Light-hearted, quirky and observational; Shona McLean’s art radiates the joy of life and the natural world – the pleasures of picnics, beaches, dancing and wine. Now a well established illustrator, cartoonist, designer and painter; Shona shares with us her journey to becoming the mixed-media artist she is today.
Born in Te Kuiti in the North Island, Shona McLean never really received any training for her art except through standard lessons received in school. It was during her travels to the UK that she received more formal instruction at a series of evening art classes at Bristol Royal Academy that really peaked her interest. “I accompanied my then partner on a sabbatical to Bristol where I discovered the evening classes. The tutors there weren’t interested in changing anything I was doing, but worked hard to develop my confidence. They just kept telling me I had the ability to develop a career out of it.” This advice opened many a door for Shona and her creations, and over time she has tried many different outlets and media to showcase her talents. Her first attempts to follow this advice proved very fruitful indeed and even lead to awards and acclamation within the Australia art community.
“I spent several months in Sydney in the early 1980’s. During that time I freelanced for various publications and newspapers providing illustrations and cartoons, including the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’. “It was because of these drawings that I was awarded the Australian Art Directors Award for Black and White Illustrations.” From here she would go from strength to strength – building and creating her own business with her husband from the ground up as a platform to showcase her various works.