a review

What better day for me to have a review? It’s my birthday, one with a zero although I don’t consider that to make it any more important than any other, it’s the International Day of Peace, and this morning I photographed a finished piece of work which I will send to Mo Orkiszewski over at It’s Crow Time.

I consider a birthday a day to count my many blessings: to reach seventy with a strong healthy body, to have good friends and family I can count on, my faculties are intact . . . I’m aware this more than many have. I’m grateful to have the ability and opportunity to develop my creativity and to travel if I choose and I’m immensely grateful for the friends I can meet up with when I do.

Having moved house recently I’ve been a tad busy but have still managed to finish my contribution to Mo’s idea for making use of an old satin wedding dress and veil she was gifted. The theme is ‘I Dream of a World Where Love is the Answer’. She bravely cut it up and sent it to artists around the world and now she has the immense pleasure of unfurling them.

1035 x 135 mm. Satin, silk, linen thread, pearls.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Mine includes a piece of the veil which fell apart even as I took it from the envelope. I gave it the burn test so I think it’s silk and has not stood up well unlike the man-made fibre used for the satin.

I had the idea of using the veil on top of the satin, attaching it loosely with small blue/green pearls knotted through the layers as if holding on to hopes and dreams. I decided to back the satin with some 2 ply silk however when I finished stitching them together I realised the satin would be lost behind the silk so I turned it over and made the dress fabric visible. The veiling is so fragile it disintegrated as I worked but aren’t hopes and dreams like that? Unless they become goals they can dissipate leaving little trace.

Pennant detail reverse side.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Pennant detail.

When Mo opens the package, there will be traces left behind in the wrapping, if people touch it when its exhibited along with the other contributions more damage will be done, but that’s okay because even if most of the veil falls away, the foundation and the pearls will remain. Love is like that . . . it needs a strong foundation because what is built will get knocked about however the most precious aspects will remain. I wanted my contribution to reflect this.

Cheers people! It’s not wine o’clock yet but cheers anyway.

ready for framing

Earlier this year I went to Rockhampton, Queensland for a 3 day workshop with the lovely, and generous Cas Holmes. I say generous because she shares her wisdom and experience so freely. She’s one of those tutors who talks about their process of why the the way work, works for them . . . no imposition, just their practice in action.

Since returning from Rockhampton, with a side trip to Mackay where I saw Peta Lloyd’s book Black Saturday at the local art gallery (a very moving artwork), I’ve been somewhat busy what with buying and selling houses, moving towns and such. I have however managed to complete this experimental piece as a follow-up . . . along with the 100 encaustic pieces.

Wendy @ Late Start Studio 2018.
Untitled: textiles, paper and stitch. 145 x 410mm

I used only what I had. Muslin, calico, hessian, some eco-prints of rose leaves, paint stained baby wipes, embroidery cottons and linen thread.

There is something wonderful about French knots. The care required and the repetition is soothing.

hitting the reset button

I allow far too many things to get in the way and then start beating myself up about a lack of diligence . . . does this sound like you? Or perhaps you’re much more diligent that I am, your ability to persevere is stronger than mine. Thinking of Yoda’s wise words “do or do not, there is no try” I will do and write this post, and next week I will write another. After next week I will either do or do not but I know my limitations. Even the draft for this post has been waiting to be completed for almost a month.

The “Mindscapes” exhibition last October/November was successful and I had plans for what I wanted to do next however they fell into disarray and I did diddly-squat for some weeks . . . and then some weeks more until I got fed up with myself, got some help and worked my way out of the Miasma of Bleah. I made some goals and went from woah to go with a 100 day challenge.

I decided that for me to do something daily for 100 days would be to invite failure but to focus on producing 100 small pieces of work over 100 days would be achievable.

My goal was 100 10x10cm encaustic works over the 100 day period and limit my colour palette to black, white, yellow ochre, Payne’s grey, and deviated just a little. I could work in a series, experiment and build toward mastery, and most importantly, play. There were 10 artists involved in the challenge and exhibition which added to my commitment as it seems I can let myself down and not others but that’s another story.

100 10x10cm encaustic works for the “100s & 1000s exhibition at Gallery on Guyton Whanganui

I was interested in how the other artists approached the challenge. Some did something daily for 100 days resulting in perhaps 15 works, others focused on 1 work each day, another combined her efforts over the 100 days into one piece (a small bound book of tea bags from a daily cup of tea, sometimes drunk alone, sometimes with company).

So now I’m back into making . . . a little pottery purely because I haven’t done anything for almost 40 years, and stitching.

And I’m moving. I’m leaving the beach for a delightful small city and a home across the road from a river. I’m questioning how I want to live for the next 5 to 10 years, what do I want to take with me . . . physically and metaphorically. More on that later.

I’m resetting in more ways than one.

reporting in

The exhibition is on and almost over.  It opened on October the 6th with eight pieces being sold over the first weekend.  Very affirming.  Unfortunately I have done little since although I did have plans.  What’s with that? I know from when I was doing a bit of acting that there would be a bit of down time after the run of the play . . . a time when I felt as if there was a huge gap that couldn’t be filled by anything other than another play.  That’s how I feel now, as if I should be working toward something else but what?  My get up and go seems to have got up and gone for one reason and another . . .

It’s time to get back to work . . . something . . . anything . . . maybe one of the ideas that had excited me while I was doing the tedious work of mounting and framing the work.  I made a few notes at the time but somehow getting myself across the threshold and doing some work just isn’t happening. At least I can do this . . . post a few images of the smaller 10 x 10 cm pieces albeit rather late in the piece as the exhibition, having been up for a month, comes down tomorrow. 

When I bring the work home I’ll take some decent photos of the rest of the work and and post some more, promise.

back again . . .

After more than 3 months without a word you could be forgiven for wondering what, if anything, has been going on.  Actually there’s been quite a lot happening.

  • I attended a week workshop organised by Fibre Arts NZ in Whanganui and a week with Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch . . . wonderful!
  • I’m working towards an exhibition at Tutere Gallery in Waikanae in October.
  • I’m finialising arrangements for a holiday with some friends in the Irish Republic and Scotland.
  • I’ve taken a course in wet felting with my friend Birgit Moffatt.
  • And of course I’ve been takng daily walks on the beach with cuteness on 4 short legs.

Did you see how I slipped the exhibition in there as if it were just a regular event?  It’s far from it . . . come October I could be one of New Zealand’s oldest emerging artists, I’ll be exhibiting for the very first time!   I’m excited and terrified by turn but the lovely Kate Hartmann, artist and gallery owner, is encouraging and supportive and totally commited to developing connections in the community.

I’ve written about none of these things . . . I haven’t even signed in to have a rant and it’s not that there’s an absence of events that aren’t worthy of a good rant.  Time has just slipped by.  Being absent,  or having the urge to post anything, has caused me to wonder if my purpose for beginning this blog been met and I can just shut it down.  I began it to show others who had shelved their creative pleasures or diverted them into more practical pursuits that they can learn to play again.  They can rediscover and develop their skills and talent despite years of neglect.  Does this purpose still apply?

I don’the want to post for the sake of it.  I’m not motivated by the number of readers or subscribers however I do enjoy ‘likes’ and comments with encouragement and thoughtful critiques and I always respond.    Does my original purpose hold?

I’m still interested in encouraging others, still interested in writing about my struggle to advance myself as an artist, and still commited to showing that the pathway not always straightforward and it  doesn’t matter when you start to take your creative self seriously.

All things considered I think the purpose still holds and it has been a useful way for me to keep track of progress so I will continue here a while longer.  How much longer?  Who knows?  No promises . . . I know my limits!


A small section of one of the pieces that will be in the ‘Mindscapes’ exhibition.





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. . . .