Friday, 4 April 2014

Training Mural Artists in Nelson

 I was invited to to teach some Nelson artists the many and various methods of  painting large scale in public places.
Funding was found for me, a wall and a design and off I went on the long drive down the North
Island in my mobile mural studio, like an Art Gypsy, to the Inter Island ferries at Wellington and then 
'Baby let me take you on a Sea Cruise' to Picton at the top of the South Island.
Over the bush clad hills along Queen Charlotte Sound and on into the lovely small city of Nelson.
The sometimes controversial and brilliant portrait artist Nikki Romney was the instigator of this project
and we started at 5.30 the next morning, a Friday, screening up Nikki's design with the overhead projector, in the dark. There and then the scale and sizes of the design elements were fine tuned and painting began.
Acrylic paints were new to Nikki, who works in oils primarily.
The mural tutorial project was widely advertised and other artists wandered in to help over the weekend;
there were eight of us on the Sunday, the place was packed, standing room only, by Monday we were down to a tight and efficient team of four artists, myself, Nikki, Betty Salter and Karin Fruehauf and each of us with our own style and areas of the mural to work on. It was fun and I made three new friends.
My Son and grandson live in Nelson and I stayed with them which was lovely and I also took there one of my antique table top etching presses for the Nelson print maker Esther Remnant to try out and it worked perfectly and she bought it.
Altogether a very busy time, especially in the lead up to it all, planning, booking, fine tuning Esther's press,
packing etc. I gave them four days on the mural and left behind three new mural artists and one mural being finished off.
On the way home I had the opportunity to visit the talented mural artist Janet Collenette in Palmerston North with whom I had been communicating by email for a year or so. Mural painting can be a lonely job and it was great to meet so many other like minded people in one week.
I'm still buzzing from it all. Good times...

 Nikki, Betty and Karin

 The mural on my last day in sunny Nelson

' Temptation' by Nikki Romney, Johnny Mulvay, Betty Salter and Karin Fruehauf almost finished, a photo sent to me a week after my return home.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Table Top Etching Press For Sale

On a recent trip to Nelson in the South Island of New Zealand, what we kiwis call the Mainland, I took this table top etching press to Esther, pictured above, who was interested in buying one if it printed her beautiful lino cuts OK.
I was down there to give a mural painting tutorial to a few Nelson artists and share all my knowledge and tips and tricks of painting large scale on exterior walls and so for Esther there was no freight charge, the press went into the back of the wagon along with all the mural painting paraphenalia and she was able to spend a day with it at no obligation to buy and test its efficiency in printing.
I just knew she would love it and buy it and she did and I have a new friend.
Her prints are awesome and she told me the best thrill for her was the actual carving of the lino.
You can see her work at    Enjoy...

Monday, 10 March 2014

Anatomy; Drawing Feet

Drawing feet is not easy. There's the ankle and it's complicated bones and then the phalanges and then there's toes and toe nails. And there is usually two of them in all sorts of weird angles and situations.
Tricky stuff, drawing feet. Best, I reckon, to do thorough research so one is up to speed on what is what and how it all comes together.
And, you know, feet are not always a foot long. True. I put this to the test just recently and photographic proof was provided as seen above in a carefully prepared scientific analysis of foot sizes.
Luckily for me, I live in enlightened times, wonderful for an artist-= did you know when Michelangelo and Da Vinci did their foot size comparisons on corpses and that they risked their lives doing it?
True. Brave men, both of them, carving up stiffs and making drawings that advanced medical science flying in the face of the almighty Catholic Church and it's particular PC dogma of the time.
Medical science is sorted on the foot questions now and it's only my individual quest to be a better portrait artist that drives me to utilize the nearest handy grandson to help in my search for knowledge.
A word to the wise; if you are going to try this yourself be real careful not to tickle your volunteers.
The little buggers wriggle like wriggly things and squeak and squawk and can be an interruption to the required concentration on the task at hand.

Christ and the Child

That'll be Christ over there on the right. It's a rectory painting about 180 years old that was given to me by a
friend who lives in my small town. She had no room for it and I am like an artist with a studio and all so why shouldn't it live here? Yes, I said. why not?
That's me in the middle of the picture and on the left is this wonderful exercise weight my son Sam lent me on his last visit to me. It's called a grandson and it is not just any ordinary exercise weight, no, this little monkey has this built in wriggle and squeak which makes my time at the gym so much fun.
Happy days.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Table Top Etching Press For Sale

This press is made from a 1908 design antique, has a press bed 530 x 750 mm (about 21 x 30 inches) and you can have it in your studio for a mere fraction of a King's ransom. Are you lucky or what?
Go on- choose the lucky option... or what is kinda vacuous, not exciting at all I reckon but, of course, costs naught.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Puppy Painting

This puppy was painted in a shoe store in a large Auckland Mall and as soon as it was done a second, larger puppy was painted in another shoe store 100 metres away in the same Mall.
A really busy week lost in the close examination of puppy fur and earth colours.

 The second puppy. ..


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Pop Art Mural

Another weekend spent in the office's of Yellow painting large Pop Art onto a wall.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Pop Art Murals

Number four in a series of murals decorating the sales headquarters of Yellow Pages. On Friday after work this was a huge white board painted wall and this is what it looked like at midnight on the Sunday.
Another action packed weekend for two fisted painters!!!  I had to again send out a call to my son Eli to help out on this, the most complicated of the mural-in-a-weekend series, and he came in on the Saturday and again on the Sunday. When Eli was a young lad he had his own Graphic Superhero identity: WizWolf.
So this was WizWolf and Johnny to the rescue!! Stand back folks!! Two Fisted Painters are Go!!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Pop Art Mural 3

Number three mural for Yellow Pages. I do them over weekends so as not to disturb the staff but this one took from Friday morning till Monday night because the wall was bright yellow and covered in fixed designer shelving which had to be removed and the surface made good and repainted white before work on the mural could begin. A real workup for one guy but fun too. It's nice to be working in a warm quiet office building on weekend days and nights while outside it's Winter in the busy city.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Pop Art Murals

 Here's a couple of murals I enjoyed doing. An average sort of corporation, working hard for their share of the market place have replaced all the posters of teamwork and mission statements that all seem to have that somewhat oily politically correct edge and had me put up giant, colourful pop art representations of happy customers to brighten up the staff's environment. Pictures of happy customers. And isn't that the whole point?

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Forest Mural

 This mural is 22 metres long and is painted on 18 panels screwed to a suburban fence in Mount Roskill, Auckland. It is removable, like a circus tent. It is unusual in that it contains some species of small, parasitic creeper plant life and several grass species never before seen. I made them up, playing God just a wee bit. Eat your heart out Darwin...


Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Forest Mural Comes Home

 Winter is upon us and it is impractical to drive up to Mount Roskill and chance the weather painting the mural on site. It's all designed and undercoated and on the advice of my son Eli I packed up the mural panels, most of them, and got out of Dodge and raced back to my cosy studio.

 In the studio at home in Waihi there is a pot belly stove and good lighting and the weather does not matter.
The mural panels are being screwed to the wall, two or three at a time, and finished off.

I have a fortnight to finish and deliver it, screw it back in place and apply the final touch ups.
It's a tight schedule and a worthy challenge for which I hope I shall not be found wanting. Fingers crossed...

 Painting the tree ferns was scary but one step at a time and they came to life, much to my relief
Tomorrow it's back to tree trunks and forest floor and all the debris and shady plants that live there and those things that every artist lives for: light and shade.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Auckland Forest Mural Begins

 This mural is in Mount Roskill at the end of Dominion Road in a State Housing area; quarter acre sections, solidly built 50's houses, shed at the back. Sue's house also has a brick garage, an aviary and bee hives and vege garden. And soon a forest mural..

 We decided to reclad the fence to make it smooth and give the advantage of a mural that can be unscrewed and taken away in 18 panels. My son Eli helped me reclad the fence and seal the mural panels in one long day.

 Day two Eli and I refixed some of the stainless steel screws holding the panels on where some of them were counter sunk too shallow or too deep then drew up the outlines of the big trees and painted them in in a block orange colour, the best undercoat for tree trunks

 Now we have a few days rain and back to the forest mural next Tuesday when the rain radar shows a clearish day or two coming. Ah the great outdoors, at the mercy of the weather.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Dog Painting

 The dog finished before distressing. I attacked it with sandpaper and scrapers which was fun. This is a brand and had to be done just so and in a tight time frame. It was great to be back on a building site with all the tradesmen and their cheerful energy and also great to have a visit to Wellington where I grew up and where this is located in the heart of the city.

 Day one. Drawing up the puppy 
Below, the finished puppy, distressed and aged and ready to sell shoes and finished a day ahead of schedule..Aren't we good wee doggies?

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

1925 Grocery Mural

This mural I have been working on sporadically for ten months now.
 I have had mixed feelings about this mural but am enjoying it now and of course I have learned a lot doing it. It's been like art school in a way. It still needs a couple of days work to finish it and this is what it looked like when I took off to Wellington for a week to paint a giant puppy in a Hush Puppies shoe store there. Commercial art; shopfitting decoration, and now it is back to public art again.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

American Etching Press Sale

This little beauty went to America to a print-maker in Indiana and I learned all about international air freight.
The press took 10 days to arrive at Julie's door in Indiana; 3 of those days it spent at Auckland airport having some red tape sorted and waiting for a suitable plane then over the mighty Pacific Ocean she went.
Another 2 days she spent at LAX sorting some more red tape and them off on the final leg to Indiana.
As it is a hand-made converted antique it did not merit any duties or fees.
The freight charge was a handsome figure as Julie did not want to bother with reassembling a partially dis-assembled press. Partially disassembled in two small crates would have saved her $400.

I used a specialist logistics company called Pack and Send and they did a marvelous job, made everything easy and also I took to them a larger version of this model of etching press partially disassembled to be weighed and measured and got quotes for freight charges to Canada, the US, Great Britain and Europe for future reference.
Air freight for table top presses is no problem, larger, free standing presses will have to travel by sea because of their greater weight but that's another story..

Sending this press to America involved many people, all very helpful and I got to chat on the phone and by email with people working in two New Zealand Government Departments: the Ministry of Culture and Heritage because of the antique provenance of the press, NZ Customs (of course) and a charming DHL employee working out of LAX. I felt that I and my American friend Julie were looked after well and that we live in a nice world. Now I look forward to seeing a photo of  the press set up in Julies new Indiana print studio.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Mobile Mural Studio

Spring is here at last and the 1925 Grocery mural is being painted again after much time off due to inclement weather. The focus now is on stocking the two display windows. Still got all the shadows to do in the interior of the store. This particular mural is a nightmare of detail and seems to be a hundred or so paintings all arranged to make a whole and the work is getting tedious except the close study of Edwardian and 1920's advertizing styles and colours is interesting. Another interesting thing is the local people who stop for a chat as they are walking or driving by.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Cat and Dog Painting

 A memorial to my nemisis and favourite sparring partner, Clyde the Siamese cat (born in the mists of time, died 2012) is painted on the 1925 Grocery mural.. Sally's little fluff-ball of a dog has every right to look slightly perturbed.  Clyde was more than a match for any dog and reigned supreme in his day.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Table Top Etching Presses For Sale

The Winter is a good time to get stuff done and the Etching Press production line has been busy.

Here at Classic Presses all the staff; the boss, the engineer, the painter, the labourer and the marketing chappie all get on well and are all switched on to every aspect of the job.
This is because of a brilliant staff management strategy where all the jobs are done by one person, yours truly. There are certain drawbacks to this strategy like tripping over myself occasionaly and overloading the brain (poor thing) with masses of detail and having triage crises from time to time.
It's all going swimmingly though and there is only the press beds and press bed runners to create now and I shall have a dream come true: 4 presses all sale ready.