Looking back, plants and paint brushes have had parallel space in my life, but it is only in the last seven year that they have come together. I grew up with grandmothers and a mother who took their gardening seriously.
Life followed with its ups and downs. In 1986 I took myself to Auckland’s Whitecliffe Art School to gain a Diploma of Art with Honours. This was followed by three years at Auckland University where I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English and Art History. Auckland Teachers’ Training College came next where I qualified and taught adults for the next ten years.
After returning to Taranaki, I had the opportunity to travel to West Dean in England to study botanical art, a subject not offered in New Zealand.
On returning home, I put what I’d learned into practice but found I needed to know still more. I returned to England, this time to Kew, where I studied for two weeks. Back in New Zealand again I started painting native plants from the Pukeiti Garden. The resulting paintings I took to exhibit at the Royal Horticultural Show in London where I was awarded a Silver Medal.
I sold one of my paintings to Dr Shirley Sherwood and it became part of her exhibition, ‘A New Flowering, 1000 Years of Botanical Art’, at the Ashmolian Museum in Oxford.
In 2004, six of my paintings of garden flowers, hybridised in New Zealand, were used by New Zealand Post on a set of postage stamps.
2005 again found me in England where I exhibited a collection of Vireya [rhododendron] paintings at the Royal Horticultural Society’s botanical art display in the BBC Garden World Show in Birmingham. They were awarded a silver medal - my second.
In January 2006 I studied for a Diploma in Botanical Painting at the English Gardening School located in the Chelsea Physic Garden. I was awarded the Diploma with Distinction.
2007 saw a collection of 50 of my paintings displayed at Puke Ariki Museum in New Plymouth for three months.
2007 also saw one of my paintings selected to be included in the Highgrove Florilegium a set of two books of which only 175 will be printed. The funds raised will go towards The Princes Trust.
Since then I painted two more paintings that were also included in the Highgrove Florilegium.
I again took paintings to the Garden World Show in 2008 again gaining a silver medal.
2009 met Prince Charles at Highgrove