INTRODUCING BUZ // I am so excited to introduce you to BUZ. So named due to his numberplate 7BUZ, he is my new painting studio! This beautiful caravan has just been delivered to my home… he’s a bit like my dog, Seth… not everyone will appreciate his charms. But I am in LOVE with this old gorgeous metal room on wheels! // I have been painting in my fairly narrow badly lit hallway for a year now and I am so bloody thrilled to be able to have a room of my own to make my marks in, just like Virginia Woolf… I have a workroom already of course, but paint and sandpaper does NOT mix with finished artwork and exhibition prints… // Expect to see a whole lot more of BUZ. YOWSER! // [PS: The pile on the right by BUZ shows you all the stuff I ripped out of him yesterday… yup there’s a bit of work to do on the interior…]
THE OTHER SIDE OF TENDERNESS // I’ve got a show coming up in March. It’s called Tenderness. This week, I’m starting to gather work for the show from work I’ve done in private for the last year, and also preparing to make new work. Alongside all the other tasks I’m doing and plans I’m making, in the back of my head 24/7 is thinking about what the word tenderness actually means to me. What it is that I want to say. Of course, what it means can’t be expressed just in words. The exhibition I’m making is gonna be my attempt to say it in the best and fullest way I know how: words, photographs, marks in paint. // This photograph for me illustrates the other side of tenderness. The painful fallout which comes from opening yourself up, laying yourself down and bare, feeling all gloriously tender, and then that person no longer being in your life, and having all of sudden nowhere to put all that beautiful feeling. I’m not sure whether this image will go in the show or not. All I know right now is that today my heart is goddamn aching and this photograph looks like a self-portrait to me.
I’M WITH YOU, DAVID // Tackling the revolting task of sorting out the mess of my workroom this weekend - there’ll be time for fun some other month… While I was moving artwork out, I propped “I”m with you” up against a portrait I made of David when he was small. Maybe 8 years ago. I like the pairing. And I am. With him. Always. Love you mate. x
WE ARE LOVELY // I made this artwork as an anchor point for me, to remind myself that together, my son and I, we are lovely. // I put him on the plane back to his life with his dad in the South Island this morning. I cried my ass off at the airport, am at a cafe right now having a comfort food breakfast. Just gotta remind myself that even when we are apart, we are still together. Still lovely. // Jesus wept loving someone is painful eh. Nah scrap that it isn’t the loving that’s painful, it’s the gaps they leave inside you when they are gone that hurts. So worth it though. I’m hashtag blessed hashtag fcking lucky to feel so much love. Excuse me for being a hashtag sad mum cliche this morning but hey you know how it is. #####. // (beautiful framing by @renatasartandframing.theshop )
HOW DID IT BEGIN // my friend @sarahemily.addisyngrace posted this photograph today… it’s the artwork she bought from me propped up in her exciting new premises for her gallery @spacestudiogallery. She dreamed hard 5 years ago of opening her own gallery and boy did she make it work! This new premises is her dreaming bigger. I’m so excited for her. // This artwork also feels relevant to me today because this is the last night I’ve got with my son for a while and I feel so freaking emotional about him leaving to go back to his dad’s. He’ll be fine but I’m just gonna miss him like crazy. I still remember when I was pregnant and the dream I had about being a mum, about the wee person who would come into the world, and about who he would be. Gotta say the reality has been far better than the dream: I didn’t realise I could love someone as deeply as I love him. Of course, as every parent in the universe knows, it ain’t all hearts and roses. But it started with a dream and now we are here, him and me. Mum and son. Loving eachother best ways we know how. Love you mate.
SOME DAYS // Some days are fcking great. Some days, like today, are really fcking difficult. It’s not the work I’ve got to do today [although some of it has been tough] but my headspace that’s making it hard. I made a massive call yesterday and said no to a potentially very lucrative project because it wasn’t the right fit for me artistically. As I said to the lovely woman who proposed that I do the work: “the only thing I really have is my own authentic artistic voice - and I must do work using it that feels 100% right to me - I kinda feel like I’m shrivelling up and shrinking when I do work that’s not right.” Part of me feels so proud of myself for standing up strong for myself as an artist. Part of me is doing a major beat-up on myself because I feel like a nutter for turning down work that could bring in excellent cashflow. But I just have this really fierce thing inside me that just will not let me compromise my artwork - it’s always been this way for 30 years and I cannot tell you the times I’ve wished I was different but it’s a case of accepting the things you cannot change… I am a mofo artist through and through and no amount of wishing and hoping gonna change that in this lifetime… so just gotta make the most of what I got and live this artist’s life to the best of my ability, despite how difficult it is. On my workroom wall at the moment is a quote someone I can’t remember said: “growing up is telling the truth, is showing who you are, even if it hurts.” Here I am. I am an artist. Honest to god truth. Even though sometimes it really does hurt. // This is just one of those days where I want to cry and cry but instead have been methodically working through my to-do list… one thing being a mum teaches you is the ability to grit your teeth and do just do it on the difficult days, even when all you want to do is crawl into bed and under the duvet and have someone put their arms around you and tell you it’ll all be okay… On the plus side, the red thread in my diary makes me so deeply happy. //
BECAUSE I LOVE YOU // I adore this photograph Janel took… it perfectly describes school holidays with children for me. :-) . // It also describes why we as parents put up with all the bloody torment… because we love the darn annoying [delightful beautiful precious] little buggers. // My work always looks so great in the domestic spaces of the people who buy it: that’s because my artwork comes alive when it is given the context of having life lived around it [and having it impact on those lives]. // >
[Janel, I’m so digging the way you framed my “because I love you” studioprint - thanks for letting me share your photograph on social x ]
GORGEOUS ORGANISATION // spent an hour this morning at the Men’s Shed in Whanganui. So beautiful watching these men working, seeing just how much knowledge and skill the years they’ve lived have given them. These men know how to work with their hands to produce things and boy do they know how to organise their tools. I have so much I want to learn from them.
SELF-PORTRAIT, JANUARY 2019 // I’ve got so much to say bubbling up inside myself that I feel almost desperate to rip fully back into work on Monday. For today, I’m taking my son away for the night, to a place with green and native birds and stars. I want to breathe some beautiful air with him. // Between then and now I’m pondering whether to run some more self-portraiture workshops in 2019. I just feel it is so deeply important to be able to turn and look clearly at yourself, and love what you see [literally and metaphorically]. It’s the foundation of any kind of self worth. I’m torn between being not sure I have time, given all my other commitments, and a big feeling of wanting to help others to find their own strength by using the knowledge I’ve built over 30 years of photographing my self. Not as some sort of fluffysocial media tool to make yourself look “good” in snaps but more as a way of seeing your self clearly in order to be able to move forward. What do you guys think? I’m curious. //
BIO, 2018 // My work is primarily about love // who what how why I love. I make it in counterpoint to all that is tough and brutal and sad in this life of ours. // Light in equal measure to the darkness.// It’s my hope for my work that it touches someone. Makes them feel. How it feels is everything. //