Painting is just one way I express my creativity. My house is another. A place where I display some of my large collection of historical plastics, other collectables and art. This art group was interested in visiting me at home and hearing about my life as an artist here and in Britain.
There are many art groups who collectively buy art and share it around among the members in their group. The art they buy expresses their interests, passions and special places. A member of this group loves Griffons and their special walking place on the harbour.
(Below is part of that painting)
It’s so sad that as children many of us only got one version of the local stories that bring the land alive. I was very privileged to be support crew for friends who were walking on ‘Te Heke’ from Omarama to the mouth of the Waitaki river. The walk honoured the Waitaha prophet Te Maiharoa, who was evicted from his ancestral homelands and had his village at Omarama destroyed by the constabulary in the winter of 1879.
I painted in the stunning Waitaki valley and have since returned many times to add to the series of paintings I started then.
Sometimes I’m asked to do a painting from a particular place that is special and has great personal significance. This in turn gives me an opportunity to paint in some amazing places. This is one of them. I have painted Ruby Island many times and from many angles, even from on it , but this particular view is from private land and is not one I would ever normally have the opportunity to paint. Thanks Sara and Tom, and The Olive Grove for letting me get my trailer down there on their nice new lawn!!
It’s always important for me to go to another country and visually soak up the differences – it refreshes my visual bank in a way I can’t really explain.
As well as going for a birthday I worked on a small part of a larger photographic project that is still ongoing and a work in progress.
I was also interested in the history and the remnants of Dutch colonisation in Java & Bali.
How’s this for a family tree illustration? – in the palace at Yogyakarta!
It was an honour to be asked to open this anniversary exhibition. I was the first guest artist to be featured and I remember well, 10 years ago, dropping off my paintings near the farm gate for that very first exhibition. I had a bunch of good thoughts, excited at people and artists committed to bringing the creative spirit to the depths of the Catlins!
It was great to be able to be there again to celebrate this achievement with everybody involved in the Southern District Arts Trust.
I am very happy (and so are the neighbours) to be a guardian of this tiny library. I painted it to match the house. It has been very busy since its opening!! These Lilliput libraries are popping up all over Dunedin, painted by Dunedin artists – another great community project. You can read all about this project at: New Zealand Book Council
Helena de Kok is a Dutch photographer based in Wellington. She is currently working on a photography project supported by the Netherlands Embassy, showcasing and celebrating members of the Dutch community (first and second generation) in New Zealand.
Helena interviewed me at home in Dunedin and has included my story in this project which you can see and read more about at: Dutch New Zealand
Because I have a very busy artistic life, some things get put a bit on the back burner – but this has the positive of allowing me to take the time to really reflect on my experiences in different places. I had always wanted to visit the Chatham Islands and this trip was very special because I was taken under the wings of the local people. I had the best boil up ever, honed my darts’ skill, enjoyed wonderful warm hospitality, talked about art and the island, got taken to some amazing views, visited the neat museum, four wheel drived to the edge of the land and had many other amazing adventures.
I hope I can return to this very special place in the future.
I have this continuing relationship with this area where I enjoy painting in the countryside – so different from the south of New Zealand! This trip was combined with a few community workshops, one of which was question and answer sessions with students at Mathilde Planck Schule in Lorrach – a school similar to a NZ polytechnic. They were particularly interested in the fact that I was a full time woman artist as it is very hard to make a living in the arts in Germany.
The students were also interested in New Zealand, the culture and the lifestyle of young people. They were intrigued that young people in NZ had cars…..
Another community workshop was at the Frauenberatung Centre, a place where women come for individual therapies that often include art. I worked with a therapist and her client on developing different creative techniques to explore different emotions.