A blue Waiheke day

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Modigliani was a sculptor before becoming a painter.  In Paris during WWI he used to steal bits of the road to use as sculpting materials.  Of course that couldn’t last forever so he took up portrait painting.  His love of sculpture is evident in his style. 

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Do artists have more interesting lives?

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Blue Rider is a fictional novel about a woman who encounters artists who worked during WW1, namely, Modigliani, Kandinsky, Malevich, Marc, Picasso, Klee and Chagall. I was fascinated to learn how they lived, following their inner heart to be artists. There was no compromise for them. They didn’t have a day job, that wasn’t even considered. They would choose poverty over selling their soul to the man for a pittance. (How I wish I had the guts. These men were true heroes.) Ah, but the art buying public is fickle. Not all were destined for a life of squalor. Chagall, for instance, lived until the age of 98 and there is a museum dedicated to him in Paris.

The arty book

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I bought this painting from a local exhibition for my husband’s birthday at around the time I had finished writing Blue Rider.  The style echoes that of some of the painters working in Paris during World War I.  I couldn’t believe my luck.  Blue Rider is the name of a short-lived art movement from 1913.  It was halted due to the war.  One founding member Franz Marc was killed in the battle of Verden.  His co-founder Paul Klee was so hurt by his friend’s death he joined the war as an older recruit.  He spent the rest of the war painting planes!

I’ve been busy

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This book was inspired by a bike ride in the summer of 2018.  I rode along the track which was the original track cut to provide access to the ballot farms on the north side of the Whanganui River.  Very little remains of the brave settler farmers’ homesteads: few gate posts, some mighty macrocarpa trees, even the remains of a modest shanty.  I was very moved and the more I thought about it I cried for the poor returned soldiers who had already given their all for New Zealand.  It was staggering to believe the government wanted more from them.