Art and Studio Life #4 featuring artworks and painting

Hello lovely family and friends

I hope you are keeping well wherever you live in our beautiful world?

In the Southern hemisphere we are officially in autumn, while it is Spring for you Northerners. We have a Southerly blowing, which means chilly winds from the Antarctic, and I am still nesh. I am wrapped in a blanket and warming my hands around a coffee mug. Well not right at this minute, as I have had to put it down to type to you.

 Speaking of coffee, I read an article in which Wellington was referred to as ‘The coolest little coffee Capital’. WELL! That depends on your perspective. (Sorry to all you native Wellingtonians who have just started hating me right now). Apparently, we have more coffee shops per capita than New York.

When we first arrived in Welly and went out for a coffee, we had to figure out what the coffees on the menu actually were. A normal coffee is a ‘flat white’. You can have a ‘long black’ too. After we ordered, we were surprised to get two very small teacups of tepid coffee. We peasants have subsequently learned that you can BURN coffee if the water is too hot, hence the lukewarm temperature. I still don’t know why they serve it in teacups though. Perhaps it’s my third world mentality, that if you pay for something, you want to get a decent amount of it. If you go to a fancy café, your (small, expensive) teacup of coffee will arrive accompanied by a kiwi favourite, a chocolate coated, pink marshmallow shaped fish, for your delectation.

Coffee here is eye wateringly strong (lightbulb moment – maybe that’s why they only give you a teacup of it, so that you will actually sleep during the next month), so I generally order a single shot latte, and sometimes even then, it’s so strong that I will be awake for the rest of the week. Once I went into a fancy café with a friend and ordered a single shot, decaff latte. Ordering decaffeinated coffee is considered to be a criminal offence by some baristas here. The Barista was so outraged that I could see him biting back words, and I was lucky that I got anything at all. I think he actually made it with a triple shot of coffee, it was that strong. We have subsequently discovered Starbucks, who will make coffee hot if you ask nicely, and will actually serve it in a (gasp) mug. I know that I have now sunk forever in my kiwi friends’ estimation after this paragraph.

At the beginning of each painting day, I make myself a large, weak, delicious mug of coffee and head downstairs to my studio.

On chilly days like today, I am able to heat my studio, as it now has a door that stays closed and no longer has to be wedged shut with a piece of paper, and I can put on my small fan heater for 10 minutes and make it warm. Luxury! After we bought our house, Bruce was able to put a door latch on the studio. It’s actually ours! (And the Bank’s too, of course.) Our own house after 14 years of living in rentals! You can tell I’m excited about that.

Speaking of painting, I said I would show you some progress shots of the painting process.

Here is the before, during and after of the first glass painting that I made:

Penguin Dive    From the “Who would like some more ice?” series  Oil on canvas   60cm x 75.5cm   Sold

I was enjoying myself so much that I forgot to take photos!

This painting has been bought by lovely friends, and now adorns their dining room in Bristol. I LOVE it when friends buy my paintings. Actually, I love it when ANYONE buys a painting. Art is a form of communication, and when someone likes a painting enough to buy it, that is a sign that I have successfully communicated my vision via the creation of something beautiful. And, of course, it enables me to buy the essentials of life, such as canvases and coffee. 

I am planning on selling prints soon, for those who are interested. 

I have subsequently tried to be better at taking progress photos of the painting process, with varying degrees of success. I am also currently figuring out how to film my whole process, which is challenging, as I am an elderly digital immigrant, not a fourteen-year-old digital native. I am also venturing into creating short films for Instagram and Facebook, which my 18 and 14 year-olds think are hilariously bad.

A delightful friend of ours once told us with some puzzlement, that he was still waiting for his young children to give him the “adoration and respect” that he had anticipated receiving pre-children. Well, don’t worry, I can safely assure you that when they are teenagers, it will get worse. On the upside, teenagers also provide parents with an endless source of amusement (or rage, if you haven’t had enough sleep).

And on that cheerful note, peace and joy to you and yours.

XX Barbie