I am a New Zealand artist residing in Wellington. Ever since I could hold a crayon in my hand I have drawn and painted. My mother knew she had an artist in the family when she left me in the kitchen for five minutes at the age of 14 months and came back to her cupboards being artistically rendered in jam. The wallpaper was my next canvas until I was given paper and crayons.
As a girl I belonged to the Hutt Art Society and won a number of art competitions, including national competitions. At the age of 18 I travelled to Australia, North America and Europe and along the way I worked and met some wonderful people. I studied at night completing a graphics course in Adelaide, completed fine art papers at the University of Calgary, and drew from live models.
Whilst living in Canada I met Jia Lu, a practicing artist. After a year of studying with Jia I was invited to work with Jia and her team to learn the business, attend Jia's exhibitions and to work on my own pieces. When Jia moved to the USA I studied for a short period under Enyi Lu, a famous Chinese painter known for his historical military paintings and portraits of Chairman Mao.
Four years later I returned home to New Zealand and studied at Massey University taking papers in fine art, printmaking, graphics, typography, history and culture. In 2005 I completed a Bachelor of Visual Communication Design (Hons). I then did a short stint of teaching and working as a freelance graphic designer, before returning to full-time work to support my family. Now that my children are grown, I spend my weekends painting and exhibiting. My work can be purchased from my on-line gallery, local galleries and from shows and exhibitions around the world.
Oil on canvas is my favourite medium as I love the depth that is created by layering translucent colours on top of each other. Each artworks can take two to three months to complete depending on their size.
I also enjoy painting directly onto metal plates and pressing these onto heavy-gauge paper to get a fluid look before working into these paintings again with oils, acrylic, or other media. When creating abstract work I favour heavy brushes, rags, and palette knives.
My art reflects my inner beliefs of being caring, responsible, and respectful towards others and to everything in our natural world. Nature and the environment are a big part of who I am. What I paint is often driven by my concern for the environment and I aim to give a voice to environmental issues through visual narratives.
Imagery, colour, and composition are tools that I use to express narratives on climate change, the impact of waste on our environment and on habitat and species loss. I paint in a subtle way, so that viewers get an inkling of a story that they can work out for themselves. This approach enables me to raise awareness without being confrontational and I love playing with ideas and contrasting simplicity with complexity. What might first look like a nice picture has a serious message behind it.
Good environmental practices are something I strive for in my studio. I only use good quality materials, as quality brushes can be used repetitively whereas cheap brushes are generally thrown out after a few uses. I use museum grade canvases and paints as these last anywhere from 75 – 200 years which is more sustainable than cheap prints that fade after a year and are designed to be thrown out. I also use Schmincke medium gel with my oil paints as it allows me to wash out my brushes in water. In this throw-away society I think it is important that our choices are more sustainable both in how we work and what we purchase.