Art 2

They had two people exhibiting and several sold, but she admitted this week when I looked in that some of them had been pre-sold, hence the red stickers, it really does influence people, sheep ever!

sheep ever!

 

I’ve on the spur of the moment sent two abstracts to the Academy having said never again. It’s an arts & crafts plus plus and when I enquired if any paintings, particularly collage, were going to be hung was told ‘it’s a very grey area’!!! I put a few additions to ‘Before time’ to make it ‘within 18 months’! and sent ‘Before time II’.

We went to another art exhibition last Sunday – she was a vast woman and so were paintings, haphazard views with 20 cm eyes all over them. It is probably my ignorance, as X thought they were marvellous.

I sold 3 watercolours just before Christmas – 20% went to the new community hall and I was told the club was going to have another 15%. They obviously thought I was a lucky girl to get a cheque for $108 just before Xmas – I’ve just worked out the cost of materials, frames, glass, mounts etc. and my profit is $20 for the 3!!!  – but good for my morale.

Rather belatedly I’m trying to do my autumn tidy in the garden – THEN I’ll paint – I find it so difficult to get going – then don’t want to stop for meals etc.

Another part of our Monday expedition was a visit to an exhibition of Chinese crafts at the Art Gallery. There was some exquisitely done work e.g. in double-sided embroidery – some of it on very modern themes – pictures of oil-workers controlling the latest gusher or of new Tibetan doctors setting off home after training on the Chung-Ping-Pong hydroelectric and irrigation scheme – and so on. Apart from getting a little tired of the broad smile of Maoist victory embroidered on every face it really was lovely – and of course those 32 pierced ivory balls all inside one another one like an eighth wonder of the world. Those also had modern designs carved on the outside ball just in case we might think that they were the ancient work of wage-slaves oppressed by imperialistic face-grinding Mandarins of the pre-enlightenment.

Guess what! I’ve sold 2 watercolours – one of proteas and other flowers I’m particularly pleased about as a woman I know (but not well enough for her to be ‘nice’ to me!) bought it and she’s run a florist’s for years and is quite an authority on flowers.

I’ve been struggling with more watercolours and feeling v. despondent – I get no better.

Hobbies 3

We’ve been in for two bridge tournaments since I last wrote. As usual we were in the last quarter of the list both times. It really is very irritating that we play bridge so badly and don’t ever seem to improve. There must be some sort of knack for visualising where all the cards are, after the calling, and then remembering which ones have gone and adjusting the picture of what remains as they turn up – but neither of us seem to be able to acquire it. And of course we tend to stretch the rules a bit when we are calling so we even manage to deceive each other. However ‘it’s only a game’ – and a pleasant enough one unless one has a whole evening with hardly a hand to call on, when it can become temporarily boring.

[Limericks were a family amusement]

X the cheeky boy started off one:

How red is gran’papa’s nose

continued by others with

Perhaps whisky or port is his dose

But those in the know

Say it cannot be so

For see it turns blue when he’s froze

It turns blue

In spite of their daily ration of ‘nuts’, the poor sheep are perpetually hungry just at present – not the best of times as the first lambs might be born any time in the next week – though the Farm Advisory man I spoke to about it said thin sheep generally have their lambs more easily than fat ones. I hope so, not having had any midwifery practice. At least X seemed to think that they are all going to produce – so the ram seems to have done his stuff in spite of his youth and tentative manner, whenever we saw him making advances to them.

I’m going to take up fishing when I get back – such an easy way to do nothing.

X put together the poncho thing I had made for her in two halves, but it didn’t hang right, and also she felt that it might prove too delicate in construction to stand up to much wear (though it would not be likely to have much because it was as warm as wearing a whole fleece!) – so in the end I made a diamond frame of wood and it now adorns the wall in the dining room, and looks quite decorative.

I’m sure I told you when I last wrote how avidly I was reading Doris Lessing’s books. Well, I also read ‘The Golden Notebook’ by her. Honestly, it is powerful stuff, not only a whole social document, but the women, who are the main characters, are marvellous, real: ‘I urge you to read it’ as the reviewers say! Also I read ‘Jane Eyre’ for the first time since I was at school, and again I was so impressed. Jane is my heroine: such standards of honesty and trust and integrity I can only hope to attain after a lifetime. Also I loved the whole style of the book; not a spare word in it. T.S. Eliot has a poem ‘East Coker’ which you probably know. There was another discovery. These three things I have read are my big reading discoveries of the year. Thought I would share them with you.

I have actually made a little start with weaving – but only on a frame loom you hold in your lap, using a long wooden needle to manipulate the weft. So far I’ve only done – or half-done – one piece and that only six inches wide, because the only thing I could find for the warp was a limited length of fishing line. It started as six inches but is now down to five, because I have been pulling the weft up too tight – especially in the sort of rows where you go round each warp string separately to produce pretty patterns. A further snag is that the variations in my spinning make it difficult to discern the pattern when you have done it! However I am getting more regular in my results (thanks among other things to a spinning seminar which I went to a couple of Saturdays ago, at which I picked up quite a few tips, including the importance of really good carding of the wool before you start). They tell me that after a time it becomes positively difficult to introduce the lovely airships which at present add such variety to my yarn!

Gardening – 3

We found the only way to cope with weeds on the gravel was with spray however much I hate it, I imagine every symptom for weeks after using it, especially after our Bishop was whisked off to hospital after spraying his roses!

the bishop is poisoned

I’ve had a fantastic ‘go’ in the garden – and for the first time ever I don’t mind if people look out the windows – I’ve even cleaned those so they can!

I’ve had all my dahlia bulbs out this year and have far too many to cope with – but have put hem all over the place and this morning I found I was digging them up to plant another – so feel it’s time to stop.

We’ve taken out a tree which was past it’s prime like me.

A friend of ours had a horrid accident with one of those dangerous fly-mowers; he’s removed his big toe on one foot and damaged the other foot. I met him at the clinic yesterday, just managing on crutches. I think they ought to be banned, there are so many accidents like this.

Our camellias are super and responding to lots of acid++ and the magnolia has just started to come out. I had 2 daffodils just inside the gate and some so and so took them.

Did I tell you I got myself a petrol chainsaw after all, as well as my electric one. Much more noisy of course – but I couldn’t resist it, to tackle the great pile of logs and bits pushed together by the logging men’s bulldozers. I’ve had two or three days out there (it’s rather a more-ish job – one never arrives at a point when there isn’t an obvious place to pull out a few more bits for the bonfire, cut one more big log, or clear another square yard or two of field!) The veg garden has been too wet to work in – tho’ I did get a row of potatoes in a couple of weeks back. The grass is growing a little, though not much – enough for a rush job to be done on the lawn when we asked a couple to tea at short notice last weekend!

Seems like spring could be here. My tulip, daffodil and iris bulbs are showing, and I’m in the middle of being dazed by glorious seed catalogues, trying to decide what to plant in the garden. The circle really has come full swing quickly.

Keeping fit – 2

I am taking fresh carrot juice and raw veg and fruit a lot – no meat or milk or eggs, but I do have nuts and tinned fish. It is supposed to help the arthritis in my back, and I am feeling better after 6 months. Also I have given up blood pressure pills and am a bit lighter too.

The boys have had 6 of 7 lessons and have making good progress. X is working so hard at freestyle and backstroke but is somewhat hampered by a natural tendency to sink!

A tendency to sink

What went awry with your dentist’s efforts? I’m lucky as X (who isn’t everyones choice) is as good sculpting teeth as rock and clay and will do odd things like sticking the front tooth that flaked apart together again tho’ he admitted it was unorthodox, and he charges me mates’ rates.

We had 3 large boxes of chocs given us at Xmas and I can’t resist them. I’ve bought an exercise video but I fear it hasn’t helped just sitting beside the TV!! I must get up and do some NOW.

She goes back to the clinic for a check-over on Thursday, and provided the bones are still in the right place, she will be having the pins out and a change of plaster – hopefully to one below the knee. Over the last couple of days she has been putting weight on her leg quite unconsciously and on Sunday was doing slow motion ballet leaps across the sitting room – her crutches providing the wherewithal whilst she was in the air.

I haven’t heard about your mini jogger – is it round and about a metre in diameter? X has one like that under the grand piano – I can’t really see him or his wife bouncing on it tho’. [Both about 85!] I am doing my exercises and I’m sure they loosen me up – but I don’t walk as much as I’m told to – there are so many things to do that you can see the use of the time.

Hobbies

[Re a portrait commission] I am working madly to get the head of X right – I was delighted with it but when Y brought X for a check I found some major surgery was needed – top off his head and chunk off his chin – and somewhere I’ve lost the likeness on the way.

Headless & chinless wonder

I spent some time before breakfast today sorting out my knitting machine … It’s a fascinating thing – fortunately X reminded me how frustrated I got when the whole thing came off the needles!!

We finished the last of 28 hands at the same time – looking longingly at the tables laden with sandwiches and luscious cakes – I sneaked 2 and dashed out… Oh, surprise, surprise – We came 2nd. I phoned to tell my partner as she’d left before they gave out the results and after seeming pleased she started telling me all the things I’d done wrong!!!

It’s sad so many of my paintings came home – but 2 sold was more than some – I welcome them back but can’t think where to put them. I’m all agog to get going again – new spray for my gun and paints – now all I need is some good ideas. I mustn’t be so violent – but I do like working in inks. X remarked, ‘I liked your paintings – but they need space’ – nicely put!!

I am halfway through a set of chessmen [on the lathe] (very fiddly), and have broken off from that to make a big pot, the last couple of days, to take a margarine plastic pot inside – as a Christmas present. It has one flaw in the lid, (which is also too loose, really – it was difficult to measure as the underside was attached to the faceplate of the lathe, and the overhang was about half an inch). But as X says consolingly, ‘Everything has flaws, including us.’

She’d just had 2 visitors from overseas round who wanted to know all about her work in 10 minutes flat, in the middle of trying to finish off a lot of orders; she fitted them in – it took 2 hours – and gave them a pizza lunch, but wouldn’t give them the name of her dyes whilst they were still here. She said if they wrote when they got home she would then!

X makes her paper with odd grasses and dried flowers actually in it. It’s difficult, she’s so pleased with her own work, I can raise no enthusiasm!

Church/religion (2)

I do still play Bridge on Monday mornings, so I am mixing with some non-church folk. Not getting far yet with them on the spiritual side – but I chip away at it. And next week I start ‘wife sitting’ with a woman in our church who does not dare stay alone when her husband is away. (It is not really a problem since my dog had cancer and I had to have her put down recently.)

Met also one of his daughters who has 6 boys (very Catholic family); we sang grace at the table.

He built his own house and was very proud of it – with first class materials, solid enough to last many centuries. I can’t compete with that, but I can go to church and pray, as he suggested also!

I found the article and subsequent letters about the man with the gift of tongues very interesting. The magazine showed a nice balance between supportive and sceptical letter! It all accorded very well with such experience as I have had. I must confess that I have always been a bit sceptical about the gift of interpretation of tongues, and have regarded the gift itself as much more for encouraging and bringing joy to the person who has it than for the enlightenment of other people. I have occasionally been at meetings where someone has spoken in tongues and someone else has interpreted – but have been disappointed by the rather platitudinous nature of the interpretation, which did not seem worthy of the Holy Spirit (though maybe the Spirit did not think we were ready to accept anything more startling?)

I have just joined a new Church – OXYGEN LIFE! Very lively, described as a New Testament Church, bursting with young families with children. I think I am the only person over 70! No church doctrine to worry about – only the Bible.

We had lunch and then a video of the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury – or at least of bits of it: about 40 minutes worth out of a couple of hours. The atmosphere was not altogether improved by the tape being put into fast forward at intervals, to speed up some of the interminable processions with which the affair started, which invariably caused the clergy widows to burst out laughing.

fw 005
the clergy are not amused!

X is on a course with Mahikari – which she has gone overboard about. I fear for her a little and am in the middle of a huge book about it, but have warned her if money is involved be suspicious, there have been so many rip offs with various so called Divine Calls.

It was a stupid meeting, really. We had been asked by the powers that be in the diocese to examine the problem of ‘Sexual Harassment’ – about which I found I had nothing to say, except that it appeared to be another name for temptation which we have known for a long long time. So producing ‘Guide lines’ (not for it, but to counter it) seemed rather a waste of time.

We have had a jolly two days tidying up our wills and tomorrow we’re going to see the funeral people and choose what we’ll have and I hope pay for it – and then we can get on living!!!

Pastimes

It’s been a week of trying to catch up on nearly 20 years of NZ stamps – I just can’t throw them out without sorting them all first – so I’ve done 10 years and 10 to go, and then the English ones. I fear there isn’t a rarity there – but I’ve got quite fascinated with them and their peculiarities.

I don’t know if X showed her ‘heirloom’ cot quilt to you? We all thought it lovely but Y had another which passed down to all the kids so it never got used. However I think it won a 1st place in the WI competition for which it was first produced.

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll go on the Morris w/e to dance the sun up at the equinox in 2 weeks!

I’ve joined Toast Masters! Lots of fun but a terrible time of day – 7.00 a.m. I did 2 table topics – which are 1.5 minutes totally impromptu speeches. I did my first proper speech on Thursday – it went fairly well I think. I had to talk about me – the standard first topic as people don’t have trouble with that topic for 5-6 mins!

Well – I’ve had to videotape this b. show three times! The first time the microphone was turned off. I looked at the switch under the lighting room desk light and it looked as though it had a green + red square so I set it to green. In fact it was black with miniscule word OFF and red is on.

They had wonderful demonstrations outside including a chap with a pole-lathe. I’d never seen one before and it’s truly wonderful. There was also a chap doing potting and giving free lessons so I had a go and made a passable pot and he said I had a natural aptitude which was nice!

I did ask for a drawing of your bedroom and where your bed is – after my friend moved her bed and moved the TV she’s a new woman – and I’ve moved mine into the only corner that doesn’t have water under it, only to find the magnetic rays of the TV went through 2 walls into my bed – even when off – until we switched it off at the wall – the result is super – and X is better I’m sure. I hope his voice is getting stronger – so he suffered having his bed up against the wardrobe so he has to climb on the bed if he wants to get anything out!

I’ve taken up beading at the church’s craft classes – I do crochet wire necklaces so the beads are a bit higgledy-piggledy, and I expect I shall take up painting again soon.

He’s had to give up riding his bike, hiking, rock climbing, any sports he was doing etc. etc. … so now he is taking up canoeing and has had a try of archery – he shot an arrow down the ventilation shaft! oops. I’m not sure how far it was from the target!

I visit a lady for hospice, and go to Bridge at the 1820 Settlers Club on Monday morning. I am on the list to join the art there too. I felt I needed some non-church contacts – after all the people in Church are already born again! I quite enjoy it 10-16 people moving around, not set partners. I still hope God is going to use me in some kind of counselling ministry so I am tying to prepare for that.

I’ve got some canvas, brushes and paint but find it diffcult somehow to start. Oh well, maybe later. Work can get pretty tiring, so I’m not really in painting mode when I get home, and weekends can be quite busy sometimes, but they’re more likely.

The beetroots and the lettuces are growing fine in my vegetable plot of 2 x 2 metres. It is fun at present to chase the snails… I know all their hiding places.

chasing snails

 

Still taking some drawing lessons. Yesterday, we worked on hands. I must sometime find the ‘guts’ to take a canvas and let my right side of the brain work miracles! Is it possible at my age?!!!

 

Adult learning

At last I have found a good class to go to. My  85 yr old tutor finally gave up, so this was a relief, as none of us liked to stop going. The teacher I now have is full of enthusiasm and telling us to try every type of medium and painting with cloth, sticks, fingers etc., gouache, that I’d never tried before. Quite a change from my ‘primp-sy’ watercolours.

I have not been to many dancing classes very much at all this year. It has been too much what with everything else. I think I have been rather stressed. The last class for the year should be tomorrow night, so I will go to that, and give myself the idea that this is what I am to do next year. I do enjoy going really, and it is nice to see the others who go, so I must make the effort.

I’ve managed to find time to do a wild flower course one evening a week, mainly because a friend wanted to do it and I went to keep her company. Most of it was far too technical for me (memories of school biology lessons flooded back!) but I enjoyed seeing all the slides the lecturer showed us, and the field trips were good. One beautiful summer’s evening, we went to see a preserved wild flower meadow. After about an hour of being told all the Latin names of everything we were seeing, my brain just seized up! So while all these really enthusiastic botanists were crawling around on their hands and knees examining every last petal and leaf, I just sat and admired the wonderful views.

day-dreamer

Hobbies

My bobbin lace making has come along a bit… I have made very little though. I had a vision of making everyone a lace edging for a handkerchief and giving them away at Christmas. Then it got to bookmarks. So far I have made about 1/3rd of a very thin lace edging for a handkerchief. I shall start earlier next year.

I found one shop with one kind of Jap. paper, white with lots of strands in it, it cost the same as going over the Opera House, so I gave away the Opera House! I walked all round the outside, and don’t really go for looking over places anyway.

I have started back the painting lessons, trying to be a bit more creative, a bubble inside which stands a horse and his cavalier, taken from a photo of a horse-show from my neighbour’s son. I am painting two, at the same time, but the reproduction of exactitude is lacking. We’ll see the ending whole, not doubt excellent. [Modesty!]

I’ve never spent that much on material but as it was 60 inches wide I didn’t need much. Having cut it as the Vogue pattern suggested – making the waist size 18 and the all below size 16 – I got in a panic when I thought I couldn’t get in it – but once pressed all was well – tho’ sitting has to be thought about!

Sitting has to be thought about

I’ve finished my set of chessmen, knights and all! (One of the dark ones still looks remarkably like a rampant boar, but that wood splinters easily, and I decided against trying to make it more equine.) I don’t think any two of the pawns exactly match and the white king is about a quarter of an inch taller than the dark one, and one of the white bishops almost as tall as the queen – but who wants standardisation?

One of the things I saw at the Creativity Workshop was painting with a balloon. Have you ever tried it?

My knitting machine has a half-finished sleeve dangling sadly from it, where it has been for about three months. However I do hope to do something about that soon.

‘Lather’s Lung’ sounds horrid. I shall be much more careful with my mask in future!