Artist Audie Wilkinson is self-taught though she credits her High School art teacher for the direction she found herself going in.
Audie found painting in her early teens growing up in Dunedin. The schools she went to were very art focussed and her art teacher in high school gave her the push she needed.
“He suggested I enter the Telecom Phone Book art awards back in the day when the national phone book art award competition took contemporary art into nearly every home. I didn’t win but I ended up a finalist and it gave me the confidence I needed to pursue my own practice.”
Pursuing a Passion: Audie’s Journey as a Self-Taught Artist
She continued painting at home using her Dad’s house paints and anything else she could get her hands on – finding pieces of wooden board that her father then cut for her to paint on.
In her late teens, she began hanging her pieces in the various places she worked. People bought them and then some even began commissioning her. It was very affirming to have people buy her work.
She says she didn’t really decide to be an artist, rather that it kind of found her at the times in her life when she most needed it. Like a lot of women, she stopped painting when she had children in her early twenties but at the age of 39 after going through a particularly stressful period, the inspiration to paint provided the relief and the distraction she’s grateful for.
“I hadn’t painted for fifteen years but there it was and I found it calming and helpful,” she says, “the absorption, the motion of delivering colour to canvas filled me up and gave me the space I needed.”
From House Paints to Canvas: Audie’s Creative Process
Audie’s strong creative side has seen her dabble in other forms of artistic expression like sewing and jewellery. She founded the jewellery label Odi, producing a range of necklaces, pendants and hair accessories and her abstract paintings are a natural follow-on from her love of colour and patterns.
“I’m also fortunate to have spent a lot of time in the stunning scenery of Central Otago and the High Country” she says, adding that one of her favourite New Zealand artists is the landscape painter Grahame Sydney.
Audie says she can spend days, weeks, even months or years thinking about a piece, but when she finally puts her brush to canvas she can execute it in a short period of time. She sketches out the painting beforehand but it’s the structured part of the process that she loves; picking out the Resene colours she’s going to work with. She’ll mix a few Resene colours together on the landscapes but chooses a base collection of colour to work with.
Getting Lost in the Moment: The Joy of Painting for Audie Wilkinson
“When I paint I get lost in the moment.” She says, “My husband likes to water ski and he told me when he’s out on that lake behind the boat skiing he feels free and that’s exactly how I feel when I’m painting… lost and free.
Audie’s painting ‘Wanaka Lanscape’ was sold online to help raise money for Paint New Zealand Beautiful, supported by Resene, to help beautify our community with painting projects. You can find the auction here