'Nature is so powerful, so strong.
Capturing its essence is not easy - your work becomes
a dance with light and the weather.
It takes you to a place within yourself.'
- Annie Leibovitz -
Hi, I'm a botanical and natural history artist living just outside the small town of Riverhead, about 25 kms north west of Auckland in New Zealand. I'm surrounded by farmland and native bush and with the wild west coast, the more subdued eastern coasts and the Waitakere Ranges in between, I have the natural world at my fingertips. Consequently I have an endless supply of amazing flora and fauna to keep me painting and drawing for years.
I am intrigued by and love painting the intricate details of plants and natural objects I find. It's often the overlooked, non perfect, often past their prime specimens that draw me in. Through careful observation, drawing and painting I have learnt so much about the natural world around me and hope that you, the viewer will be drawn in to appreciate its complexity and beauty.
Watercolour is my medium of choice, as the transparent quality of watercolour allows me to add many glazes which not only bring a richness and depth of colour to my work, but a softness too when needed. I am intrigued by all the tiny details and the flexibility of watercolour allows me to capture these.
My paintings take many hours from initial sketches and graphite studies to the finished painting. Working from life, documenting my discoveries in my sketchbook is a very important part of my art practice. I need to understand how the plant 'works', how all the parts fit together before I can produce a botanically correct as well as aesthetically pleasing portrayal of my subject. Magnifying glasses, microscope and scalpel are all just as important a part of my tool kit as my paints and brushes. Each artwork can take up to 100+ hours, but it’s a labour of love that sees me become a virtual recluse when I gets going.
However, I don't see it as work - it's meditative, even therapeutic. I leave my busy world behind, and focus entirely on painting and even after many hours in my little studio area, I come away feeling refreshed.
Sketchbooks are an important part of my art practice - I love sketching out in the field, documenting what I see. Keeping a nature journal is as much a relaxation
as 'work' and it is through time spent sketching that I form my ideas.
I also enjoy working in graphite and ink
and recently begun working on vellum
which involves a whole new skill set.
I also love experimenting with oil, acrylics and printmaking. My paintings and prints have found good homes in New Zealand, Australia and the UK.
BASNZ - Botanical Art Society of New Zealand - president 2019 -
Society of Botanical Artists (SBA) Diploma in Botanical Art (Dist)
BA Hons 1st Class - Graphic Design (Scientific Illustration) Middlesex Polytechnic UK
Chelsea School of Art - Art Foundation course