Monday, 13 May 2013


After a long week, that included a bad migraine on Tuesday, and two half-days at work, Friday was flat-tack. On Friday evening we had a lovely evening at Beth Melek with the Brown’s and other friends. Came home, packed the last bits and pieces into the car, and headed for Katikati.
Rain. Not a little bit of rain. Lots and lots and lots of rain. Horizontal rain, like spears, or lances (which are longer than spears, coz you carry them on a horse!) heading for the car windscreen. And lightning. Lots and lots of lightning. Lighting up the sky (funny that!) And nasty yellow road signs that threw the glare of the headlights back into my eyes, blinding me. It wasn’t long before I couldn’t actually focus on the dashboard – too much looking as far ahead as I could, watching out for danger. Not that I was driving fast. 40k thru the Karangahake Gorge, then even slower as the lightening got worse! And roadworks. Of course there’s going to be roadworks. After all, we’re going into winter – what better time to dig up the roads! And the big rigs – all dressed up with lots of pretty lights – some going my way, some going the opposite way. Yessir! You sure you got enough room sir?!

Arrived at the in-laws house in Katikati about midnight, with the rain still pouring down. Thank you Myrtle and Peter! Took ages to get to sleep, still hyped from the drive, the ticking of a clock, and an overwhelming smell of mothballs. It was lovely and fine in the morning – the storm had blown itself out, and the skies were clear and a beautiful blue. Myrtle knocked on the door just as the alarm was about to go off, lol.

Gotta love those 'tree walls':

I HATE tourist maps. While the drive down to Papamoa was only about 40 minutes, the map and instructions I had to get thru Tauranga weren’t wonderful. Of course, if I’d known I was supposed to be heading towards Welcome Bay, it might have gone better, but I did get to see the industrial side of Tauranga city, and the length of Papamoa beach, lol.

The venue was fantastic – and huge, light and airy space, an ideal ‘playhouse’! Saturday was a busy day, meeting new people, (there were 17 of us total) learning about our personal symbols, transferring those to canvas, playing with ink, fluid acrylics and spray bottles filled with water. Listening meditatively to a poem, while drawing images to transfer onto our canvases to deliberately mess them up.  I love Tracey’s teaching style – this is what we’re going to do, this is what we’ll be using, this is how I do it – now, go do it, and I’ll be round if you need help. Just honk like a goose!

Periods of confusion and bewilderment – well, what else is new? It would have been better if I’d drawn symbols (or at least something simpler) to illustrate the poem – so it was kind of hard to transfer those to the canvas. Oh – and did I say how much I dislike canvas? Never worked on such a big one before, and it bounces and wiggles and squiggles like it has a mind of its own!

Tracey's whiteboard of symbols!

There was a nice break at lunchtime when most of us walked down to the shopping mall – I found a Noodle Canteen where I could pick and choose what went into the stirfry! Oh Yay!

By the time we finished at 5.00pm I was totally exhausted. There had been talk of going to visit a scrapbook shop or get a drink at a local bar, but I’d had enough people time by then. As I walked to the car I started crying, and bawled my eyes out for the first 15 minutes of the drive back to Katikati. A truly cathartic release after a long week, migraine, and the tension of having a major essay due midnight Sunday 12 May. Stopped at the bottle shop in Bethlehem (no break, but a house of wine!) and got some vodka. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

I sat up till 10.30pm working on my essay, then went to bed and lay there wide awake. In the end I gave up and read till about 1230, when I buried the ticking clock in a pile of blankets, and finally fell asleep. Then I woke at just after 5.00am from the noise of a big tractor on the road outside. Gave up and went downstairs and got my laptop, crawled back into bed, and worked on the essay till 8.00.

Shrimps for breakfast!

7 attempts – or was it 6? If I go down the same road twice, but it’s when I’m leaving, does it count?

So – it took me 6 goes to get to Papamoa. Did I say how much I hated tourist maps? It all went well till I had to get off the motorway. There’s a darn great round-about with horrid signage. I went to Welcome Bay (twice), Pyes Pa, Maungatapu, Baypark Arena and at least one other place ... I wasn’t early any more ... Didn’t feel much like laughing either.

See all those different coloured lines? The black one was Saturday morning. The rainbow is Sunday morning. See the red and green one bottom left? That's the way to Hamilton - the Sunday evening route, hence #7.

Today was the day I was meant to be able to find a creature on my small plywood board ... and on my big canvas ... oh really?

Well, first one elephant, and then another one turned up on the big canvas – now there were 3 elephants in the room!

Tracey's elephant:

Mine ....

There were elephants - they just suddenly appeared on the Sunday morning - my reaction was - wt...?! I DON'T DO elephants - can't even remember the last time I saw a live one, but there they were! With trunks crossed. I also can't draw elephants - even looking at the one Tracy Verdugo had drawn, I couldn't get them to go right. I messed around with them, but they just seemed to get worse and worse, looking strangely alien. In the end I had to walk away – go and see what others were doing – and gosh there were some amazing images appearing!

Ran out of time (and enthusiasm) to do the small collage assignment, and couldn’t find a creature on my small ink-covered board ...

By 4.00pm I was ready to hit the road – it was going to be a long drive home! Of course, I didn’t get out of Tauranga scott-free. Remember #7? Well, that’s turned out to be the way to Hamilton, over the Kaimai Ranges (with a short visit to Greerton – which is NOT on the main road!). Missed the ideal photo op coming down the western side of the range – cars right up my backside! But managed to stop further down, and took a couple of photos of the rising moon – beautiful!

Matamata. Loo break. Dinner. Should have said NO to the gravy, (as I did to the peas, corn and spuds). 3 mouthfuls – if that! Made it round the end of the town, before I had to stop the first time. About 500m for the second time. Less than that for the third time. Ugh. It wasn’t so much gravy as concentrated onion puree! Drove home on a bottle of pure OJ.

Got my essay done by just after midnight – no mark yet, as of 24/05/2013.

... and then there were none ....

The painting has been hanging on the living room wall since Sunday night, irritating me more and more. So Thursday night (16 May) I got the gesso out and got rid of the bits that were being rude to me. Friday morning when I looked at it in daylight, all sorts of colours and shapes have come thru - particularly (lol) purple! Next step is to do some doodling on the white bits while I wait for my inks to come from Dick Blick in the US. Then create an ink/fluid acrylic layer. Then I'll do an image transfer of elephants over that, and paint them in. After that, who knows.... 

Oh, and I’ve found a creature on my ink board – I think it’s a dragonfly or butterfly – just need time to draw it in!

It was a wonderful weekend, and one I'd love to repeat ... come on Jenny Grant!

And going home, there was an amazing sunset ... can you see the moon? And Venus was hanging there too.