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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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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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Lanie Wilton

lanie-wilton-aotearoa-artistGISBORNE MAGIC

When Lanie Wilton was growing up, she says, there was no shortage of talent in her family. Her mother, aunties and grandmother all carried a creative flair, if it wasn’t poetry or paint it was the use of fabric. Lanie was also very blessed to have had inspiring high school art teachers. They allowed her to make the art room her second home.

By Anita Nossiter

Lanie quite vividly remembers seeing Lisa Wisse-Robinsons’ stunning landscape paintings in a magazine while she was attending high school as an art student. She loves her earlier landscape work, composition and her colour use. After returning from her OE in 2006, she studied art and earned herself a Diploma in Art and Creativity from the Learning Connection. In 2009 she qualified as a high school art teacher at Massey University in Palmerston North.

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Gwyn Hughes

NATURAL PROGRESSION

Gwyn Hughes’ father and grandfather used to paint and it was a natural progression for him to become an artist. Gaining a National Diploma at Wrexham College of Art, Wales between 1980-1982, he was excited to explore his creativity and find his own path and as most artists do, he took inspiration from all of the great artists he came across. Gwyn tells us his story.

I first came to New Zealand in the 70s through a joinery internship. I joined a band, secured a couple of residencies in Christchurch and stayed for five years. After moving back to Wales from New Zealand, I would pop into a gallery run by a local artist, David Williams. I started to draw birds and local landscapes, and paint watercolours, and I was encouraged to pursue the arts as a career. I completed my four-year Illustration and Design Diploma in two years. I have never been a great one for entering exhibitions or awards but know as an artist it’s how you put yourself out there. I have been very lucky throughout my art career and I have received loads of support from family and friends who have always offered encouragement and critique. 

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Iwen Yong

NOTABLE TALENT

Born in Kuala Lampur, and immigrating to New Zealand at the age of six, with his family, Iwen Yong has never formally trained as an artist. “I have never had any formal education in art and no one in my family (extended and immediate) have had any experience in the creative field so it was hard to bridge that gap. Growing up I would never consider art as a profession (more of a hobby) so it was a tough decision to give up a stable income and career aspirations to take a risk and pursue art full time."

Iwen grew up in Maungaraki, Lower Hutt and went to Puketiro primary, Hutt Valley high school and then Victoria university. “I went to university to study accounting and commercial law and then I qualified and worked as a chartered accountant. While at work one day I drew a picture of my dog, Gus, on the whiteboard. An older lady who was an artist asked my boss Marie who the artist was. She approached me and asked if I had ever tried oil painting. Growing up I wasn’t really exposed to the arts and I didn’t even know what a canvas was. She offered to bring her student grade oil paints for me if I wanted to give it a try. I was reluctant at first but I found it relaxing and I really enjoyed the creative process. However, accountancy is quite different from pursuing a career in fine arts.”  

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Lacey Middleton

SYMBOLIC DETAIL

With a diploma in Creative technologies from WelTec, Lacey Middleton began painting seriously when her twins were babies
as a way to earn extra cash while looking after her three young children.

“Art was something I was naturally good at, and it brought in extra income. My realistic paintings seemed to sell as fast as I could make them, and word of mouth sales meant I began to have commissions come in. I also studied art history for seven years, and adore the renaissance and impressionism styles. The work of great artists, like Monet, never ages.”

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Siobhan Demeester

siobhan-demeester-aotearoa-artistMY HAPPY PLACE

From the moment Siobhan Demeester opens her eyes in the morning and sees the sun hit the top of the gum trees outside her window, she just wants to put those colours onto canvas. “Everything I see I convert it into a painting. I take my camera with me everywhere I go and am constantly taking photos to paint. Then when I go to bed at night, I dream about painting…quite obsessive really.” Obsessive or not, the positive feedback she receives from people and the fact that when she paints, she is in a very happy place, motivates her as well as winning prizes, being commissioned and selling her work.

Born in England and sharing her time between Australia and New Zealand, Siobhan completed two years at Gold Coast Art School between 2011 and 2013. When she moved to Russell Island, she saw a notice on the board at the ferry terminal, advertising a workshop with New Zealand Master Pastelist, Maxine Thompson, which she promptly signed up for and has never regretted.

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UK ARTIST Danny Mooney

Danny-Mooney-aotearoa-artist-the new-zealand-artist-magazine

When drawing people you would think it might help to actually remember their faces… What if you can’t remember them? British artist Danny Mooney suffers from facial blindness but finds that he can overcome this obstacle by focussing on other aspects of a person’s character, an approach that lends itself to caricatures.

“I can draw recognisable people with just a few lines without any real trouble,” he reveals. “I’ve been doing political cartoons. They’re an expression of my annoyance.  Cartoons are caricatures really. Say I’m doing a cartoon of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson… I can do the shape and the way he stands without too much effort. I look at a couple of other people’s cartoons of him and see that they all have little piggy eyes and droopy eyelids. For me the thing that makes Boris look like Boris is the hair, the round face, the fat body and the shabby suit. It doesn’t really need any additional features. That cartoon could be Donald trump or Boris Johnson. In order to produce political cartoons you have to stay abreast of the news but in order to stay sane you have to not stay abreast of the news! It’s a difficult tight rope to walk. I have always recognised people by their shape, the way they move, the way they walk, rather than by their faces. If I’m painting someone then those are the characteristics that are most important to me.”

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Ken Tanner

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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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