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Jocelyn Friis

jocelyn-friis-aotearoa-artist-mug-shotSELF-TAUGHT SUSTAINABILITY

Jocelyn Friis went to a Steiner school in South Africa, where creativity is a part of everyday school life. This set the foundation for her creative life. “I have always loved to create. I believe strongly in pursuing what you love but it was only during my ‘mid-life’ years that I truly found my way in art. I realised I was not living true to myself. I am now free to express what I cannot with words. I love the freedom of intuitively laying down paint on the canvas. I see so much intertwining between painting and life – so many lessons to learn.

Her biggest obstacle has been her mindset. “I have really had to work on believing that my work is worthwhile and contributing to the good in this world. Professionally, it is always a challenge to stay on top of things, stay visible and market myself. Perseverance is key and being able to take the losses with the gains.”

Her art practice is ever evolving, never static. “I want to continue striving for improvement and development in my art. I continue to research on the sustainable and ecological themes in art. I am looking forward to more opportunities to show my work and become more known in the artist community and amongst collectors.”

jocelyn-friis-aotearoa-artist-Distant Memories

Jocelyn is inspired by joy! “I am inspired daily by the beautiful things in this world. Whilst my natural surroundings of bush and beach play a big part in my work, I am energised by the positive things I encounter and that bring me joy. This energy serves to inspire me and is transferred into my work.”

She works mainly with semi-abstract landscapes, working in acrylics. “I love the spontaneity of acrylics – I am not very patient, so the quick drying qualities suit me. I also love encaustics, such a beautiful translucent medium with so many different finishes possible, and the divine smell of beeswax.” She loves to collect sticks, feathers, leaves and other things from nature for mark making. “I even landed up with a porcupine quill somewhere along the line!”

When she starts a painting, she might have a general idea of colours and design but really, she works from an intuitive space. “I don’t work from photos but rather focus on feelings and expressing through emotion. The influence of my natural surroundings subconsciously appears in my art. My paintings look like a pretty mess to start with, as I enjoy playing uninhibitedly on the initial layers. I then start to refine things until I am happy with the design, balance and flow of the artwork.”

When she isn’t painting, Jocelyn loves walking: “on my local beach in Mangawhai and I enjoy the local bush walks. Spending time in nature is hugely important to me. I also enjoy pottering in my wild garden and growing veggies. It all helps to keep things sustainable.”

She has concluded that mistakes serve a great purpose, if lessons are learned from them. “Turning mistakes into positives makes every single mistake worthwhile. Everyday practise is my advice for new artists. Believe in your own artistic voice, know that there is space for you and that someone, somewhere needs to hear what you have to say through your art.”

Jocelyn is a contributing artist to the Mangawhai Artists Gallery and Northland Society of Arts. She has work in the USA and Australia as well as New Zealand.

See more about Jocelyn here:


Left top to bottom: Glimpse • Like the First Morning • Emergence. Middle top to bottom: The Way Home • Flow. Right top to bottom: Midnight Shadow • Crossroads • In Search of Summer Horizons


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