Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pampered Pet

When the sun went down on Christmas Eve it got a little cool and the grass had that damp feeling. So what's a pampered pet meant to do when they don't want to go inside and miss all the action??? They find a nice warm pile of used Christmas wrapping and snuggle in hehehe.

Everything is slowly getting back to normal around here. I went back to gym yesterday. I also did a little artwork. I'm still a bit slow getting back in the studio for long periods of time. I seem to have that problem when I have some time off. Its hard to get back into the rhythm of things but it will come. The weather is heating up again and that doesn't help. It gets too hot in the studio so I tend to hide inside with the air conditioner on. I will just take it nice and slow till the new year rolls in and then I will knuckle down to some serious creativity.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Festive Season

Happy festive season to all of you. Thank you so much for your ongoing support and encouragement. Your support has helped me to stretch my wings, flap them a bit and fly ...

Being of European decent we keep the tradition alive by celebrating on Christmas Eve. We started as just a small migrant family missing home. Mum put real candles on the tree our first Christmas here. Its what we did at home. The extreme heat made the candles bend and the tree went up in flames. Dad had to throw the whole tree out of the door. Many of our beloved decorations were broken. I cried. Over the years we modified our traditions to suit the climate and our small family grew. In the last few years the preparations were handed to me. Mum is getting older and Dad is no longer with us so its not fair for the responsibility of the family Christmas to be on Mum's shoulders. As things go along they change and move forward. Some things stay the same and some things change. We have thrown open the doors to not just family but friends as well. We now have open house every year on Christmas Eve. Not just a small migrant family gathering any longer. Its turned into a garden party. This year we are having 18 for dinner. Drop by if you are in the neighbourhood. There's plenty to go around.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Why is it?

Why is it that we set ourselves huge tasks for Christmas. All those things you never got around to before somehow end up on the Christmas list. Why is that? Will the world stop turning if they're not done? Will Christmas stop if they're not done? Will any body care ... I mean really care??? My garden has been neglected as I have spent more time on my artwork. Fair enough. But couldn't I just have weeded the garden and given it a make over some other time. No, I seem to leave these jobs for Christmas. Why? Maybe because I know they won't get done at any other time hehehe. To make matters worse I took a spontaneous offer to go away for the weekend. Just like that I dropped everything and went away and now I have to cram, really cram, to make it look like I got everything done for Christmas. I did enjoyed the weekend away. Some much needed me time with some major girls talk was just what was needed. Its nearly 10pm. I spent a 14 hour day gardening and now I still need to put clean linen on the bed before I can fall into a coma. Is the list any shorter yet??? My studio is calling me ...

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Laura has fish on her blog that I always feed. I had to have something too. I decided on turtles. So feel free to feed them :). They are a bit slow but all three of them will appear after a while.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Garden Party

I do love Christmas with family and friends coming for our annual garden party but it seriously cuts into my art time hehehe. I'm itching to continue with the next portrait. One good studio session would finish it I reckon. Not yet. Still have a long list of things to accomplish, sigh. I can't just do art. I do need to do those ordinary everyday things too. They keep me grounded. I would just fly off into the zone and lose touch with reality if I didn't have those ordinary everyday things to keep my feet planted firmly on the ground. Yep that's what I have to remind myself as I pull yet another weed or dust places that never see a duster. It will be worth it. Good food, family and friends with the occasional glass of wine or maybe apple cider. Yep, the art can wait.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Finished My Selfy

My first portrait is finished. There's a lot that could be better but I will improve with more practice. I learnt a lot! I also know my concept works. I can't wait to start the next one and put in practice what I learnt from this one. With the holiday celebrations looming I'm not sure how much studio time I can fit in. My list is so long I really shouldn't be in the studio at all :(

the painting

the photograph

Monday, December 7, 2009

Artists Market

Phew what a long and tiring weekend. I had to take today off and just mooch around the house and recover. I met some lovely people. Both artists and the public alike. Made some new buddies and had loads of exposure. The weather was glorious and so many people attended the market. It was very busy. My stall backed onto the Port River and every now and then I'd look out for the dolphins. There were beautiful jellyfish that were delightful to watch. Their graceful movement mesmerised me at times. I would not like to be stung by one though. I loved talking to people but the whole selling thing is just not my cup of tea. The decision to go with a commercial gallery to do the selling for me was the right one for me. That's not to say I won't do the market again next year. The picture below is early in the morning when I just finished setting up my (and some of Julia's) work. The sun was shining, there was music and good food and the atmosphere was just brilliant. There was that real summer holiday feeling all weekend.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Selfy - Stage 2

Its Thursday and that means art day with my friend Mignon. A bit more done to my selfy. Some washes of colour and some stamping. I'm just slowly building up the layers. Next stage will be a little detail I think.

Art at the Hart Artists Market on this weekend at Port Adelaide. On the banks of the Port River down near the old Hart Mill. Saturday and Sunday 11am till 6pm. No studio time for me this weekend.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Award Night

Granddaughter Zoe did us all proud by receiving an award for high academic achievement. Well done Zoe woohoo! Off we went to presentation evening last night to watch her receive her certificate.

On the stage receiving her award

With Mum and Dad proudly showing off her certificate

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Tentative Start

I'm sitting here with the pics uploaded, trying to get up enough courage to post them. Deep breath in ... and out ... Its just the very start even though it took me all afternoon to do. I'm on new ground here and really don't know what I'm doing. I just have these ideas and I want to give them a try.

The first pic is the original photo cropped to get rid of some of the background. Its a photo from last year and I haven't got my new glasses yet.

In the second pic I've used the cutout filter on Photoshop to get the shapes that the shadows (and wrinkles) make. This is what I'm working from in the underpainting stage.

And the third pic is my tentative scary start. The canvas is my usual size of 60.9x50.8cm (24"x20") so its rather confronting working on my face to this scale. Deep breath and click ...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Self Portrait

With all your lovely comments I thought I'd better report on my progress of 'the selfy'. Been playing grandma all weekend so I didn't have any studio time till today. As portraiture is relatively new to me its very slow going. I still want to use text and I still want to do all my layering and of course it has to be BIG. I want to put text and stamping etc in the shapes made by shadows etc and this will be like my underpainting (if that makes sense) and then I will paint a more realistic (ha hopefully) portrait on top. Well today I played around with the shapes that fit together and make me look like me. Still not entirely happy with what I've got but its getting there. I haven't started on the canvas yet. Still experimenting and playing around. I will share more with you when I have something to share. Anyway I have made a start and its so exciting and fun and scary all at once. I just love making art **insert big cheesy grin here**

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Life Happens

Phew! That's all I've got to say. Life just hit me all at once. Its just been such a busy time lately and I'm hoping its not going to get any worse as the holidays loom before me. I have the Art at the Hart Artists Market coming up next weekend so I've been busy designing business cards and working out the layout of my 3 metre x 3 metre space. Trying to work out the best way to cram in as much work as I can and it still look nice. I also had to finish off some work for the market. Below is yet another shoe painting. Its the last. I think I got them out of my system now. I am now starting to experiment with portraiture. So as not to insult any unsuspecting friends and family members I decided to try a self portrait. That way I can try out some techniques without someone waiting and looking over my shoulder to see if I have captured their likeness. Yes I'm doing a selfy and who knows I might be doing self portraits for quite some time to come. I'm totally out of my comfort zone and I'm hoping to be brave enough to show you all my progress. In saying that my progress is expected to be slow due to the holiday season and all the responsibilities that seem to connected to it. That's it for now. Got grandma duties to perform as Zoe is having a sleep over at our place. It means many cuddles but Zoe's also has control of my laptop hehehe.

Dancing Shoes
mixed media on canvas
60.9x50.8cm (24"x20")

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Opening Speech

Here's an extract from the opening speech for ‘On the Farm’ exhibition at Penny's Hill, November 15, 2009 by Leah Grace.

Welcome to Penny’s Hill Winery Complex, Red Dot Gallery and ‘On the Farm featuring Uta Mooney and Phillip Pike.

I’m Leah Grace arts and cultural development officer with Alexandrina Council and coordinator of the South Coast Regional Arts Centre at Goolwa.

May I begin by congratulating Russell Starke director of Greenhill Galleries on bringing together these two artists in what is clearly a fluid confluence of ideas, philosophies and subject matter.

On the surface it is clear how well suited these two bodies of work are but what makes this show tick and tick it does…

On the surface we have the light hearted celebration of bonhomie, chooks and kitchen paraphernalia, charmingly retro kitchen objects that speak of another time but still resonate with something that’s relevant today - what is the subtext?

Uta Mooney places no less import on the value of family, memories and domestic objects. In this body of work household objects are imbued with her own sense of family, personal history and a sense of the sacred in the every day.

Uta migrated with her family from Germany to Australia at the age of four. A trans global move of this magnitude meant that only the most precious and few of belongings could be brought to the new country. Many people would sight jewellery and more obviously valuable objects as the first choice but it is the most seemingly ordinary domestic objects that Uta values and recalls as the way points to home in whichever country she resides. Home is incredibly important to her as a migrant even at the age of four that feeling of displacement never really leaves her.

Paintings of simple poetic objects underlayed literally with text from books speak of a subtext within the work. Layers reminiscent of a lace curtain, a table cloth, a petticoat from another era have a story to tell, metaphor for a shared history and fodder for the urban archaeologist in us all.

‘Recycled table’ cloth is an image of Uta’s mother-in-law’s red checked tablecloth from her generous table. A delightful playfulness in her work shows newsprint between the checks of the cloth as she plays with the idea of recycling.

Uta is part of a lineage of South Australian women artists who elevate the every day bringing it closer to our attention and helping us to understand ourselves and our culture more clearly. She brings with her the richness of her European heritage, her life lived as a South Australian and the universality of the images before us to this beautiful body of work.

Uta attended art school as a mature aged student beginning in ceramics and glass design. In the last few years she began working in two dimension and embraced wholeheartedly the concept and practise of collage.

When asked if she would return to making three dimensional work Uta is emphatic the she has found her medium, has so much more to explore and simply “must paint”. Fortunate for the art loving public I feel, as personally I look forward to watching Uta’s creative evolution and feel she is mining a vein of gold with these works.

In conversation with Uta about her work she talked about the experience of her family’s short history in Australia and that there is not the sense of generations connected to where she now lives - no graves to visit or family objects handed down from one generation to the next which is why a solid feeling of home is incredibly important to her. The objects in her paintings are deliberately magnified to lift their status as objects of importance and affection to her.

Perhaps some of Uta’s artworks become precious family objects, sacred to her clan that will be passed from one generation to another and priceless in their storytelling of this family’s’ journey from Europe to a future in Australia replacing the objects that could not be brought on that first journey to the new country.

In closing I would like to congratulate you Uta and Phillip on this gorgeous exhibition and officially declare ‘On the Farm’ open. Thankyou.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Penny's Hill Opening

Just a few random shots from Penny's Hill Winery today. A nice little crowd braved the 40 degree heat (104 degrees F). We are into the second week of those kind of temperatures and its wearing a little thin. Relief tomorrow but by the middle of the week the temperatures are forecast to rise again. Anyway today was nice. I got a little misty eyed over the wonderful opening speech made by Leah Grace (Arts and Cultural Development Officer - Alexandrina Council & Co-ordinator of South Coast Regional Arts Centre). We stayed on after the opening and had lunch and probably a little too much wine tasting. Nice air conditioned surroundings with lovely views of the countryside baking in the searing heat. The food was divine and the wine was a lovely accompaniment.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Braved the Heat

Its been too hot to work in the studio so not much art has been done. I was getting antsy. I needed an art fix hehehe. I've been having a slight case of cabin fever creep up on me. We've had unusually hot weather. There has been no spring! Just straight into a summer heat wave. This means you close all windows and doors and pull the drapes closed and stay indoors. I have been going to gym in the mornings but that's it. So as you can see, the cabin fever is warranted. Well this morning I said "enough is enough". I stayed home from gym so I could spend a little time in the studio before it got too hot. I have one of those old water cooled coolers in the studio. I filled it with water and put it on high. I had it blowing right on me. I got in the 'zone' really quickly. Anyway 4 hours later I finished the piece I started before the heat wave. Woo! What a buzz hehehe.

The Tiled Floor
mixed media on canvas
50.8x60.9cm (20"x24")

I'm still not over the shoe thing. Think I still have one or two more in me. Wonder what that's all about. I got this off the net - SHOES : Shoes are symbols of your own personal determination to head in a particular direction. They tend to link to a wish to put a lot of effort into achieving something immediately. Well that fits!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sob Sob

Its too hot to paint :(

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Another Painting Finished

Another one done and four to go. Well that's the goal I set myself. Like most of my work these shoes are much larger than life size. They were really fun to do!

Shoe Fetish
mixed media on canvas
50.8x60.9cm (20"x24")

Friday, November 6, 2009

Very Hectic

I have been cutting back on my computer time. Its just really hectic for me at the moment. The good thing is there isn't enough time for me to eat things I shouldn't hehehe. I'm still getting ready for the Art at the Hart Artists Market. The organisers have also offered a free business workshop to help those of us who are marketing challenged to learn how to sell our work more effectively. I most definitely WILL be attending that. I have two paintings on the go at the moment. I hope to be able to show you soon. They are both about shoes of the high heeled variety. I seem to have a thing about them at the moment. Painting them not wearing them. I can't stand the discomfort of them any more hehehe. I suppose you could say I have a shoe fetish going on.

The weather is heating up and it looks like it will be too hot to work in my studio for the next four days at least :(. I will have to bring my work inside as I just can't have a break at the moment. Nor do I want to have a break at the moment. Its nearly 9pm but I think I will still do a little bit of drawing before hitting the hay.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


And someone's been sleeping in my bed and HE'S STILL THERE!

Do you think Jack looks stressed? Poor little darling all tired out from guarding me. But don't be fooled. He's ready to jump should anyone threaten me. Mmm well at least I think he is ...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Latest Work

Just fresh off the easel is another new work. I'm still on schedule. There's 5 weeks till my first art market and that means I should still be able to create 5 more pieces. That will make 10 new works for the market along with some older work in a style that I don't really do anymore.

I usually paint inanimate objects but I had this idea to paint a pair of really full lips. I then decided a vintage microphone will add to the story. My goal for next year is to practice some portraiture until I'm good enough to enter the prestigious Archibald Prize. Its the biggest art prize in Australia with the winner receiving $50,000. Check out this year's finalists here. This year's winner, Guy Maestri entered 8 years in a row before getting into the final 36 and then winning. The entries for the prize have to be delivered together with the entry form the first week of February so I'm hoping I will be good enough by February 2011. You got to have goals don't you? And you also need to try new things so for me that will be portraiture. Of course all kinds of new fears are surfacing. (What if I can't do it? Is it a waste of time? Shall I just stay with what I know? etc etc) Anyway the lips are a little practice piece. Lips are a start right? hehehe

mixed media on canvas
50.8x60.9cm (20"x24")

I got Jack to pose with the painting so you can get an idea if its size. Of course you can see my neglected weedy garden in the background. I could've found a better place for the photo hehehe.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Surprise Surprise

As you all know, I am being represented by Greenhill Galleries Adelaide. I am also on their mailing list so I am kept up to date with all the up and coming exhibitions. They hold exhibitions in the gallery and also in other venues like hotels and wineries. You can imagine my surprise when I opened this months invitations and see my work and name on an invitation. Apparently I am exhibiting in Penny's Hill winery.

Nice surprise. With the exhibition running till 9th February 2010 in a country location with a different clientèle I have hopes of some more sales. Fingers crossed.

I need to get off this time wasting computer and get into the studio. Only 5 weeks till my first art market and most of my work is tied up elsewhere so I need to be painting painting painting. All is right in my world. I can do this, I can do this.

Friday, October 23, 2009

On Thursday

As you know I spend time with my good friend Mignon Voysey on Thursdays. We spend time in my studio together as arty people like us spend way too much time alone. Its nice to have someone to share with. Mignon finally agreed to let me post a couple of her paintings and I also sneaked in a photo of her while she wasn't looking hehehe. A brand new canvas and she's just pencilling in before she starts painting. Mignon is working on a body of work that relates to a great passion of mine, food ha! And how food plays such an important part of our social activities. Hopefully Mignon will let me keep you up to date with her artwork.

as yet untitled
acrylic on canvas
60x32cm (23"x 13") approx

as yet untitled
acrylic on canvas
60.9x50.8cm (24"x20")

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Finished It

mixed media on canvas
50.8x60.9cm (20"x24")

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What a Week I've Had

What a week I've had! As you know Thursday is my art day with my friend Mignon. Last Thursday I started a new piece which is the one in the last post. I finished it in record time so on Sunday I started another piece. And guess what??? Its nearly finished. Just a little tweak here and there and some varnish and its done (picture will follow soon). That's two paintings in one week! On top of that my housework is all done. All dust bunnies have been evicted and I've been going to gym as well. The garden still needs some attention but hey, I can't do it all. Now all I need to do is stay on track and not go off the rails again. I know all the signs. I start eating too much, then I get slack and don't go to gym regularly, then my confidence drops and the creative drought begins. So you'd think by understanding my destructive cycle that I would stop it from happening but I haven't learnt how to do that yet. I have learnt however how to pull myself out of it so I guess that's a start. Its hard being a food-aholic :(

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Here It Is

Shall I Put the Kettle On?
mixed media on canvas
60.9x50.8cm (24"x20")

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bliss is a Day in the Studio

I had a great studio day today. I had a few problems with my painting early on and then suddenly things started to fall into place and I just had to keep going. I worked right through dinner. I didn't stop to cook. Bob came home and sat on a chair in the studio and we talked while I worked. We decided to get take-away which meant I could finish my painting. Too dark to take a photo of it so I can't share the new work with you yet. I haven't even thought of a title for it. Maybe I'll call it 'Shall I Put the Kettle On?' Ah all is right with my world.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Drum Roll

Yay I'm officially back at the easel!!! I am now working towards an art market that will be held on the 5th and 6th of December. Not realising that Greenhill Gallery were going to keep all my work for future sales, I am very low on stock. I only have old stuff that I have outgrown. My skills are more developed now so I don't feel I want to do an art market with only old stuff. Anyway below are two new works. One that has been sitting on my easel partly done for months and the other which I only started last Thursday. Oh its good to be back.

mixed media on canvas
50.8x60.9cm (20"x24")

mixed media on canvas
101.6x76.2cm (40"x30")

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Art Day

Alone in the studio day after day can be very isolating. You can't surround yourself with people all the time either as it tends to be distracting and not much creating gets done. Well I seem to have found a solution. I've invited my friend Mignon to come and make art in my studio with me so we can inspire each other. Yep, every Thursday is our art day where we create and talk about secret women's business hehehe. The beauty of this arrangement is that I know I can work with Mignon. We studied art at collage and uni together so spent many years sharing studio space while we studied. Today was our third session and its a lot of fun. Its great to have someone to bounce ideas off of. Our methods are so different that we get another perspective of our work. Its helping me to get back on track too. I managed to do the first layer of a new piece today and also came up with ideas to resolve another piece that's been hanging around the studio for ages.

On the deck chair front, number two is nearly finished. I just need to attach the new canvas. Two more to go. All this creativity is making me feel normal again. I was worried that I would never get back on track.

I'm working towards a two day art market that's on at The Port in the beginning of December. You always need to be working towards something so as to keep moving forward. Its time to start planning my goals for next year and perhaps set some things in motion.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day Trip into Australia's Past

Its school holidays and Zoe has been staying with us for a few days. We've hung around in the shed. Like me, Zoe seems to like this space. Correction, I was just told that Zoe loves this space. It has toys and books and a desk with stationary supplies just for her to use without having to ask. Yesterday though, we decided on a change of scenery so we headed off to Tailem Bend to visit Pioneer Village. Tailem Bend is a town about an hours drive from Adelaide and is situated on a place on the River Murray where the river bends. Hence the name. There is a little village set up there like it was in the early days of Australian history. The houses are constructed in various methods using materials which would have been on hand in those days. Some of the shops are actual old buildings which have been transported there. We spent about four hours roaming around the 12 streets and 90 buildings pretending we really lived there. Old Tailem Town which it has been named has everything from an old time cinema to a hospital, dentist and old style dance hall. I took way too many pics (317 to be exact). Thank goodness for digital cameras hehehe. Anyway I'm only sharing a few with you. My favourite house and the one I would choose to live in is the house made of cow dung. Its only one room which housed the bed, kitchen and dining areas but it has such a wonderful romantic feel that I dreamed of living there. And yes, there was room for an easel hehehe.

My mum and Zoe at the post office

the bakery

My mum and Zoe wandering down the street

the school

I still went to school with desks like this, complete with ink wells!

the general store

hurray for automatic washing machines!

my favourite house made of cow dung

the bed

the kitchen and dining room

looks like a lovely place to sit and have a cup of tea

the village even has an undertaker complete with a pine coffin

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Deck Chair #1

As I stated earlier I have some old deck chairs that have seen better days. They nearly went out with the rubbish on several occasions but I thought I would hang on to them as I had this idea to replace the canvas. Well now that I have my new studio space I thought it would be a good opportunity to get to work on them. I priced some canvas in a fabric store and it was actually cheaper to buy artist canvas from the art shop and that canvas is a lot stronger. I had a fun day in the studio yesterday. Didn't even go to gym in the morning. I went straight into the studio and had a good and messy play. My fingers got covered in paint and medium. In fact I'm still peeling medium of my hands today. Bliss, absolute bliss hehehe. I have four deck chairs altogether that will get a make over. Each one will have its own design and colours. I've decided to carry the turquoise through in each one but change the other colours. The one I'm working on now is turquoise with orange and purple so watch this space for a deck chair update.



close up

When I got up this morning I had all intention to go to gym but I just couldn't bring myself to go. I went on a photo shoot with Julia recently and we went to Belair National Park. I used to spend a lot of time up there in my younger years but haven't been there for such a long time. I promised myself I would go back and wander along one of the walking tracks. Well that's what I decided to do this morning. I asked my Mum if she felt like an adventure. She's 76 but still enjoys a good walk. So we packed up our dogs and water bottles and off we went.

Its only about a 15 minute drive from home. Once there we looked at the maps and chose our walk. There are several to choose from and they each have the estimated time it takes. We chose an hour walk which would take in the old railway dam. Of course dogs being dogs, they need to stop and sniff and pee on everything so the hour walk took us two and a half hours hehehe. It was absolutely fabulous though. The wild flowers are all out and everything is still green from the winter rains. The sound of the birds was simply delightful with the squawk from the parrots and the yodelling from the magpies. There were a few caw caw caws from the crows and that made me think of Laura. Rainbow Lorikeets were everywhere and at one point we were able to get quite close to a pair and admire their bright colours. Brilliant green and red and purple. We were even lucky enough to be laughed at by some Kookaburras. That's a true bush sound.

The air was fresh and filled with the scent of spring that just invited big deep breaths to be taken. Mum's cheeks got that healthy rosy glow to them and I knew it was doing her good physically and emotionally. The trail took us right round to the old railway dam which originally supplied the steam trains with water. The National Park Trust bought the dam and surrounding land from the railways once the steam trains stopped and it has been part of the park ever since. There were ducks and other water birds swimming on it as we passed. This was the most beautiful part of the walk with the babbling sound of Minno Creek in our ears and over grown vegetation with fallen trees and wild flowers everywhere.

In the early days when the park was established exotic trees and plants were planted. People were more interested in having parks that reminded them of home in the northern hemisphere. You still see examples of this throughout the park today. We came across a wonderful old oak tree, one of Mum's favourite trees. Some of these exotic trees are heritage listed and are protected but the rest of them are slowly being eradicated as are the non-native plants like the blackberries and lilies. They grow like weeds and smother the native vegetation which just isn't good for our fragile eco system.

Once back at the car we loaded up the tired dogs and headed home promising to take weekly walks there before the weather gets too hot and we are forced to stay indoors with the air conditioning on. It does the soul good to commune with nature. We don't do it often enough.