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.