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Jana Branca

jana-branca-aotearoa-artist-mug-shotAN EXCITING VOCATION

Jana Branca hails from South Africa, where she obtained a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Pretoria. “I remember a very pivotal moment at high school where my art teacher made a comment that she thought I could go on to be an artist. It was just a little thing she said in conversation, but it had a massively encouraging and life altering effect on me.”

Making, creating and re-creating has always been a very big part of her life and she says she couldn’t imagine a more exciting vocation. Having always been a ‘deep’ child, Jana loves having a vehicle for investigating and engaging with meaningful and weighty concepts. “Most of the things I like thinking about seem just out of my reach, and further wrestling with them through my art practice seems to make them just a little bit more graspable.”

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Stephen Martyn Welch (Marty)

marty-welsh-aotearoa-artist-mug-shotA PROFICIENT PAINTER

Stephen Martyn Welch, known as Marty, has had no formal training in painting and as such, the beginning of his career was very difficult. Not many galleries were interested in what he had to offer. “I am 100% self-taught, which I am proud of because I worked really hard to get where I am today.”

He failed his school certificate in art, so he joined the army and started doing sketches for his fellow comrades, “so they could go to the local tattooist, where they proceeded to ruin my drawings on someone’s skin.” After the army, Marty worked in an Irish pub in Auckland. “I started off sketching images on a big white beer fridge door that was like a white board. From there people used to come in and ask me to draw different things from actors to comic characters.”

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Carol-moffatt-Mt EarnslawDart Valley-aotearoa-artist

Carol Moffatt

I gather ideas and inspiration from the natural environment of New Zealand: the trees, mountains, water, plants and flowers. My paintings strive to capture the wonders and mystery that surround us.

I love using oils because of their strong colours. In addition, I use transparent colours as much as possible because they vibrate in the light.  Combining brushstrokes with music in my head, I create my world on canvas.

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Jennifer Stebbings

Jennifer Stebbings - Aotearoa Artist

PROLIFIC DETAIL

Born in Motueka, New Zealand, Jennifer Stebbings didn’t have any formal fine-art training, however she did go to Christchurch Polytech for a year, doing visual Communications. “I have always loved painting and drawing from my first memory. I went into commercial art thinking fine arts wasn’t really an option for a ‘real job’ I always knew that art in some form would be my only path.”

She moved back to New Zealand, from England in 2014, and for the first time, circumstances allowed her to pursue painting full time. Her biggest obstacle was confidence: “I battled to have confidence in my product with no apologies. I had my first exhibition when I was about 18, and an art critic said my path is in design as I have no knowledge of colour. I probably didn’t, but I was gutted. Now I would think, well, that’s just your opinion which you are entitled to. Thats not to say I wouldn’t take criticism on board, but it wouldn’t bother me now.”

 

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Lynda Bell

lynda-bell-aotearoa-artist“Being an artist was all I ever wanted to do. I felt discouraged in high school and did not feel ‘good enough’ and also thought that perhaps art was a lonely career. I wanted to help others, so I went to teachers college with the intent of one day being an art therapist. Teaching however was not creative enough for me. Stress made me ill, but whenever I was at home sick I would create stories and illustrate them. One time I was off work for a week and I created a whole children’s book.

When I saw an ad for The Learning Connexion that said ‘turn your life into a work of art’ I knew that was what I wanted to do so I took a leap and moved to Wellington. Being around other people who loved art encouraged me to believe that I could actually be an artist.

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Tut Blumental

tut-blumental-aotearoa-artistBorn in Israel, Tut Blumental has been passionate about art from a very early age, exploring and working with different methods and mediums. After graduating from Avni Institute of Art and Design, Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1994 she started work as a graphic designer in advertising agencies but continued painting in her spare time. In 2006, after immigrating to New Zealand with her family, she decided to follow her dreams and be a full-time artist. 

Tut’s overwhelming pleasure comes from the joy of expressing her feelings through painting and the ability to share it with different audiences and lighting up their day. Over the years, she has learned to listen to her inner voice as well as different ideas and opinions. “I open my mind and keep believing in myself even when the road doesn’t always go as planned.

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Claire Broughton

claire-broughton-aotearoa-artistNATURE'S BALANCE

Self-taught artist, Claire Broughton first picked up a brush in 2002 and became enchanted with the flow and magical qualities of watercolour. She attended a workshop with New Zealand artist Susan Harrison-Tustain in 2010 which she found invaluable, along with all the support and encouragement she received from Susan. “She really helped me to polish the rough edges off my work, making it look more professional.”

A certificate in Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration through the University of Newcastle, Australia in 2016 provided an excellent understanding of drawing, especially botanical drawing which in turn has helped her to achieve realistic watercolour paintings.

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Elise De Silva

elise-de-silva-aotearoa-artistDRAMATIC LIGHT

Born in Australia, and having a talented mum as an artist, Elise De Silva reflects on her fondest memories of heading out to the foothills of Perth with some paints and a couple of sausages for the BBQ. “It was only recently that I realised I’ve been painting en plein-air since I was 10! I have to admit, while I enjoyed art, I never felt very good, but I dabbled all throughout my life.” Elise expands on her story.

Nature is my biggest inspiration. I’m always looking at cloud shapes, sunsets, interesting shapes, water and reflections too. New Zealand has so much beautiful coast-line, I’m never at a loss for inspiring subject matter. Boats also feature strongly in my work. I’m not a boatie myself, I get dreadfully sea sick, but I think boats are so evocative of freedom, serenity and adventure. I’m also drawn to any landscape with dramatic lighting. If there is no dramatic light, then a scene just doesn’t drive me. I want my art to evoke beauty and bring people joy and peace. 

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Gaylene Lonergan

gaylene-lonergan-aotearoa-artistSILK

Gaylene Lonergan was taught the art of painting on silk by a master silk painter in Bali, Indonesia around 30 years ago. Since that time, she has further refined her learning and experimented extensively, adding many techniques in an effort to enhance her art. Gaylene tells us how she came to be where she is today.

I had always harboured a desire to be an artist, but did not know where to start. Serendipitously, my husband and I were travelling in Bali and I saw an opportunity to try my hand at silk painting under the guidance of a master silk painter. I developed an immediate connection with the medium and following a few lessons, I returned to New Zealand determined to continue with my newly found skills – I was hooked. Once I saw how people reacted to the work I had completed, I felt empowered and wanted to repeat the experience. Putting a smile on people’s faces when they attend an exhibition or purchase one of my works provides me with the ultimate satisfaction and the motivation to continue to produce works in my own style. 

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