Day 2 Winter Arts Festival
Im being environmental today, car sharing with my neighbour Sue and Ive got the job of navigating. She says with an ironical twinkle in her eye that its because men are better at map reading, but I think its more likely to be that she is driving.
We re-pin our hand made tickets to ourselves and set out to find Mary James in Ostend. The wrong address is printed on the brochure but by continuing over the hill, the tell-tall red ball on a stick comes into view. Mary has a brand new portacabin facing the road. Theres a blue planter at the door with a vibrant blue flower itching to be painted. Sure enough, inside is the beginning of such a work. Her Nikau palm in particular caught my eye. In Surfdale we find Miranda Hawthorn and her collection of sea-birds and other animals. Id seen her work at the Red Shed last year and enjoyed her sense of humour – Gulls fighting over a $100 note or a Faberge Egg. Sue wanted to know about the water-based oil paints she uses and came away with a list of useful colours to start off with. Across the Island is Penny Ericson, looking over Palm Beach from a spectacular house and garden that apparently goes all the way down to the sea. Her speciality is ceramic row-boats with a set of oars and Waiheke on the stern. She also does print on pottery before it is fired. This requires a reverse printed photocopy which is then imprinted on the clay. Best of all are her hanging bird feeders for the garden, featuring brightly coloured glazes. We visit a couple of places which I saw on Saturday before ending up at Jane Zusters spectacular open plan house surrounded by Kanuka trees. Jane is an activist and although her colourful abstract work makes a splash on the huge double storied wall, its her black and white photos of feminist pro-abortion demonstrations in Christchurch which grab my attention. There is the record here of what the city looked like in the seventies. Shes also made a film protesting about the encroaching dairy industry onto the unique and environmentally sensitive McKenzie Country.
Its almost time for the wine and cheese soiree at the Community Art Gallery, but we have to hang around until just before 5 when the doors are opened. Many of the artists have contributed work and in particular there is to be an auction of Round tuits later. We grab a drink and enjoy sampling the excellent selection of cheeses.
Day 3 Monday
There are a few artists left on my list so I set out after lunch, starting at Calais Terrace. Ann Skellys work is fascinating.
Walking up the drive-way, there are installations in the shrubbery made from recycled plastic, which prepare me somewhat for what is in store. The vibrant red circular paintings of Pohutukawa are completely stunning and seem to have a three dimensional quality. Then there is the wearable art: a gown made from green plastic water bottles, another from polystyrene and a hamburger which might be reclassified as edible art.
Ann shows me her mermaid tail, made for her by a merman from the US. Shes pretty good at holding her breath and I offer tips on butterfly drills, which might be useful when shes swimming with it in the sea. Further along the road is Linda Young who incorporates movement into her shots so the blurred result is impressionistic.
She prints onto brushed aluminium and corrugated iron. Theres a fantastic shot of a sunken wooden boat where movement of the water is created by the corrugations. Right at the end of the road and down by Anzac Bay is Lois Simpsons Boatshed Gallery.
We have a great time talking about maps and how she prints them onto her paintings, using a similar technique to Penny Ericson. Daisy Solomon is a delightful last visit. Shes also relatively new to Waiheke and has some powerful portraits of women in red portraying different emotions.
Its her latest idea which really catches my eye. Shes combining paint and collage made from magazine print. Shes feverishly working on a girl paddling in the surf. Daisy tells me she is using The Weekender for this because the blue they use for the ferry timetable is perfect for the sea and the white portrays the surf. Look out for this painting in the next group show at the gallery.