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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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Pam Crowther

pam-crowther-aotearoa-artistPAMELA'S SOUTHERN SYMPHONY

Artists continually strive to bring a piece to life, to fill a canvas with something that personifies a thought or represents a feeling. For artist Pamela Crowther, this is the earliest part of the process. Just as a songwriter starts with no sound and starts with one part of an arrangement – as an artist, Pamela has to start somewhere too. 

by Matt Mortimer

“I begin with the largest shapes filling in dark and light areas, usually in one colour, mainly using a brush for this. I’ll then place another three or four colours to start with, using retarding medium on palette – then it’s mix and begin. My technique varies considerably. I basically follow my instinct.” This instinctive approach works well, as she then branches out into the work, on the way to a sometimes-lengthy process to create each work. “Colour, colour, colour – the desire to change the blank white space into some exciting, thought-provoking or sometimes just decorative. Starting the painting takes courage and the need to prepare yourself for mental stimulation and then, near the end of the painting, dealing with exhaustion.”

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Nancy Frazer

nancy-frazer-aotearoa-artistNancy Frazer is a full-time self-taught artist who specialises in contemporary art, using acrylics on canvas with a strong emphasis on textures and vibrant colours. She has never had any formal training. “Growing up in Singapore, I always wanted to be an artist from a young age but circumstances did not allow me to pursue that dream. I married and moved to New Zealand in the early eighties, but it was not until the late nineties, after raising a family that I was able to fulfil my dream.

“In 2008, I was one of eight artists selected by the NZ Art Guild to display a painting in London in aid of the NZ Shore Plover. ‘Suze’ in Mayfair, London agreed to exhibit the works in its gallery. An auction of the paintings was then held at the residence of the NZ High Commissioner to the UK. I was also invited by ‘Avinki Ltd’ to exhibit my artworks at the New Zealand Avant-Garde Showcase held in Hong Kong in February/March 2009.  In 2012 I was selected as a finalist in the second art contest organised by ‘Artavista.com’ and sponsored by ‘World Wide Art Books’, where I received an ‘Honourable Mention’. I have also been selected as a finalist on two occasions, for the ‘Molly Morpeth Canaday’ art awards held in Whakatane.”

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Lorna Allan

lorna-allan-aotearoa-artistA PASSIONATE PROCESS

Otautau Gallery in Southland and The Artists Room Fine Art Gallery in Dunedin are a far cry from Alaska, such is the range of locations and distance the artwork of Lorna Allan has travelled. “I have paintings in Alaska, other parts of the US, Australia and the UK.”

From simple beginnings of chalk on a blackboard, to what you see today highlights years of experience and expression. “I have had no formal training as in art school. In those days education for girls was considered a waste of time and money as we would only get married and have children. I recall clearly the first day I started school at High Street School, Dunedin. The teacher gave me a piece of chalk and I was allowed to draw on a board with my name on it while she got the other children onto their work.  When I had finished, I took the chalk to the teacher to give it back to her.  She said, “Oh no dear. That’s yours for always as long as it lasts”. I was overwhelmed with her kindness as I had been told I was to learn reading, writing and numbers and not to play around with “that rubbish” at school.”

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Rosanne Croucher

rosanne-croucher-aotearoa-artistGENEROUS GIFT

From a young age, Rosanne Croucher loved to make things. She won a few colouring in competitions as a child, which was very encouraging. “During high school I took art subjects, but I wasn’t sure how that would translate into a career, so I ended up moving to Auckland and beginning a Health Science degree.”

Two years on, she experienced some health issues and felt a deep need to re-establish creativity in her life. “The following year I did Bible college through my Church Equippers and it was there that I began to develop a vision for a career as an artist. I started up an art group at church and enrolled at Unitec to study a Bachelor of Design and Visual Arts. Looking back, I cringe at some of the work I made during my degree and Masters, but I made some great work as well and learnt so much.

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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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Mary Sneyd

mary-sneyd-aotearoa-artistFABRIC AND THREAD

By Matt Mortimer

Artists of all types are often asked about their favourite instruments to make their creations. Music artists will have an instrument of choice that gets that certain sound, a painter may have a brush or easel they love and others, like textile artist Mary Sneyd – well, they reach for something different entirely. And her choice is…? “My sewing machine, because my work has many layers and it is impossible to sew by hand!”

This sets Mary apart from many who call themselves an artist, much like the clear difference between her occupation when she is not sitting behind her sewing machine. “I still work as a doctor/scientist three days a week and do textile art for three days a week or sometimes four - if I can get away with it! - so although I’d like to be one, I’m not a career artist.” 

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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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Romuald Rudzki

romuald-rudzki-aotearoa-artistTHE FIRST PREALIST

Inspiration to create art is drawn from various areas for each artist. For Manawatu-based artist Romuald Rudzki, his motivation stems from a rebirth of colour, following a tragedy.

“I have painted since childhood but did not take up my place at art college when I was 18 as I was advised that I would “end up as an unemployed artist.” In 1988 I was in a head-on collision with a drunk driver which left me blind for several months with retinal detachments, as well as a spine fractured in two places. When I eventually regained my sight, I was struck by how each colour is so different from any other, for example, blue cannot be described in terms of red. I therefore started painting again.”

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Fiona Garlick – Sculptor

Sometimes it takes a global pandemic to shift your thinking.

Covid-19 and the visceral fear of the unknown that ensued in the early days of New Zealand’s lockdown took sculptor Fiona Garlick right back to her previous career as a documentary film maker, and a film about the Black Death that swept through medieval Europe. With no orthodox medicine or doctors to speak of, people were superstitious, full of fear, and relied on talismans, incantations and lucky charms to ward off illness.

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