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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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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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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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Monique Tichborne

ARTISTIC ESCAPE

Diagnosed in 2018 with Fibromyalgia and FND (Functional neurological disorder) Monique Tichborne bravely started to use art as a means of therapy, a distraction from the pain. She explains further . . . 

My health and requiring home based work were the motivations for me to become an artist. I gain inspiration from all around me. I don’t think my creative head ever switches off. I’m always capturing photos to add to my ideas folder. At the end of 2019 I was struggling with my drawing so to test myself I turned my page around which oddly was easier. I have been drawing all my portrait work upside down since. I have only begun painting this year. My canvas doesn’t remain stationery here either and I don’t work on an easel. Art therapy has been one consistent ‘healer’ while I manage daily pain. This year I officially classify my occupation as an artist. 

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Sarah Pou

Sarah Pou - Aotearoa Artist - The New Zealand Artists Magazine

COLOURFUL AFFAIR

Studying Visual Communication at Unitec in Auckland from the early age of 17, Sarah Pou went on to have her art showcased in several high street art Galleries in Auckland and then later in London. She met her husband when she was travelling in England and her artistic career was put on hold in favour of consistent income.

After the birth of her first child she painted childrens nursery artwork and one of her customers proclaimed that she was an ‘illustrator’. This resonated with her and after returning to New Zealand and having their third child, she felt an overwhelming desire to create again, which she could not ignore. She started to develop her style whilst working and looking after her young family. “Time was very limited so I carved out time in the evenings. Although it was tiring, I felt fulfilled and content when I was creating.”

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UK ARTIST Amanda Bates

Amanda Bates - Aotearoa Artist - The New Zealand Artists Magazine

Trees prompted Amanda Bates’ move from palette knives and oil paint to pen and ink. “A particular group of beech trees at Avebury were responsible for this switch,” says British artist Amanda, who grew up in a house called Haere  Mai, which she understands to mean ‘Welcome’ in Maori.

By Tim Saunders

“Growing on top of the henge (earthen bank), their intertwined roots have been exposed by soil erosion, caused by a combination of weathering and visitors feet. The resultant lattice is fascinatingly ornate and well beyond the scope of my knife work. Brushes didn’t seem to hold the answer either; the magic that I was reaching for didn’t seem to be present in a realistic depiction. I tried several approaches, including a diversion into a stylised use of colour that took on a life of its own for a while but it wasn’t until I reached back in time for my pen and its promise of crisply rendered detail, that I realised that colour itself might be the problem. It seems to be well known among photographers that a sharp monochrome photograph will show detail better than any colour photograph could. The reason for this has nothing to do with any inherent superiority of black and white film over colour; it holds true in digital photography. It is simply that colour distracts the eye from detail and it seems that our brains can only cope with so much visual information at a time.

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Debbie Cleland

debbie-cleland-aotearoa-artistA PROMISE MADE

Brought up around the Otago Harbour area of Dunedin, Debbie Cleland distinctly remembers being out on a walk one day as an 11-12 year old and coming across a gentleman who had set up his easel on the water’s edge at Carey’s Bay. She was very curious to see what he was painting, and crept up quietly to peer over his shoulder. Immediately fascinated at how the watercolour paint flowed from his brush on to the page, creating the most beautiful watery reflections, she promised herself, “One day I will paint with watercolours like this man.” Many years later she attended a weekend art class lead by Barrie White. This experience motivated her to finally start painting, fulfilling her promise, the results of which can be seen below. Debbie explains . . .

I feel like my career has just begun. Over the years there has been little time for me to pursue my passion for art, due to raising a large family of four, (and all that entails), so I have not been as productive as I would have liked. There has been no specific space for creating art, except for the kitchen table. However, I now have a designated room in our home where I can work in solitude. I will soon have a lot more time to pursue my creative side as I intend to retire in September this year. This is a huge motivating factor for me to really get stuck into producing more works.

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Susannah Law - Aotearoa Artist - The New Zealand Artists Magazine

Susannah Law

Susannah-law-aotearoa-artistSince childhood, Susannah Law has been receiving awards for her artwork and it was always her dream to be an artist. With much encouragement from family and friends, she finally completed a Diploma in Fine Arts from Hungry Creek Art School in Puhoi.

My mother always supported me and organised private lessons for me during my teen years with my forever favourite art tutor (late) Kathleen Bartlett. Kathleen was so passionate about art and the history of art which she studied in London, she was always inspiring to me. I can remember her even now, vividly telling a story of her travels such as to murals in Greece and Turkey and other exhibits she visited, how Van Gogh’s originals move you in a way that prints never could and that paintings in their original form always have a better impact.

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Tessa Ralston

tessa-ralston-aotearoa-artistINSPIRED ILLUSTRATION

I’ve come to find that art seems to always niggle it’s way back into my life, even, perhaps, when I’m trying to distance myself from it. I have no true recollection of ‘getting into art’, but like most children inherently are, I was drawn to painting and visual expression.

With my mother being a graphic designer, I was fortunate enough that she fostered my artistic energy and patiently encouraged my creativity – and amusingly, she simultaneously firmly discouraged my entering the graphic design world. I believe there is a subtle divergence that happens when artists are ‘made’, and that is when they keep drawing, painting and playing after they are no longer children.

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Janet Marshall

Janet Marshall - Aotearoa Artist

DREAM CHASER

English-born Kiwi, Janet Marshall has exhibited and sold her work as far afield as England, Japan, USA, Canada, Australia, Italy and China and designed stamps for NZ Post and NZ Fish and Game.

Janet is a founding member of Nature in Art, Gloucestor, England and has work in numerous collections including Nature in Art England, NZ Milk Board USA, NZ Post, NZ Treasury, Puki Ariki Museum Taranaki, and Birds in Art, Wisconsin, USA. She has also written and had published five illustrated children’s books as well as an illustrated garden diary of her former home Te Popo Gardens in Taranaki, called ‘Images of a Garden’.

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