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Art & Culture

Artists craft of capturing light

Light, without it as humans, we can see nothing. With it we can see colour, movement, texture, life in all its forms, minute detail and so much more. A true talent of an artist is to capture that light as if staring at its effect in the mind’s eye.
 |  Cynthia Daly  | 

The Informer spoke with first time exhibitor, Whitianga Photographic Club President, Kate Beauchamp, a first-time exhibitor with Mercury Bay Art Escape.

Looking upon a photograph by Kate Beauchamp of tauhou (waxeye bird) taken in her garden as it perches on a vintage teacup, its silver-surrounded eye expresses light and life through the tiniest fleck.

In another composition, Kate ‘extends’ the depth of colour and texture of a cluster of hibiscus flowers by using light against a black background. The result draws you into the photograph and holds you captive.

While Kate has been a photographer for a very long time, she now feels that she has the confidence to be able to exhibit her work. Viewing her work though, that seems like a major understatement for the artist who bought her first camera, a film Practica, when she was in her early teens. The purchase set her on a path to study Photography and Graphic Design at South Devon College of Art and Technology at Torquay, Devon.

“Those were the days of film, so you had to get everything right the first time,” says Kate.

A major life change saw her moving to New Zealand to live and work. This interrupted her focus on photography. A lifestyle choice brought Kate to Whitianga ten years ago. She bought her first DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera and joined the local photographic club to make friends and to meet like-minded people.

“I’m a member of the Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) and last year gained the PSNZ honours distinction at the Associate level. To gain this recognition, I had to demonstrate advanced photographic craft and skill through a portfolio of 12 images.

“Through the PSNZ I’m also currently studying to become an accredited photography judge, so I’ll be able to help others on their photography journey. I love that there is always something new to learn with photography, whether it’s something technical or something artistic.

“Everyone I have met through Mercury Bay Art Escape has been so supportive and encouraging; it’s great to be involved this year; I’m excited to show everyone my photography work.”

You can visit Kate Beauchamp’s studio at 46 Robinson Road, Whitianga. It will be open again next weekend, from 10am to 4pm.

Nearby at Whitianga Art Group, Marianne Moyes admits that light evaded her for some time as she tried to complete her underwater scene, Ocean Forest, painted in acrylics. The painting was inspired by a trip snorkeling with her husband at Poor Knights Islands.

“You do see seaweed there and fish and all sorts of other little things pootling around doing their day-to-day activities and you do see that beautiful greeny-blue light in the shafts of light coming down in the ripples on the water. It was absolutely spectacular.”

Marianne says of Ocean Forest: “It took a long time to finish and I was looking at it and trying to figure out what I wasn’t getting right about the colours because I wanted them to really pop. And it was just by chance that I discovered the colours I needed to make that bright light come down from the surface.

I was very happy to have got that in time for entry in the Art Escape because it’s been sitting in my office for a long time just waiting for the moment to finish it. I actually added several new strands of kelp over the top and more light where the light hits the surface of the water. That worked a lot better and I touched over a few spots to make the light come down and through.”

“I’ve been working on different styles depending on working from photos, a little bit of print work, doing a little bit of abstract. Just exploring different paint techniques and colours and subjects, because you can’t just keep doing the same thing all the time, it just gets boring. This exhibition is a reflection of the different things that I’ve been working with and playing with; challenges I’ve set myself before Art Escape,” says Marianne.

Her work, The Land Endures, is Marianne’s statement about the politics leading up to Waitangi Day.

“That’s why I put the date on it. So you’ve got the European thrush and the native tui and they’re squabbling over land that is still going to be there after all is said and done.

“In the end we’ve all just got to live on it in peace and that’s kind of my point. Although I may not have got that image across perfectly, it is what I was feeling about the whole situation at the time. We are all birds of a feather living on the land.”

Through The Land Endures Marianne demonstrates another form of light, the light of exposure and expression through art.

Marianne Moyes is exhibiting as a member of the Whitianga Art Group, at the gallery, 23 School Rd, Whitianga, which will be open each day of Art Escape March 2-10, from 10.00am-4.00pm.