Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My art epiphany

My art club and I had an outing to a gallery and studio today. The gallery was interesting



I saw a new angle on ceramics, and how a scientist becomes an artist, and I saw some painting that I didn't get at first.
Luise Fong was Artist in Residence at McCahon House recently, and painted a series of acrylic on board works inspired by her stay there. To my eye they were nice enough, muted colours, lots of oval and circle shapes, blobby bits made from some sort of wax and not a lot else. THEN I went to McCahon house and saw the kauri trees that inspired her and it finally MADE SENSE! I had an "oh I get it" moment, and it was wonderful.

We also spent time at McCahon house, learning about Colin McCahon - a very famous and important NZ artist, I am sorry to say I had not heard of before (I am a new tourist into the art world). The manager who showed us around was very knowledgeable but also obviously very passionate about McCahon's work and art in general. We talked about "modern" art and I admitted I am a bit of a "yes, but is it ART?" kind of person when faced with people like Damien Hurst and Tracey Emin. The manager (Cynthia Smith, I think), told me something that really struck a chord with me.

McCahon was severely criticised for some of his work, called childish, ugly, useless, and this criticism drive him to alcoholim and death. Yet he is now considered a seminal NZ artist and his work is known around the world. Cynthia said to me that if a new artist presents something challenging, or something you don't understand or don't like, don't attack it. Give it the respect the artist deserves for simply pushing the boundaries and taking a risk. Art is no longer about producing something pretty that you can hang above your couch, it is supposed to inspire you, intrigue you and maybe even disgust you.

Coupled with the "oh I get it" moment I had earlier, I find I have a new found interest in art and the inspiration behind work that I might otherwise dismiss as "something anyone could have made".

Cynthia told me "enjoy your art, and take some risks."

I'm off to create...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Full steam ahead!

Tareka and Poppa were down at the site today, working out where the house will go, talking to the driveway engineer and checking where the telephone cables are buried. I insisted they take pictures to show me, this is what I got :)

Poppa knocking on the front door

House site marked by pegs


This is my tree, and this is my shade under my tree

This is my fence

This is my grass

This is my view


Monday, March 16, 2009

Parenting joys

I've been thinking that I haven't posted much about parenting lately, and when I do it's usually negative. I've been having a good time with the girls lately, so I thought I would do a quick post to celebrate all that I love about my children.

They are so creative - Mapera creates fantastic stories and scenarios and can talk constantly about them for hours on end. Kaitereo has just started pretend-play, she finds it hilarious to hand out "food" and eat it saying "nyum nyum nyum"

They are so clever - Mapera remembers things and can work problems out from information we have given her now, it's amazing to see her figure something out and be so proud of herself for doing it without help. Kaitereo can now follow simple instructions - I call it the "programmable age"

They are so brave - Mapera slept out in the tent the other night, on her own til about 10pm when Daddy went out to join her. She had her baby-doll (Gary) and her torch and she was not scared at all! Kaitereo has got over her shy phase and now rushes off into new places with a true explorers joy, and she points out people and waves at them. Her favourite thing is to spot men now and shout "MA" (which is her word for man), whereas before she would shy away and cry if strange men even looked in her direction.

They love books - Both Mapera and Kaitereo will stop and look at a book if they spot one when they are playing, Mapera can spot her letter (M) and points it out everywhere, Kaitereo loves animal books and delights in shouting "cow" and "quack-quack" for any 4-legged or 2-legged animals.

So there you are, a few reasons why having children is SUCH FUN! I love my kids, I'm definitely going to have more...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Prepare for arguments

Now we have committed to build a house, we now have all the palaver that this involves. I think I will keep a record of everything here, so anyone thinking of building will be able to tell if they want to do it themselves or not!

STAGE 1 - prepare the land
  • we need to get the grass either grazed down by the neighbours cows, or contact someone in to clear it out. We're going to the neighbours first, and hoping he will be more amenable than he was when we asked if we could get access to his power pole.
  • when the land is nice and clear of grass and weeds, we need to get power to the boundary of the property. This needs to be as close to the entrance as possible, but also take into account the fact that the entrance will be tar-sealed about 2m either side of the width of the current gate.
  • Geotech survey to see what foundations we'll need
  • Drainage and septic survey to see what sort of septic system we need, and how we can deal with stormwater
STAGE 2 - entrance and site preparation
Once the power is ready to go, there will be a few things that all sort of need to happen together
  • Putting in the new entrance - a 'V' back from the road, through past the fence-line and down to a new gate about 11m in
  • mark out the site for the house, turning area, and driveway
  • scrape out for driveway, house and turning area and put gravel down
  • power and phone to be run down the driveway (or down the side of the driveway) to the house site
  • water tanks to be bought and sited
I think once these 2 stages are done, we can pretty much hand over to the Project Manager for Latitude Homes, and he goes from there. We have to get a septic tank and water tanks ready to be put in on his instruction, but apart from that, I think all we do after that is pick the colour of the walls and the kitchen!

We are seeing the lawyer on Monday to sign the paperwork and pay for the land; then we'll see Latitude Homes after that to make sure we know what we have to do before they can go to the council to apply for a building permit.

More updates after Monday!


10 grand off the price, and we do the work ourselves, but WE GOT IT! THE LAND IS OURS!

*dances for joy*

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mental exhaustion

What is that man doing? Why is he blue? What's that black thing? Why is there a dog? What do the cars do on the road? What do nice doggies do? What do the naughty doggies do? What are you doing? What is that cat there for? Why is it green? Where is the baby? Where's Kaitereo? Where's Daddy? What is this, Mummy? I want to do some drawing please. I want you to open it, cos it's not working. What does the little one do? Look at me Mummy! Play with me Mummy! It can't WORK! You be the caravan and I'll be the girl. Can I watch something? I want to watch something. Can I get a cat? Can I do some typing? Kaitereo NO!


Monday, March 9, 2009

More ART!

I was asked to paint something for my Sister-in-law's office, so I had a go at a landscape. Children's acrylic paint and a cheap canvas. Copied from a photo in a book.

It's not bad for a first attempt, but it does look a little flat, especially close-up. I think I prefer working with pastels.

This is before I sealed it:

and this is after applying a general fixative/sealer with a cotton wool ball (I don't even own a paintbrush of my own yet!!):

It's hard to see past the shine, but I think the sealer gives it a bit of interesting texture.

Interesting update

We have an email from the real estate agent to our house builder, saying that the vendor had told her that there were services running across the front of the property. This was where our house builders quoted from to take power down to the house.

The vendor either was simply wrong, or LIED.

haha! We have evidence that they mis-informed us, and we have passed it onto the lawyer.

3 days til we know...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sword of Damocles

That's what things feel like today. After weeks of research, quotes and running around, we got to the point where we found out how much it was going to cost us to get power supplied to our piece of land (if we buy it).
There is no power to the boundary, so we'd have to hook up to the neighbour's transformer - $3500. Then we discover that the transformer would need upgrading - $4000 more. Then just before telling the vendor that we'd still buy the property if they helped with those costs, the neighbour phones up and says he won't allow access to his power pole (it's on his land). We would therefore have to either get power from across the road, or put up our own power pole. Either way we're looking at $20,000.


This is completely unreasonable, as if the land had been subdivided less than 3 years ago, the vendor would have HAD to ensure a power supply to the site, but it was done over 3 years ago when the councils were less strict. As it is, we've instructed our wonderful lawyer to let the vendor know that we would only buy the property if it has a power supply at the gate. I don't think they will agree to it, so we're back to square one.

If we lose this land, we also lose the chance to build, as we simply won't get another piece this cheap, and now we know how much it will cost to build, we couldn't afford to pay more for land at all. So we're looking for a house again, or maybe a small house we can extend.

I am sad.

Vendor has til Thursday 12th March to decide.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Nĭ hăo!

I have found a free starter course on Mandarin!


I'm making a start on a New Years Resolution - woo!