Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dun-Chch-Palmy... then Taihape

Flap, flap, flap .... vroom. I am off to Taihape for Christmas. Bags are packed, shuttle pick-up is at 7am tomorrow morning.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tick tock

My clock, made in the ceramics class earlier in the year.

tick .... tock.... tick.... tock.... it measures the seconds as I write.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I read in today's paper that NZers do more exercise than most. Certainly we get enough messages that we should be more active. There is a good 20 minute walk up the hill and down through the park near me that I take when I decide I should be fitter. This Kowhai tree grows in the park.

Monoprint made in Frome, 2006

Six months before coming to Dunedin I traveled to Europe. I visited Stina in England who taught me how to do monoprints. I spent a delighted 3 days making prints in her studio while she was away at a wedding and it was then that I decided I should do art more formally. When I got back home I moved and moved again and only now is some of my stuff reappearing. Among them the print below which was made in Stina's studio. My first try at monoprints.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ngauruhoe Music

I grew up in the shadow of the Ruahine Ranges to the S/E of Mt Ngauruhoe, an active volcano which, we children were told, had once erupted sending ash high into the air and later settling on the roof of my parents home.

This piece of pale green argillite (also found in the Ruahine Ranges) from the beach at Colac Bay reminded me of Mt Ngauruhoe.

The copper coloured sunsets behind the mountain viewed from my parents former home are often stunning. I like to think of the eruptions as Ngauruhoe’s way to make music - thus the musical notes in the volcanic cloud.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tooth Ring

The brief for our three week jewellery module was to create something that links material and identity.

I made a ring from a tooth cap that I had worn for 25 years. It was replaced last year. Now I can wear it on my finger, admiring the way light flashes off its surfaces. My own brand of diamond.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Girl piper

The girl stood
piping in the sunshine
on the lawn in front of the
Dunedin Railway Station.

The music drifted over
the morning air
to the markets
next door.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


'Coffee pot'
This is an etching with aquatint. An etching is made by drawing on a metal plate - in this case, a zinc plate. Aquatints are nothing to do with aquarelle. Instead it is the process of applying a haze of dots to a metal surface and then dunking it in an acid bath. The acid eats away around the dots. The longer you leave it in the acid (with re-applications of the haze of dots)the deeper it eats into the metal and, when you ink the plate, the darker the image. (More at

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Field trip down south

Jewellery class students collecting rocks on an argillite outcrop at Colac Bay, east of Invercargill. Argillite is a greenish stone, originally sedimentary rock.

The beach at Colac Bay with tutor Johanna taking pictures. Across the water is Stewart Island.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our sexualised world

I was astonished to hear from a lecturer at art school that he found my video confronting. He is so used to semi-clad female forms dancing in time to techno music that he found the images in my video discomforting, singing mouths which panned back to show that the mouths belonged to small children. He thought it might be a very clever comment on the issue of sexualisation of children.

Today I read in Sydney Morning Herald that the Bill Henson photos have lead to a push to disallow artist's privilege for imagery of children which is pornographic. Writer David Marr says the problem with that is the "widespread notion that has been growing over the past decade that just about any image of a child naked or scantily or precociously dressed is pornographic." I suppose that if, like my lecturer, you associate techno music with scantily clad females, you could argue that my film is questionable.

The issue is not an easy one. There is a very interesting article on the art life that discusses Henson's early photos and the art world's reaction to them. In my view these early photos are not the work of a disinterested observer and that makes me queasy about the rest of his work.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Coffee pot prints

It took me a long time to warm to printing, but finally when I started experimenting with colour I got the bug. Our print course is finished and we had a free day today, but I spent the day (8.30 to 6pm)rolling the printing presses. These 2 etching/aquatint/stencils of coffee pots were the beginning of my colour experiments. Today's work sits under the presses at school. I shall be interested to have a look at it tomorrow when I have recovered from my marathon print day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Self self

Our 5 self portraits are due to be handed in tomorrow. I am not sure they are getting any more like with time.
Self, in the style of Elizabeth Peyton. Little mirror is balancing on the clutter on my desk.

Self in the style of John Graham Self as an etching.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stop the Stadium (in Stained Glass)

The stained glass window in the Dunedin Railway Station is one of the heritage objects in the city I like best. Dunedin is full of heritage gems but I doubt that the people who designed the proposed new rugby stadium were interested in integrating it into the character of the city as it looks like an overgrown oyster. A lot of people, even supporters of the stadium, are against council plans to provide tens of millions of dollars of rate-payer' money for a new stadium. That includes me as I think the reputation of ‘ the House of Pain’ should be built on, not squandered and I would prefer to see Carisbrook Stadium spruced up.

For my latest art school e-Art project I started with the beautiful Railway Station window and inserted anti-stadium images: the charter from the ‘Stop the Stadium’ group and photos from the protest rally on 2 August 2008. I see the new image as a reminder to the Dunedin Council that heritage matters.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Adrenalentil's progeny

Greta (aka Adrenalentil) made the track 'Softest Thing' in the 1990s. During our school holidays this week I made a 'mash up', combining her sound track with videos of her family. I thought it a nice comment on the meaning of time, the combination of the techno track with images of then-undreamt-of children.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Life Drawing

Our current teacher insists on us drawing v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. This drawing is charcoal and chalk on brown paper.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I was dreaming, walking along with thoughts elsewhere and suddenly in front of me was a picture of nature at her most perfect. On the tree beside the library, almost every flower was suddenly open, every flower was perfect, not a petal dropped. The flowers were single, white with a rose blush. I couldn't stop looking.
I know if you stand and stare for a while, an image will stay in your brain a long while. I still remember some early daffodils in the botanical gardens in Hamburg. I also remember that I was having a love affair with physics when the beauty of the daffodils forced my thoughts away from ruminations about Capra's Tao of Physics.
I wonder if I will remember that I saw these blossoms on a particularly balmy Dunedin day. Next day was cool and today is very windy so probably these wee flowers have been blown off their stems.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Electronic version

In eArt we are also drawing self portraits. This one was made this afternoon using Adobe Illustrator.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

First ... on black

Our home work for drawing is a series of self portrait sketches. The first one had to be on black, light source from one side. Not sure about the likeness, but you can tell I don't have central heating at my place.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Heinrich Duck watches the sunset

Here is Heinrich ... watching the sunset, dreaming of sitting for his portrait once again.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Why Mum?

In our eArt class we had to make a video with at least one loop and a 'synergistic sound track to mesh with the film loop'. My group of four learned how to shoot film in the lift well. Our films were all different but we still only used about 2% of the footage we shot. I am not sure Hollywood is going to hire us any time soon.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Boots and brolly

Boots and brolly is what we have been needing these last few weeks. These are mine, lying on my doormat. I thought them picturesque enough to make an etching of.

Ruby blowing a dandelion

My first lino cut.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Snow on the hills

It rained, it hailed, then it snowed. Today Dunedin feels like an alpine village. Bright sunshine but very cold with frost until lunch time.Lunchtime yesterday.
Blue skies today at noon.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

It's raining..'s pouring, the old man is snoring...

Beijing Opening Ceremony just for a few?

I read in the newspaper that the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony was wonderful. Ten out of ten they say. I can't find a single video of it anywhere on the Internet so I guess the Chinese officials and the TV stations have sewn copyright up. I have rapidly lost interest.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Dunedin Activists March : No Public Funding for new Rugby Stadium

On Saturday a crowd of over 700 marched along the main street of Dunedin to the Octagon to protest against Council proposing to take a loan to fund a new Rugby Stadium for Dunedin.

An elderly woman marching next to me told me that she this was the first time she had ever participated in a demonstration. She said she had lots of friends who are against the stadium but who were not at the march, so she was representing them. She was carrying a hand painted sign saying 'No to the Stadium'.

Afterwards I followed a young couple down the street who had not been on the march. The man was becoming quite heated as he tried to persuade his doubtful partner that Dunedin needed the stadium. "Tauranga will get it instead of us", he said.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Deluge for NZ


Dunedin was on the fringe of the big storm that hit NZ this week, but we got heavy rain regardless.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A geek's world

The website is down...
Check this out .. it had me laughing out loud. Does that mean I am a geek? I don't think so.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Yolanda Kondonassis, harpist

I drew this recently at a concert by a trio that included harpist Yolanda Kondonassis. I was sitting in the front row next to two high school students who told me their teacher told them to watch the harpist's feet as a harp has seven pedals.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Andersons Bay in winter

Five (car) minutes from central Dunedin on an inlet from Otago Habour is Andersons Bay.

A causeway across the bay leads to the coast road of Otago Penninsula.
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Monday, July 14, 2008

Footie fans and food

Footie fans at the Octagon. Science week was on as well in Dunedin and in the Future Food van you can see behind the footie fans I read that NZ has 0.3% of agricultural land under certified organic management. This compares to 2.7% for Australia, 3.9% in the UK and 14.2% in Austria. The chemical companies must love us.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Boaties on Otago Harbour

This group of boaties were pulling up their boat in the late afternoon yesterday. They seemed to be in a hurry and perhaps they were going to the rugby test.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dunedin basks in the sun on 12 July

I flew back from Sydney prepared for bitter cold but it was 18C and the shuttle bus driver was in shirt sleeves. Today was just as warm which is lucky for the rugby fans here for the NZ/SA test match. City shops are decorated in black and white and Carisbrook Stadium is sold out.
Proponents of the controversial proposed new $90m rugby stadium will probably argue that this means the stadium should be built. However, a radio presenter lamented this morning that the money already spent on feasibility studies for the proposed stadium would have paid for a brand new sewerage treatment works to keep the beaches clean. The presenter also said that a University study had concluded there was a 95% chance that the stadium would be bankrupt before its first year was out. A survey to assess support for the stadium has been done. It was sent to ratepayers, but only the males. If the head of a household was a woman the survey form was not sent. That says it all really. Maybe the recession will knock the proposal on the head. I notice mortgagee sales are prominent in the local paper today.

On a happier note, the local farmers market held on Saturdays at the Railway Station goes from strength the strength. Stall holders basked in the unseasonal warmth today and shoppers dawdled, listening to the piper standing in the gardens next door. The piper was a high school girl and accompanied on the drum by her smaller sister. They were a great team.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Out of the freezer

Brrr. The forecast for Dunedin is "bitter southwester with sleet and hail, clearing."
Time to escape the antarctic weather and head to Sydney.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sound Cloud

Sound Cloud, one of my ceramic pieces in the 'Handled' exhibition that opened this evening at Whiteroom at 31 Moray Place in Dunedin.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


The ceramics and jewellery students are having an exhibition - it opens next Tuesday so we are all scurrying around tying up the loose ends.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

20 seconds

Our eArt class project this morning was to create a 20 second video from images without restrictive copyright. Most of what I found was on US Government websites - US Dept of Agriculture for example. This is my 20 second video:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Saints stack pot

Perhaps they are not visible on this photograph, but this ceramic has images of saints on it. I made it after reading about a wealthy Russian who is collecting Russian icons from around the world and taking them back home.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Stunning colours in Queenstown.

Central Otago

Anzac weekend in Queenstown.
There is no snow on Coronet Peak yet but I suppose it wont be long.

Autumn colour in the garden.

The Shotover River.

Cromwell Dam Reflections.