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ARTIST'S BLOG

Central Otago Inspiration
June 2023

so happy to be housesitting in Rangurly, Maniatoto; deep in the heart of Central Otago. Big skies, blood red land at sunset and snowy peaks tinged with pink light. 

Walking into a dreamy landscape

I'm busy taking pictures, as reference for art works. So many views and different colour ways as the light changes.
"Maniatoto Sunset" 
This is the first in a series of works inspired by the area. So much more to come! 
Prints available from Image Vault

Back to work now x

Ticking off a Bucket List Item,
exhibiting in Paris.

October 2023

As a young girl, I would often find myself gazing out my schoolroom window, captivated by the dream of the distant world beyond my high country town. The Southern Alps, once seen as a barrier, now serve as the inspiration for my artwork. Fast forward to 2023, a year after my artists' residency at Chateau Orquevaux, and I found myself in France once again, showcasing my art at the prestigious Carrousel du Louvre in Paris. This article chronicles my journey from a dreamy little girl to a proud artist exhibiting on an international stage.

Discovering Parcus Gallery:
During my residency, a fellow artist recommended Parcus Gallery, an esteemed art gallery based in Austria. Intrigued by the opportunity, I decided to sign with them. This involved submitting images of my artwork and paying a fee that would cover 12 months of representation and a single exhibition showing. After careful consideration, I chose the Art Shopping Expo, a renowned event that brings together hundreds of artists from around the world.


Preparation and Excitement:
With my three carefully wrapped paintings in tow, I traveled from Aotearoa to France and delivered them to the gallery owner in Paris two days before the show. Eager to immerse myself in the art world, I spent my days visiting various galleries, drawing inspiration from every corner. The anticipation grew as opening night approached, with queues forming well before the show even began. Accompanied by my son and his fiancé, we were fortunate enough to enter ahead of the crowds and explore the vast display of booths.


The Joy of Exhibition:
Seeing my artwork proudly displayed on the pristine white walls was an overwhelming experience. My paintings depicted both iconic scenes of Aotearoa and the beloved Eiffel Tower, which holds a special place in my heart. Sharing this moment with my family filled me with immense pride and joy. Instead of feeling like an imposter, I realized that there is room for all of us and our unique artistic voices. Connecting with fellow artists and exchanging experiences of art, business, and travel proved to be invaluable.

The Challenges and Rewards:
Investing my savings into my art business, enduring long days alone, and navigating the physical and mental challenges was not always easy. However, I learned that I am the one who must take charge and open doors for myself. Owning the outcomes, both the highs and lows, became an integral part of my journey. Returning to Aotearoa at the beginning of summer, I eagerly look forward to the exhibition season here, armed with newfound knowledge and wisdom gained from my experience in Paris and a confidence boost in the knowledge even small-town girls can dream big.


Conclusion:
My artistic journey, from a dreamy little girl to exhibiting in Paris, has been a transformative and rewarding experience. The mountains that once seemed like barriers now serve as the subjects of my artwork. Through perseverance, self-belief, and seizing opportunities, I have been able to showcase my art on an international stage. As I plan for future exhibitions in Paris, I am filled with gratitude for the lessons learned and the support of my loved ones. With each step, I continue to grow as an artist, embracing the warm days and the endless possibilities that lie ahead.




JUNE 2023 POST:
Champagne Chateau Artist's Residency

The stunning Chateau artist's residency in the region of Champagne, France; seemed too perfect to be real. Upon having my application accepted and being notified of the Diderot Grant, my dream started to move into reality.
View towards the Chateau

 

Just over 90 minutes from Central Paris by train, I quickly identified my fellow artists in transit. Women from all over the world, each professional in their chosen disciplines, each one bubbling with excitement.
Group dinner on the lawn, looking towards the village of Orquevaux

 

We were met at the train station by the Chateau host, who drove us through the lush field of provincial France, softened with a familiar golden light as the mist rose in the morning's warmth. As we approached the valley of Orquevaux, tree-clad hills wrapped around us. Our driver made a point of stopping, allowing time to take in the Chateau, resting just below the tree line on sweeping lawns that rolled down to a lake. Three storied, glowing warm stone, shutters opened to the daylight; elegant, sublime, perfect.
Fresh local produce meals, including this breakfast

I was not prepared for the wave of emotions, gasping at the beauty of our residency. We stood in silence, each deep in their own thoughts; wiping away tears of joy.

 

Warmly greeted on the front steps, we were shown our rooms and studios. Mine was on the top floor, complete with a huge bed, flowers, and all the treatments the French have perfected; creating a comfortable rustic chic boudoir. Each studio had bare wooden floors speckled with paint,  evidence of the previous inhabitant's creative process. Afternoon light poured through windows, which framed the enchanting view of the lake and the tiny village of Orquevaux, surrounding pastoral land and church on the opposite side of the valley.
Beautiful bathrooms for residents

After exploring and a rest, we meet for dinner in the grand dining room; surrounded by painted tapestries; depicting the Chateau in its previous life; way before Nazi troops commandeered the home during world war two; to house troops. Upon their retreat the owners never lived in the Chateau again; it was spoilt for them by the enemy's presence who stripped each room of all removable features.  There was a long period the Chateau went to sleep, deteriorating at the hands of the elements; making a home for bats, bird life, deer and and foxes. 

the restored stables are also artists studios on the estate

The current owner took on the project of restoration, with the goal to on sell a liveable space. In our many evenings of talks, we learned how he fell in love with the chateau, through the process of reawakening her and bringing the building back to life. A huge financial investment, if he was to retain the property and keep up the ongoing repairs, an artist's residency seemed an obvious choice. Bringing life, creativity, community, and joy into the home; and establishing a viable business that is now world renowned.
Misty sunrise over Orquevaux village, view from my studio

Each day we woke to the smell of fresh coffee, the rustle of chefs preparing breakfast foods from fresh local produce. Croissants are fresh from the oven, homemade preserves, and local soft cheeses. Meal times created a buzz of excitement, in anticipation of an abundance of mouth-watering delights. Senses were heightened as the chef explained each dish, her words, the beautiful food, and the aromas made for an exquisite experience.

I taught myself watercolour painting of the local village and Summer blooms

The basement was made up of large open spaces, room enough for livestock to keep warm in winter; their body heat helped heat the rooms above. Now a wine cellar, the original kitchen; space for karaoke time and I’m pretty sure a ghost or two.

One of my paintings, painted using QOR watercolours

Meal times were an opportunity to network, share ideas, and discuss art practices and business. As the days rolled by, all too quickly; we learned more and more of each other, and firm friendships were formed.

One of the artists chose to hang their works around the village for open studio day.

I worked on a series of watercolors depicting my surroundings, including the village; an idyllic 10-minute downhill walk. No one rushed or took shortcuts; as the long way meandered through leafy spaces, orchards, crumbling barns, and lakeside. The lightness and fluidity of QOR watercolor paints seemed the best medium to capture the serenity and softness of my surroundings. Being mid Summer, brilliant roses rambled over sandstone walls, wildflowers taking advantage of every crevice reaching for sunlight and water. 

I cannot recommend this residency more highly. Traveling and connecting with creatives have been pivotal to my creative process, confidence, and sense of community. 

CONTACT THE CHATEAU
Learn about my recommended art materials