Friday, December 21, 2007

Monday, December 03, 2007

Plugs and stuff

Packing to go on holiday makes me realise how dependent I have become on my electronic gadgetry. I seem to have more plugs and cords than an electricians shop. If someone invents a single plug/cord for everything, they'd be on to a winner.

Another winner is sure to be the little laptop called Eee PC. Only $500, 900gm light and does almost all of what you want. Has Linux operating system and OpenOffice so it should run like a dream. I am sure I am not the only person who has been looking for just such a little travel-lappy for years. Be nice not to have to cart a brick around.

Tomorrow I head off for Taihape.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Glass Sunset

The setting sun after our first clear blue day of the season. The glass ball was given to me for Christmas by Angelika from Hamburg about 15 years ago.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Textile clocks

Clocks. Clocks, time, history. These were what were on my mind when I made these in the textiles workshop.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Colours for Guy Fawkes

I hear fire crackers and children's shouting as I write. Fire crackers are still legally sold here in NZ and the kids are celebrating an early Guy Fawkes. I celebrated by doing some colouring in.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Open handucff

An open handcuff, made of packaging materials from my move to Dunedin was the result of my sculpture project this year. It relates to my sense of freedom. The handcuff has a chain made of shoe leather, white plastic, then transparent plastic. The final link is open. Are the chains that bind one are real or in ones own head? My handcuff has many keys ... one of them is music.

To make this handcuff I first had to find out how they work, so I went to the Dunedin Police Station to see if I could borrow some. They told me that handcuffs are 'personal issue' so I could not take a pair with me, but they did let me photograph a pair.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Number 8 Wire

What have Number 8 wire and Open Source Software got in common? Find out from New Zealand's eloquent Minister for Information Technology.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Flash glasses

My project paintings are finally finished, or at least I think so. I have painted a series of self portraits. I put my specs on in this painting, bought in Sydney in June.

I am enjoying the freedom of acrylics ... so much easier than watercolour. But watercolour has its own charm.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Modaks portraits

Painting people while sipping a long coffee is a pastime I particularly enjoy. I have been painting at Modaks this past year and today I hung the portraits. They look great along their long wall and people are having fun identifying themselves and their friends.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dunedin goes international

Air New Zealand has announced they are going to fly international flights to Dunedin under their own flag from March 2008 instead of under the FreedomAir banner, an airline not sold through travel agents. So Dunedin will be on the international radar.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Signs and symbols

Rita Angus held a cigarette as a sign of her independence in 1936. I wasn't sure what my image should hold. Things that signify women's independence? Ummm. Birth control devices? In 1923 Gerda Overbeck drew a woman buying a contraceptive douche over the shop counter. She called it 'Prostitute'. A pretty amazing picture when you think of it. When I suggested holding condoms Greta was amused and suggested something more personal.

I had almost finished my painting and still I couldn't decide. Then I told the story of the greenstone Koru to Alison and she said 'well you could use the Koru in your painting'.
The Koru. Perfect, just what I was after. Thank you ladies.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Long evenings

Daylight saving began last Sunday so we now have long evenings. I have been painting inside all day so I went for a walk this evening up the hill. It was clear and calm, the birds were singing and every now and again the sweet fragrance from one of the many flowering plants wafted by. The sun set as I was coming back down the hill at 7:45.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Rita and her cigarette

I am reading about New Zealand artists and have decided to paint a self portrait with a nod to the Self Portrait painted by Rita Angus in 1936-37 when she was 28. (Copy below - official copy can be found on Auckland Gallery website)

The painting is hanging in the Dunedin Art Gallery at the moment. I find it both compelling and repelling. The cigarette is said to be a symbol of women's independence. I have not quite decided what symbol might be appropriate for my painting.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A gift of greenstone

When I arrived in New Zealand, I bought a little ponamu (greenstone) Koru in Greymouth to signify new beginnings. I like it a lot it but somehow whenever I wore it I felt there was something wrong. The Maori Elder who helped me with my identity project last term told me that greenstone should only be worn if it is a gift and that my koru had been telling me that.

Today I received a gift ... some very cute earrings from friends at school made of greenstone, paua and silver. I have worn them since I got them and this time I feel delighted and comfortable.

Techie shopping

>>at the tuv shop.
Something to smile about. (Thanks Pia!)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Springtime in Dunedin

Spring has sprung. Blossom petals waft down onto the Leith River and students stop for a minute to look as they hurry between classes.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sculpture workshop

I am learning sculpture techniques by making kiwis ... first a model in cardboard. It had to be at least one meter long and not use glue or other sticking/stapling mechanism.

Then a metal kiwi ...

Then a wooden kiwi...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ceramic magic

Music again. Music of course.

Yesterday we unloaded the kiln. The good, the bad and the ugly. The ceramics that had been given up as failures were often the ones with that 'zing'. The magic of ceramics is a magic difficult to control. A bit like watercolours really.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Up and down again

Yesterday was 22C and out came the T-shirts. Today is 7C and there was snow on the hills when we woke this morning.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Ceramics is magic. Just a bit of heat and smoke is all it takes to transform this:

To this:

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Late winter blue skies

Today dawned clear and blue. I haven't painted outside since autumn but the day was too nice to waste so I took myself up the High Road on Otago Peninsula.

The view over the morning harbour was stunning.

By the time I left the mists had risen and the view was crisper.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Spring is arriving. The Prunus beside the ceramics studio is in flower. Yaaaay!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I have never had much of a feel for ceramics and I found the first week in the ceramics workshop rather underwhelming. Slowly though, I realised that you need to develop an eye to appreciate ceramics.

Then yesterday, when we got our first work out of the kiln, I suddenly understood ceramics-enthusiasts. Magically, our mundane pots were transformed into works of art, with crackled pinkish glaze with green and reddish tinges.

These pots were produced with a Raku firing, a Japanese method. It is like an alchemists laboratory with lots of smoke and fire and it turns exposed clay black.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I have progressed to the ceramics workshop .... from digital art to ceramics, it is quite a jump. We are having a cold snap and the ceramics workshop is not well heated so I have taken to wearing my hiking boots to class. Like everything else in the workshop they get their share of mud spatters. Today I noticed a lot of hiking boots in Queen Street. Sensible footwear for Dunedin in August.

Monday, August 06, 2007


This is a little bit of a poster I made with photoshop on the way to making a movie. In my movie the bubbles float over the Otago landscape.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Movie making

I have been glued to the computer these last two weeks, creating a 2 minute movie and learning the software in the process. My first effort was a movie illustrating that where ever we are, we take our history, our friends and family with us. Now I have started on a second which simply creates a sensation similar to the music.

Once I have finished them I shall put them in a box and leave them for a couple of months, then get them out again to see if they were successful.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bach's Partita in B Minor

In the 'Digital and Moving Image' Workshop we were asked to choose music to illustrate the words ' A shy incongruous charm'. I have decided to use the Sarabande from Bach's Partita No 1 in B Minor.

Now we are collecting images for a moving image to illustrate the atmosphere imparted by the music.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

When kids like reading

This was the scene at the local bookstore in Dunedin this morning. At 11:00 am they all cheered as the boxes of Harry Potter books were opened.

This is probably the first time since Thackeray wrote 'Vanity Fair' that the next installment has been so eagerly awaited.

"Ah! Vanitas Vanitatum! Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied?" —Vanity Fair
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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bruckner or Bach

I spent 3 weeks in Sydney over the semester break. There was snow falling as I left. Sydney has winter too but a different sort of winter and I had a wonderful break.

Now I am in the Digital and Moving Image workshop. We are creating moving images to music. Music without lyrics as they don't want us making music videos. I am choosing between Bruckner and Bach.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Gales and snow and brrr...

The words the weather forecasters are using for the weather in Dunedin are 'raw' and bitter'. It is because of the gale force winds. Yesterday there was snow - this pic from the Otago Daily Times. Today it is just bleak as you can see on the city center webcam.

New guidelines stipulate that new housing must have double glazing and proper insulation. About time too.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ring Cycle Jewellery

I finished the jewellery workshop yesterday. I worked in copper with gold leaf and based my work on Wagner's music.

Raum/Zeit (Musical notes in Copper)


Friday, June 15, 2007

The eyes have it

Part of my art school project: 'self portrait with Ta Moko' .I learned how to paint the eyes by looking at paintings in a recent exhibition of portraits of women at the Dunedin Art Gallery.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Well we didn't have to wait until evening. A storm blew through a minute ago and covered my south window.

I can see big snow clouds billowing to the west so it must be snowing hard in inland Otago. There is a hint of yellow on the horizon which would mean hail if we were in Sydney. Maybe a hail storm is on the way.
The windows of the buggy are snowbound too. The running water on the window distorted the picture.


Winter has arrived. This morning it snowed and now it is blowing, sleeping, raining and generally horrible. Even the hardy locals are looking cold. The ski resorts will be happy - they had no snow at all in May and now they will be deluged. They say snow is expected to sea level this evening so perhaps we will wake to a white Dunedin.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Art School

The art school is housed in an old school on the edge of Otago University Campus. This is the lunch area - photo taken in summer. Behind the blue windows is the painting workshop.

A restraining hand

Here is the child with candle image again - this time with a restraining hand.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Dunedin has great sunrises and sunsets. This sunset was taken out of my living room window.

Yesterday the sunrise was stunning - but I didn't have my camera. When I got into town people were standing out on the street in front of the cafe where I have my coffee and looking upwards.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A tray with knife and fork

Another work from my painting class. Yes, the knife and fork are there, if you look hard.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Child with candle

This is the finished 'child with candle' painting with yellow undercoat. The beginning of this painting is below.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Cultural integration

Coming back to NZ has confronted me with some identity issues . I am exploring them in a painting - which is still in the first stages. There has been a vigorous discussion on the appropriation of Maori symbols over the last 20 years. Now tattoos have become fashionable but some use them without knowing their meaning. In a recent American example, the macho figure in a computer animated game had a Maori tattoo - but the animators had used a female tattoo design!

All grist to the mill.