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Kerri-Lee Gunter

kerri-lee-gunter-aotearoa-artistBorn in East London, South Africa, Kerri-Lee Günter has been in New Zealand since 2009, living in and enjoying the majesty of Invercargill. She gets her passion and talent from her mother’s side of the family – mum, grandfather and great grandmother. “As a child I was given books with blank pages and encouraged to express my creativity in them.  At the age of nine my mum realised I had a passion for art and decided to send me to art lessons after school and at 18
I decided to pursue my passion further.”

Starting with an Art & Design Certificate – 2007-2008 – at Buffalo City College in East London, Kerri-Lee went on to qualify with a Level 5 Diploma in Painting – 2010-2011 – at Aoraki Polytechnic in Ashburton, and also gained a Bachelor in Applied Media Arts – 2012-2014 at the Southern Institute of Technology in Invercargill.

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Sheelagh McHaffie

IN FOR THE RIDE

A self taught artist, as her mother was, Sheelagh McHaffie has embraced her self discovery to art as a blessing, considering it a unique way to approach her passion.

Sheelagh was always drawn to the arts. As an only child in a pre-digital world, she would often just sit, observe her surroundings and draw. Having had a hiatus from her artwork for 20 years, after losing her mother and raising a daughter with ASD she found there were too many pressures to continue. “At the beginning of 2019 I was officially homeless. I had separated from my husband who was living in Australia, and had not enough means to support myself. I returned to NZ with my two children, aged 4 and 18, and the bags on our back. My mother passed away in 2005, so I was very much on my own. I had to overcome my own fear, guilt and judgement from others, and truly trust that I knew what was best for me. Starting over forced me to evaluate my life, I had finally been brave enough to put myself first but there was a huge hill to climb.”

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Rosemarie Murphy

aotearoa-artist-rosemarie-murphyPLAYING WITH LIGHT

As a child Rosemarie Murphy always loved drawing and spent most of her pocket money on art materials, but it wasn’t until she was in her thirties that she started to try other media and materials. “I have dabbled in acrylics, watercolour, pottery (hand-work mostly) and silk dyeing, but pastel is the one that I have worked at the longest. I was introduced to pastel by Maxine Thompson, Master Pastelist in New Zealand. My sister, Raewyn, invited me to one of Maxine’s workshops and like so many of Maxine’s pupils I was hooked.

Having had no formal training, Rosemarie learned by attending many workshops - some in watercolour and acrylics, but mostly in pastel. For a long time family and milking cows stopped her from making art full time and she would attend a workshop and then put her work away until the next one. “This is NOT the way to improve,” she states adamantly.

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Bernadette Ballantyne 1 Aotearoa Artist Magazine

Bernadette Ballantyne

WINDOWS TO THE SOUL

Gaining her Bachelor of Fine Art at Whanganui Quay School of the Arts (now Whanganui UCOL) between the years of 2002-2005, Bernadette Ballantyne was born into a family of creatives and maintains it’s in her blood. With a family of potters, musicians, singers, dancers, Bernadette always knew that art would have something to do with her career. “On leaving high school, I was actually applying and had been accepted into two different universities to do a teaching degree, and it was my cousin, who was at the time completing her Bachelor of Fine Art in Whanganui, who talked me into going for Fine Arts instead. That decision totally changed my life.”

Her biggest motivating factor to pursue a career as an artist is her children. “I had been teaching primary school for 13 years and it served me well. It allowed me to travel the world and have the freedom to move where I wanted to. But teaching is not an appealing profession for those with families anymore.

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Jackie Krzyzowski

Jackie Krzyzowski-aotearoa-artist-the-nz-artist-magazine

DETAILED DELIGHT

Jackie Krzyzowski never had any formal training but always enjoyed drawing as a child. She used one private workshop and various online tutorials to get her started with pastels. She explains further:

I spent most of my adult life with horses and riding as a hobby and with family life, working full time and studying part time there was not much time for anything else. I always thought that one day I might come back to my art. Getting older, I was not fit enough to carry on with the horse riding and moved to breeding and showing miniature horses. This was successful for 10 years, but again, getting older, mobility issues were making this hobby more difficult and so I decided to retire from it. Then came COVID lockdown and I was looking for something to do and now I am on this new, amazing art journey.

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Deborah Taylor

Never having had any formal art training, Deborah Taylor attempted an online course a few years ago but found the deadlines and stress of it all too much as well as working full time. Other financial constraints had left her feeling inadequate and floundering and after being diagnosed with bipolar, she found art to be cathartic and a means with which to express herself. With a level 5 in Academic Writing, she also likes to write and compose poetry.

“I have always been interested in art since high school especially, my art teacher Mr Hebley was a great teacher. I did unfortunately muck around a lot and never passed art as a subject but I always kept on painting and creating art whenever I could. When my children were little I would always have art stuff set up for them to express themselves through drawing and painting or making salt dough craft. I started painting again when my children were older, as a hobby.”

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Ken Tanner

ken-tanner-aotearoa-artist-the-new-zealand-artist

ROOM TO MOVE

Brought up in the London suburbs and having studied art as a school subject, an enthusiastic teacher encouraged Ken Tanner to maintain his interest in art, which he has done for over 30 years. Training as an engineer and then working in construction management, Ken found there was not much room for creativity in his daytime work, so art as a hobby became a welcome respite, giving his creative mind room to move. He moved to New Zealand in 1974 but busy with his wife and children, and his work, he only really started to paint in the 1990s. Since then painting has become a large part of his life.

Ken’s inspiration, he says, is mostly to do with the creation of an image, rather than trying to convey some political message. “I really enjoy the realism but I did an abstract course some years ago and I now also enjoy developing the realistic image into a more abstract form.  I have entered some of these paintings into the Howick Art Group’s annual competition and they have taken 1st prize.  One of the judges, Evan Woodruff, said that the work was more abstractionism than pure abstract.”

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Karen Gourley

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IMMERSIVE DETAIL

“I love when an idea in my head comes to life on paper and translating that idea into a visual representation. The tactile nature of pastels is very therapeutic. I love sharing my love of nature with people and am so honoured when people choose to buy my artwork to hang on their wall.” So says Karen Gourley, a pastel artist, born in Ireland and now gracing New Zealand with her tremendous talent.

Her move to New Zealand means she has the opportunity to be immersed in nature, and with so many birds and wildlife on the doorstep, she feels compelled to paint them all. “I have always loved art from a young age, watching Tony Hart on Hartbeat and carefully copying along as I watched. Art was my favourite subject at school and art is a part of who I am. After studying, I followed a career as an accountant and took up painting in 2007 as a hobby.” After completing a Natural History Illustration course in 2018 she started applying the learned techniques to her pastel paintings. 

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Lorraine Bailey

lorraine-bailey-aotearoa-artistHAPPY HEART, HAPPY ART

Moving from one place to the next can be a drag. Boxing up your life in the hope of finding your happy place; eventually realizing this is more than just a location it also becomes your state of mind too. For Lorraine Bailey this has happened a few times, after a stint in Auckland, she settled in a new happy place – Matamata in the Waikato – however all this came about from her beginnings in Rhodesia, Africa where her love of the environment there spurred her creative desire.

“My environment plays a pivotal role in my creativity. In fact, I can’t imagine what my art would look like without it. I believe, that it’s your surroundings that trigger all the senses to influence your heart and soul, which you then interpret onto canvas/paper. I particularly enjoy capturing that moment when light bounces or reveals something on the subject causing the viewer to pause in reflection. When I lived in Rhodesia and then in South Africa it was the wild life that influenced my work. My father was a Scoutmaster, and so from a very young age I became very aware of my natural surroundings,” she says.

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Tammy Gabriel

tammy-gabriel-aotearoa-artistFINDING IDENTITY

By Matt Mortimer

The great Roman philosopher Cicero was credited as saying; “The face is a picture of the mind, as the eyes are its interpreter.” These words seem to resound beyond a quotation and take on a literal meaning for Albany-based portrait artist, Tammy Gabriel.

“I get inspired by photos of interesting compositions, but mostly ones that show expression on faces. My goal is to capture that expression in my painting. I love photos of interesting body compositions creating unique shapes too,” she says. “Individualism has been an area of interest to me my whole life and I am drawn towards uniqueness. I try to capture a person’s individual personality through my paintings.

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