More than 1 form of art!

I've been meaning to do  post for a while now about one of my very talented friend who is not a painter, or an artist in the traditional sence, but a writer.

Vanda Symon is a New Zealand serial crime fiction writer who has 3 published novels (with another on the way, to be released Feb next year). She has just been signed to a publishing company (Gregory and Company, of London - YAY!!! Congrats Vanda!!!). I own all Vanda's books (one of these days I'll get her to sign them for me ;p), they are well worth a read.

If you are into crime novels I suggest you go find Vanda's books - you can purchase them through Uni Books online or go to your local library

Sam Shephard, a young sole-charge police constable in Mataura, is the main character in a new series of crime novels set in New Zealand.

When a young mother in the town is brutally murdered (it seems to be a professional job), Sam is at the heart of the police hunt to find the killer. But then Sam's past relationship with the dead woman's husband is revealed. Sam is stood down from the case and is now a prime murder suspect.

Frustrated, Sam loses her cool. She can't stop herself making murder inquiries and gets into serious trouble with her police superiors. But then the young constable stumbles onto something. The murdered woman was working as a journalist and had uncovered a local scandal. She'd been killed to keep her quiet. When Sam enters this world she's in real physical danger, until at last a conspiracy is uncovered and the killer revealed. Disillusioned, Sam prepares to leave town.

What will she do next?


Death is stalking the southern South Island. And what role does the visiting Darling Brothers Circus have to play?

Sam Shephard is on the bottom rung of detective training in Dunedin, and her boss makes sure she knows it. She gets involved in her first homicide investigation there when a university student is murdered in the Botanic Gardens. Sam soon discoveres this is not an isolated incident. There is a chilling prospect of a predator loose in Dunedin.

Is the murderer in the circus or closer to home?

Sam must find out who's running the show.


Chaos reigns in the sleepy village of Aramoana when shipping containers washup on the beach and are looted.

Detective Constable Sam Shephard knows first-hand the desperation of the scavengers - she's got the scars to prove it.

Plus a skull in the sand.

And a body pulled from the ocean.

The undercurrents from one morning's madness are far-reaching. Who else will be caught in the backwash? Can Sam stem the tide?


BOUND (Feb 2011)

A brutal home invasion shocks the nation. A man is murdered, his wife bound, gagged and left to watch.

But when Detective Sam Shephard scratches the surface, the victim, a successful businessman, is not all he seems to be. And when the evidence points to two of Dunedin's most hated criminals, the case seems cut and dried... until the body count starts to rise.

Meanwhile, Sam is in big trouble again ...

Sounds exciting! I can't wait to read it (sadly knowing the Author doesn't get me an advanced copy, oh well, looks like I know what to ask for for my birthday ;p)

Information in this post has come from Vanda's website or blog

And on a side note - Vanda also personally knows my favourite writer of all time, meaning I'm just 2 degrees of separation away from the Scottish crime novelist Val McDermid!!! Woohoo! LOL ;p

Little rays of sunshine - new artwork

Its a great feeling when you finish a painting that's been sitting round for a while, admittedly this one hasn't been sitting round as long as usual but I have been putting it off for a few weeks! Just completed it now, I don't think the paint has even dried properly.

Little rays of sunshine
610 x 450mm
$420 NZD (excl. postage/packaging)

My latest painting

Colouring inside the lines II
approx 450 x 450 mm (1 canvas)
Acrylic on canvas
Ready to hang
$300 NZD (excl postage/packaging)

If you wish to purchase this piece, or enquire about getting one done in colours that suit your home please email me

Kiwi Artists Part 3 - Tash Shackleton

Painter, drawer, cartoonist, illustrator.

New Zealand artist Natasha Shackleton has been passionate about art and creativity her entire life, excelling in artistic fields for as long as she can remember. Her artworks can be found brightening up homes and offices throughout New Zealand and the world. Her artistic diversity means she can work from nearly any medium from acrylic paint to photorealism style coloured pencil drawings, any subject from landscapes to vehicles and many styles from cartoon to realism.

Most recognized for her "Moonlight Bay" series, distinctive kiwiana, and realistic portrait, her artworks are recognizable for her use of vivid colour, dynamic tones, lighting and strong contrasts
(profile stolen from her website ;p)

I have 3 pieces of Tash's pieces
  One of the Moonlight Bay Series by Tash Shackleton

I can't remember if I purchased or swapped this piece, but I know that I ended up getting one commissioned for my mother in the same style.

Adam and Eve by Tash Shackleton
I won one of these peices in an NZ Art Guild swap but just couldn't separate the pair as they work really well together so purchased the second one.

I still have to get one of Tash's kiwiana series - just love those native birds!
You can check them out on her website

Tash also has her own tattoo business based in Oamaru - Negative Space Tattoo
Her paintings are often available direct on TradeMe 

Kiwi Artists Part 2 - Philina den Dulk

More art from my walls...

I've known Philina for about 5 years, we first met when I purchased this first piece off of her. At the time she was living just out of Dunedin. I remember her telling me this piece was inspired by a stained glass door they had in the house they were living in.

 "Believe in me" by Philina den Dulk

Phillina is now a full time artist based in Balclutha, she exhibits regularly around New Zealand and can occasionally be found selling pieces on TradeMe 

Her styles have evolved somewhat over the years, however highly textured acrylic works feature prominantly throughout the evolution of her art.
I particularly love her poppies (featured below)

You can check out on her website

Poppies by Philina den Dulk
I was lucky enough to be gifted this piece when I helped her out at her last exhibition here in town. 

Artist Trading Cards (ATCs)

Recently I was involved in a couple of ATC swaps.

ATCs are small works of art  2 ½” x 3 ½” (the same as a regular playing card) which are to be exchanged only and not sold.

This was the first time I'd made ATCs and I forgot to take images of my peices before I sent them. (Denita Tizard received one of my pieces which you can view on her blog post)

The first swap was organised by Collette Fergus via a Facebook Group
We each sent in 4 cards and 4 random cards were sent back to us - here are the amazing pieces that I received:

 Top L - Original Painting by Noleen Sommerville
Top R - Artwork by Gerda Smit
Bottom L - "Souldance #02" by Beate Minderjahn
Bottom R - "Cheesey Kitty" by Collette Fergus

The second was an individual swap

"The Dancer" by Erika Husselmann

I definately want to do more of these, they are so much fun. I'm planning on framing them up (I'm not sure how yet) when I get some $!

Introducing Kiwi Artists - Part 1 Zoe Cromwell

As I'm not painting or creating as much as I would like at the moment (due to an increasing work load), I've decided to keep up with semi-regular blog posts by introducing some talented kiwi artists. I'm going to start with those whos amazing work adornes the walls of my house. There are a few of them ;p I'm fast running out of wall space - but that's the benefits of owning your own home, I can just put another nail in the wall!

Most of the pieces I have, have been collected in artswaps but there is the odd one that I have purchased. The first piece I ever owned I purchased off TradeMe back in 2004 for some rediculously low sum. It started it all and was the inspiration behind me begining to list and sell my own work on the same site. It is still one of my favourite pieces and sits proudly in my hallway.

"Under the surface" by Zoe Cromwell

One of the things I love about this peice is the texture. Unfortunately it doesn't show so well in the photo, but I assure you its there. The detailing on the shells is amazing and Zoe's use of colour and underpainting is delightful. I have never felt such a strong attraction to a piece as I did when I first saw this work, it was on that I just absolutely had to have.

Zoe has been quiet on the art sceen in recent years but you can check out her work on her website .

Sewing mission: a day of creation - New tiny bearish things available

Today I took a break from study and work and got out the sewing machine. A whole bunch of new tiny bearish things are now available.


Tiny Bearish Things
8-12cm tall (excluding ears)
$10 NZD each
Postage with NZ $4.50 for 1 or 2 bears, free when you purchase 3 or more
Overseas postage available, please enquire for price

Latest artworks

The latest 2 pieces...

 "Light fantastic"
300 x 300mm
Not for sale

And now for something a bit different - still sticking with the stripes (its seems its what I do best) but I'm putting a new spin on them.

"Purple rays"
400 x 510 mm

Pencil portraits

Due to the fact that I'm a poor student, I've taken to making gifts for people. In the last few weeks I've done a couple of drawings. The first of which (shown below) is of my wee niece Carley, done in graphite pencil on watercolour paper for my father's birthday.


The other drawing hasn't reached it's intended recipient yet so it will be unveiled at a later date.

I am available for commissions. Please contact me via email to discuss

NZ Art Guild Art Swap 2010

Every year for the NZ Art Guild I organise an art swap (not unlike the personal ones I talked about a couple of posts ago - this is on a larger scale however). Basically what happens is I put the call out for interested members to submit an artwork (or 2) that they would like to swap. Once I have all the entries in members get to select their top 5 choices and I try to match everyone up with an artwork (unfortunately not everyone gets their first choice but I do try my hardest!)

This year I put in 2 pieces so got 2 pieces back - this is the first of them:

Applelicious - Jo Mallinger

I was totally blown away by this painting when it arrived! Absolutely gorgeous!!! (Thanks Jo) Its been on my walls for almost 2 weeks now and it still makes me stop and look at it every time I walk into the hallway.  

The other piece I am still waiting for (as its currently being exhibited) - it is another peice by Cath Sheard which complements the one I swapped with her a few months ago (see my earlier post) - I am really looking forward to having a pair of pears ;p

For more information about how to become a member NZ Art Guild (so you can be involved in things like the art swap, members exhibitions and dedicated venues plus our highly informative members only forum!)
go to

NEW: The ROYGBIV series

I've recently been working on a series of seven 250 x 250mm works inspired by the colours of the rainbow (final touches went on this morning).
This series I have entitled the ROYGBIV series and they will be exhibited at the NZ Art Guild "Small Packages" exhibition held at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna, Auckland during the month of December.

The collection together

Roygbiv (Red)

rOygbiv (Orange)

roYgbiv (Yellow)

royGbiv (Green)

roygBiv (Blue)

roygbIv (Indigo)

roygbiV (Violet)

Each canvas will retail for $120 NZD or the whole set can be purchased for $650
Should you be interested in purchasing these works or commissioning your own work please email me for details
(prices exclude postage)

The joys of art swaps - giving and receiving art

After a very successful exhibition (Pocket Rockets - held here in Dunedin, which I organised and curated) I was lucky enough that 3 very talented artists agreed to do an art swap with me. I love art swaps! As a student I have very little money for anything other than the bare essentials of life - these swaps feel like little treats/rewards to myself. I give one of my pieces and get something new and exciting in return.

I am so totally in love with my newly aquired art that I just had to share with everyone!!!

The first piece is by a very talented artist/friend Cath Sheard - I've known Cath through the NZ Art Guild for probably 5+ years and we've shared many an email and discussion and I have watched her art grow from strength to strength. Earlier this year we were both exhibiting in a show in Invercargill. I was lucky enough to travel down for the opening and there hanging upstairs was one of Cath's pear series - I fell in love with it!!! It was a bit larger than the one below but just as exciting - I've been secretly hoping for one of these beauties since then and now I am fortunate enough to have my own :)

"Bleu poire" by Cath Sheard

Isla Osborne is a talented glass artist. For the exhibition she produced a series of small (180 x 180mm) framed fused glass and copper pieces. They were a definate talking point for all that came into the exhibition - everyone (including me) loved the way she had pushed the boundaries of what people have come to associate as glass art. There is an innocence and child-like quality with these pieces which I find endearing yet you can see the time and effort that was spent hand crafting each individual piece.

"On the road again" by Isla Osborne

I'm not a big jewellery wearer and it's not often I find a piece that I just have to have - let alone a whole collection! But that is what happened when the box of Holly Budge's jewellery turned up on my doorstep. If I'd been able to afford it I would have purchased 1/2 of the peices she sent for the exhibition!!! 4 of those pieces that I loved sold (I would have been surprised if they hadn't!) fortunately one of the slinky bracelets she sent didn't and I have been wearing it ever since she agreed to the swap!

"Full moon slinky bracelet" of the Spirit Midas collection by Holly Budge

I'm just hoping that all these talented ladies enjoy my pieces as much as I enjoy theirs. The NZ Art Guild has an annual art swap which I look foward to organising again - this years one is coming up at the end of next month - I will certainly be entering something again this year and I can't wait for my next artistic treat!!!

SNEAK PEAK - preliminary photos for "Pocket Rockets" exhibition

Here are some sneak peak pics from the exhibition I have been hanging today - there is still some work to do (paintings need to be straightened, price tags lined up correctly and lighting swivelled into position as well as hang the 10 pieces arriving by courier first thing in the morning!!!!) but this is the bulk of it done.

I promise to take better pics of everyones peices once I've got everything finished tomorrow which will then be loaded to the NZ Art Guild newsblog, facebook page and members only forum!!!

Very dedicated helper Ron Esplin, who stayed with me until almost 5pm getting the last things hung and sorted out. Thanks heaps to Ron and my other helpers Ginny O'Dea, Dianne Schnarr, Sue McPhee (all of whom are exhibiting their amazing work) and my poor flatmate who got roped in to help - thanks Carina :)

Off the main room is a little room where I've been lucky enough to hang some of my larger paintings (I'm considering it payment for organising 41 artists and around 250 pieces of art ;p) - the next few are of "the stripey room" :)

Ron Esplin helping out hanging his own wonderful works :)