Sunday, August 31, 2008

My week in pictures 31/8/08

Lots happening in the NicQuiltz world this week.  Check out these awesome clouds I snapped on the way out of the house one morning.

My nephew Cooper had his 4th birthday, so we had a family celebration Friday night...

I headed down to Nowra yesterday for the opening of the Meroogal Women's Art Prize - I was thrilled to have a piece in this prestigious local exhibition for the first time.

There was lots of client quilting too...

DSCF2104 by you.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ornamental Cabbage - August Virtual Sketch Date

Ornamental Cabbage, originally uploaded by nicquiltz.

I decided to join the fun on the Virtual Sketch Date blog after seeing some of the fabulous efforts from previous months. I began with a watercolour wash in soft grey blues for the ornamental cabbage, which was later torn up and collaged onto a soft watercolour background. Then I began to draw back into the collage with black and white charcoal pencils to achieve the tones and textures of the cabbage leaves. Some linear components were added to the background with coloured ink.

It was a fun exercise - I think I'll be back for another virtual sketch date next month.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Self Portrait, acrylic polymer paint on pattern board

I am captivated by portraiture lately, and self-portraits in particular are floating my boat right now.  It is a really fascinating process of analysis and introspection, and can provide amazing insight for the artist & the viewer alike as we tussle with the difference between what we see, what we want to see and what's going on behind the eyes.  

What do you think of this one I painted today?  I'll be interested to hear from those who know me (in real life) whether they think it's a decent likeness - the perception of others can be so different from how we see ourselves. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Life is short...

Pears #2 - Ink Pen & Wash

It is odd that I was only thinking this week about my time at my old job.  This morning I got a call from my distraught sister to say that my former boss, Michael Whetton, had passed away last night a few short weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.  We are very sad - this man gave all three of us (my dad, my sis & I) positions in his company, which in one way or another changed the course of each of our lives.  

My Dad began a new career with Freemans at the age of 49, a difficult thing to do in this society which values youth over wisdom.

I was offered a job at Freemans the following year, bringing me and my family back to Wollongong after nine years in Tamworth.  Within a short time I was Admin Manager and had many opportunities that wouldn't otherwise have come my way.  It is 5 years now since Michael sold his business and I left Freemans, but I stayed in touch through my family and occasional chance meetings.

In 1998 when Wollongong suffered from terrible storm damage and the insurance assessment business was under intense pressure, I asked my 17yo sister to come in and help out during the crisis.  Sarah slotted in like she was born to it, and within a year or so became indispensable as Michael's secretary/personal assistant/right hand.  Sar stayed in touch with Michael and continued to do his ironing each week (she likes to iron - bizarre) until 3 weeks ago.

Tonight (admittedly aided by a glass of red wine) my mind keeps going fondly back to those mornings in the office when I'd start early & bring the kids to work with me for an hour before school.  Michael delighted in ruining Adam's teacher's day by filling the 5yo boy with chocolate biscuits so he began the day on a sugar high :-)  

So tonight I'm saddened by the loss of this man, and reminded that life is short and fleeting - we must grab it with both hands and wring every precious morsel from each moment.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Making Connections

Pears #1 - Pen & Ink Wash

Tonight I went to a committee meeting for the gallery I'm involved with, followed by dinner with my fellow committee members. I happened to mention that my son is about to start work experience at a local theatre and is interested in film-making.  I found out very quickly that one of my associates teaches digital media and another works for a film production company, and gained lots of insight and recommendations to pass on to Adam, as well as offers of work experience and mentoring opportunities.

It's amazing the connections you never expect to make.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A different perspective

Today is my Dad's birthday - we are having dinner with the family tonight at a local restaurant. I tend to talk about my Mum more than my Dad, probably because we spend more time together these days. But for several years Dad & I (and Sarah too) worked together at the same company. One of the things I enjoyed most about my time there was spending time with Dad in a non-family environment - you really have no choice but to have a grown-up relationship when you work together.

Dad and I don't always see eye to eye, in fact I think he often gets a kick out of disagreeing with me just for the lively discussion which inevitably follows. But I know I can rely on him to put things into perspective when it matters, and to help me see things from a different point of view.

Happy birthday Dad - I love you lots, even if I don't always show it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Winter Moon

This is the view from my front porch - early one chilly morning last month as I stood shivering in my pyjamas while I waited for the dogs.  I could see the pale winter moon through the bare branches as it set behind Mt Kembla, and the air was crisp and sharp as ice crystals.  The scene was so evocative of winter for me that I dashed inside & grabbed my camera.  

It was a pretty ordinary photograph (I was only just awake) but it inspired me to do this water colour as well as my winter image for my latest contemporary techniques series.  You just never know where or when inspiration will strike.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Unanticipated Joy

One of my favourite things about teaching is the absolute pleasure I get from seeing my students take my design concept, add their own life experience and personal aesthetic, and come up with a quilt that is truly their own.

Strata class work by Trish Copeland

Even though my classes are mostly technique-driven, students have the opportunity to bring something of themselves to the work.  It is fabulous to see them produce work which clearly expresses their own vision and taste.

Strata class work by Joan Murphy

Before I began teaching, I would never have guessed what joy it would bring me. 

Saturday, August 09, 2008

My week in pictures

Well, it's been another busy week in the NicQuiltz world.  I thought I'd give you a little photo essay of some highlights...

These are some of the books I used in my research presentation for Cultural Productions (aka Art History) class - some heavy reading there, both literally and figuratively speaking.

I did plenty of hours at the quilting machine, getting one rather large custom job off the waiting list.

I drove past this park several times this week on various errands, and have been enchanted by the romantic sight of the lights strung above the big top (sorry about the bad pic, I didn't have the tripod with me to take a decent low-light shot).

In better photography news, I had a portrait shown in the Wollongong City Gallery Portrait Prize - my first piece shown in a 'proper' gallery.

And lastly, some eye-candy of the stationery variety - I treated myself to this gorgeous diary from Kikki K today, plus a beautiful Lamy pen.  New lovely stationery is one of the truly Good Things in life.

There was plenty more including classes taught, excursions missed, sick children, sick me, school musicals and klutzy accidents - but you don't need to know about all that.  How was your week?