Behind "Aratoi" in Bruce Street, Masterton there are a series of brightly coloured containers that have been set up as an art space for Wairarapa artists called "ConArt". There is a gallery, a retail outlet and two insulated working studio spaces. There is a third space but it is not insulated and gets very hot.
I am working in one of the studios for the next month. It is an interesting experience having a clean and tidy space, with just the materials I want there and my work on the walls, plus ongoing inspiration and the resulting work. It has made me think seriously about my studio at home and how I can make it a similar space. What I really don't need and the necessity of tidying up at the end of the day. About my working studio practice.
I get there at 10 am and leave at 4.00 pm. It's like going to work. I know I should do this at home but it is far to easy to go back to the house for a cup of tea, a FB check and a couple of games of Patience or even a peruse of the news. Very quickly an hour has gone by. Being here does keep me focused on my work.
The work I am doing here is called "A Stone's Throw" and is based around what is close by, a stone's throw away. Interestingly this is a biblical quote used to describe a place or situation just outside a city's walls "a stone's throw away" ie not far.
On one of the outside walls of my studio walls this poem has been posted. This is part of the "Outdoor Poems" initiative in Masterton. It is really lovely, there are several around where I am working.
Last week was interesting finding what was close by. We did have quite a bit of rain and there were puddles and reflections in the gutters and it amazing what actually starts to grow in cracks in the pavements.
And it is fun to make up stories about how and when things happen. I can't remember anything in the paper about a minor accident in Queen St.
Monday and Tuesday ConArt is closed and this has been my weekend, phew I have been busy. Working from home has it's advantages but I have been made very aware of how easy it is to loiter.
It was somewhat overcast yesterday at Henley Lake and so the colours were a little subdued but still the water shone. Me and Maggie Mae went, she was so excited, she hadn't been any where for a while and I certainly hadn't been to The Lake either. There were still half grown cygnets and some ducklings as well.
And Maggie Mae went in the water as always and always at selected spots. I do love the way any disturbance in the water creates ripples which distort reflections and any transparency. Even the wind can do this and break up the surface of the water.
When there has been no rain and the weather is hot the lake develops a toxic algae which can kill dogs if they eat it. I do keep her on a lead to keep her out of the water in the summer.
A couple of flocks of Canadian geese come in over the lake and land at the far end. They are very noisy as they swing around, calling, flapping and settling onto the lake.
The clouds look ominous and I hope that the rain stays in the hills around us. As the weather plays across the lake and the water darkens it feels quite threatening.
There are what I call "cotton wood" trees because of the fluff that falls from them in the autumn, just what I imagine balls of teased out cotton would look like. They must be quite old, their trucks are grizzled and coloured by lichen.
When I look over towards the islands in the middle of the Lake I can see that someone has done some planting. Unfortunately the Lake is managed by three different groups and it doesn't seem as if there is much communication between them. Each group seems to decide autonomously about the management of the area. One year, one of the islands was moved and a month or so ago someone set fire to pampas grass during nesting time. It is a beautiful resource for Masterton.
I hope they grow and are appropriate for the environment and the weather is not too hot and dry.
As well as the Canadian geese and the swans hooting I can hear the Australian Coots making warning squawks as I get closer to where they nest.
I see one with some dried leaves in it's beak and I wonder if it is making a nest in under the branches.
As I get nearer to the car park I can see some of the Canadian Geese on the grass and I can see that they are dirty messy birds but somehow I like them. They were introduced to the Lake as game birds and have proliferated and now there are attempts to manage their numbers.
As I walked around the Lake I started a "Journey" strip. Thank you Shelley Rhodes. I recommend her book.