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Watercolour New Zealand PatronMy first recollection of life is drawing a mural with wax crayons on my newly painted bedroom walls, and later my school books were liberally illustrated as was any blank surface.After 21 years as a graphic artist and illustrator, a fortuitous meeting in Canada with Bill Braden, the owner of the Yukon Gallery, was the advent of a new art direction and an erratic income.
My early paintings were detailed and illustrative with a limited palette and although satisfying and successful at the time, I always felt motivated to simplify and emphasise the effects of the sky’s rhythms and the light on land and reflected water. My policy was to avoid being influenced by other artists, theories and styles from books or videos until I needed inspiration. Austen Deans was that initial inspiration with his beautiful clear colourful wash technique.
A weekend workshop with him back in 1986 made me aware of the grandeur, the light and the colours in our Southern landscape. As well as being a challenge, watercolours create their own unexpected (and sometimes awful) surprises but controlling such a wayward medium is so satisfying.I now prefer to work on site at every opportunity or from line and wash sketches in my visual diary.
Since 1980, I have participated in many group and solo exhibitions, invited to be a guest artist, and featured in two art publications: “NZ's favourite artists 2” and “NZ in watercolour”. Highlights have been winning art awards in Invercargill, Dunedin, Oamaru and Ashburton; invitations to exhibit at the Museum of Watercolour in Mexico and Watercolour NZ in Wellington; and tutoring art tours to Norfolk Island and the Flinders Ranges in Australia.
A fifth generation Cantabrian, Lyttelton is now my home where I have a gallery/studio overlooking the harbour. Developing a terraced garden with old bridge timbers and rock walls on a clay hillside has been another challenge.
Read an interview with ADRIENNE PAVELKA BY SUE WILD