gee time flies – lockdown 2 day 28

Almost a whole month of lockdown already.

Its become the new normal. I don’t think we question it much any more.

Sure, the 9pm curfew is a bummer but given you shouldn’t actually visit people, and there’s nowhere to ‘go’, what does it matter? I’d like to be able to drop in on a friend (and I do occasionally), and since I like being at home the curfew doesn’t bother me much. In fact, it means I have the evening to myself – I’m selfish that way!

Today I thought I’d share an experiment with marble, decoupage and paint. I was trying a new way of decoupage (when I did the mom and dad memory box) and while I was at it I decoupaged a few pieces of marble to see how they would turn out. Nicely as it turns out. I decided to try painting on one of them so I had an image with a background. A different background. I love the marble though, so I may not do a lot of this. It was something different. To be honest I kinda like the marble with just the decoupaged image on it too, just as I like the painting on its own.

Yesterday I received the pots I ordered for the front porch. It was looking a little too redneck out there with the assortment of different pots so I wanted to make it look a little classier. Here is a photo, still messy out there as I have a ton of pots on the ground behind the wall to protect them from the nasty wind till spring. And the rug I put out for cats to sun themselves on, plus bags of potting mix still to be used… But the uniform planters each with a mix of succulents in them are looking good.

You can’t really see it in the picture, but the last planter has 2 african daisies, a white and a pink. They will hopefully do alright in any weather conditions here as they did in Australia and spread everywhere. I may have to move them to another spot later, but I love them for their resilicance and colours.

I love playing with dirt and plants, as you know… All you have to do is look at photos of my garden in Tasmania to see that. Like here, and here… not to mention here, and while we’re at it, a bit of nostalgia… here.

There’s so much to miss about that farm, that garden, that house, that life… sigh.

Meanwhile I try to fit all my interests into this tiny apartment with a view of the sea and the fresh air of Paros.

One of my aunts gave me this little ‘side of the road’ gem so I did a bit of rearranging in the bedroom.

That ‘s where I had all my suitcases before.

At the time I had the foam from the antique Paros couch under the bed taking up room. I decided that since I wanted soft and cushy for the couch if I ever finish and use it (cause I have no room in this place) I got rid of the foam and I put the suitcases under the bed for storage. Much smarter idea. I can now pull the suitcase I want out like I would a drawer.

And I put the little table in the corner to shove things that need storing under. Like paper supplies, mom’s old sewing machine (which needs a tweak to work) and some card for painting on. I was thinking of making a rack for shoes to hide under it, and maybe I will one day, but for now I just put this stuff in there to hide it away.

In order to make it less ‘i just had to stick this somewhere’ visible, I used the lace pillow cover as a curtain. It had a small rust mark on it so I cut that away and stitched a small round doily over the hole. Works for me.

You may remember this is how my bedroom looks. A great friend gave me this gorgeous mosquito net and (like any girl) I’ve always loved the romantic look of a mosquito net over the bed. Even if its just me and Lainee sharing the bed.

The dilema now is this: I have a beautiful painting (a nude) of myself done by a friend and great artist. I had it hanging over the bed in Tasmania and I forgot to take it to Athens for storage when I went last Christmas. Its been in its box in the bedroom since then. Just waiting.

Here it is, in the bedroom in Tassie:

Now I’m wondering if I should remove the mosquito net and put the painting on the wall over the bed.

Decisions decisions. I love the painting. I love the net. I’ve used the net a few times, so its handy as well as gorgeous.

I have no other big wall to hang the painting on unless it goes over the couch in the living room.

… but is that a good spot for a nude of myself?

Mind you, its a tasteful nude. All you can see are my hip and my breasts (which were pretty small at the time as I was a lot thinner than I am now). Its in muted tonal colours which suit the decor here… I’m not sure what to do. I think I’ll just leave it in the back of my mind for a while, It will come to me.

z

big question #2 – lockdown 2 day 24

Is it art or is it craft?

I know that my friends have said I am definitely an artist, but this is part two of the big question…

Am I an artist or crafter?

I create stuff which is aesthetic, but (a lot of times) also has a use in every day life… and by definition, isn’t that craft?

Basically, since I am no longer painting or drawing or religiously following what is traditionally known as ‘art’, can I consider myself an artist?

I did some research on the subject…

These are some of the things I found:

Definition of Art

We define the term ‘art’ is an expression and application of imagination, feelings, thoughts, ideas or any other human creativity, in a visual form, having aesthetic and emotional value.

A piece of art has an intended meaning that provokes a person’s feelings. It has a limitless expression and endless interpretation, which depends on the person.

Definition of Craft

The term ‘craft’ implies an activity involving skill and experience in the creation of handmade tangible objects that fulfill a particular purpose. It is defined as the production of those objects that has utility for people. The purpose can be decorative or functional or both, depending on the use.

Craft is a product of the mind; that attracts people. It is a learned ability, which is acquired by a person through regular practice.

Here are the bullet points:

  • Art is a type of work that expresses emotions
  • An artist makes art that comes straight from his soul and heart
  • Art is the result of the natural and inborn talent of a person
  • Craft is a type of work that is in the form of tangible output
  • Craft is the result of skill, experience, and training
  • Craft comes from the mind

Both art and craft are creative results of an imaginative mind. Both need skill and talent, though in its simplest forms craft can be learned whereas talent cannot be taught.

So, does that answer my question?

Not really. Cause I do both. I have talent (doubt myself as I may, I know I have talent) and imagination. I can do original work in the traditional ‘art’ fields like painting, printmaking, sculpture etc. But I can also sew, weave (in my own way), felt and other things along that vein. I create using fabric, clay, pastels, paint, found items, trash… I love to experiment and love accidental art. I love to mix things up and to try new things.

Surely that makes me an artist.

So, after all that soul searching I ask this:

Do we need to define ourselves as one or the other?

and:

Must we have a theory behind our work, whatever medium we chose to create (and express ourselves) through?

z

the big questions – lockdown 2 day 22

Color pencils on dark wooden background

art or not art

This is the first post of a couple (or few, time will tell) dealing with the big questions.

Basically, mom duties aside, lockdown means we all have more time to think. And thinking can lead to all sorts of things, including big questions.

I’m having a crisis.

Sort of.

Its one I’ve had on and off throughout my life… Its about being an artist. Or not being an artist.

I think the first time I had this crisis was at art school when a tutor criticized my work, telling me that if I didn’t have a ‘theory’ behind my work I’d never amount to anything – I’d be one of those (sad and sorry) people selling paintings on the esplanade (or any outdoor market*).

At the time I was angry (upset and p*&@ed off actually). Why did I need a theory behind my work? Why couldn’t my work stand on its own? So that anyone seeing it could interpret it any way they wanted to, letting my work speak to them whichever way it wanted. I just didn’t get the need to provide explanation (definition, instruction, excuse?) for my work.

(Did Rembrandt have a theory behind his work? Or did he just PAINT? After all, weren’t most painters back in his day paid to paint?)

After all, I got into art school on the strength of a series of small etchings I’d done of eggs. Yep. Eggs. Oval shapes in black and white.

Isn’t theory basically what conceptual art is all about? Since I’m baring my soul I’ll admit I don’t like conceptual art. I get it, I just don’t like it. To me art has always been about the work itself, not the theory behind it even if I can appreciate a good concept.

However, I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps that art tutor was right. These days it seems you need ‘theory’ behind your work to be taken seriously as an artist. You can’t just paint something without some meaning behind it… Not if you want to be taken seriously. Can you?

You can’t just ‘paint’, you need to paint metaphors or interpretations.

At art school I was working on black and white images (etchings, lithographs, charcoal drawings) of small details/items blown up to large proportions (having moved on from eggs). I’d take a tiny bowl of curly pasta and focus in, drawing the curls and swirls on an A2 sheet of paper. I’d toss my leather jacket on the desk and draw its rolls and folds. Ditto with licorice pieces or anything else that grabbed my attention. I interpreted these images on paper, litho plates, stone, zinc and copper.

I could have yammered on about crap if I’d wanted to**, but I refused to cause I didn’t think I needed to in order to have my work taken seriously. I got through high school and an A Level in English Literature by bullshitting my way through poetry (something I was never enthralled with). I could bullshit about my work with the best of them if I’d wanted to.

I’m rebellious by nature and I just didn’t feel I should have to.

When asked to describe my work I simply said “Those are noodles, that’s licorice allsorts, that’s a leather jacket and that’s a fish”.

When the tutor said “But what does it mean?”

I said, ” Well… Those are noodles, that’s licorice allsorts, that’s a leather jacket and that’s a fish”.

At which point he predicted I would never be a real artist.

Now I wonder… was he right?

For most of my life I blamed him (the tutor who shall remain nameless – mainly cause I’ve forgotten his name) for me not BEING an artist. Because I refused to fit in with what he dictated I had to be to be an artist. I refused to be like some students around me who produced work I didn’t respect but would blather on about its meaning till I wanted to vomit. Students who sometimes didn’t know which way was up on one of their works? Is that what makes a person an artist? Blarney?

So, what makes someone an artist?

Is it talent? I’m sure some of the people I went to art school with are now selling their work in galleries and have made a name for themselves. They’d be considered artists. Like the tutor who’s work I disliked? ***

Is it about being prolific? Just keep working at it, pumping out work regardless of success cause one day you will make it. A matter of numbers, luck and persistence. About believing in yourself regardless…

Is it about working at your art full time or with at least some kind of dedication which I seem to lack (due to my ADHD when it comes to creative expression)? Like finding a medium and sticking with it – not jumping from stitches to clay to paint on marble and paper and canvas in a week?

I’ve noticed that people who work steadily and consistently on something, regardless of talent, achieve success in what they dedicate themselves to. Maybe I just don’t stick it out with one thing long enough to achieve anything.

I read “My Name is Asher Lev” before art school which may have reinforced the idea that I’m not a real artist… in the book Asher can’t NOT draw. He can’t live without painting. I can. After art school I went years without lifting a stick of charcoal. Mainly due to two things: having to earn money to live and not believing in myself. Since then I work in spits and spurts, when I have a commission or inspiration. Often getting my creative fix through alternative sources.

For years I split my time between work, my poodle addiction (which included showing and breeding standard poodles for years), renovating 3 houses and working with power tools to upcycle things. Not to mention the insatiable desire to try all kinds of different things – creatively speaking.

So… am I an artist? What do I have to do/be/change to BE an ARTIST?

Of course I need to work more regularly on my art, but what IS my art? I do so many things. I like painting, mixed media, art from trash, sculpture, textiles… Can’t I be an artist and do a whole lotta different things?

I give up.

z

*I have (often) sold my work at outdoor markets, mainly my upcycled, recycled and remade stuff. Is that fulfulling his prophecy?

**When you looked at my work, you didn’t know what it might be. The leather jacket was a landscape of rolling hills, the noodles and licorce was waves, rolling hills or rocks, a play of light and shadow, where things weren’t what they appeared to be at first glance. Heck, I could have rambled on about life and meaning till the cows came home if I’d wanted to.

***Why would I let a man who’s work I disliked influence me so negatively?

fish door – lockdown 2 day 20

No, I’m not losing my mind. (Yet.)

Its not a door for fish to come and go, as in ‘dog door’… Its a door with fish painted on it!

I mentioned a while ago that my cousin wanted some fish painted on his front door and I finished it yesterday.

Given that I normally work with watercolours and pastels, its always a challenge for me to work in acrylics. I need to put in the time to work with them in a dedicated way in order to conquere them. I’ve used acrylics many tmes over the years, but never feel as comfortable with them as I do with other mediums.

Anyway, here is the door before:

And in progress:

And here are the fish in closeup. Again, not the best pics. Man, I really gotta get on top of the fuzzy image problem…

Once again, I have a kitten in my lap as I write. He doesn’t ask to be in my lap, he simply climbs up my legs. That’s ok if he climbs up to play gently with my bracelets or the ties on my hoodie, but if he gets rough and bites or scratches I’ve been picking him up by the scruff and just plonking him on the floor. I think he’s learning… Mostly he just wants hugs.

He’s getting peskier as he gets more comfortable and grows. He’s now started exploring the ‘upper levels’ of the house. Yesterday he climbed onto the small cabinet in the bathroom and broke a glass holding some items. This morning when I went outside to water the plants I came in to find him on the sewing table. UGH.

This is what I dislike about cats.

Last night I started looking at ideas on how to make him a scratching post/cat tree sort of thing that will look nice, not take up too much room and I can make myself using things I can find. But where to put it? The tiny hallway space outside the bathroom is already tagged to hold a cabinet I plan to make (THIS YEAR) to hold linen and towels above and shoes below. I guess I could add a couple of shelves on the side which he can climb up to sleep…

I dunno.

Eventually he’ll grow into a big, hopefully lazy, quiet cat. But till then I have to deal with the crazy kitten phase… I hope my stuff survives.

Maybe I need to get a large container and start putting things away, wrapped and safe till I can have an exhibition…

Good thoughts.

z

shutters – lockdown 2 day 16

Day 16 and counting. First they said it was going to be a 3-week lockdown but nobody really believed that. Now it will be extended but when and for how much longer I don’t know. As it is, we never get truthful info on just how many cases of COVID 19 there are on Paros… Last I heard the free testing day resulted in 12 cases being diagnosed. No idea how many more there might be which haven’t been tested.

Yet my days are busier than ever with mom and mom-related activities.

Meanwhile this is me right now:

Not easy to type with a kitten wanting to be hugged all the time. When he isn’t typing for me he’s climbing all over me and yowling if I put him on the ground. sigh. Worst still is he’s learned to climb up my legs (ouch) to get up onto my lap.

What’s really wierd is that this little guy is getting under my skin. Maybe its the way he just sits and stares at me, or the fact that he wants to be on me all the time, purring and rubbing against me. Maybe its that he even made my mother (who hates cats and who swore at me for taking in Spartacus who gave us all ringworm) laugh with his cute face and antics with an empty paper bag.

This morning he played with the paper bag and ran around a while then went quiet. I looked for him everywhere as I wanted to put him in the bathroom when I went out and couldn’t find him. Thought he’d gotten under the couch again. The paper bag was in the middle of the floor so as I passed it I scooted it out of the way with my foot. Odd… heavier than usual. Turns out the little ratbag was asleep IN the paper bag!

I’ve always loved all animals and can’t resist helping any animal in need. Yet so far I’ve managed to resist keeping a cat. I’ve thought about it but always managed to say NO. I’m not sure if I actually want to give this boy up. Maybe logic will prevail if I can find him a good home.

Ya think?

Still, at least I managed to do something different today. My cousin asked me to paint the shutters in his ‘attic’ room… This is what I did.

The paint dribbles started accidentally cause the surface wouldn’t hold the watered down paint, but I loved the broken up look of the paint where it didn’t hold on the surface properly so I kept going. A thicker layer of paint held but I liked the result. I love accidents. Sometimes the best bits are the unexpected bits.

I’m not sure my cousin feels the same way. It might be too ‘arty’ for him, but that’s ok, I’m happy to redo if so.After all, he’s the one paying (in coffee…). I’ve been wanting to do octopus tentacles on his living room wall or on the ‘aloni’ (a cemented threshing circle in the yard) for years, at least I got a chance to do them SOMEWHERE in his house!

I really am missing working steadily without interruption. Today was a great day, but I only got to be creative for a very short time, the rest of the day being spent with other people, albeit happily. Tomorrow looks like the entire morning is blown… but I intend to put my foot down about Tuesday. I’m going NOWHERE. In the words of Alan Jackson:

I parked my car ’round back
I’ve got the shades pulled down
I told everybody including my mama
I was leaving town…

I’m just a rockabilly country hillbilly r’n’r dancing greek australian arty creative dog cat and animal loving (especially poodle loving) Netflix addicted home renovator book reading dog grooming blogger living on Paros in a tiny house surrounded by things I love and a serious case of garden envy.

That’s all she wrote folks!

See ya tomorrow!

z

a new sea rope basket

Remember the last sea rope basket?

It was only tiny and is now living in Norway.

This time I decided to tackle something a little bigger, more practical in size. I began with a piece of rope which was longer than the 5-6 inch pieces I normally find on the beach. I was lucky a couple of months ago to find two longer lengths of grey, so I began this one with one of those pieces to create the bottom of the basket.

By doing a little every night while watching Netflix I continued to build up the basket, adding in my small pieces as I went, adding colour as each piece was different.

The predominant colours are usually blues and greens, but you never know what you’ll find buried in the sand.

This time I’d been lucky enough to find some netting as well, which I decided to add to the top of the basket to add that whimsical feel.

Its not a huge basket. about 22cm diameter, but its about the same size as the first basket I ever made out of new cotton rope… (which I can’t seem to find on the blog, which means I probably never shared it… hm… must fix that.)

Its a handy size, I’ve used my first one to hold sunnies, makeup, all kinds of odds and ends. Only difference is this one is stiffer as this rope is harder than the cotton rope. Holds its shape better.

I’m actually very pleased with it. This little fella will be going into the art exhibition I’m planning/hoping to have next summer. A mix of art from trash, recycling and mixed media art. I’m excited by the idea of it and actually very eager to start working on ideas that keep me awake at night.

(If only my buzzing mind translated into more action…)

So. Other than this little creation, what have I been doing lately?

Well some small artworks on stone and marble by commission. Day to day living. Working. Swimming. Attempting to keep my home neat and tidy for when mom visits and failing miserably.

And Netflix.

I’m currently watching Salvation – just started last night. I like end of the world type stuff, call me crazy…

I watched The Glitch (wierd and sort of unsatisfying in its conclusion), The Code (which I enjoyed) and The Let Down (loved it). These three are Australian series and maybe part of the reason I loved them so much was that they’re Australian and I got to wallow in aussie accents and sense of humour again for a while. The Let Down is hilarious and SO Australian!

I watched Away (enjoyed), Snowpiercer (yep, end of the world stuff) and…

I know there were more since I last blogged about my Netflix habit… but right now my mind is blank. Aren’t you glad?

z

art on marble – and selling

Its about time I got back into the groove!

I’ve finally tidied up the house (enough), sorted paperwork, filed stuff, set up corners with various projects awaiting my attention, and got back to painting. On marble to start with though I have some upcoming paper projects too.

Today I’ll share the newest marble paintings before I step outside and decide if its warm enough to go for a swim. The sun is out. No wind to speak of. I think its warm enough.

Not sure the white background (in my tiny photo box) works well with white marble items… I’ll try black next or go back to the table top and radiator background.

Anyway, as I said, I’ve spent a ton of time on the phone today trying to work out stuff for Aunt 1 but turns out I can’t do a lot of it on the phone. I need to go into town. Today is the only day this week when I don’t have to go into town so I’m putting it off till tomorrow. Don’t they say ‘don’t do today what you can put off till tomorrow’? No? I got it backwards? eh. I’m on a greek island… give me a break.

I mentioned I got my paperwork underway to get a business license in Greece so I can start advertising my dog grooming and artwork, I just can’t give tax receipts till I get my receipt booklet or whatever its called. However, I’ve already started looking at ways I can sell stuff online as well as starting to talk to people with shops who might be interested in selling for me.

Today is the day I try out the WordPress Simple Payment method. Bear with me while I try to get this thing to work…

SOLD

125mm x 115mm Original watercolour on paper. Special low introductory price. Free postage.

€8.00

Ok… the block only shows a small version which doesn’t look like it opens the original image, so here it is:

Maybe I’ll have to put in a large photo with the payment block underneath it… I’ll give that a go next time.

I also just found out that these new blocks aren’t supported by Android, so they don’t appear when I look at my blog on the phone… Wonder who else can’t see them?

Of course, selling work on marble online is tricky cause its not really the kind of thing you can post easily. Its heavy. And postage is expensive… so I’ll most likely only sell those pieces locally (unless someone really wants something and is willing to pay postage for it. Let me know if that’s the case).

Below is a contact form I thought I’d try out… It also doesn’t work on Android.

All this new stuff to try out… And as always, half of it doesn’t work.

Anyway, the day’s a wasting. Time to get off this chair and move to another chair. Or better yet, walk to the beach with Lainee!

z

difficult days

The cat above was meant to look surprised… instead it looks sad and kinda lost. Not to mention ugly…

Its been ‘those’ kind of few days.

I’ve been run off my feet as always, but I’ve also moved Aunt 1 into a nursing home so there has been less of that responsibility. I know it was the only solution, I know its for the best, but I still feel like a gigantic heel for doing it.

Of course she hates it. She began calling me the same afternoon, asking where she was, could I go get her and take her home, where was she, she didn’t know anyone, she wanted to go home, if I didn’t come pick her up she would kill herself and it would be my fault, if I wasn’t there by tomorrow she would take a taxi and come home. Naturally she doesn’t remember begging me to take her somewhere to be cared for and ‘made better’.

She managed to speak to my mom who’s been very upset over it all and its not doing her any good. I got calls from one of my uncles and Aunt 4 telling me she’d called them too and hinting that Aunt 1 should never have been allowed to keep her mobile or a phone book cause she will (if she hasn’t already) be calling people outside the family telling them we’ve locked her up and abandoned her to be tortured.

I’ve spoken to the staff numerous times. She is fine. The doctor saw her already, she had her COVID19 test yesterday and as such is still in quarantine which is probably what’s making it worse. Once she’s able to mix with others my hope is she’ll be much happier. She loves company. You know… more people to complain to!

And I had to ask the nurses to ‘misplace’ her phone and phone book. That when she wants to make a call, they are to make sure she only calls me.

Meanwhile I’ve been tidying her house, putting away all the nicknacks that gather dust, washing everything to put away and generally starting to think of the daunting task of renting it out. We need the rent to pay for the nursing home. I’ve already spoken to an agent and have someone (a good friend’s niece and her husband) coming to see the place tomorrow… I obviously want someone in asap as we need the rent, but I have to find somewhere to put the furniture or sell it. The niece has her own stuff.. If she doesn’t take it then we’ll look at renting to students and they may want to keep some of the furniture. We live close to the university and there are always students looking to rent.

Either way, I have a ton of quotes to get and work to organise – from a distance as I’m leaving for Paros on Monday.

I’ll end this post with the finished picture of a pretty cat. All I did was add a bit of detail to the eye and add whiskers. I love the fluidity of this one.

z

not another whiney post

I won’t bore you with the goings on around here lately. Suffice to say its not changed. Same old routine, same old complaints. Nothing new to add.

However I did find time to do a little painting to get out of my own head for a bit. Problem is I picture something I want to try, have a go t it, but it never works out quite the way I want it to.

For instance the angel. Not quite right…

The cat however is looking good. Its not finished yet, but it could stand on its own without another brushstroke. I’m happy with it.

I am so much better at doing animals. Maybe I should stick to that.

z

friday

Its been a stinker of a week. Today the temperature reached 35 degrees C and the worst is still to come with 38 over the next couple of days. What fun to be in Athens and not near the beach.

I continue to go not-so-quietly insane with all the crap that landed in my lap suddenly. I lived most of my life in Australia, thousands of miles from my family and all responsibility to anyone but myself. (I liked it that way!) Now I’m buried up to the eyeballs in it. Responsibility up the wazoo, decisions to make, paperwork to organise, you name it, I got it.

Making it worse of course is that I’m in a country that not only doesn’t make sense to me, having lived in a civilized country for most of my life, but that doesn’t make sense full stop! Add to that that the paperwork is all in greek and you enter a whole new dimension of f%”kuppery.

I speak greek fine, I read greek ok, I write greek badly. But forms in medical or legal language are doing my head in big time. And I’m in charge of finding, collecting, photocoping and putting together a ton of it to give to the nursing home and the solicitor. Oh boy, am I having fun!

Today the heat just about wiped me out. I got home from running around all morning and virtually passed out till Aunt 1 woke me up asking none of us cared at all and if we had all forgotten her. sigh. It was all I could do to walk Lainee and grab a frappe to wake myself up before coming to see her so I could open the windows and dust her bloody bedside table cause she’s well enough to be annoyed by the dust.

I did manage a couple of positive things for myself today though… I took Lainee for a long walk up the hill once it cooled down a bit which helped clear my mind a bit, and I reworked the latest two paintings.

The cut fig is still not quite right, but the others are much better. Overall I’m happier with it now.

I had a play with the sea urchins using the image transfer medium and some newsprint. I’m not entirely happy with the result. It didn’t transfer all that well and in some cases the paper wouldn’t come off as easily as they said it would and I ended up rubbing off the paint as well…. and almost made a hole in the paper at one stage!

Lesson: not a good idea to try to transfer over a painted image. Unless you seal it first. Maybe.

I love the look of the print on the urchins, don’t like where the medium wouldn’t come off and left marks. Still… for an experiment, not too bad.

I do love the print inside the image. If I can find a way to work that and incorporate it into my work without the globs of paper which refuses to leave I’ll be pleased. Then again, if I can’t find a way to do that I’ll find a way around it!

z