Sunday, November 29, 2009

Art Exhibition

My first art exhibition was moderately successful today. It was only one day; at Happs Winery's Annual Art & Craft Fair but the response and feedback from the punters was very positive. The many favourable comments were only backed up by one sale, but that in itself meant the venture was worthwhile. I had a great location, a long walk through gallery lined with wine bottles on one side and the other available for hanging once we removed the collection of framed photographs that are normally on display there. I was able to hang over 20 pieces along the wall.

I sold a painting called "Green Spiral" which I did a couple of years ago. It had been in storage at the Courthouse Gallery so I brought it home yesterday. Mrs Holt Press proved remarkably prophetic when she said, "I reckon that will sell for sure". Way to go Mrs HP.

I did sell a number of postcard prints of my art to a couple of different people, and one of my framed drawings at a discounted price to a fellow artist we were talking to late in the day. She, a glass artist, "Glass with Class" and her Mum, an art curator both had some useful tips and observations regarding displaying my work and useful materials I might be able to use.

The "moderate success" assessment is not based on sales only but also on the consistent praise and admiration offered by people coming through and the enquiries by a couple of people wanting my contact details. You can tell sometimes whether someone is genuinely interested and a I won't be surprised if I end up selling one or two more pieces to people who saw them today.

Art of course is highly subjective and one man's masterpiece is another man's rubbish. The couple who eventually bought Green Spiral asked their little boy if he liked it? "No" was his unequivocal reply! I was impressed that they came back later and bought it anyway.

Certain pieces attracted a lot more attention than others, none more so than a piece called "Moments in Time" (the painting that won first prize at the Busselton Show recently) featuring 55 of the watches that I have been busy collecting over recent months. It was easily the most popular exhibit and drew multiple comments but not everyone was impressed however! One lady who waxed lyrical about it went and found her husband and brought him in to look at it. He made no comment until after a minute of his wife's praises turned around and looking behind him said loudly "Nice table" in reference to the beautiful Jarrah table I was sitting at! End of discussion!

Another lady, noticeably pregnant, came back a second time, to show her husband a piece I call "49 Squares" but Mrs HP calls "The Tablecloth". He took one look and gave a short sharp judgement, "No". When pressed by Mum-to-be he repeated his assessment, "No" "No".
Elaborating he added, "It's wrong for us". Curious by this time I gently enquired what he didn't like about it. "Too symmetrical". Fair enough. I appreciate a man who knows his mind and can make a decision!

Well known local artist Jenny Taylor came through and was very impressed. In fact she said "If I still had my shop in Fig Tree Lane I'd be getting some of your work in there for sure"!

The extra bonus at the end of the day came when Jackie, the winery owner, invited me to leave my paintings hanging in the gallery. She couldn't promise how long they'd be able to stay there but said she'd like to keep them on display and for sale on a commission basis. That is a great outcome for me. Happs is one of the most beautiful, and popular, wineries in the Capes area and considerably more people will be able to see my work there than they do in their current location, our living room walls!

Having thrown the exhibition together in a couple of hours last night and improvising titles tags and prices this morning I need to do a bit of work to smarten up the display. After that, hopefully the "product" will do the rest.

Mrs HP took Sport Boy to Bunbury to play tennis this morning but once they got home she came out to join me at the winery. The plan had been for her to help me pack up at the end of the day but the change of circumstances made that a much simpler task than setting up had been.

Past Present & Future

9 hours in the cab Friday night.
6 hours sleep.
2 hours of garage saling.
2 hours of setting up a display at Happ's Art & Craft Market.
10 hours in the cab Saturday night.

That brings us up to the present time.

3 hours sleep.
6 hours at the Art market tomorrow (Sunday) hoping to sell some paintings .

Friday, November 27, 2009

RIP Polly

I heard some bad news yesterday. They're not going to make Polly Waffles any more!

Let's take a moment to silently give thanks for the Polly Waffle and reflect on the many good times we had together.

Just as I was recovering from my trip to NZ I was called upon to do a taxi shift last night. It's school leavers week and Busselton has been inundated with former school students intent on partying. It was a long night and by 2.00am I was wrecked, unable to drive safely due to tiredness so I excused myself and came home.
As my only form of employment currently I am grateful the taxi season is hotting up. I've got shifts on Sat and Sun and next week the boss is on holiday and asked if I wanted to work his shifts while he's away. Yes please. That will help to pay the mortgage.

Meanwhile I sent an application for a job today and there's another one advertised in this week's local paper that I will go for as well. Hopefully I'll get something soon.

Spike is away at school leavers with a bunch of friends from school at Denmark, in the company of one of his teachers so it should be a fairly sensible affair and not fuelled by alcohol and lust.

Sport Boy is an only child this week but as usual is busy: swimming laps after school, playing table tennis last night, squash and tennis on the weekend.

Mrs Holt Press and I have just gotten home from home group at Stu and Deb's.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Home at last after a very long night.
4 1/2 hours flying time, minus three hour time difference followed by 2 1/2 hour drive. I was too tired to make it all the way so pulled up to sleep at the weird Bull sculpture just before Bunbury.
Thought I was OK to go when I woke up but only made it to the other side of Bunbury before I realised I wasn't and pulled over again.
Finally got home about 6.00am.
I stayed up long enough to see Sport Boy and Mrs Holt Press when they got up and to check the job ads in the local paper.
I need a job, the money won't last.

Monday, November 23, 2009


It's a long story but I didn't make it home last night, only managed to get half way. I'm in Sydney, flying to Perth tonight (hopefully!!) I slept at Christchurch airport until check-in at 4.ooam. Departed NZ 6.30, arrived Sydney 8.30. Depart again at 8.05 tonight.

Have spent the day wandering around Sydney somewhat aimlessly. Until I spotted Spurs playing Wigan on Foxtel at a pub at lunchtime. Managed to nurse my lemon squash all the way through a stunning game, a 9-1 thumping by Tottenham with Jermain Defoe scoring a lazy 5 goals!! Awesome. I've been following Spurs since 1973 and it's the best performance I've ever seen!

In my wanderings I did manage to get one of the elusive crochet hooks Mrs Holt Press has been looking for, a 3.5mm, from a shop modestly calling itself "Australia's Largest Needlecraft Store".
Now I have a second mission, to find some special yarn she needs. Got to to do something to get back in the good books after not making it home on scedule.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Sport Boy

Sorry I'm not there mate but I hope you have had a great day.
I love you.

PS. I'm in Christchurch for the night.
Flying back to Australia tomorrow night.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nearing the End

Another beautiful day in New Zealand awaits. The weather has been fantastic all week, Vicki said they didn't have a single day like this last time they were here, this time we haven't had a day not like this.
We camped the night at Settle Campground on the Motueka River, a great little spot with terrific hosts. We've struck up a friendship with a couple of English travellers, Steve and Lisa and had a lot of laughs and good conversation. We may even see them in WA in a couple of months time.

Paul and I fished for a couple of hours last night without success even though we could see a few trout swimming around where we were, they were not interested in anything we had to offer, not even Paul with his year's of experience could entice a hit.

I have one more day of fishing/hiking/camping today.
Tonight we'll stay in Nelson and on Saturday morning I take a bus to Blenheim then the train back to Christchurch. I'll spend the night there and on Sunday afternoon fly back home to Australia.
The daily bus and train both arrive after my flight time so I have to go back a day earlier to Christchurch but I'm looking forward to having a bit of time to look around the city on Sunday.

Paul and Vicki are wonderful company and we're all having a great time. I've only managed to do a couple of drawings since I've been away but the long (daylight saving assisted) evenings mean we don't usually finish dinner and the washing up until after 10pm.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Zealand

Wow, New Zealand is a beautiful place! Every bend and corner reveals another stunning view of beautiful scenery, endless rivers, snow-capped mountains, rolling green hills and pastures, craggy peaks, pine forests, wide river valleys, bays, tunnels, winding narrow roads snaking up and down mountain passes, bridges and even glimpses of the north island across the strait. It is a land of endless beauty, green and well watered. It is also cold admittedly, but not all the time. We've had warm sunny days followed by chilly breezy nights. Last night is the first time it has rained and my tent did not fully withstand the precipitation but the two sleeping mats kept me above the water line.

We are travelling about in a brightly painted camper van and have reached a happy compromise: Paul navigates and I drive which makes everyone way less nervous. His first encounter with a round-a-bout coming out of Christchurch airport had all the makings of a T-bone crash, by luck or miracle we escaped unscathed. My familiarity with driving on the left hand side from the right side of the vehicle has proved a winning formula.

We've stopped at some lovely campgrounds and are thoroughly enjoying our joint adventure. Vicki is well accustomed to Paul's fly-fishing obsession and smiles good-naturedly each time he requests we pull over so he can check out the river and look for the elusive trout he is chasing.
A few unsuccessful forays were quickly forgotten yesterday when he caught 5 fish on the Polorus River near Canvastown. I told Vicki, "I can see Paul from here and he is radiating happiness".
He is the very incarnation of excitement, joy, enthusiasm and gratitude. Never was a man more in his element than Paul up to his knees in his waders casting flies into the stunningly clear and icy waters of a NZ river and landing an 18 inch trout. Not for eating but just for the challenge and the sport. Relieved of the hook they are affectionately farewelled back into the stream, hopefully wiser and more wary fish.

Today Vicki and I dropped him off back at the Polorus and drove over to Nelson, a big town on the coast at the northern end of the south island. We stocked up on supplies and looked for shoes for Paul at op shops as NZ customs had confiscated his fishing shoes to prevent the potential spread of "snot algae" and he's been wearing his sneakers in the river.

Like everywhere else I've seen so far, Nelson is a lovely looking town perched above the bay.

We're about to set off back to pick up the fisherman and camp for the night at Pinedale campsite with mine-host, 12 year old James who offered to take us on a glow worm tour.

I can see why Paul has been to New Zealand 6 times, it truly is an unspoiled paradise. I'll be back.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Sunday Night

Friday night: Busy in the cab, business has picked up a little with the warmer weather coming.
Pretty handy considering my employment status.
I'm doing a couple of days bottling at a winery tomorrow and Tuesday.

Saturday: Beach mission meeting at Baldivis. Went very well. Several of us then went and had fish and chips for tea on the beachfront at Rockingham. Michael encouraged me to seriously think about starting my own business, something I have been contemplating. He says working for yourself is the greatest feeling.

Sunday: Sport Boy and Mrs Holt Press went to tennis in Australind, I stayed home and did a few jobs around the house, mainly to do with putting up picture rails and hooks to accommodate the burgeoning art stocks and framed photos I've brought home from the office.
I also put a few badges on ebay for sale, some Tassie badges and three fire brigade badges which are pretty collectable, one has received a bid already.

Over the last few days of last week I set about the serious task of packing up all the stuff in my office at the school! Anyone who's ever seen it will know just how big a job that is. There were well over a 100 aeroplanes, helicopters and various flying craft hanging from the ceiling for a start.
I am feeling better and more positive about finishing as a school chaplain, I'm more relaxed, less stressed and feel like a weight has been lifted off me. All good signs I think.

Spurs won last night, beating Sunderland 2-0, a welcome return to form after last week's drubbing by Arsenal!

Only 6 days until I go to New Zealand! Cool az bro!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Change of Scene

The world of post-chaplaincy employment has started, sort of.
I did my first day as a casual worker at a vineyard today, "thinning vines".
Cab Sav grapevines no less.
It wasn't that hard once I got the hang of which bits to break off and which bits to leave.
The 6.30 start in Margaret River was challenging.
The sore back is an unwelcome side effect.
The stories of fat Tiger snakes lurking near the dam at the end of the rows were unnerving!
It is only temporary, something to bring some money in before I go to New Zealand on the 14th.
Not that it was very well paid! Contract piece work, 30c a vine and I didn't do that many!
It was good to get out and do something in the fresh air and may even constitute some sort of "exercise" which may in turn have some effect on my stomach!

The "serious" job hunting will begin when I get back from NZ.

BTW: One of my paintings won first prize in the mixed media section at the Busselton Show on the weekend.
Marcus: "Award Winning Artist"! :)

Spike's TEE exams start tomorrow, he's a little stressed.