a small challenge

I was given a set of questions to consider about artists I like and why.  “Just jot down some initial thoughts” were the instructions.  So of course my mind immediately went off in six different directions at 90 miles and hour and there was no jotting down.  The idea has occurred to me before that I should start a scrapbook of sorts that will become and repository for images and notes.   I have a range of tastes and to be able to see images in one place would help me see common elements or themes.

I like Hundertwasser‘s work as well as much of Picasso‘s and then there’s work by Christian Hetzel, Kitty Sabatier, Egon Schiele and Junko Oki to name a few.  They are all very different and I can see how what I like depends on the context: my taste changes depending on where I am and how I feel.

I’m asking myself . . . What do they have in common.  Anything?  Do they need to?  Isn’t enough that I can appreciate a range of artists?  Do I need to question why I like them?  And why are there so many painters when I don’t paint? Should I break out the paint?  At this point in my development, I think I need to analyse what I like, just a little, in order to deepen my appreciation.   I think I need to look not just at work that appeals and inspires, not necessarily the same thing, but also what I don’t like . . . that work that I can appreciate but isn’t to my taste.

So who are my current inspirational artists?  Helen Terry, Dionne Swift, Debbie Lyddon, Mo Orkiszewski, Jude Hill . . . this list is far from complete.  And then there’s work of locals, of friends, Julz Coffey, Trisha Findlay, Birgit Moffatt . . . to see how their work changes and evolves, their influence, whether direct or indirect, pushes me on with my own.  And finally,  the teachers . . . wonderful, talented, generous souls, every one of them.

I can see where all this is leading, how my voice is emerging, my aesthetic is developing, changing, but I’m interested in how and why.  And I can hear a wee voice in my head saying “hush, just do your work.”

Where I’m going.
Paper, watercolour, encaustic medium, linen thread, cotton cord.  10 x 10 cm sample
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

the nature of experiments

I took what I thought to be the potassium permanganate and started experimenting on wet and dry canvas with varying solution strengths and was mystified that it wasn’t purple but put it down the powder’s age . . . on the outside, we all fade somewhat however I was even more surprised when it stayed the same on exposure

All these years I thought I had a small jar with potassium permanganate in it but apparently I don’t . . . if it is, something very strange has happened to it as it should start as a purple solution then oxidize and turn brown. My mother used to use it when I was a kid to touch up the toes of our scuffed brown leather shoes so I would age the contents at more than 60 years. Instead, it could be some other oxide, perhaps from when I was doing some pottery.

If anyone has any idea what it could be, please let me know. I love the colour as it is . . . somewhere between Payne’s grey and indigo.

Experiments are a lot of fun but what have I used here? Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Experiments are a lot of fun but what have I used here?
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Now for some fade tests. . . .


out of step . . .

. . . with myself.  That’s how I’ve been feeling lately.

I have allowed my natural rhythms to be interrupted in ways that are counterproductive.  In the interludes between very welcome and much-loved guests, I have not picked up where I left off and now it seems to be hard work out where I was.  I know that under these circumstances a repetitive activity helps so I spent five hours mending . . . just plying a needle through soft cotton.  I was carrying out more repairs on an Indian quilt that I have had for many years and I’m facing the fact that it has a limited number seasons left in it depending upon how tenderly I treat it.  I blogged about it as cloth as a metaphoranother beginning, and a job well done

Uschi came to supervise but she fell asleep on the job.

Uschi came to provide some close supervision.


It wasn’t long before she decided I could be trusted with the job, burrowed in, and fell asleep on the job.

At one time I would never have thought mending would be so satisfying.  If it’s for someone else I think of them, what they mean to me, what hopes I have for them, and offer my love. If it’s for me, as in this case, it quiets me and I get drawn into this old cloth as a metaphor for my life.  I shall have to say goodbye to it eventually but for now . . . maintenance is key.

Settling into this feeling of unease, of inertia, is okay . . . it will pass and will be followed by a period of activity and I’ll continue my work but right now I’m as changeable as this fickle weather we’re having.  A few more hours work and I’ll be done, my quilt mended, my Self soothed and my mind clear. I’ll persevere.





a long time in coming

While I try to keep it to days or weeks, it has been months.  I have no reason nor any excuses to offer however I am aware that Guilt is there at the outskirts of my mind. I can allow Guilt to lurk out there: it has a role to play in battling Procrastination.  I have no responsibilities toward anyone except myself here, no-one is hanging on my every word . . . the feeling is to do with a responsibility to myself so I say my mantra “Each day passes whether you participate or not” and get on with it.

So far, this is my primary way of sharing what I do but I have made a commitment to myself to exhibit my work next year.  I was going to have a small space at a local art and craft shop but cancelled as I didn’t think my work fitted there so I am getting together with a couple of friends to apply for another space where there is more foot traffic and perhaps more likelihood of selling.

Of course that brings the question of how to price work . . . I’m not looking forward to that.  I use simple materials, often recycled, sometimes very old . . . my mother’s.  Taking time, stitching, utilising skills developed over a life time, some learned as a child and some more recent, self-taught and taught by wonderful generous women (usually).  Simplicity and time, one way or another, is there in my work.

I’m letting loose this particular aspect my creativity rather late in life and I have yet to exhibit . . . does that make me an ’emerging artist’?  I quite like that idea of still emerging just as much as I enjoy seeing which pathways appeal.

Here’s an amuse-bouche of what’s to come.

A small section of a larger piece. Watercolour paper, watercolours, encaustic medium, waxed cotton cord. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A small section of a larger piece. Watercolour paper, watercolours, encaustic medium, waxed cotton cord.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio



review and reflection

Recently I took a workshop with Lisa Call, Working in a Series . . . the pods in the last two posts are what I made as well as the one below, however they are not the most valuable outcome.

A Promise: Strings Attached Encaustic seed-pod, rebar wire, harakeke/flax, amethyst chips, silver crimps. 40 x 25 cm Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Promise: Strings Attached
Encaustic seed-pod, rebar wire, harakeke/flax, amethyst chips, silver crimps.
40 x 25 cm
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

I think perhaps I need to start this post by explaining that my earlier day-job was as a collaborative consultant, working with classroom teachers in order that they might better meet the needs of the range of students in their class therefore critiquing teachers is something I do automatically.  When I’m in a class or workshop I listen carefully to the language that is used when the teacher talks to other students as well as noting the response they get and I give feedback.  I tell teachers what I see that works for others and me, what they obviously very good at . . . often what teachers do is unconscious however making overt the positive aspects of their teaching makes a good teacher great.  That said . . . what did I think of Working in a Series?

My goals were to go deeper, to have within the series I constructed a body of work that I could extend with a view to exhibiting and integrate some of my skills and interests and I feel very satisfied that I have met them but what else have I gained?

The workshop, and others, is outlined in detail on Make Big Art and although not stated, is primarily for 2D artists, Lisa says as much in one of her recorded lectures. Had I realised that, I probably wouldn’t have taken it however that would have been my loss.

Each week I received a recorded lecture about the focus for the week as well as the week’s assignment.  There were eamils with links to read for further information about the focus, and about artists that illustrated the challenges posed by the week’s assignment.  Our small group posted our assignments in a private Facebook page and after a couple of days, we met on-line for our feedback based on the work as well as the critique that we wrote. Between assignments Lisa was able to be contacted by email and responded to our questions and inquiries.

Significant input + significant output = significant learning

My learning came out of learning how to critique my work, the feedback I received as well as listening to the feedback Lisa gave to others, and contemplating how the weekly focus applied to my work and, importantly, becoming increasingly aware of how I function as an artist.  My learning can only continue as I use the skills, the notes and links I have, as I develop my work in any media . . . . which brings me back to the 2D/3D issue.

I’m not the only 3D artist who has taken the workshop and although almost all the examples of artists work presented are 2D artists, the points that Lisa makes apply to 2D and 3D, and her feedback demonstrated her wealth of knowledge in the field of 3D mixed media art.  I wasn’t disadvantaged although a little tweaking would make it more inclusive, e.g more 3D artists profiled.  (Can you tell I’ve not been asked or expected to write this?)

So who would I recommend take the workshop?  If you’re needing a push, are lacking somewhat in self-discipline, wanting to dig deeper rather than continue with what you know, wanting to learn more about ways to develop a series, take it . . . all of those points applied to me.  It doesn’t matter if you’re beginning or experienced.  The range of skills, the range of media, all of these Lisa responds to individually.  Her feedback is invariably supportive, constructive, and focussed on what worked, and the next steps each artist might take.

Finally, I’m now thinking about where to next with my pods/promises and not rushing headlong into something completely different (of course I do have some other irons in the fire because that’s the way I am) . . . for me, that’s a great result.


just sometimes

Yes, just sometimes when I’m feeling flat I have little to say for myself and achieve very little. Until I find more words you can have this image of another piece in my series of seed-pods to look at: An Empty Promise.  Not the best image for colour: it has a much rustier hue all over.

An Empty Promise Wire, fabric, vintage linen thread, 44 cm. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

An Empty Promise
Wire, fabric, vintage linen thread, 44 cm.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

where have I been?

I haven’t been anywhere . . . I was here all the time, sometimes working and sometimes just lolling around, however a lot has happened.

I’ve made lots of seed pods . . . a metaphor for a promise.  There are many promises made, some kept, some not.  Some promises are made unconditionally, others have strings attached or their fullfilment withheld for various reasons.

A Fragile Promise. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Fragile Promise.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Promise Reserved. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Promise Reserved.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Promise Withheld. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Promise Withheld.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Apart from making some the seed pods, I have had some minor surgery on my nose and acquired a puppy and she’s unbearably cute.  Here’s the puppy, but I’ll spare you the nose.

Meet Uschi.  She would much rather sleep in the crook of my arm but that isn't always possible so in from of the fire with a soft tow will just have to do.

Meet Uschi. She would rather sleep in the crook of my arm but that isn’t always possible so in front of the fire with a soft toy will just have to do.  Right now she’s curled up on my lap, exhausted from her second walk on the beach where she discovered just how interesting rabbit droppings are.

That’s it for now . . . I’ll try to post more often now that things are returning to normal but you know me, it may or may not happen so it’s best to subscribe for updates.