When I paint in the open environment in New Zealand I experience a very intense raw relationship with the land and feel the power of the forces of nature in shaping the land. Painting on Dunedin’s John Wilson’s Ocean Drive I experience the rawness of the changing weather – the wind, the rain and the sun. Painting at Te Waewae Bay in Southland brings other challenges – as well as the colder weather I have to contend with hordes of hungry sandflies! The West Coast Port Elizabeth painting graphically shows these powerful forces at work on the land.
Equally the forces of human struggle and habitation leave indelible marks on the land both physically and spiritually and these stories people the landscape. For example I was very privileged to be support crew on Te Heke, a journey retracing the footsteps of Te Maiharoa and his people who were evicted from their land in Omarama in 1879. A pacifist, Te Maiharoa walked to set up a new village at the mouth of the Waitaki River. The feelings and the history were raw in their intensity, the weather was scorching hot and the land was dry,stony and limestone, interrupted with the intense blue of the lakes.
The principal of Bathgate Park school, Whetu Cormick, is for this year and next the President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation whose offices are in Wellington. For the first time 3 dimensional works celebrating the creativity of Bathgate Park children are on display in these offices. The children were just stoked to think their work was on display in a Wellington highrise!
A request for paintings led to a week spent driving up and down the South Island’s West Coast looking for good places to paint and absorbing the working people’s histories so vividly etched in the landscape and the towns. No wonder you can’t take the coast out of a coaster! This view is from the Strongman Mine Memorial, a commemoration of the 19 men who lost their lives in a mine explosion in 1967. It is also a very popular spot for the large number of tourists to stop as well.
I really enjoy painting in the snow both here and overseas – nice to get recognition for doing such crazy things! Aspiring Art Prize, January 2017 – Landscape Award.
The house is full with half opened boxes, cataloguing criteria, label writing, obsessing about Boosted – an arts crowdfunding site and then repacking plastic to take on its journey to the Otago Pioneer Women’s Memorial Hall! The exhibition opens at 6pm on 19 October and will run through Labour weekend and every weekend after.
I was interviewed by RNZ ‘Standing Room only about my plastic collection.
Standing Room Only ‘Pioneering Plastic’with Janet de Wagt
I’ve been working as artist in residence at Bathgate Park School of Arts & Technology for 3 days a week this year. This is an exciting opportunity and I’m working with teachers and students to enhance creative opportunities, increase skills and reinforce classroom learning. The long corridors of the school have become a natural gallery to display the children’s work – an art gallery for children by children! This year the school has been focused on The United Nations Goals for Sustainability, there are 16 in all, and the creativity of the children has been amazing. In keeping with these goals most of the works have been made using materials that have been recycled, re-purposed and re-arted. We will be having art tours of the school in Term 4 where I will take visitors around the displays and talk a bit about them and share coffee and cake. If you are interested please email me for details.
it always takes a few days to get into a new landscape – its landmarks, the light and the local stories/ i nga ra o mua. What an amazing coastline and beautiful Moutohora / Whale Island. Painting on location means you have to be on location so with trusty ironing board I will travel. Unfortunately due to heavy swells not to White Island this time… My paintings from this area are available from ‘Art & Acre’ firstname.lastname@example.org
I have talked to a lot of Rotary Clubs in my time as an artist – always good for a lunch first and then meeting really good people who are passionate about raising money for different community organisations.
This time I took 3 things that signify my creative life – a painting done on location in the Waitaki Valley, a book about the Mataura River Art Project and a historical plastic baby’s teething toy designed by Hilary Page in the 1940s.
After 10 years CARA (Community Assessment Rehabilitation Associates) has decided to end the funding for the ‘Women’s Art Group’. This has been an amazing example of a private health provider funding an arts’ project. Many women have used this art group, the women have had 4 very successful exhibitions and I have given well received presentations at 2 TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) international conferences.
I hope to publish postcards of the artwork made as a celebration of the last 10 years.