Archive for May, 2010

The Auckland Emerging art show

May 31, 2010

Back in 2010 when I was thinking about being part of the emerging art show I dilly dallied about being in the show.  I didn’t know if it was right for me.  I wasn’t as good at following my instinct as I am now.  But I ended up doing the art show and it was a tremendous success.  I sold everything I took with me, which actually wasn’t alot.  I’d just had a show in Wellington that had been a sell out success, so my stocks were limited.  I had about half a dozen peices which I sold on the first day.  It was pretty cool being there on the second day with blank walls telling people that I’d sold everything so I had nothing to display.  It got people looking at my catalog, ordering commissions, visiting my studio.  I think that was the best thing.  It got my studio Gallery on waiheke into peoples minds as a destination.  I only every did the show once.  After that demand for my paintings started to take off and I didn’t really have enough work for those kinds of exhibitions.  I had my solo vineyard show.  I had the Waiheke Art Festival weekend.  I had my group show with Jane and Anne and that was about as much as I needed, particularly while Maddie was still at home.  When she was three she went into day care three days a week.  Nana Noelene looked after her two days a week, and G and I spent time with her in the weekend.  Oh how precisous those weekends became.  I loved that I could do everything I needed to and still be very close to her.  We would walk to daycare in the morning and I’d pick her up in the afternoon.  She was as energtic as a wee girl as she is now.  I have said for years, she was born energetic.  Maddie and G came a visited me that weekend at Greenlane.  I loved that.  I loved seeing them coming down the rows of other artists.  Maddie grinning widely when she saw me.  it was beautiful to behold.  They didn’t stay for long.  An art show isn’t a place for a 10 month old baby girl whose sole aim in life is to explore her surroundings, but the few minutes they stayed boyed me up.  Reminded me what I was being an artist for.  Those were great times ten years ago.  I was learning to love whatever was happening.  I was getting my feet at letting go.  Of believing in my desires.  Of being present to my life without forgoing a point of view about the future.  The Auckland emerging art show was a part of that.  Let me always remember it.

Every day is a winding road

May 31, 2010

I’m not sure what to write about today.  Its a beautiful day.  I’m sitting in my queenstown house thinking about all the events of the last ten years and I’m not sure which were the biggest turning points, which were the greatest achievements (Maddie aside).  My art career has flourished.  I’ve sold a business for millions.  I write books that people want to read.  I have a house I love.  A partner I adore.  A child I’d lay my life on the line for.   There is no question of what more could a girl want, becuase now I love creating whatever it is that takes hold of me.  I’m excited about what next.  I have come to love the art of wanting.  It fires me up.  It gets me moving.  I’m planning to write about the blessing of eating disorders. I’d like to give girls in the same boat as me the ability to see the good that comes from such a hideous experience.   It would be part of ending the western famine.  Ten years ago people thought eating disorders were about body image.  There was a huge sense of shame.  There was a shallowness associated with it.  Magazines got blamed.  Girls felt trapped and embarrassed.  Counciling was advised.  And sure, some of those things were helpful, but by and large they didn’t help and were simply totally off course.  It wasn’t until I was in my mid to late thirties that I really got a handle on it.  It wasn’t until I had the realisation that my body wanted to binge that I could have any power over it.  My body was so starving for nutrients that my body would demand to be feed and in large quantities.  When I started eating benefical nutrients it was like I could start to breath again after years of trying to hold my breath.  That was ten years ago.  Ten years of good eating, daily vizualisations, a lot of love and attention and today I have the body I’ve always wanted.  Slim, fit, full of life and vitality.  It wasn’t until I understood what an amazing thing my body was could I be totally free from food obsessed thoughts.  Free from unnecessary fat.  Free from feeling unsafe.  These days I have so much less stress in my life.  I feel gentle and peaceful.  I have lots of laughter.  And all that has nothing to do with the success I’ve had along the way.  It would be easy to make the mistake of thinking it did.  Sure, those things bring me joy.  But I got happy and peaceful and gentle before those things came along. They are the side effect.  It was like I had to love my body, care for it, have clothes that fitted it properly, love it every minute, before it was free of starvation.  The sickness came when I thought I had to be thin first and then all the other things would come.  Oh the illusions of this world.  So simple.  So easy.  Yet so hard to master.   Its a winding road, but a good one.

Giving

May 27, 2010

I dedicate one day a week to giving.  I’ve been doing it for a while now.  Its one of my favourite days of the week.  I give time, money, advice, help, rides, flowers, gifts.  I do it anonomosly accossionally and in full view other times.  Hidden is more satisfying in a way.  It takes my ego out of it.  But anonimity is not the key driver.  I particularly like to give things to people I feel stingy about.  People I don’t think ‘deserve’ anything from me.  They have either been stingy to me in the past, or have done things I don’t like.  All ego driven things.  But the older I get, and lets face it, while 50 isn’t by any stretch old, its still half a life of age, the more I realise that giving is the best way to forgiveness.  If I feel someone ‘owes’ me money unfairly, I find a way to give to them financially.  I buy them a present.  In other words I spend money on them and in my mind find a way to hope they find financial freedom.  For what is more constricting than feeling financially pinced.  And what leads to the feeling of financial lack more than not honering ones financial promises.  If I really wish the world to be full of giving, generous people, I have lead the way.  And leading the way has always felt good.  Years ago I used to feel almost physically sick given to an ‘underserving’ person. But I paid very careful attention to the way it felt.  I was released.  I no longer resented them.  In other words I found a feedom i giving.  These days I feel attached to just about nothing.  I’m happy to give away anything.  I have more than I know what to do with these days. More money, time, love, ideas, stuff.  When I hold on things get stagnant. When I let go, more comes flooding back to me.  I guess its like nature, if you hold your breath you can’t get a fresh one.  If trees held their fruit, they would have no chance of a crop next year.  Nothing is permenant.  I love that.

the art of none resistance

May 26, 2010

It has taken me many years to master the art of none resistance. Particularly in the area of desires.  The desire to be thin.  To love. To be fit.  To eat whatever I want.  To have the house of my dreams.  Or really any desire that I can’t see a clear path towards having.  The desire to be invited to the Canne film festival.  To spend a month cycling around france staying in some of the worlds most elegant hotels.  I spent years believing that the very desire for these things was a curse. That to desire something was hard and uncomfortable.  I now understand that desire is one of the greatest gifts on earth.  When honered, they point you in the direction of passion, excitement, fulfillment, wonder, love, happiness, creativity, imagination, like nothing else does.  Resisting these desires has bought me nothing buy anxiety, depression, guilt, grief, longing.  And I’ve had enough of those to know that while they too have there place in the world, why keep them alive any more than using them as a pointer to know that I’m resisting a desire.  Resistance I think can come in many different guises.  It can come in the form of blame; I can’t have the partner of my dreams because there are more women than men.   The form of pretense; I’m perfectly happy being single, I don’t want a partner.  The form of sabotage; other people aren’t really happy in relationships anyway.  And many other forms of resisting the fact that I desire things that I can’t see a way to make happen.  That’s been the best lesson for me in the last ten years.  Letting go off needing to see a clear path and just allowing the desire to flourish.  Allowing it to flourish without diminishing the present.  How simple, yet one of the hardest things to achieve.  Having almost no income and desiring to have an abundance of wealth.  I remember having to learn gratitude for what I did have, enjoy others good fortune and keep believing that wealth would come.  And of course it did.  For look at me now.  I have my two houses.  I had my trip to France.  I have the ability to help friends in need.  To offer assistance to others.  To have enough room for all my friends to stay for a week.   I keep believing that my paintings would sell and they did.  I kept believing, vizualizing, imagining that I had a best seller in me and it came true.   I had also to not resist my fears and doubts.  I had to hold them, acknowledge them, look at them.  Be at peace with them.  They are all part of the wonder of desire.  That beautiful seed of creativity. What can I create now.  In the second half of my life I’m more thrilled than ever to follow my desires.  To be scared by them.  To be controlled by them.  To let them take me on a life worth living.

Vizualisation

May 25, 2010

Lots of people buying my paintings.   They come, get excited, spend some time discussing the art with me.  Often they will hone in on a particular painting but its always the first one that takes their attention that they buy.  The come into my studio, small respectful steps.  I put the lights on.  We talk.  I find out what they like, what they are looking for.  We discuss art in general and my art in particular.  Then they tell me they want my painting.  Usually one. But not unusally two or three.  We talk about payment methods.  Bank transfer is the easiest for everyone. Occassionaly I have a cheque or cash given to me that I take to the bank.  I like the process of going to the bank and putting the money in.  I like to see it in my account, raise and invoice and acredit it to a sale.  It a process of assurance.  I always stick a red dot on the detail card next to a sold painting.  Its a great feeling going into my studio and seeing a whole bunch of red dots.  My book of sold paintings is bursting at the seems.  I imainge more and more of those books in my studio.  All full of photographs with red dots beside them. They fill the pages.  After each sale I get the photo developed, stick in on the page with the painting details and add it to the pile.  I love those month were I have several photographs to get developed.   Sometimes I’ll have as many as 8, but usually its only four.  Four paintings worth 5 thousand dollars is a typical month.  I add around 50 pages a year of red dot sales, all about 5 thousand dollars.  Those are good numbers.  Fun numbers.  Mortgage paying numbers.  Those red dots have come to symbolize where I have got to with my art.  But back to the people who buy them.  Generally they are older folks, or over 30 anyways.   They are people with money.  People who own their own houses.  People who collect art.   Often times they will buy more than once piece over the years.  They are stylish people with good cars and clean well pressed clothes.  They are well spoken, opinionated people.  They are more often than not family people.  I like to imagine my paintings in their houses.  And love it when I get to see their houses. They are modern, well designed, cared for places.  Tidy, fresh places.  Their interiors devoid of stale furniture or tatty books.  Energy gets moved in these places.  They are full of ideas and imagination. I love that.  I love that my art goes to live in such salubrious environments.

a word about now

May 24, 2010

Living in the now.  its been written a lot about by the famous Eckhart Tolle, offered as a distinction by Landmark education, reverred in spiritual learnings for centurys.  Its probably one of the most powerful rules of nature that one can live by, and is finally, thankfully, starting to take hold in generally mainstream society.  ten years ago when the world was experiencing a global recession, the news was all bad.  TV networks looked solely on the negativity of it. People loosing millions, jobs, homes.  Stress was rampent.  Most of the alternative theories badmouthed what had been created by the ‘wealthy’ the ‘powerful’ and the ‘state’.  Oh, how miss lead we were.  The resistance to all those things just lead to more of them.  Slowly it changed.  People started getting sick of the doom and gloom, the blame game, the general stress that that caused in them.  They wanted the good stories.  Acts of courage.  Deeds caused by love.  Businesses taking responibility.  Suddenly the tide turned.  We the world stopped focusing on the bad and the good began to swell.  The global finacial crisis was termed the global finanical correction and then the global financial revolution.  It was celebrated.  It was an exciting time to be alive.  People helped each other.  Competition became fun again.  Like a sports team realising they all do better when they help each other.  A champion team is better than a team of champions, the saying goes.  So we stopped fearing the future.  We stopped dwelling on the mistakes of the past.  And we took to the present with a fierse determination.  A determination to have a competitive spirit without loosing site of the greater good.  We had people in front, sure.  People with more than others, definately.  We had people suffer terrible tradegdys.  But no victims.  Nobody blamed anyone else.  We all took responibility.  We all embraced each others points of view without diluting our own.  It was a heady time, this revolution.  It started in families.  It started with those we love respecting and valuing each others differences.  Jails became empty places.  There is no need for Jails when their are no victims.  When crime has no resistance, there is no need to committe it.  With all revolutions comes upheavel.  Comes doubters.  Comes letting go of the past.  It was exciting times to be alive.  Exciting times to be bringing up a child.  The spiritual masters of the world, would be thrilled I imagine.

Letting go

May 23, 2010

I got to the point with my art, like I did with my body and being single that I had to be okay never selling another painting.  Okay, selling paintings had nothing to do with my body or being single, but I had to be okay never losing another pound and being single for the rest of my life.  Like really, truly okay.  It was not going to make my like worse off.  Sure, I would welcome those things, but it was quite alright for the status quo to continue on.  And I got there with my painting to.  For so long I was on the verge of desperate to sell more.  Desperate to be more sucessful.  I would try and kid myself that I was only painting for the pleasure of it. Hiding the truth that it killed me that my paintings were staying on my walls.  Then it happened.  I got okay with it.  I started finding joy in others successes.  When I heard about sell out shows I felt a warm sense of satisfaction.  I gave over.  I basked in the fact that I was headed there, but didn’t have to worry anymore.  That if I never got the experience in reality, I could enjoy the anticipation.  I welcomed in the possibility.  I let go of the actuality.  I told each painting it was okay to stay with me if it wanted, or to go if it chose.  Either way was just fine.   I wrote a letter to the powers that be.  The universe. My idea of god.  I said, these are my desires.  I leave them up to you.  I’m done trying to figure it out.  I trust that you will make good on my desires when the time is right.  That you will provide me with the opportunities when they arise.  Here’s what my heart wants.  Here’s what I see when I close my eyes and all my dreams have come true.   Paintings that thrill me in the making.  Paintings that get snapped up soon after they are made.  A dealer who loves, promotes and sells my work.  50 paintings sold each year for an average of $5k.  A solo show each year at my dealer.  A group show each year with my peers, sponsored by an organisation I feel proud to represent.  Commissions booked up months in advance.   That was my list of desires.  That’s what I let go of trying to get and settled into expecting to experience.  I gave up on time-frames.  I allowed the world to deliver when ready.  I took care of myself.  I took opportunties that flowed.  I gave up anything that I had to force.  I worked harder than ever.  But in a sort of easy, non-resistant way.  I took the path of least resistance.  I followed the laws of nature.  Every single one of those desires came true.  And they came true easily and effortlessly.  But with much hard work and in ways that I had never expected.  That is the beauty of it.  It was a hard lesson at the time to let go.  I think it’s the single best thing I’ve ever learned to do.

The dinner party

May 20, 2010

We had an outstanding dinner party a couple of years ago.  I’d just been published in a book about early century NZ artists.  It was a beautiful book, well produced.  One of those books that make the whole experience of reading them pleasureable, not just the content.  The paper, the design, the weight, all those things were spot on.  So we had a dinner, myself, Jane and Anne.  To celebrate the ten years since our first major show together and how far we had come in that time.  We had it on Waiheke.  The house was looking particulalry pleasing that day.  It was a late summers evening, with a lovely glow in the house. I had many candles lite around the house, up the stairs, in the dining room and on the bench.  Our floor is solid timber, not vaneer, so it bows every so slightly as you walk on it and feels warm underfoot, taking on the freshness of the summer air.  We have several rugs that ensure cosyness when wanted, but the floors themselves are perfect for the Waiheke climate.  Our table is an old Kauri dining table from the 1950s.  Its solid, warm, simple apart from an intricate detail on the bottom side of the legs, large and inviting.  Around it I have eight clear plastic dining chairs.  I love the modern against the old.  In my art collection I have a couple of old gilded framed paintings, I love how they feel against the modern unframed paintings, and the modern framed ones too.  The Table was set with six settings.  It was just the adults that night.   We had three courses.  Paddy from Ringawera came and cooked for us.  He, being an artist himself, was the ideal chef for the occaision.  I can’t remember exactly what the food was, but each bite was a taste sensation.  We had, sweet, delicate, pungent, sour, sticky, clean, fresh, salty.  All the tastes were balanced and lovely.  We sat at the table til after midnight.  Laughing, telling stories about how we used to fret about being artists and then, how we started to climb into it.  How after a few years we realised we had let go of any ‘trying’ and we simply living as we wanted.  How our success and fame arrived once we stopped striving for it.  How we started celebrating any success, in the world in general and the art world in particular.  How anyone getting a sponsor was a win, not just if we got one. How any successful exhibition was a cause of celebration, even if we didn’t like the art or the artist or the gallery.  It became our mission to be part of the good.  To stop competing with anyone else and seeing it all as good.  That’s when it changed for us.  That’s when we started getting sponsors ourselves.  Started having sell-out shows.  Started getting noted in books.  Started getting articles in Magazines.  And when that happened, when we had truly understood that success had nothing to do with our art, we started to shine.  That was worth celebrating. That was worth a dinner.  May we have many more.

The physical

May 18, 2010

My body, plain and simple, has got better and better over the years.  Tighter, fitter, stronger, lighter, more agile.  I eat exactly what I want these days, never paying thought to if its ‘good’ for me, fattening, thinning, or otherwise anything other than my desire.  If I step back and anaylsis it, you would probably say that I eat a very healthy diet full of vibrant, nurtritious foods.  Lots of live, raw foods.  Lots of colourful fresh stuff.  But its not designed like that.  There is no concious thought of that, its merely what I want, so its what I eat.  I dislike the taste of processed foods these days.  They seem bland and unsatisfying.  I used to crave that sort of food and try and stop myself eating it, but those cravings and longings have long since passed.  I enjoying cooking now like I never uesed to.  I take a cooking class almost every year.  I love to learn about new spices, new cooking methods, new flavour sensations.  I hardly ever make the same dish twice, unless G consistantly asks for it.  I have a kitchen that I love, which helps, of course.  Its simple and clean, light, fresh, with lots of space, but not unweildy or overly enourmous.  I have a bench in the middle that people can sit at and drink wine and eat nibbles.  I love that.  Having people in my house and kitchen and providing for them.  I buy most of my ingrediants from markets and specialty stores.  The butcher, the baker, fishmonger, the fruit and veg place. They all know me and my habits and often ofter me new ideas.  Its a cheriched part of my day, shopping for ingrediants.  The folks at the stores are fun.  I must have them over for a meal.  They often save the nicest cut of meat, freshest fish, for which I’m enternally grateful.  It makes me feel part of my community.  Part of their lives as much as they are part of mine.  Its small stuff like this that I feel satisfied with in my life.  Sometimes when I’m getting my supplies I stop and think about where I’ve come.  Wearing beautifully designed clothes on my body that has become more and more lovely over the years is a blessing I thought I’d never experience.  Yet look.  Its hear. Its to be treasured.  I think perhaps I’ll write a book about it one day.  I haven’t yet, becuase I haven’t been sure what I would write about.  But having bulemia most of my adult life, well, until maybe 15 years ago, and now being so free from it perhaps I could offer something.  But that hasn’t been my path in the last ten years.  But it could be the path between 50 and 60.  Time to be a teacher perhaps.  Nice thoughts to mull over.

Painting

May 17, 2010

My paintings today are all about story telling. They have always been about story telling.  The thing that I’ve got better at is allowing those stories to shine through.  I used to be reticient at voicing the stories that arise for me in the act of making a painting, these days its those stories that I realise I’m making. The visual representation of it is just a by product.  Just like  a book full of words is a by product of a written story.  Yes, I love my paintings, and I love my books, but its not for the tangible materials that make them up, its for the spirit of them.  Its where they take me.  What they make me think. What they teach me that I love.  I’m not sure at what point in my life I let go of having to love the painting itself and believe in the story it tells, but somewhere I did and in a strange way its made my paintings so much better.  More real.  They have integrity to lend a term from Jane’s landmark.  Whole and complete. Nothing missing.  When I use that yardstick and an artwork comes up well against it, I know I’m made good.  I feel it in my bones.  A sense of lightness is about me.  I can usually tell, if I stay alert enough, as I’m painting how its going to turn out.  When all resistance falls away.  When a sense of effortlessness and ease about my painting is present, the painting will flow.  When I’m at one with my desires, let go of past and future, am there in the moment of creation, that is when the magic turely happens.  Some would call it flow.  Some would call it the art of presence.  I call it fabulous.  I used to think those moments where a gift that had to be earned.  That if I was somehow good enough or patient enough they would come and I would be grateful for their arrival.  These days however, I understand they can be sort out.  I can create a space where those times will more likely unfold.  I’ve never ceaced to be grateful for them, but I do nuture them.  And I’ve got way better at nuturing over the years.  I spent a long time studying what lead up to one of those times, if anything what had I done? What had I thought?  How had I slept? Thought? Been?  And all have, predicably and influence.  For me it was the kind of steady beliefs I had in myself.  As soon as I became a slave to my circumstances, starting thinking I had no ability to choose my thoughts or emotions, started to assume a victimhood to anyone or anything, the frequencey of my flow moments would decrease.  So spending time each day letting go of thoughts, feelings, ideas, that someone was agaisnst me, that someone was acting as I didn’t want them too, that life somehow was not of my doing or creating has become on of the most important tasks to me.  I stumbled around doing this for years, finding it easier and happier to wallow in blaming others.  But slowly and surely I’ve let that go and headed into a state of blissful creation. Stories spilling out onto the canvas in moments of pure joy.  Now that is way I paint and if probably why I always will.