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This blog details news and events from my two major passions, art and white water kayaking. I may include posts about my other active interests including tramping, rock-climbing, tennis, exploring, snorkelling, house renovation, entrepreneurial ideas and various other hybrid activities. I welcome comments and look forward to receiving your feedback.

18

Kayaking the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River

Our kayak expedition down the Colorado was an amazing adventure of sixteen days duration. The scenery was incredible, with huge multi-coloured cliffs and strange, varied flora and fauna including crazy cacti, rattlesnakes and lizards galore. The Canyon became more impressive as we progressed downstream. The rapids consisted of huge waves and 'holes', but were technically not difficult to run. Some of these waves were brilliant to surf on. The major rapids such as Hance, Horn Creek, Hermit, Crystal and Lava were intimidating due just to the sheer size of the hydraulics, but of these, only Hance and Lava required any real route taking prowess. Several of our members capsized and swum in major rapids and had to be rescued. Two rafts flipped, and despite all gear being in drybags, much gear became soaked. Flipping the rafts back upright took a lot of rope, time and effort.

We made several hikes up spectacular side-canyons. Some required rather exposed moves high up cliff-faces, and some involved clambering up waterfalls, swimming across or diving into pools.

Several of us were stung and bitten by ferocious red ants. These stings remained painful then itchy for days. One member of our team, Steve Ward, was bitten twice by the same scorpion. He failed to shake out his pants before putting them on and paid the price. After he threw the scorpion out his tent door, he stepped outside in bare feet and was stung again. Three hours later, his face began to tingle with numbness, but luckily, that was the end of his symptoms. Usually, people become sick for a few days.

 

The river flow at the start of the trip varied between 12,000 to 16,000cfs and flash flooding on the first day or two upped this to 22,000cfs - a high flow for the river. After this, the weather was characteristically fine until the second to last day when a major thunderstorm and deluge struck. This was a concern, as the Diamond Creek exit road is very vulnerable to flash floods. When we arrived at the takeout the next morning, the road was indeed totally washed out by the largest flash flood in twelve years. The five of us with the tightest flight itineraries walked up the devastated stream bed for a couple of miles to find workmen rebuilding the road. We negotiated an escape with them to Flagstaff in a big four wheel drive for US$300. The road was rebuilt by the following afternoon and the rest of our party arrived safely in Flagstaff and we had a final meal together before going separate ways.

I now have a great supply of wonderful canyon scenery photographs which I will use as reference for my art. Showspace Gallery in Flagstaff, next to the Canyon, is interested in any Canyon art I produce.

Our outfitter from Seattle, Chris, did a great job of managing the technical side of our trip. She provided all the specialised equipment and systems and provided all the food. 


18

On finding a gallery in Dubai

Dubai galleries proved much more receptive to meeting new artists than New York galleries were. They appeared to have more time available. I visited five galleries and four of these want my work, the fifth not keen merely because they don't deal in limited edition prints. There were apparently two important galleries that I missed out, which is a shame. Now I have to decide which gallery/s to go with. I am finding this difficult, as one good one wants exclusivity and the others don't. Anyway, this is a luxurious problem to have!

Contrary to my expectations, my pop-art prints proved popular to Dubai Galleries as well as those of landscapes.

While in Dubai, I stayed with my old friend Richard and his wife Adeleh (recently wed). They have lived in Dubai for approximately one and a half years and are in the lucrative property business there. They intend moving back to New Zealand in around one year. Without their help, it would have been very difficult to make my appointments. In Dubai, addresses are in many cases non-existent. Location explanations are longwinded and meaningless to non-residents.

The roads are confusing and the traffic is seriously ill-behaved. I am very grateful that Richard drove me to my appointments. I am grateful also that I met some of Richard and Adeleh's Iranian and Turkish friends, Aresh, Layla and Isa, who generously who took us kayaking along the beach to one corner of the Palm Jumeirah after which they barbecued some beautiful snapper, groper and king-prawns for us.

Richard took me sightseeing to visit the tallest building in the world, The Burj Dubai, and also to see the huge indoor ski-field inside the huge Mall of the Emirates.


18

On finding a Gallery in New York

While in New York, I visited many galleries in Chelsea, Manhattan, and also in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It was not the best time to be visiting, as many galleries were still closed after summer vacation, and many that were open were busy with new exhibitions. Those that had time to view my work had very positive feedback. One gallery in New Jersey that exhibits New Zealander, Daron Parton's work, was also very interested in mine, and it looks like this gallery will exhibit my work later next year. The owner of the gallery has suggested that I develop my cartoon limited editions further by making them even more edgy and whacky. I am quite enthused by this idea. He viewed my website while we spoke on the phone and became increasingly keen throughout the conversation. Previously being averse to landscape art, he was impressed by the unique pop-art nature of both my paintings and prints. He has asked that I produce some new cartoon images by April next year.

I have been accepted to exhibit at Agora Gallery in Chelsea, which is open to submissions from international artists. I am not sure that I will take this opportunity due to the fact that they have high exhibition fees. Ward-Nasse in lower Manhattan also wants to show my work.

Visiting New York Galleries was very interesting as I saw a range of great artwork by new and also established big name artists.


10

New York and Dubai Prints

I have just finished two New York Limited edition prints and two Dubai prints. I have also made a St Lawrence River monoprint. I intend taking these to show New York and Dubai galleries in September, after kayaking the Grand Canyon. I emailed about eighty New York galleries and recieved little response. I guess they are numb to email. Being there in person should help. I have, however, made some other New York contacts over the web. Ila Couch is a New Zealand born writer and TV producer living and working around New York. She is keen to do a short interview with me, and to show me some of New York. Sibel Tinar, a couchsurfing aquaintance who is a graduate of Columbia School of Fine Arts, has committed to showing me around the art school and introducing me to some influential staff there. She is also keen to show me some likely galleries. I have had much more success in Dubai, where I have managed to make five appointments with interested galleries. I will be very happy if just one of these is keen to represent me.


18

New Cartoon/Pop Art prints

Have a look at my four new cartoon limited edition prints in the gallery. I am going to take these to New York with me in September. I have created them in the same way that I make my landscape limited edition prints. I have shown them to my dealer at Exhibitions gallery and he is very keen to exhibit them in this December's Christmas Exhibition.

Here is one of them, titled Resort:


07

River Art

My dendritic pattern river art is still generating lots of interest despite not being exhibited anywhere at present. A client who bought the Manawatu River monoprint now wants a Whanganui River print. Someone else wants a Clutha River print. I can see huge potential here - I won't be running out of rivers any time soon! I intend making a couple of river prints to take to New York in September.

I thought the St Lawrence River would look great as a monoprint because it has such recognisable features as the Great Lakes in its catchment. The huge Mississippi/Missouri river system would also look impressive. Perhaps I will soon be known as 'The River Artist'! I won't be making river art for Dubai as there are no rivers except in rare downpours. However, it would be in character for Dubai to create it's own river.


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