talking darling. Not sure how to take that! Oldest daughter Megan tells me I’m obviously suffering from a late-life crisis. The cheek of it – she will be moving into old age herself sometime soon.
Anyway the only thing possible now is to make sure I do Grow Old Disgracefully. I’ve made quite a good start over the last few years here in Kapiti New Zealand and now anticipating the best is yet to come . . . in both arty terms and what goes on between times? Should I say the ‘worst’ is yet to come? Either way a few somewhat disgraceful retro posts are being made to bring things up to date for you.
Do Not Go Gentle . . . .
In the meantime I’ve been inspired by the well-known Dylan Thomas poem so this is my new slogan. Apparently Dylan Thomas wrote this poem in anger and grief in 1952 when his father was dying and not putting up much of a fight.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Well then, onwards and upwards, raving on disgracefully. Talk Talk Talk. Old friend Mike G always called me the ‘Paremata Raver’ when I jabbered on too much about women’s lib, back in the days. Have always found something to go on about – now it’s about Growing Old Disgracefully!
So I’m doing a blog! With three intertwining themes stretching out ahead – Arty Developments, Building Challenges and Aged Milestones – for a while at least.
Just do it! Go ahead I tell myself . . . tie your hair up in a scruffy renegade bandana, inhale the turps ad nauseum and paint, paint, paint giant canvases all day, every day (well, most days and sometimes small canvases) for upcoming exhibitions and (late) commissions, if that’s what you have to do or want to do!!
I’m reminded of the motivational poster (provided the government in those days) I plastered all over the kids bedroom walls in their teenage years. Girls Can Do Anything! This is an old image of the very same poster!
Just do it (I told our girls) And have been given several clues over the years that middle child Amber took this very much to heart, interpreting this phrase in her own unique way . . . along with the help of a glossy black Wonder Woman wig and costume on this particular occasion.
I think, BTW that youngest son Mase also took this up in an entirely different way, espousing this ‘Girls Can Do Anything’ philosophy, in earnest discussion with his girl friends at the time.
Any way back to the point . . .
Just Do It! I say now. Why not build a new house on an undeveloped elevated site (that I have to crawl up on my hands and knees and slide back down on my bum, pulling blackberry thorns out of my literally bleeding ankles.) Let’s live in a trailer on-site while we do it. Defy convention! Devoted dear husband Snow loves caravanning!
Just Do It! Push through the usual health & age related barriers to do what you want to do. Attending to your health and visiting not-so-well friends (not to mention singing hymns at frequent funerals – very sad but manageable when it’s not your own!) can all be very time-consuming. Fingers crossed these activities don’t take over!
So I’m doing a blog! Featuring Arty Developments, Building Challenges and Aged Milestones.
Why? Well . . . I think I am just reminding myself . . . time’s running out.
Do not go gentle in that good night!
Solo Exhibition at Beehive
This single painting ‘solo exhibition’ took place for just one day, a few years back, at a formal luncheon at the Beehive, during which the then Prime Minister the Rt Hon John Key gifted this painting to the Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae and his wife Lady Janine on behalf of the people of New Zealand, on the occasion of the Governor General’s retirement. I was delighted when the couple who then lived in Kapiti chose this work after visiting my studio gallery during two consecutive Kapiti Arts Trails. And it was a career highlight for dear devoted husband and I to be invited to attend the presentation at the Beehive – there we are on table 24. Although it seems mildly disgraceful to label this a solo exhibition . . . technically it was . . . with only one artist involved . . . but with only one painting exhibited?? Anyway this special painting subsequently travelled to London with its owners when Sir Jerry took up his position of High Commissioner of New Zealand to the UK. And back again three years later, to be hung in their private residence. I did warn you there would be some retro posts. This is the first of them!
Now don’t jump in and agree so quickly . . . I mean that they are sometimes disgracefully large when you need to move them around. Some sizes can be transported in my trusty Vee Dub Van but some need a good-sized truck to be taken north to appropriate galleries (those with large white walls) or to appropriate homes (those with large white walls) wherever they happen to be. But always fun delivering paintings whatever size they are!
PS: And don’t even hesitate if you want to put disgraceful red stripes in your hair. Do it before it’s too late!
This tone-on-tone painting BTW is not finished yet! I paint in layers and the current layer (shown below) has it now looking a bit like giant water-lilies so its work-in-progress title is Eau Fleurs de Lys in memory of Monet whose amazing gardens and waterlily ponds at Giverny, we visited in France several thousand years ago, along with several thousand other tourists at the time. Yes, well . . . what with the known arty results of Monet’s failing eyesight and all that, we have a lot in common! But mine’s not finished yet!!
And below . . . Giverny France – The Real Thing . . . photo taken by dear devoted at his very best.
Invitation: Kapiti Arts Trail
6-7 + 13-14 November 2021
The everlasting 21st Kapiti Arts Trail is scheduled this year over two weekends Sat/Sun 6/7 November and Sat/Sun 13/14 November 2021 and this year being between houses and studios I will again be based at Artel Gallery in Otaki, working on some smaller paintings, on-site, all four days.
Last year Artel Gallery in Otaki generously hosted me and my paintings for the two Trail weekends via a large workspace in the window and two huge walls for my paintings. This worked well with lots of interested people calling in to ask questions and to both admire and buy my paintings. It will be the same arrangement again this year except we may verge on disgraceful by offering some wine-tasting opportunities after 4pm each day.
The Trail is well worth trekking your way around – with a huge array of quality art of all shapes and sizes on sale. Once you’ve found your way to Kapiti, drive through to Artel in Otaki first. Pick up an official Trail booklet with maps from Artel and work your way through the region’s studios, galleries and cafes. These booklets are also available from other galleries, cafes and libraries. Enjoy immersing yourself each both weekends!
If you have a lovely big wall and would like a lovely big painting to hang on it, then talk to me at Artel. And also check out the huge range of both paintings and creative gifts from other artists too.
Below is last years advertising banner – this year’s coming soon. It would be disgraceful if you mixed up the dates. You have been warned.
2020 Was Cancelled While We Were Holed Up At Base Camp!
Old news now of course, but that extended Mediterranean Cruise didn’t happen at the end of last year, and the quick trip to Sydney to support James’ participation in the Port Macquarie Ironman last May was cancelled too, of course. Closer to home, two Open Water swims I planned to paddle my way through in Rotorua and Auckland were cancelled. And I didn’t fancy swimming training laps down at the Otaki pool any more. It was watching them wipe all surfaces, every two hours, with sanitizer that did it. Painting got cancelled because I couldn’t travel to my studio shed!
The giant NZ Art Show in Wellington was cancelled and even the low-key opening night at the Academy of Fine Arts Exhibition in Wellington was cancelled. And then friends Edna and Guy in Dunedin cancelled their trip to the North Island, to visit with us at Base Camp. The whole situation was disgraceful and I was getting older by the minute!
Middle child Amber got it in one, with the image she sent way back then, below. We were having plenty of sunshine here at home, but sadly no windows large enough to fit our bums through. Must try this – perhaps by elevating the two big horizontal bean bags we have out in the ‘courtyard’.
Oldest daughter Megan’s sense of humour is also alive and well and excuse the disgraceful language but the following notice apparently circulated through the Australian corporate world last year and brought tears of laughter to our eyes. As we said, if you don’t laugh, you cry!
Take Care Out There!
Watching the news is obsessive-compulsive at the moment – it’s a bit like the old-fashioned Telethons where we used to sit up all night scared we would miss something really good . . . I don’t think we ever did despite sleeping and waking in fits and starts on the sofa for countless hours!
Skyrocketing numbers of infections and deaths world-wide, globally plunging share-markets, most country’s borders closed – some with 50 kilometre queues of vehicles with people being tested on the way through. Already broken businesses littering every high street and industrial park on the face of the earth, shattering lives for countless millions of people of all nationalities . . . where will it all end?
Just growing old disgracefully without coronovirus is starting to look like a highly desirable personal goal! The alternative doesn’t even bear thinking about, does it! But the biggest worry is of course what is happening to your nearest and dearest . . . striving to keep their kids safe, keeping themselves safe, hanging on to their life-support jobs or businesses. Keeping their employees and their families safe. Juggling now unmanageable projects against the odds. Endeavouring to make ends meet in dire circumstances.
Who can work out what everyone’s new normal will be by the end of this year and beyond? Some things, many things will be changed forever.
Luckily for us right now, staying home is good, being retired is good, being rural even better and living in a small space means fewer surfaces to wipe down – yay! Shopping in a small town supermarket is much more supportive and monitoring who you have contact with is much easier to manage. Dear devoted husband and I can still sit down to a sunshiny brunch under the umbrella at Base Camp. Not meaning to be selfish but long may it last – please.
You too . . . please again . . . stay positive, enjoy the small things, look after you and yours !!
PS: If you don’t laugh you cry . . . the Washington Post has a competition each year where submissions to redefine common words, are sought. One very topical one is COFFEE – this is the person upon whom one coughs. ABDICATE is to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach (think about it) and FLATULANCE is the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steam-roller.
Job Satisfaction !
Some time back I finished this metre square painting after a long elapse time. I had also been working on about 15 big and bigger canvases layering away as usual until I got happy with the results of each one. Getting this small but lasting burst of job satisfaction with each painting had been taking me longer than usual – not sure why. This lack of productivity despite putting in the hours eventually led to me having to cancel my upcoming exhibition which was scheduled at Tennyson Gallery in Napier – sadly due to a lack of finished work. Tennyson’s is a small but lovely gallery which regularly showcases my work so this felt very bad. Cancelling an exhibition anytime, anywhere is disgraceful arty behaviour of the worst possible kind. Definitely not to be repeated! However finishing this painting Blue Moon Over Kidnappers was a good milestone – and the happy ending was that it did end up being purchased by a Hawkes Bay collector through Tennyson’s.
Above a previous exhibition of my paintings at Tennyson Gallery a few years ago. But don’t you just love that disgracefully wonderful, abstract stainless steel sculpture though!! And below a pop-up Exhibition featuring some of my smaller paintings, staged in Wellington by Tennyson some time ago.
Happy New Year???
Nothing arty about this post! Middle child Amber (a chip off the old block I think) has moved a little bit prematurely into a Growing Old Disgracefully modus operandi. Talk about 2020 vision to kick-start a new decade . . . this vision is right through to open air above the totally burnt out kitchen in their totally burnt out, now ex-home in Melbourne.
Although not caused by the tragic bush fires currently spreading throughout Australia ( a mind-boggling disaster that has so far destroyed more than a thousand homes) middle child along with hubby, two children and two dogs now also find themselves homeless, with virtually zero possessions to their name! Their fire was caused by the spontaneous combustion of an electric scooter battery in the garage.
Not sure it is even relevant . . . but being the aged parent of a homeless person does make me feel quite disgraceful!
NB: Middle child Amber, caught out on the footpath at 3am (all 5′ 9″ of her clad only in a shortie robe) did accept a neighbour’s kind offer of ‘bathers’ (togs to us Kiwis) to prevent her taking ‘disgraceful’ a few nudely steps too far.
This brings to mind a rather uninhibited old 1950’s chant we (at Manchester St Primary School in Feilding) used to shout at the kids from opposing Lytton Street School. It started “Lytton dogs stink like frogs in their mother’s bathing togs . . . .” Can’t quite remember what came after that! But do remember very clearly from 1954, our Manchester St School Hall also burning to the ground in the middle of the night. Well that’s a few rather random memory associations, from way back. The brain works in mysterious ways but at least it still works!
Kiwi Christmas at the Beach
Didn’t do Christmas last year – I was caught between Aussie and New Zealand . . . and naughtily opted out of both countries festive celebrations in favour of some stress-free peace and quiet. I have been told that this was truly growing old disgracefully behaviour . . . so this year does represent improvement in that I am participating in person, along with dear devoted husband – in New Zealand festivities and both of us also in absentia in Aussie ones.
But there’s no room for a Christmas tree at Base Camp (really?) all decorations are stacked away in storage (out of reach?) dear devoted has ‘volunteered’ to do all pressie shopping and wrapping (not many this year?) and there is no Christmas Dinner to prepare over a slavish hot stove – yee-ha!!!
Youngest son and amazing wife Alix have taken the lead and invited us to join them at their Plimmerton Beach home to enjoy their gourmet hot ham masterpiece on Christmas Day amidst extended family with no strings attached – not even baking the usual pavlova! Perhaps next year we can do the same in Aussie-land!
At home this year we can report that the newly-planted Pohutukawa trees just metres from our Peka Peka Beach Base Camp ‘lounge’ are in full bloom with tui regularly feeding on the nectar of these iconic ‘land-of-the-long-white-cloud’ Christmas flowering trees. Flowering by Christmas is meant to signify a long hot summer! Probably also signifies global warming these days.
And Father Christmas has been spotted on Peka Peka Beach so Christmas will be happening here with-me or without-me co-operating! So either way all the very best of stress-free Christmas pleasure to you all from dear devoted and yours truly. Don’t make too many New Year’s resolutions and let’s look forward to the year 2020 with new insights.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
This is another retro post just to bring you up to date from mid-2020 when it all became too much!
Day 21 of LOCKDOWN . . . with at least seven days to go. The night curfews, the claustrophobia, the daily lack of social contact, the beautiful weather outside . . . he just had to make a break for it. Disgraceful!
It happened after dark, when everyone else was sound asleep. It started out OK, going bush with his mate, chasing the birds, taunting the elderly dog over the road, breaking all the rules. But it was always going to end in tears for fluffy chocolate Persian Smudge. AWOL but not much fun . . . 48 hours literally out on an a limb and mate Simba waiting anxiously at the bottom.
To find Smudge I had dragged myself up one overgrown ridge on my hands and knees, anchoring myself on clumps of agapanthas, sliding bumpily down into the next gully rather disgracefully on my bum. No ladder rescue at all possible by dear devoted of course and impossible off-road terrain for the fire brigade. A quick call to hero Mike – a professional tree-climber – was made. He arrived fully kitted-out with ropes, helmet, cat-catching bag and crampons and executed a faultless rescue. Mike was busy making ‘truffles’ with his little daughter Maia (a suitably masculine activity for lockdown, we thought) when he got our 111 emergency call! He dropped it all to save the day. Apart from Smudge we all kept two metres apart, trying not to cough, sneeze or spit on anyone and washed our hands thoroughly afterwards!
Well Hung at Matakana
Late 2019, before COVID hit New Zealand dear devoted husband towed a disgracefully noisy, bumpy rented furniture trailer full of paintings (and one tired passenger – in the car not the trailer) to Matakana (nine hours driving, arriving at 2am) because the VW van we usually stack the paintings in, blew a foo-foo valve the day before. Never had a single problem with it to date – Murphy’s Law! This morning almost recovered, dear devoted peered through this fabulous Rudy Van Der Pol metal sculpture to capture yours truly posing for the camera during the hanging of said paintings at the AMG. Managed to get 14 big and small paintings finished and well hung for this solo exhibition – not such a disgraceful outcome after all. Below Abandon Ship at 1200mm square and The Last Of The Summer Sun which is 2000mm x 1000mm.
Matakana : Compendium of Colour
Solo Exhibition: December 2019 – January 2020
There’s nothing disgraceful about Art Matakana Gallery who have exhibited and sold a lot of my work over the years. I love showing my work there. What IS mildly disgraceful is the time it took me to get the bare minimum number of paintings ready to hang by December 7. Months and months . . . still painting every day . . . in between swimming training lengths for the open sea King of The Bay’s swim from Milford to Takapuna which takes place on Auckland’s North Shore on the same day as the exhibition opens . . . and the dreaded wet-suit goes public for the first time (see my Wetsuit Wedgie post if you must) but does not go public at the Gallery opening of course. Don’t be silly! The blue painting below is Haze Over Bay of Islands at 1000mm square and the red one used for the exhibition flyer is Southern Vista 1500mm x 800mm.
Art Matakana Gallery is one of my favourite places to exhibit and over the last decade, my work has been featured successfully in solo exhibitions there virtually every year. Forty minutes north of Auckland in a semi-rural location the Gallery is a huge barn-like space which show-cases my work to perfection. See www.artmatakana.com. Below some images from previous exhibitions at Art Matakana . . .
Disgraceful Exhibitionism of a Different Kind!
One hour, twenty-three minutes and forty-two seconds of swimming backstroke in ‘perfect conditions’ (haha read incessant waves of choppy salt water – gallons of which I involuntarily consumed throughout the entire race) eventually flotsam’d me past buoys #7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 . . . and after staggering up the sandy finish chute (where a high-five from the organiser almost knocked me off my feet) I wobbled and whale flopped onto the grass beach reserve at Takapuna. This very long 2.8 km swim involved trailing behind 500 plus other swimmers who disappeared into the distance in minutes. The fastest swimmers ran up the finish chute after only 33 minutes! Some of these were about 60 years younger than me. If this is not Growing Old Disgracefully, then I don’t know what is! Being instructed to lift my head, smile and show my finishing medal to dear devoted husband’s entirely unsympathetic and unflattering camera was the last straw.
However let it be known that I was not-at-all bitter and twisted about being 510th out of 519! Furthermore, I did get 4th in my age-group – just missing out on a podium medal – bugger! But wait there’s more – there were only five in my age-group! Ha ha again! Definitely a tough day at the office and not a paint brush in sight! And this the same December day my Matakana exhibition opened!
PS: Have discovered that ingesting that much salt water has a salubrious (?) effect on the entire digestive track. In association with this also found getting both wet Speedos and Wet-suit off – in a hurry – in a Portaloo, is not funny either!
This IS the epitome of Growing Old Disgracefully!
NEW ZEALAND ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS
Career Accolades Are Always Welcome
Delighted this month to be notified by the President of the NZ Academy of Fine Arts that I had been nominated and accepted – in recognition of the standard and consistency of my work – for Academy membership status as an ‘Elected Artist’. Among other things this means my paintings will be exhibited by the Academy during exhibitions which are restricted to Elected Artists only – the first of these being scheduled for July 2020.
The Academy runs multiple group exhibitions of Members’ work in their professional complex of gallery spaces right on Wellington’s waterfront in the capital’s CBD. In the exhibition below I was one of eight artists provided their own space for this very successful group Solo 40 exhibition. Several paintings which followed an inspirational trip to the Milford Sounds featured and sold.
This painting ‘Red Flare Tides’ featured in another group exhibition at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts in Wellington. And below a fund-raiser Exhibition the Academy hosts each year where the public’s ticket to the catered Opening also buys them a small original artwork – randomly allocated from the approximately 200 paintings donated and hung each year for this fund-raiser.
Now listen-up ladies . . . do you know anyone, anyone at all who has emerged from a changing room in a positive frame of mind . . . after trying on a selection of swimsuits? No – I don’t either! Trying on swimsuits should only be indulged in by those with the toughest of temperaments and unshakable self-confidence . . . and preferably beautiful bodies!
Now let’s take this game up a notch. At the tri-shop I visited today, they charge $30 per wet-suit ‘fitting’! Believe it or not! This is more than they charged me to try on elaborate wedding dresses before I got married.
Today they provided plastic bags to wear on my feet to make it easier to pull the wet-suit legs on. They provided grippy gloves to wear so I could tug the suit half-way up my own crotch – the burly South African man in charge of the ‘fitting’ was quite specific about the need for this.
They provided ‘Speedos to wear under it – yes Speedos! Like ‘show and tell’ underwear! The young woman assistant (chaperone?) did reassure me that I would never be seen in these in public, would I? Like I was not planning to sit around the pool in them, was I? She was frightened! No question this is Growing Old Disgracefully.
By this time dear devoted husband had left the room . . .
This was all to get the suit to the stage where Mr Burly Boss could move in on me, to stretch the armholes over my beefy shoulders before snapping the cutty edges tightly back under my armpits and around my neck . . . while at the same time managing to ram my biceps (I mean breasts) and triceps (I mean back-fat) into what turned out to be a chest-encasing, life-threatening rubber compression chamber more suited to a prepubescent Scots College first-former, than a buxom woman of my age.
Three times I was disgracefully man-handled in and out of this wet-suit (so I could try out different Speedos under it) each time grasping a rail to keep my balance while his burly heaving lifted my feet off the ground! This brought a whole new meaning to the ‘laying on of hands’. Modesty was not even an issue. I should have charged him – not vice versa!
Anyway here is the end result . . . NOT!
The identical wet-suit, right down to the orange & blue logo.
But this is obviously NOT what I looked like wedged into mine!
The photo I provided of me was censored off the blog.
Truly truly Growing Old Disgracefully!
Kapiti Art Trail 2019
So I’m not participating in November 2019 as I have NO paintings to exhibit – not one! And no gallery to exhibit them at anyway seeing we have sold the house that had an exhibition studio/gallery attached. This is disgraceful state of affairs after a decade of participating in this event year after year. Bugger!
Missed exhibiting at the NZ Art Show in Wellington a few months ago too for the same reason – no finished paintings to exhibit. This too is very disappointing! Not part of the big plan!
Back painting now though in between sitting in the winter sunshine, creating several hundred wire plant protectors to keep the rabbits from eating the newly planted Grissilinias and Carex Testacea. Apart from the wiry bits, or perhaps even including them, landscape design and development stimulates the creative juices in many different ways – and at least I can do this bit sitting down, with my painting bandanna on to remind me of what I should be doing. Growing Old Disgracefully!
KAPITI ARTS TRAIL
For many years, the Kapiti Arts Trail has been a regular entry in my Exhibition calendar excepting very recently since this property was sold and I had no suitable Trail space to exhibit in. Each year my rather disgraceful ‘studio’ at Otaki Forks overlooking the river gorge, had to be cleared and repainted to transform it into a ‘Gallery’ through which hundreds of people ‘trailed’ each year. See below – it scrubbed up well!
I continued to paint (and sell my paintings) throughout these weekends while chatting to visitors and trying to explain what I was doing on the work-in-progress canvases on show, alongside those that were finished. Outside under the canopy of a large portico, additional paintings – along with a selection of Bruce Winter’s small sculptures, were exhibited. The Kapiti Arts Trails were always enjoyable occasions with excellent sales.
NZ ART SHOW WELLINGTON
The NZ Art Show which is now staged every Queens Birthday Weekend in Wellington city is a vast group exhibition featuring approximately 300 artists and thousands of paintings. More than $1 million worth of work from artists from all over New Zealand is sold each year. I have been accepted for and have exhibited very successfully at virtually every NZ Art Show in the last decade. The much anticipated 2020 live Show was cancelled due to Covid19 and replaced by an on-line Exhibition – which included some of my available works. The images below are collated from previous years.
Above, the last minute framing of First Light at the Falls on the floor in front of my exhibition ‘wall’ and below a closely packed selection on a much earlier NZ Art Show occasion.
SOME EARLY EXHIBITIONS
The following are a selection of images from some early exhibitions at various galleries in Wellington city and regional galleries on the Kapiti Coast and in Pauatahanui – plus those from dozens of solo and group exhibitions held in the Auckland area, Hamilton, Taupo, Manawatu and the Bay of Plenty among others . . .
NEW ZEALAND REGION: WINNER
CLIFTON INTERNATIONAL ART PRIZE 2012
First Light At The Floodgates
Dirty Big Dig at Base Camp!
Base Camp at Quail Ridge
From the sublime to the ridiculous – as the saying goes. Our ‘build’ project is progressing well with dear devoted husband’s static caravan hut now in place, wheels off the ground and delicately cantilevered over the mulched bank at Base Camp on Quail Ridge. Not quite ready for occupation yet – miracles do take a little longer! Today talented builder friend Graeme helped Snow anchor it to the ground to prevent it rolling off the bank (in the dark) in a strong wind. This image shows dear devoted testing the end result.
Next week’s challenges include little necessities like ensuring there is power to boil the billie, having a tank to collect clean, green (seagull-sullied) rain-water off the roof and making sure some grey and black water disposal systems are in place. And if you don’t know what black water disposal involves then it is too disgraceful to discuss here. The biggest conundrum will of course be fitting the 70″ Smart TV onto the 24″ wall inside the living room.
It wasn’t that long ago that we built the sublime Greenmantle Estate Lodge. Only a few decades! That house certainly wouldn’t fit on the back of a truck! Nor would recent home-sweet-home at Parenga Rise on the river. Our old age downsizing certainly epitomizes growing old on a disgraceful scale! From the sublime to the ridiculous – such a cliche!
Oldest daughter Megan suggested we should be calling it De-Base Camp for obvious reasons. Youngest son Mase suggested Sunnyside Farm as we are obviously nuts. Middle child Amber has wisely kept her opinion to herself.
Some of it in the name of art?
In a rather disgraceful grand-parenting display today, I managed (by paying a gold coin per bucket to three small labourers) to fill a wool-sack full of plastic rubbish, handpicked from the huge truck-loads of chunky mulch now dumped on the steep slopes of our building site. Much mulch was also distributed far and wide by the rug-rats sliding repeatedly down the piles on big pot-plant trays, dragging armfuls of the dirty chunks with them. Milla was recklessly good at this. Riley managed to shift mulch in bulk by leaping from a great height, causing a landslide each time. Charlie reminded us, with her full buckets, that we were saving the planet – that this sort of plastic was killing the dolphins. All three were more effective than me on the rake all day! Dunked them in the sea at Peka Peka beach in an effort to clean them up before inflicting these very tired and filthy slaves back on their parents. Plenty more to be done but not sure they will be back for a while . . . and back to painting for me next week!
I’m obviously a recidivist as this reminded me of a similar fairly disgraceful grand-parenting occasion a while back, with Riley press-ganged in the middle of a freezing downpour, to count out 60 red tags and stick them in the ground beside each sculpture for the opening of the 2019 Kapiti Arts Trail! A lengthy three-acre trek for a small slave with blue feet. PS: His gumboots filled up with water so he put them in the wheel-barrow. Dear devoted took the photo from under the shelter of the veranda! My paintings were already safely hung, high and dry in the studio gallery!
Scavenging At The Tip . . .
Today I went scavenging at the tip . . . this is what I do between paintings . . . well really I was furtively crawling on my hands and knees behind the big concrete dividers at friendly Charlotte’s ‘green waste centre’ at the tip. It felt quite disgraceful but keeping out of sight and well away from the heavy machinery, I trawled through the 3m high pile of live gorse and dead cabbage trees until (Eureka!) I came across a big pile of fresh green flax clumps, all of which I dragged manfully into the back of the van before scarpering. PS: Have now broken all the clumps up into about 300 healthy little flax plants to plant in drifts around the mulched, but bare hectare we will soon be calling home . . . one man’s junk is another woman’s treasure”.
Just prior to this when obliging garden helper Philip and I were shovelling and raking a truckload of very chunky mulch down a steep slope, I managed to trip, dive and roll to the bottom, sort of pivoting on the large rake like an elderly pole-vault. This too was disgraceful with both dear devoted husband Snow and obliging garden helper Philip doubled over in laughter as I excavated myself from the mulch.
Another ! Anniversary
We have been married a disgracefully long time . . . I’m not saying just how long . . . but take it from me, you probably weren’t even born then. Anyway dear devoted husband and I bought each other cards yesterday, separately, from different shops and look at the wording we ended up with. Is this taking ‘growing alike’ too far? I was given the beautiful orchid as well and dinner out was nice too.
And believe it or not, way back when, colour photography was only in its infancy . . . all in trendy black and white . . .
Big Boy's Toys . . .
What better to do on a beautiful Spring day but mulch up all the dead tree lupins cut down the day before? Look out pine trees – here we come! Firewood to the left – mulching to the right. Dear devoted husband Snow using the latest acquisition – a large, pre-loved (commercial) Chipper bought in Christchurch and towed all the way back through the Kaikoura’s and onto the ferry! Has anyone ever noticed that the older the big boys get, the larger their toys are? It used to be all about who had the longest blade on their Stihl chainsaws. Perhaps dear devoted is trying to grow old disgracefully as well – we must talk about this in more depth.
Anyway this drive through the Kaikouras a while back did inspire me to complete a semi-abstract take on the earthquake-distressed Kairoura coastline which sold a few months ago at an NZ Academy of Fine Arts exhibition in Wellington. Disgracefully red!
I Thought I Was Spot-On . . .
Until I sat down in the Melbourne Koru Club Lounge ready to relax with a glass of bubbles while I waited for my flight to be called . . . . I didn’t notice but when I did, having my trendy new spotted top match the decor so well was rather embarrassing. After surreptitiously inspecting (head down, through my lashes) the further reaches of the lounge, I found I could not escape my chosen corner for fresh fields sporting different cushion covers. The spotted cushions were everywhere!
I had another drink, trying to avoid the strange looks on the attendant’s faces as they came over to clear my disgraceful row of champagne flutes. No-one asked why I was taking a decapitated selfie! No one seemed to notice I was inadvertantly listing to the right somewhat with my left arm at full stretch in order to include the cushions in my shot. Suffice to say that I won’t be wearing that particular top next time I go to Melbourne to visit daughters Megan and Amber or if I do I must remember to fly home on Qantas.
This is going back a few months now but really needs to put out there as a rather a disgraceful small splash in a big pond. Lake Okanagan in Kelowna Canada hosts a well-known and well-attended open-water swim of 2.1km every year. The youngest competitor of the 1300 swimming in 2019 was 9 yrs old and the oldest 85 yrs old. And then there was me and my sister – who lives in Kelowna and has now powered her way through this swim ten times. No – I’m not telling you how old we are!
This year seeing we happened to be holidaying in Kelowna when the swim was on, yours truly decided six weeks beforehand to have a go at it. Unlike the other 1299 competitors, I chose to backstroke the course – this being the swim stroke I was aclaimed for in my youth.
Before we left, I trawled my storage boxes to find my long-lost togs, then popped down to the Otaki pool to see if I could handle the distance. After a break of about 30 years I managed 60 lengths the first day – yee-ha! I decided to enter . . . why not . . . and about 15 practice pool-swims later went off to Canada to join the professionals and all the others – all aiming for their own PBs. BTW – the hardest thing about doing the practice lengths at the pool was the days when 30 or so of the oldest inhabitants of Otaki took to the other half of the pool for 40 minutes of enthusiastic (?) aqua-exercise. My philosophy (as the waves of water washing over my backstroking face every lap threatened my survival) was that it was good training for open-water swimming. As it turned out the lake was calmer!
This less than glamorous look (above) after the big swim was directed at the TV cameraman on the very wet finishing-line who was bloody-well directing his mighty big shoulder-mounted movie camera right at me as I floundered disgracefully out of the water and staggered up the beach at a slow run . . . and sure enough video of that very unattractive back-view featured on the Kelowna TV News that night AND they didn’t even know I was all the way from New Zealand! I was very pleased to finish – somewhat after my sister and somewhat after a lot of other people. I did manage to do it in under an hour – sounds good (by a few seconds) and came 946th. The 9 year old beat me!
Now that I am a confirmed open-water swimmer, my sights are on the 2.8km Milford to Takapuna swim in Auckland on 7 December this year.
PS: I did buy some new togs in Vancouver and the brand was ‘Look Good Half Naked’ . . . HA! . . . the irony of it!
So much for the quiet life . . . not that it was . . . but it certainly isn’t now! Not being wise enough to settle for one new fur-baby we decided we would have two. Simba is a five month old Persian with a decidedly mischievous outlook on life. You can tell by looking! Simba is apparently destined to grow into a large lion lookalike – hence his given name. He attaches himself to Snow with enthusiasm . . . any which way, without warning . . . on this occasion he launched himself onto dear devoted Snow’s back and climbed his shoulder.
And look at that face! Below is Simba play-fighting his older brother – 9 month old Smudge who is not even complaining about Simba’s disgraceful demonstration of brotherly love.
So there you are – we are now managing litter-boxes, daily coat combing, fresh raw meat feeding three times a day and trying to train these little fur-babies not to walk across the backs of our heads when we are asleep in bed. Being indoor kittens who had never been outside until this week, their outdoor excursions require us to be very vigilant while on playground duty.
A Home For The More-Or-Less Homeless
So let’s get onto another lifestyle activity that seems to be a bit disgraceful at our age as well – not just building a house but developing the one hectare site this house, might at some stage eventually sit on. You do have to plan this in stages, in case you are not around long enough to see stages 2, 3, 4 or 5. Especially if it means, as rapidly aging more-or-less homeless people, we will be living in a trailer on site while we get the job done.
That blackberry you can see in this photo is shoulder height. Delicious fruit (last summer) now it has almost all been mowed down – to make way for the drive, house site and garden. Dear devoted husband Snow’s friendly digger driver Mike C attached a giant mower to his digger and made short work of that! Looks like that fresh blackberry and apple pie with whipped cream is off the menu. And those big old ‘wilding’ pines which have been self-seeding throughout the Peka Peka dunes (and a lot of other places in New Zealand) have just about all gone as well – not completely yet though as dear devoted is gradually turning the ones on our property into firewood for our friends next winter or into mulch to cover the hectare we are clearing for planting of natives.
It’s disgraceful really how much manual labour we are slogging at nearly every day, in all weathers while several of our friends relax on the cruising circuit. You know who I mean Marilyn & Glynn among others! I suppose (sigh) manual labour is another good way to keep the joint blood pressures down and stop our aging bodies fraying at the edges too much!
Face-Planting At Full Stretch!
It’s definitely disgraceful – growing old just when you finally know what you are doing and how to do it. Well . . . it feels like that sometimes. Not the least of it is not meeting everyone’s expectations of what you should be doing, or wearing or talking about ‘at your age’. Actually what’s worse is not being able to handle the physical requirements of being disgraceful.
Oldest daughter Megan told me so – just after I unintentionally face-planted full-length (and dramatically – I held nothing back!) on the unforgiving marble floor of a fancy show home in Melbourne BUT I must say, without breaking my hip or wrist or ankle or anything else! The extensive audience clapped. . . no they didn’t. I just felt like they should have. All I heard was a horrified silence as I lay there winded and waiting to die!
The thing is – it’s the high heeled bogan boots I am wearing these days. Not the done thing at my age but I really loved the look of them. Bought a nice looking grey pair that clomped and kicked suitably, then got another red pair the same. Live in these although find the high heels difficult when I am walking down the 45 degree slopes on the building site. This is why I often choose to slide down on my bum! Then decided I just had to have the black dress ones – with gold buckles, zips, straps and laces. Why not? I don’t wear any of these while painting though!
Not good handling the mental requirements either, sometimes. Scintillating conversation is hard to manage if you are going deaf – not that I am yet. Unlike my dear devoted husband Snow, I’m in denial about all these sorts of things. Although I have no qualms at all now about googling all the crossword clues I can’t get when no-one is looking. I admit that this is truly disgraceful! But the really tough part is watching friends and family fading and knowing you will be next. Not if but when! Or suspecting that you are already 80% faded yourself and suppressing awareness of it.