Saturday, July 3, 2010

Yvonne Rust Never Sleeps

Last June I was invited by the organisers of the Quarry Arts Centre in Whangarei to participate in an art exhibition called "The great Plate, 100 artists 100 plates."

This is an imaginative fund raising campaign whereby selected artists donate their time to embellish a raw, fired, unglazed plate.
Mine came in Mid June in a cardboard courier box well protected with industrial bubble wrap.

I imagined what I might do to contribute the maximum return for the gallery. This decision turned me away from themes of self exploration and political statement to featuring what I have done for many years, portraiture.

It did not take me long to decide on a portrait of the woman after whom the gallery was named, Yvonne Rust. There are very few images of her extant which limited my references.

I found an image in a Whangarei Library photo archive by photographer Florence Keene of Whangarei.
I'm grateful for the online archive.

I rendered the image on my plate using an aquarelle pencil in a mid tan/ochre colour for the facial skin tones and an HB pencil for the hair, tunic and facial details and contrasts.

Stylistically this duochrome drawing is similar in method to that used by Hendrick Goltzius in 17th C Holland.

Lastly I fixed the image with lacquer fixative. The plate went back into the courier packaging which I then sent back with the courier to the gallery in Whangarei.

Imagine my dismay and disappointment when Amanda from the Quarry art Gallery e mailed me to inform me that my plate was in two pieces, broken during its journey by courier.

Julie had warned me to deliver it personally to ensure that it got there in one piece! Even the courier driver joked as he handed the package over to Amanda that he hoped it wasn't broken. What did he know?

Fortunately Amanda is a jeweller with a gentle touch. She set about repairing the break with clear, conservation grade epoxy resin. I have yet to see the result though I believe from what Amanda tells me that it is a discrete repair with only a fine line showing.

To add to this story, recently I visited with close friends who lived and worked with Yvonne. They both told me that they were not surprised to learn that the plate had broken. They too had an exploding vessel episode associated with an Yvonne Rust painting and a large glass bowl. They told me that Yvonne hated to have her image taken which explains why I could find so few references of her.

So Yvonne if you are out there I'm glad to have made your aquaintence through your work, your friends and your students. I hope we meet again sometime.


Harmen R Hielkema

Four new boat portraits.

Water colour on paper. A4 size Water colour on paper. A4 size Water colour on paper. A4 size Water colour on paper. ...