Interfacing with your artistic side

(This is the Online column written for The Southland Times)

It’s hard work being on holiday.

Right now I’m about halfway through a little post-Christmas break and I’m wondering how I usually manage to find time to work.

You might think I’d be pretty chuffed with the big yellow thing in the sky putting in an appearance while I’m on parole but I have something of a hate-hate relationship with the sun. In fact, I’m still recovering from an overdose of rays more than a month ago.

Because of that, I’ve been spending all those nice, sunny days hiding indoors and generally bonding with assorted well-chilled beverages. Does it get any better?

I had planned on doing some painting while on holiday. I’m not particularly good at it — as the old saying goes, I couldn’t draw water from a well. I tend to just slap on the paint until it resembles something close to my subject. However, so far I haven’t managed to find time to even look at a brush.

There are plenty of truly arty southerners out there and quite a few of them have websites.

Invercargill-born Rebecca Gilmore specialises in painting native birds in all their beady-eyed glory. The detail in her paintings is quite amazing and you’ll find her galleries in Roxburgh and Cromwell. Apart from a good selection of limited edition prints available for purchase, you’ll also find work on her site from photographer Gregory Slui and James Gilmore, Rebecca’s dad, my old art teacher from high school and vege gardener extraordinaire.

Photographer Myles Maheno lives and works in Invercargill, and his site contains a good range of work, from a sombre and meaningful black and white image taken on Anzac Day to southern seascapes (love the fluffy cow photo in the gallery). Rumour has it Myles will be holding an exhibition in Invercargill soon, so look out for that.

Clown school graduate Tony Bishop was born in the North Island but after a bit of travel ended up in Ohai, where he paints in a style he calls southern gothic. There’s a quirkiness to these paintings that give me a fit of the warm fuzzies. Tony’s art also includes photography and illustrating the adult comic book Jiffy the Fire Clown.

Riverton artist Dawn Barry has been painting for 20 years and works mainly in acrylics. The simple, clean lines of her work shows through, even in the small preview images onsite. I really loved the cabbage tree paintings. I readily admit to horticulturally challenged but do have a soft spot for cabbage trees —because, even for me, they’re hard to kill.

Brenda Forde produces a unique range of jewellery under the brand name Luminescence. Brenda’s works are predominantly in paua but her range also includes fresh water pearls, white and black mother of pearl and bone.

Winton painter Kirk Munro has some fantastic examples of his work on view, with stunning landscapes and equally stunning flowers. Kirk works mainly in oils and specialises in mid to large-sized paintings. He seems equally at home painting mountains, roses or lakes.

His Lake Pukaki painting is amazing — if only I had a wall big enough.

Award-winning photographer Graham Dainty, of Te Anau, has a quite comprehensive site with both commercial and personal work included.

If your taste in art leans more toward wood, Cerwood Woodcraft might be the site for you. While the site design is a little hard on the eyes with its fluorescent green linking text, make sure you click on the button labelled photographs to see some lovely wood products.

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