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Great response for Art Expo this weekend

Members of Whitianga Lions can’t wait to see what is in store for the public when they help 50 local artists set up on Friday, 31 May for their annual Art Expo opening night that evening. The entire Art Expo is free to the public to attend.
 |  Cynthia Daly  | 

Friday night opening preview:

From 5.30pm the public will be able to join the artists and Lions members in the Whitianga Town Hall for the preview where over 500 artworks will be exhibited. At 6.30pm the winners of the Secondary Schools Art Competition will be announced.

More than 25 entries from around the Coromandel region have entered this competition with a total of $850 in prizes being awarded between first, second and third placings. All the entries will be on display, and many will be available for purchase.

On behalf of the Whitianga Lions Art Expo committee, Mike Brown says: “On opening night the public will be able to purchase and take-home artworks of their choice, chat with artists over a glass of wine sponsored by a private donation and Whitianga Woolworths, and delicious European cheeses sponsored by YOLO Cheese New Zealand.

“We have had a tremendous response to this year’s Art Expo which is raising money for Project Mammogram. Don’t forget to buy a few raffle tickets. There are some great prizes to be won – value in the thousands of dollars!”

The artists offer original paintings and prints, pottery, mosaics, jewellery made from locally sourced components, photography, greeting cards and even mini artworks of individual alphabet letters. The variety and quality are outstanding.

Following opening night, the Whitianga Lions Art Expo will run from 10am to 4pm Saturday, 1 June to Monday, 3 June, with many of the artists replenishing their exhibits as items sell.

Not just a lump of clay

“You are only limited by your imagination,” says Whitianga potter Claire Bryers, and there is nothing more inspiring for her than a lump of clay.

Claire is exhibiting in the Whitianga Lions Club Art Expo and the list of what she’ll have available stretches from starfish and mussels to hearts and decorative bowls – each a unique piece of art with patterns glazed with colours she has made from scratch. Blue and green are her favourite colours – our coastal environment where Claire is very much at home.

Take her mussel shells. They are a horse mussel form that allows Claire the space to add in intricate detailed creatures and crustaceans of the sea.

“I was born in Auckland by the beach and I never realised how much I missed it until I came back. I always try and take home an offering for the kiln from the beach.”

In 1981, as a young mum, Claire started a hobby course in pottery and ceramics.

“I liked to just start with a lump of clay and make something from it… I liked the fact that you started with nothing.”

“Claire supplies her works to Whitianga, Hahei, Cambridge, Tauranga and Rotorua.

Claire will tuck herself away in her workspace in the garage to create and then, once dry, her pottery heads to her electric kiln to fire, glaze and do the final firing. “You have a certain idea what you get out but it’s never exactly what you think and it can still surprise you, which is really lovely.”

Artist pays tribute to kārearea in latest painting

Twenty years living in Queenstown gave artist Jackie Chatfield an appreciation for our native birdlife, her favourite the New Zealand falcon or kārearea is now depicted in her latest painting that will be exhibited at the Whitianga Lions Art Expo at King’s Birthday Weekend.

The painting’s detail is exquisite from the downy fleck of feathers to the gripping talons grasping the rock it has pitched itself on, surveying the landscape below.

An accomplished award-winning artist, Jackie’s paintings are even more impressive when you find out that she is predominately self-taught and has very limited sight.

“I now mainly focus on painting birds and portraits and I love painting skin,” says Jackie.

Jackie says her interest in painting portraits took her on an exploratory journey of how to paint skin by understanding pre-Raphaelite art techniques.

“But my favourite subject to paint is still birds, especially our beautiful New Zealand natives. They are so delicate, and their song is so beautiful and I try to capture their character too.”

Jackie shows no sign of slowing up despite her sight difficulty and she will be an artist worth viewing at the Whitianga Art Expo where her falcon painting is bound to draw a lot of interest.

Gannets and our backyard

Ginney Deavoll is a first-time exhibitor at the Whitianga Lions Art Expo

One of her latest paintings – a movement of gannets in a dive towards the sea transports me to the coastal hills above Muriwai Beach and the sight of gannets on the wing catching those coastal wind currents to glide.

Ginney says, “It’s always been about our backyard, about New Zealand and our remote places, all our wilderness and flora and fauna. And I always thought that if I can paint my wonder and awe that I feel about it, and if that can shine through all my work, then my hope is that other people will see it and it will inspire them to go and have a look for themselves, whether it’s the local bush walk, a snorkel trail, or to go and do a great walk further afield.”

Thank you: Whitianga Lions Art Expo committee would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous support in bringing this Art Expo to life: The Informer, CFM, All About Whitianga, Stephenson’s Pharmacy, Whitianga Woolworths, Peninsula Roofing and Peninsula Scaffolding, YOLO Cheeses New Zealand and of course all the artists taking part.