Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Roadside marble
Sunset with gin and tonic at "balancing rock' Chilligo

We've made it back to the land of green after a speedy camper van trip from Cairns up through Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation, inland through the Tablelands to Chilligo, down to Townsville and back again to Cairns. Interesting country from rain forest to dry to sugar cane to coast and from cassowarys to crocodiles to termite mounds to bronzed, retired Aussies with large caravans and larger four wheel drives who sit around in the camp sites all day and regard anybody with a house and a job as insane. I might like that lifestyle for a while but would probably go mad for want of something to do.

Cairns seems a fun, laid back little city, Port Douglas too touristy and Cape Trib a good destination. We had a great meal at a new restaurant called Whet and caught up with friends who are living up there and involved in the tourist industry. Chilligo has marble!!! Big blocks in pink and white and grey just lying beside the road. I tried to fit a one tonne block in the back of the camper but 'her indoors' limited me to a piece 30cm square and then she filled the suitcase with shopping and there was no room to bring it home. Strange priorities!

All in all a good trip but our cassowary sightings diminished a bit when we got home and talked to our neighbour Sue who had just got home from a month in Borneo. Aside from the leeches and mosquitoes she saw some wonderful birds and animals. Ah well maybe next time.

Monday, August 20, 2007

City Art Gallery Brisbane
'We walk' one panel of 'We walk, we eat, we sleep' - Modern Art Gallery

'Dying elephant' - Modern Art Gallery

Brisbane was a nice surprise. I don't know if I was expecting a cultural wilderness because of the 'banana benders' tag the Sydneysiders give their northern cousins, but the short time I was in the city along the Brisbane River at South Bank beats anything Auckland has to offer. No cars, an interesting array of buildings, little eating places, sculptures and walks lead you along to the City Art Gallery and the Modern Art Gallery. I don't know if those names are right and I'm travelling and don't have those home reference sources but anyway the former is one of the nicest spaces to view art that I have been to ( the best would have to be the Krueller Mueller Museum in the Netherlands). The entrance full of glass and light leads you into some large Brett Whitely works and from there each area folds seamlessly into the next with a large shallow pool and walkway adding a peaceful ambience.
The Modern Art Gallery in comparison feels disjointed with office areas and wrong turnings disrupting continuous viewing. Some great works though, including 'we walk, we eat, we sleep' by an Indian artist (I didn't write down the name again!) three large canvases which reminded me of a photograph taken high up of displaced flood victims in a gym in China looking almost like calligraphy, delicate birds nests made of shredded US one dollar bills, a large dying elephant.... Katharina Grosses' big installation held no surprises as I had seen it in Auckland. Does an artistget tired of doing the same old thing around the world? I know she spray paints everything so it is a little different but the idea is the same.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bob (Who?)

Well Bob you came and you conquered and you didn't wave to me and you didn't once pander to my nostalgic yearnings for an acoustic guitar, harmonica and melodies that I remember which I knew you wouldn't! Because I couldn't hear some lyrics I didn't even know you were singing Tangled Up in Blue until you sang 'tangled up in blue'. I know you are performing as you are now but part of who you are is your history and it would have been nice to have had the whole retrospective.

I also know you don't take kindly to criticism, especially from such a poor, insignificant correspondent, so if you are reading this blog please disregard it as from someone living in the past with no insight into contemporary music. However even though you didn't sing any of my songs I will continue to sing yours but with the old melodies to keep alive the raw power and poetry that changed my life.

I wish you well in your retirement behind a white picket fence(yeah right!)


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Like a Rolling Stone

Off to Brisbane Australia today to catch up with Bob Dylan along with 20,000 other fans and then flying up to Cairns for 10 days R&R in the sun in preparation for a new season of food, music and art. The old energy is coming back and I'm getting excited about food combinations and chasing up local food producers. We now have a farmers market where the rules state you must produce the product yourself and within a certain radius of where it is held to keep out large commercial ventures and encourage local growers. It's very small at the moment but hopefully will grow into something worth while. It's always difficult to source top quality ingredients when we live in such an isolated place.
I will miss the sculpture work which has become a bit of an obsession but have packed a sketch pad with my swimming togs and I'll see what artists I can hunt down on my travels.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Fickle ideas man

So the water is running over and going back up thanks to a little French pump which I have 30 from a former venture making indoor portable fountains of which I sold zilch so I have the means to make many more water based sculptures! Now I have to change it from a fountain to a sculpture, a much more difficult task. I have made the one oar from recycled rimu which I thought was kauri until I started working on it and my mate Ronny who is demolishing an old house which it came from told me it was and I believed him as you do and now I know he talks a lot of shite. But I believe him when he tells me how much rum he drinks! I might also fashion a mast (from aforementioned rimu/kauri) and break it to add to the shipwreckedness and of course the frayed rope and maybe a body or two... I digress

The other image shows I have some timber to work with when it's too cold and wet outside (most of the time). It's a different size (the timber) so have had to shelve the 3 sculptures I had underway and start some new ones. I love starting new ones but have trouble finishing the old. Sign of a fickle ideas man whose next idea is much better than the one he is working on. It (the sculpture) is just two simple curves but it reminds me of a speed skater so I might fashion a polished stone head to sit in the apex......

Friday, August 3, 2007

Things are like Things

Fallen man with flowers after Rick Visser after Giacometti
Man with flowers after Rick Visser

I've been enjoying the art and comment on Rick Vissers' site and the photographs showing how things are related on Happy Lols' site so I took my camera out on the beach during my morning walk the dog and walk the fat man thin odyssey (a hopeless task!) to see what I could find

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Stone carving

I have been forced through lack of timber to leave my warmish studio and head out to the cold and wet stone yard (or is that graveyard!) where various unfinished works lie waiting for inspiration or summer whichever comes first. The stone is an andersite, named because it was first discovered in the Andes, and the quarry is only an hour away so is reasonably local. It is very hard so diamond tools make life easier, a lovely blue-green colour and polishes well up to 3000 grit but it's downfall is that it is blasted in the quarry so tends to have fractures just where you don't want them.

I hope to have some Coromandel granite for our next symposium in November. This is found north of Colville on the Peninsula near Fantail Bay and has been quarried and used for some of our Parliament buildings. Softer than marble and very consistent it has a lovely fleck and can be picked up as boulders in farmers fields.

I'm working on a shipwrecked boat in two pieces, the lower piece supporting the boat and having a reservoir so I can pump water up through the boat to cascade over the side and back down to go up again. In theory it sounds good but I'm having trouble making it look natural as if the boat has been cast upon the rocks and abandoned. I want to craft an oar out of a piece of recycled kauri to make it look more authentic and maybe and old frayed rope from a bollard on the front.

Cutting stone with power tools at this time of year can be a bitch, by the time you assemble all the tools, supply the power, put on the overalls, the face mask, the ear muffs, turn the stone over and imagine what you are going to do, it's time for a cup of coffee!! Don't tell me I don't need my coffee! After watching a DVD of Australian artist Brett Whitely my addiction pales into insignificance.