Sunday, August 24, 2008

House building

Can't find a place to rent so the pressure is mounting for me to build a house again. Started my first house in 1972 at the height of my hippy period. We spent all our money buying 50 hectares of undeveloped land with friends Paul and Smiley and no jobs so were dirt poor, eating from our large garden, the ocean and the occassional wild goat or big fat eel from the river. With wife, three kids and a woolley one eyed dog who I trained to nip the backsides of only women to make them work faster ( I lie, he trained himself!)we were living in a small shed and caravan with a woodstove, outside bath and sauna and a washing machine driven by the rotary hoe. So you understand the pressure. I designed a ten sided two storied pole house with dormer windows and half round log cladding. It did look simple on paper! It only took five years! For a start with no money I had to find work to buy materials and we had no power so it was down to chainsaw and hand tools and a few disasters like the bridge breaking under our truck full of metal for the driveway and smashing all the window panes over the back of my head in the car while chasing our runaway bull. But ultimately it was a success, it's still standing even if my marriage isn't. Perhaps I should get someone else to build the next one!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Don't tell anyone but I'm off to Samoa tomorrow. I know I have only just arrived back from two months holiday but 'Her indoors' has had enough of the wet weather and wants 12 days in the sun. Can't blame her. Of course I'll take a roll of canvas and paints and won't go swimming or lie in the sun or eat pineapple under a coconut tree. Yeah right!! Maybe a cocktail after a hard days work.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Warmed the paints up with a couple of pictures above. It's good to be back at the easel.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Still cold and wet outside so to avoid sculpture I cleaned out the studio. Haven't painted for a couple of years and I don't look after my stuff. Brushes were crusty and had to dig into the paint tubes in the hope of moisture. Nice though. The space is high in the house reached by a rickety ladder and I'm left alone. Big with light from the four points of the compass it allows me to stop and dream. And then? To the pallet knife. Memories of days making concrete tanks with plaster over chicken wire. The oil paint thick and luscious the magenta somehow heroic the white is white. Is the result OK? I like to go up next day and surprise the painting. The sudden viewing quickly finds faults. Does it work or is it out to the sculpture again.
I think I'll become a rock star!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wet and Wild

Wow home again after 30 hours of stumbling from plane to plane. Sometimes I wish we were closer to the other side of the world but most times I am glad of the distance.
Flaxmill Bay is still where I left it but very waterlogged. It has been a very wet and wild winter and friends and family have a glazed look that shows they are over it and it's time for the sun to shine. I tell them about the bad summer England has had and all they have to look forward to is winter, but I guess it's all relative.
So it's back to pick up the pieces (literally because my tall double figure sculpture lies in bits on the ground, victim of the high winds), demolish our little house on the hill, find somewhere to move to and prepare for Jason and Paul to take over the restaurant. And, of course, use all the inspiration I found on my trip to make art. It's a rollercoaster ride when I'm viewing art, sometimes when I see something that takes my breath away I say to myself who am I to make a mark, but a lot of the time I see ordinary art and it encourages me to keep going.
The rain is dancing a funeral march on the roof again, it's funny, if we were in the middle of a drought it would be dancing an Irish jig! It's only a state of mind!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Time for home

   I leave the Continent for England tonight and fly home in three days after tying up some loose ends. It's been a great trip but I'm looking forward to family and my own bed! I think my memoirs will be called '"The Floors I Have Slept On''They are going to have to pull me screaming from my little red car, she has been so much fun.
    Marty and I have been recording a song so perhaps the aging rock star on my CV will come true, look out for the CD in your nearest trash can! Met Hans another artist who paints every day and sells once a year so it seems the struggling artist is the same the world over. I know selling isn't the only criteria but all the artists I have met would like to sell and it would free them up from doing other jobs to make a living.
    Talk to you from HOME 

Monday, August 4, 2008

   Hey getting close to the end of my trip. Dropped Nik back to Lake Constance and had a last lunch with his lovely family then flew up (in cappaccino) through Germany to the Kroller Muller museum in Holland which I visited in 1984 and which has been my world favourite and gave me inspiration for the Egg. So I wondered if it could be as good 24 years later. It was better. Still has the free white bikes to cycle through the forest and the museum is set in a very large sculpture garden (forest) with works by Rodin, Arp, Maillol etc. and our very own Chris Booth who has done a very large stone sculpture (million dollar budget and a year to make) which holds up well against the international lineup. The museum houses a large collection of Van Goghs (marvellous) and important works by Tolouse la Trec?, Picasso, Cezzane, Pissaro etc and an artist I hadn't come across before but liked, Toorop. The whole experience is a great way to view art, relaxed and easy. 
     So to Groningen the northern most city in Holland to visit Gerben and Mirjam who stayed and worked with us at the Egg last year. They have a spacious flat within walking distance of the city centre and they welcomed me into their house and life (I am a rich man indeed!). Spent the next day in the far north amongst canals and windmills and dairy farms with huge houses and barns and fresian cows happy on good grass in the 32C heat. We have 4 million people in NZ on a land 8 times the size of Holland which has 17 million but in the north it feels like there is plenty of room.
     Did the city next day, a little run down round the edges but has a bustling centre with many cafes and a well designed museum (Mantini?) which is set in water and as you go down levels you get different views from the windows. A Chinese exhibition was showing with some way out stuff from when they broke out of the cultural dark times. Home to cook for my hosts and enjoyed meeting their friends for Gerbens birthday party
     Farewells next morning then meandered down the coast and across the big dyke built during the depression in 1932. Very windy and the sea brown so didn't take a plunge (haven't swum in the sea yet on my journey) and ended up at Martys place in south Holland. He is an artist and part of the Rolling Stones tribute band The Rollicks who I met when they toured NZ. He lives by himself and his house is typically Marty, shambolic, with guitars and sound systems and paintings and drawings all over the place. His 13yr old son stayed over so I took them to the Kroller Muller which is only an hour away and they hadnt heard of it!
      Played poker till 5am at a friends place so excuse the grammer im (I still cant find the apostrophe!) not at my best.
         Talk soon