This last week I’ve been able to enjoy uninterrupted time to relax and potter around. The weather was perfect, mostly wild. I’ve had time to look through a new biography of Matisse and was interested to see this photo of his studio wall. I like the philodendron leaf motif as he uses it.

Apparently he had a number of philodendrons. Here’s the motif in some chapel windows, made when he was about 80. It was only in the third version of the windows that he removed red from them. I don’t know why this impressed me so much.

Two or three years ago I took the photo below, a closeup of a philodendron elegans that I grow. Elegans are particularly difficult to locate but I found a small plant at a market 5 years ago and it grew in a pot quite happily but became tall and top heavy. Eighteen months ago I took it to a nursery where they cut it into 9 pieces and have been growing the segments on for me. Old enough now, I’ve brought them home again. Each one is about a foot high.

Yesterday I travelled to Wanganui with three friends. From New Plymouth it is
2 hours by road, although yesterday’s journey was made particularly pleasant because I was being chauffered by a friend Grant Kerr in his powerful smooth Audi A6, with black leather seats.

We were going in particular, because Grant the driver, was wanting to see an exhibition of my photographs that I have there and I decided to accompany him even though I had seen all the works before. (many times)

The exhibition is at Paul McNamara’s gallery in some rooms that were once his surgery, when he was a medical practioner. I like the ambience that still exists in the spaces, I think of all the injections that must have been given there, all the internal examinations, and all the sad news that must have been broken to patients.

Because my exhibition has been on since the beginning of December, and I had more works than could accomodated in one show, Dr Paul has been changing some of the images every couple of weeks. On this visit it was the first time that I had seen this particular rotation.

Paul Craig, framer par excellence, from Wellington, made us a frame enabling us to change large images at will, with great ease. Yesterday was the first time that I had seen the above large image, in a frame ever, and it’s over a year old.

After Matisse, as I call it, was the result of months of work. I had bought a packet of these rubbery shapes at a toy store over a period of several months, kept rearranging the spaces.

When I saw this photo yesterday. in its Paul Craig frame, beautifully lit, on a wall painted in an soft colour, I was almost shocked. I had forgotten how much I liked it. In over a year I have not managed to sell a single print of it, which had, I suppose, made me lose some faith.

After leaving there we moved on to the Sarjeant Gallery, a civic gallery that at one time had the deserved reputation of being one of the most important galleries in New Zealand. No longer alas. However, one of the exhibitions that they had on there was one about birds, a show originated by Pataka Porirua, another civic gallery about 20 minutes drive north of Wellington. I have a few photos in this show and it was good to see these but what really struck me was an area where those in the gallery who were involved in education had been working with children on the theme of ‘birds’. On a wall were these creations. I took a snap with my camphone. I like the result. It dances.