The Book Project

Earlier this year, I visited my two wonderful friends, Mon and Ben, in Palmerston North. While I was there, Mon had a little book and asked me to fill it up with drawings during my stay.  And I did!

I decided to continue with this wonderful idea, and upon returning home I resolved to make this Book Project.  It appealed to the bibliophile in me. This time, I chose a theme and painted a page a day, then photographed it using Instagram.  This enabled me to share it on my Tumblr and Facebook feeds.  Well, that was in mid-January and I finished the book a few weeks ago.  I have just finished putting together a slideshow of all the images I have painted.

The book is all based on karakia, which can mean prayer, incantation or spell, in Te Reo Maori.  While I was studying at the University of Waikato I came across many different types of karakia, and have applied that here. It’s good for me to keep up my reo, a little bit a day helps!

Karakia are meant to help you feel at one with the atua (gods) who are really personifications of the natural forces/elements in the world. It’s about acknowledging the other things in the world about you.  They are good resources of poetry and prose in Te Reo Māori as well.

There are many different karakia inside. Some are to Tane, some are to greet the day, a prayer for children, an incantation for strength, and one for Tangaroa as we bade farewell to summer. Then there is the finishing karakia, right at the very end.  Here are some of my favourite images:

This book project also combined my native language with art, one of my other favourite things.  If you are a creative soul, and you know how difficult staring at a blank page can be, I totally recommend a daily art exercise like this.  Painting or drawing a little each day really helps to warm up and get you started on your other projects.  And it’s a good way to learn some karakia too!

I am planning on creating another book, and that will probably begin sometime next month.

Mauri Ora!

Know Thyself

Early next year some of my work will be in a group show.
It is called ‘Know Thyself’ and is an exhibition with 3 other women artists.

The show will be held at ‘The Winemakers Daughter’, a local cafe and winebar at 88 Grey Street right here in Gisborne.

We will be previewing the show on Friday 6 January 2012 at 6pm. Wine and nibbles are provided so please feel free to come along.

Ma te wa, have a very Merry Christmas and I will see you all in the New Year.

Nga mihi o te wa me te tau hou.

Mauri Ora!

Turbo Maori

This is a painting I did a little while ago (last year in fact) and it’s taken me this long to put it online.  It’s already the face of the Turbojugend Aotearoa U-666 Facebook page (oooosh lookit me squeezing those links in!) so this little breather has been on the nets for a while.  But you all want a closer look at it – and even better – a chance to buy it don’t you?!?!

This picture was inspired by my love of all things Turbojugend and my Māori heritage.  This makes it Turbo Māori! I’ve based the koruru (face) on Ngāti Porou carving forms that I’ve looked at over the last couple of years.  If you study them you see their likeness to the people; the large foreheads, piercing stare and sharp, sometimes forked, tongue.  Tāngata like those deserve to wear a peak cap, haha.

The picture uses 3 colours; a warm blood red ground with thick black linework and white highlights.  Red, black and white, the ‘traditional’ Māori colours and also those used on the Tino Rangatiratanga flag.  Layered on top of an old placemat, varnished with polyurethane and mounted on a wooden block with a painting hook. 29cm x 21cm x 5cm (roughly 8 x 10″)

If you’re interested in buying this creation, contact me at mel@aotearoa666.com.

 

Skull Flower

“Why don’t you paint some nice flowers” I thought to myself one day, “that’s something nice” So I set about painting a nice flower.  Oh! let’s make it blaack! I added.  And a nice skull in it. Yeah, I like them types of flowers!

I pondered this greatly as I worked on this small canvas. It is a blue black flower (he pua) with a skull (he tohu o te tangata) in the centre, blossoming upon a vivid blood red background.  As I daubed away at the skull in the centre I asked myself “Geez – why do I like skulls so much?”

Is it all the doom and gloom? A symbol of death?  A morbid fascination with the darker side of life?

 

 

 

Yeah fuck yeah!

 

Ha ha – you thought I was going to say no, didn’t you?

Well, over the last six years I’ve lost a few friends and family, for various reasons.  I am not afraid to die, but I am afraid of what will happen to my son if I should shuffle off this mortal coil before he becomes an adult.

And ever since this started happening, I started drawing skulls.  Lots of them.  Skulls are the ultimate symbol of humanity.  A skull could represent anyone.  It could be me, it could be my son. It could be one of my whānau who have passed on.  It could be you! :O! Nothing represents my essential love for humanity like a good skull.

You can check out photos of the painting in the making on my tumblr or facebook page.  (And while you’re down there, chuck us a like or a follow please? Ta!)

This painting is 8 inches by 8 inches, painted using Golden acrylics and a nice medium as a finishing varnish.  This painting is also for sale! as it is small enough to ship.  I have paypal and can also accept bank transfers.  If you are interested in purchasing this painting, contact me at mel@aotearoa666.com.

This is my first post in Spring! Spring has sprung (at least here in Kaiti, Gisborne) and a merry sneezing season to you all.  I have included some photos of the plum tree blossoms, just in case some of you wanted an actual really nice flower.  Hehe.

Wooden Heart

Treat me nice, treat me good, treat me like you really should…
So sang Elvis in Wooden Heart.  I thought of that song while I was painting this, but the whakataukī I used has an entirely different meaning!

Last year, in my teaching work we were using small A5 sized pieces of ply and drawing on them in pencil.  I took this idea a little further when I came home and sketched a picture of a heart (I have a medical model of one at home, a gift from a friend many years ago).  I added the ribbon and whakataukī He kokonga ngākau e kore e kitea.  This is the last part of the Māori proverb that runs –

He kohonga whare e kitea, he kokonga ngākau e kore e kitea
The corner of a house can be seen, but not a corner of a heart.

Basically I understood this to mean that you can never know someone’s intentions, or what’s truly going on in their heart, or what their motivations are.

Acrylic paint on plywood, private collection.