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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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Mila Renault

mila-renault-aotearoa-artistBRAZILIAN BEAUTY

Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mila Renault grew up sketching and painting landscapes. Her maternal great grandparents (amateur painters) arrived in Brazil, from France and Sweden, in the late 1800s. Mila’s favourite place in her childhood was at her grand-aunties art studio. “I grew up with art supplies around and quickly learned to admire watercolour.”

When Mila was eight, she began art classes with a local artist in her studio. For the next four years, Saturday mornings were her preffered part of the week. When she was 13, she began a classical drawing education lasting two years at Lyceum of Arts & Crafts in Sao Paulo, which she followed up with a further year in a watercolour course at the same school. At such a young age, Mila loved to dedicate her time to her learning even after school. “The course was structured over two years and in the beginning that was too much for a teenager that of course was the ‘puppy’ of the classroom. In the first semester we studied observation drawing and perspective covering exercises in activating the right side of the brain. Second semester was focused in light and dark and understanding volumetric shapes as well as exploring different materials like pastels and coloured pencils.

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Raewyn Harris

raewyn-harris-aotearoa-artistKORU CREATIONS

By Matt Mortimer

We are spoilt across our wonderful country with such natural wonders and beauty right on our doorsteps – or a short drive away. Napier-based artist Raewyn Harris utilises this, camera in hand, to be reproduced later as beautiful watercolour paintings. 

“My creative soul is driven by daily walks on the beach, around our local estuary, walks in our native bush and in forests, enjoying our lakes and rivers, mountains and spectacular landscape features in New Zealand. All the while I’m challenging myself to learn new techniques and skills. My camera is always with me when out and about and the photos I take provide a rich source of ideas for my paintings. Trips overseas also provide photographic opportunities.” A natural ability and experimentation with materials shine through with accolades coming as early as her pre-teens. 

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Barbara Uini

barbara-uini-aotearoa-artist.co.nzMostly a self-taught artist, Barbara Uini also studied illustration for a year at the Chisholm Institute in Melbourne, Australia. Serendipitously she happened to find an old tin of watercolour paints at the back of a dusty cupboard where she lived and at about the same time, was gifted a subscription to a monthly art instruction magazine. Barbara began to fill up any snatched moments by teaching herself to paint. The magazine had lessons for a range of media, but she focused on the watercolour tutorials at that point, because that was the art material that she had access to. And that is how she became primarily a watercolour artist. Barbara expands . . .

Becoming an artist has really been a lifelong process for me, and I love the fact that you are never finished learning and challenging yourself in art. I have always loved to draw, but I really began to take my art seriously about 25 years ago when I was a stay-at-home mother with pre-schoolers. I was enchanted by some of the illustrations in the books that I read to my children, and the realisation that I really wanted to be an illustrator is what set me off on my artistic journey. I was attracted to illustration because I love books and storytelling and the idea of telling a story visually really appealed. I also love the idea of working to a brief whilst still having licence to add nuances to a children’s story that are not contained in the writing.

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Carla Sclanders

carla-sclanders-aotearoa-artistBLESSED INSPIRATION

Born in South Africa and immigrating to New Zealand in 2020, Carla Sclanders is inspired by God. “He has blessed me with a gift and I am driven to portray a glimse of His Glory in all that I am able to create.”

She began with a pencil portrait of her daughter and was so pleased with the result that she began to do more family portraits. “My passion for art grew with every artwork I created especially once I started experimenting with colour pencils. Posting pictures of my artwork on Facebook lead to people contacting me for commissions and so my hobby turned into a part time job.”

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Ashley Mcdonald

Ashley McDonald 2023

Ashley McDonald The NZ Artist

CONSCIOUS PERSPECTIVE

Self-taught artist Ashley McDonald was published in a ‘Youth Art’ article in The New Zealand Artist Magazine in July August 2016, and has continued on with her remarkable journey. Seven years later she catches up with us and in her own words, tells us her story.

My artistic journey began by accident. When I was in my early teens I would paint and draw for school homework (or just for fun). I’d draw things I was interested in - such as birds and fish. One day I painted a portrait of my pet Siamese fighting fish. I posted the end result online to a group of tropical fish enthusiasts. Almost immediately I had comments asking me whether I would take commissions and if I could ship internationally. It was quite overwhelming, as I was in my early teens at the time - I had no idea if I could even send art outside of New Zealand. My first commissioned piece was completed at age 15 and was shipped to the United Kingdom. My artistic career snowballed from there. Once my first commission arrived in the UK, the owner posted the piece online, bringing more queries and future commissions. Before this, I had never thought about selling my artwork.

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Beyond Self - Artist Diane Ammar

Diane Ammar

diane-ammar-aotearoa-artist

I AM AN ARTIST

25 years ago Diane Ammar completed a correspondence course on learning how to draw and with the final assignment assessed, the mentor suggested she should investigate paint as a medium as they felt she had an affinity to that. Diane explains further:

“For about four years I occasionally attended short courses held by local artists on learning how to use watercolour, and discovered I loved portraiture. I had a long break from attending classes and workshops until 2021, but during those years I painted many portraits for friends and family using photographs I had taken or ones they had given me to use. These paintings are hanging in homes in Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and England.

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Int UK Jennifer Evans 1 Aotearoa Artist Magazine

UK Artist Jennifer Evans

A ROYAL COMMISSION

Jennifer Evans received a commission to paint HM the late Queen’s corgis for her Silver Jubilee.

“I taught my husband on the train how to use the second camera: I set it on Green and continuous, my usual mode. We went to Windsor Castle, and met the Queen’s Diary Secretary and the Footman, who was OC Dogs during her absence. Thank goodness the Queen was not actually there that day, I don’t think I could have managed the social area and the unaccustomed nuances and curtseying requirements while concentrating on photographing each of the seven dogs.

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Bec Robertson

bec-robertson-aotearoa-artistAVIAN AFFINITY

Bec Robertson’s grandmother and her grandmother’s sister were painters in their retirement. Bec’s grandmother also wrote and illustrated poems and stories, “As a kid I also wrote and illustrated A LOT of ‘newspapers’. I would make up fanciful news stories and pictures then sell ‘the paper’ to my dad for lolly money. I soon learnt that I could resell the same articles to my other family members for more money for lollies! I loved showing them new pictures and ideas and getting their feedback.”

She tells us more: “I have loved being creative for as long as I can remember. As a young child I had a cupboard in the kitchen under the bench where I kept all my treasures, little bottles of crayon sharpenings, paper cut outs of anything which took my fancy, matchboxes full of strange found objects - I think a few unfortunate forgotten lady bugs and a caterpillar died as a result of my match box obsession.”

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