For the past few years I have focused on painting landscapes with a pretty heavy leaning towards coastal scenes. I then moved into the realm of bird painting, especially sea birds when they are reflected in water. For the most part I have avoided the human form with an unwavering commitment. However, I was drawn to paint my daughters as they have moved and played in the water this past summer. One of these paintings I am thrilled to announce has been selected as a finalist for the Adam Portraiture Award.
The Adam Portraiture Award is New Zealand’s most prestigious and popular portraiture prize. It's the Kiwi version of the Australian Archibald Prize. The biennial competition for painted portraits is held at The New Zealand Portrait Gallery and generously sponsored by the Adam Foundation. The Adam Portraiture Award provides New Zealand painters from all stages of their careers with the opportunity to showcase their talents on the national stage, while also playing an important role in recording the changing face of Aotearoa. Entries must be paintings by New Zealanders of New Zealanders. You can see the other finalists here.
I did not paint this with a view of entering the award. I was drawn to the beautiful ripples and the abstraction of my daughters as they moved through the water. Playing in the pools in summer is one of my dearest childhood memories and I often remember the hazy vision I'd have at the end of a day immersed in chlorine. I feel like this image captures the essence of youth and summer.
I was very nervous to enter my painting, as I knew the caliber of previous entries was extremely high. I felt a hesitancy to believe that I could count myself as an equal and be worthy of even entering. However, I decided to back myself and reminded myself of the old adage, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." When I found out I was a finalist, you can imagine how overjoyed I was.
It also means a lot to me as a representative and ambassador for watercolour. It's such a powerful medium that is often overlooked and under-represented. I love it when people look at my paintings and say, "I can't believe it's watercolour!" I make my watercolours work really hard and love to up the pigmentation to really make the colours sing. I spend of lot of time layering up colour to intensify the tones.
So, I hope this encourages you to lean in and put your hand up for things you may not think you're 'good enough' for. We are our own harshest critics and we quite often downplay our abilities. You never know, if you back yourself, you might find others backing you too!
The winning entry and runner up will be announced 25 May 2022.