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Grace (2018)

Grace (2018)

Grace (2018)

This painting unfolded at the same time that I was doing ‘George’ (And there He was) and now feels to me like a sister-painting. She looks quite like Mary, the subject of my piece in the 2018 Adam Portraiture Award, so obviously Mary was on my mind at the time. As Grace developed, and I saw how wise and kind her expression had become, it felt right that she should be looking ahead towards the light in a calm accepting way, her own energy mixing and blending with the energy around her, and a warm glow emitting from within. This painting also helped me greatly with the “risky” transition from realism to abstract expressionism, losing the safety net of working from specific images.


This piece is from a 2018 collection called Magic, Wisdom and Beauty and was done specifically for the SOLO 44 exhibition at New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts in Wellington. This series follows on immediately from a solo exhibition of realist portraiture (What Matters Most, Feb 2018, Bread & Butter Fine Art Gallery, Whitianga) and is clearly an unleashing of ideas and energy after months and months of controlled and restrained realism. Whereas the portrait exhibition was all about reflecting the spirit of the 7 women I painted – and my relationship with them – this series of work is about MY spirit, and the way I perceive the world: with enthusiasm, wonder and joy. This series is the story of the Intrepid Explorer – sure, calm and centred, even when alone, regardless of what is going on around them.

This explorer is secure in their own bubble but still very much engaged with the world: able to step back and appreciate the beauty and wonder with awe, without feeling overwhelmed by external factors.

These paintings are done predominantly with palette knife, layering acrylic to create the depth and excitement and colour and light that I feel around me.


    • 762 x 762 mm
    • acrylic paint and satin archival varnish on canvas
    • the sides of the canvas have been painted white 
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