By Mick Jensen
Barbara Jaine’s first solo exhibition at Ashburton Art Gallery showcases her passion for art and creativity – and its title also offers a hint of a milestone for the artist.
Entitled Celebrati8on, the play on words is a subtle way of saying she will soon be 80-years-old, a birthday she will celebrate on the penultimate day of her exhibition, August 30.
Mrs Jaine said she was grateful to the art gallery for help in setting up her exhibition.
It had been 18 months in the planning and all of the 62 works featured, except for one, had been completed over the last two years.
That one work was a pencil and paper piece of a horse completed in 1956, when she was 18-years-old.
“It was my horse and marked a time in my life when I was going off nursing, my parents were moving into town and my horse was being sold,” she said.
Mrs Jaine said she had sketched or painted for “as long as she could remember”.
As an only child raised in South Canterbury, she had spent many hours doing a lot of art.
“My mother sketched, drew and painted and lived until 96. Creativity abounds in my family, both from past and current members.”
Watercolour would always be her “special friend”, she said, especially for painting subjects like the products of her garden, the sea and landscapes.
Unlike oils, watercolours were simplistic, didn’t smell, dried quickly and were easy to clean up, she said.
The works featured in Celebrati8on are mostly watercolours, but include a few monoprints, some oils and one acrylic work.
They focus primarily on florals and landscapes, including Mrs Jaine’s favourite flower, the poppy, and one of her favourite locations, Stewart Island, a place where she spent her honeymoon, has made many trips to, and where her husband’s ashes are laid.
Before 1989 Mrs Jaine was a self-taught artist, but since then has attended dozens of workshops and experimented and immersed herself in a variety of mediums, including mixed media and papier mache.
“A number of tutors have influenced me over the years, including Ngaio McKee, Zita Waldron, who encouraged me ‘to keep it in tone’, and the late Kath Von Tunzelmann.
“Art for me, has always been a ‘positive addiction’, because lovely things come out of it.
“I’ve spent so much joyous time with my grandchildren dabbling in various art forms. And my own three children still remind me, on occasion, of the fond memories they have from growing up around art and craft.”