Skip to main content

Local Events

Painting, a gift of gratitude from Tairua artist

Whitianga Lions Club Art Expo is returning this year to the Whitianga Town Hall on King’s Birthday Weekend (May 31 opening night – June 3) with all profits going to Project Mammogram.
 |  Cynthia Daly  | 

Liz Hart’s painting is a gift to the Whitianga Lions Club to be raffled at the Art Expo at King’s Birthday weekend, Whitianga.

As Tairua artist Liz Hart prepares to pack up her home for the next stage of her life she is surrounded by expressions of a love for nature – the paintings of sea, wildflowers and stormy skies.

Not far from those paintings is the memory of a small child, maybe eight or nine years old, guided by her artist mother to the family’s farm orchard in the Waikato to paint in water colour the trees sprinkled in spring blossom above their carpet of snowdrops and jonquils.  It is, says Liz, a time when something stirred inside her and she knew painting would always influenceher life.

“My mother always painted and I suppose it’s in the blood. In the springtime, when we were quite little, my sister and I, my mother would throw a rug down in the orchard and say, ‘just paint what you see’ but she always gave us really good materials to paint with so we’d get a nice result.”

It was a time before acrylic paints, just water colours and oil. Her mother worked in both.

As an adult Liz became a school teacher, while honing her painting skills at Mairangi Arts Centre and through short courses at Whitecliffe College of Art and Design. She doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t paint. The imagination often stirred by glimpses of something beautiful while being a passenger in a car. “You just see paintings wherever you look.”

A busy life raising a family in Takapuna, then eventually after her husband, Brett retired they moved permanently to their bach at Tairua and Liz joined the Tairua Art Group “painting at the fishing club with like-minded people” and the Printmakers Group at Coroglen Hall becoming a prolific artist with a strong following.

“All artists have their own style. That’s why we’re such as eclectic bunch. I enjoy landscapes and flowers and things like that. You’ll never catch me painting dog portraits or even portraits of people! Full stop. That doesn’t interest me to capture a likeness; I see the cleverness in people who do that, but I’m more impressionistic.”

A gift to raise funds at Art Expo

Seated in her lounge, Liz holds a painting in soft blues, creams and pinks – a delicate vase of roses – in her understated magnificent style. It is a gift to the Whitianga Lions Club to be raffled at their Art Expo on King’s Birthday Weekend where all profits are going to Project Mammogram. It’s a gift with a lot of meaning.

Three months after a routine mammogram, her sister discovered a lump in her breast. The cancer was very invasive and despite receiving every possible treatment, she passed away at just 49 years old. The sense of loss still lingers.

In 2023, Liz spent nearly a month at the Cancer Society’s Lions Lodge in Hamilton, a free accommodation and care facility for patients and their families while they are receiving cancer treatment. Her husband was in hospital and Liz found the kind and caring volunteers and atmosphere at Lions Lodge just what she needed.

Her connection with Lions Clubs New Zealand is one of gratitude.

In a short time, the house will be packed up, with extra care paid to her paintings, and Liz and Brett will move to Muriwai and to the open arms of their family. It will be a new beginning and Liz has already discovered there is an art group at Muriwai which she’s looking forward to joining.

“I don’t think people who paint ever stop. There is a big following in Muriwai. It’s the same as the fishing club here, there’s a group that meet at the surf club once a week at Muriwai and paint.”

Liz says she has painted Muriwai before “with the black sand and the tyre tracks” and she’s looking forward to it.