Friday, October 31, 2008

Timeless Elegance


The uniqueness of vintage apparel has always appealed to me, not that I actually wear anything vintage or have any vintage clothing in my wardrobe. Unless of course we take our fast paced, ever changing fashion world and consider that I have a few outfits and jeans that I still wear dating back 5 years or more that might already be considered vintage by some. Hopefully they will come back into fashion before I wear them out.

This water colour painting was inspired by my granddaughter Nicole who did a rough sketch and then asked me to do a painting for her. I get the feeling that she has also inherited the art genes and just needs some encouragement to try and paint something herself.

The timeless elegance of the vintage hats and clothing does not lend itself to our modern lifestyle, and I suppose someone dressed in a complete vintage outfit would look like they were wearing a costume on a movie set or theatre production.

A mixture of contemporary and antique dress would be an interesting combination even in our era. Then again!! maybe in 20 years or so, when I'm a doddering old lady shuffling along with my cane, the vintage line will become the fashion again and I will be reminded of my youth growing up in colonial Africa.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Party Theme


Sometimes as artists we are called upon perform unusual tasks. Recently a company threw a party to celebrate some or other event, and wanted a cowboy, come country and western theme for the party. I was given the task of doing three large murals for them. Well I thought they would be murals that they would paint over once the celebration was done.

The company agreed to supply all the material as I felt it would not be useful to me in the future. I also allowed myself a week to complete the project. Upon arrival I was rater amused to find a few large rolls of calico sheeting, numerous jars of fabric paint, lengths of timber, saw, square hammer and nails. Oh yes! and a pair of scissors and a staple gun.

I say bemused because I stood and looked at this lot and asked myself "What on earth am I supposed to do with this pile of junk" A brief discussion with the responsible person soon enlightened me and I could either walk away or rise to the challenge. I was on my own, and as always needed the money so I decided what the heck!! "Get on with the job" Bitching won't help.

So if you can Imagine this Granny with a hammer and nails constructing wooden frames, working on the floor without any fancy work benches or vices, well that's how day one was spent. Once the frames were complete and the fabric stapled to the frames I painted the fabric with a white PVA and left it overnight to stiffen to a workable canvas sheet.

As you can see the frames were somewhat taller than I am so a lot of my time was spent standing on a ladder. Though it turned out to be a fun project it had its challenges, painting on a large surface without a solid backing left little room for error and was difficult at best.

Having missed day one as a result of my construction efforts, I was also under pressure to finish all three before the big bash. With all the mad rush and pressure to complete the project I forgot to take a camera and photograph my handy work. I thought I would be able to pop in the Monday and quickly take some photos. The company maintenance staff who were conspicuous by their absence while I was struggling to construct the frames had however dismantled everything and rolled up the canvas for possible use in the future.

One of the staff members did however take a photo with her mobile and was kind enough to give me a copy which is the one above. This was also unfortunately taken prior to the completion of that particular painting as you can see by the wagon wheels which I had done in rough with a dustbin lid and painted over later. The quality of the photo is also not the greatest and also only shows a portion of the painting.

Sadly however this story does not have a happy ending, when it came time to cough up the agreed up fee the company MD Reneged and refused to pay. His excuse was that the person who commissioned me to do the job apparently did not have the necessary authority to do so.

I find this rather strange as the person concerned was appointed co-ordinator for the party project and presented management with a budget that included the cost of the material and my fee. The company is a well known large hotel but due to pending legal action I cannot name and shame them here.

Whats even more confusing is that during his party speech the MD commended the co-ordinator on her fantastic effort specially with the theme. I was invited as a guest to the party and was congratulated by all and sundry including the MD for the paintings when I was introduced as the artist.

Well there goes the Christmas bonus, but I suppose a lesson learned. On the bright side though I have been approached by other people present at the party to do a few commissioned paintings in the near future. So maybe all is not lost.