The Artist's Newsletter

ISSUE #12 ~ 2011-10-06

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Hi , welcome to issue #12 of the Tasart newsletter. Terrie Reddish is a Havelock North-based, award-winning botanical artist whose specialty is detailed, close-up depictions of native flora. She was awarded a Gold Medal at the Royal Horticultural Society Show in December 2008 and one of the eight pieces created for the exhibition is now held by the RHS Lindley Library. Another of Terrie's medal winning drawings is also part of the world's most comprehensive private collections of twentieth century contemporary botanical art, held by Dr. Shirley Sherwood.

Terrie will be exhibiting her latest work, Billy K and Me, at the Hastings City Art Gallery, opening on the 14th of this month. William (Billy K) Colenso arrived in New Zealand during the early days of colonisation and was a collector of plant specimens. His impressive botanical knowledge resulted in one genus (Colensoa) and many New Zealand species being named after him. Terrie shares many interests with Colenso, including his love for books and botany which make them the perfect pair.

Terrie has been a long-time customer and friend of Takapuna Art Supplies and we have enjoyed watching Terrie grow into the award winning artist that she has become. It has been our pleasure to interview Terrie; one of our favourite New Zealand artists:

Artist Spotlight

Terrie Reddish

When did your interest with botanical drawing begin?

Soon after I finished a couple of night school classes in drawing - plants stayed still and didn't move, came in a great range of colours and form, and I really love them.

Do you have any formal art training or, are you self taught and if so, how did you get to your skill level?

I have no formal art training. I attended a couple of night school terms on graphite drawing to get started and am pretty much self taught since then, although, I recognise the need to keep improving my skills so I take in 1 or 2 day courses with other people when I can. I improved by practice - hours and hours of practice AND intense observation. I always tell my students that I can teach them how to use tools, some useful techniques and then it is really all perspiration and observation.

Which artists inspire you?

Neal Palmer, Pamela Wolfe, Sue Wickison, Bryan Poole, Ann swan, Rosie Sanders, Anna Knights to name a few.

What are your preferred pencils, paper and general tools?

Faber-Castell Polychromo Pencils, Fabriano 5 300gsm hot pressed paper, a Milan kneadable eraser and battery eraser used with a Staedtler eraser shield, Mobius and Ruppert sharpener with canister, Yasutomo Hake sheep hair brush, double ball stylus, Staedtler Mars Technico clutch pencil and lead pointer.

How do you go about making your images? What type of reference do you use?

Generally, I fall in love with a plant that I have seen on my walks or in one of my many plant books. Sometimes I am fortunate to be responding to a commission and have the subject chosen by my customer. Once I have decided on the subject, I track down plants I can access to do my drawing - I need a supply of plant material throughout the process. My work can take 30 - 50 hours so most plants die on me!

The next step is to create colour swatches for every part of the plant which will be supported by about 100 photographs. I also like to research how other people have drawn or painted the subject before me. Then I create sketches to help me finalise the design. The final drawing outlines are transferred to my chosen piece of paper so the 'colouring in' process can begin. Once I have finished (it is always very difficult to decide when to stop) then I will spend time just cleaning up my work - pencil is a very dirty medium.

Below is a step-by-step of Terrie's process:

How do you go about promoting yourself?

This is a great question. I find that I have to exhibit regularly, take up any offer to talk to groups, join art groups, get involved in related activities, teach, sell greeting cards with my work on them, knock on doors and anything else I can think of. I use my website as a travelling portfolio and I am just getting sorted on Facebook. In the Bay we also have an Art Guide so I advertise in that as well. People are welcome to come and visit me at my studio.

What do you want to work on in the future?

I am slowly working on developing a portfolio of visually interesting New Zealand native 'sprigs' - a snapshot of the plant at an interesting phase e.g. out in flower or with seed pods. I also want to create loads of book art once I get my exhibition out. I have found that I also love teaching drawing - it is inspiring to help others achieve their goals.

Can you please tell us about your current show?

I applied to the local gallery (Hastings City Art Gallery) to exhibit and they told me that I had enough ideas to fill about 10 exhibitions, but they wanted something that would be their contribution to the William Colenso bicentennial celebrations in Napier later in the year. I had mentioned that I was interested in including William (Billy K) in my concept plan. Colenso was such an interesting man that I have gone way outside my comfort zone with this exhibition and am working in a wide variety of media - all essentially paper based. It is hugely challenging and has turned me into a Colensophile. My husband is looking forward to the 'other man' leaving.....

If you can't make it to Terrie's exhibition Billy T and Me and would like to see more of Terrie's work, please visit her website, our tasart gallery page or stay current on Terrie's Facebook page.

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Until next time,
Sandy & Jim
Takapuna Art Supplies


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This newsletter was written by Sandy Collins on 2011-10-06

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