An interview with artist Tania Verrent
Born and raised in Invercargill, Tania is a self-taught artist who grew up inspired by New Zealand s diverse flora and fauna. She creates a range of abstract and realistic paintings, often focusing on the beauty of New Zealand s native birds, animals and landscapes.
Tania has moved to the North Island with her family to live in Levin, but a collection of her stunning paintings can be found in the Central Art Gallery, Queenstown.
When did you start painting and why?
I come from an artistic background, my father was a signwriter in Invercargill and so being surrounded with paints, brushes and the smell of turps was all normal to me. When I was five I remember getting my first Paint by Numbers book. I think I was hooked by then.
What is your style?
Difficult to say! I have never been to art school or even had lessons, so I am self-taught and my style is "just me". One gallery described my work as representational, I suppose it's realism but not hyper-realism. I like to do more abstract pieces as a break from the more detailed wildlife art I do.
What inspires you to paint?
Nature inspires me to paint. A bush walk opens my eye up to endless artworks around us all the time. Just a wander around a garden, park, farm or waterway can show you the natural world is a magical place.
What do you try to achieve with your painting?
I love it when a painting evokes an emotional response in the viewer and I feel privileged to make a living doing something I am so passionate about.
I paint for myself, but if there's someone who falls in love with the painting and wants to buy it then that is the icing on the cake.
What makes your art unique?
My uniqueness is from my own experiences in nature. I try to convey what I've seen or felt at a particular moment on canvas. The artwork becomes a window to what I've seen with my own eyes.
How do you create a new piece of work?
It starts with an object or idea. I can build a piece around the simplest thing, like a pebble or a branch. Sometimes it can be from an idea I've dreamt.
I will make a sketch and work out the subject or main point of interest for the painting. Often I can leave a painting blocked in and head into the wild with my camera to find material to help finish the artwork.
What do you like to do when you're not painting?
I like to spend my free time just enjoying the simple life around me, like walking the dog and spending quality time with family. Another hobby, although still artistic, is sculpture.
How did you end up in Central Art Gallery in Queenstown?
Julia (who runs Central Art Gallery) is very personable, kind and approachable. When I first asked if she would represent my artwork she said yes, and in March 2014 my first two paintings were hung on the walls of Central Art Gallery. I have been with them ever since.
Numerous solo and group exhibitions in New Zealand and Australia.
Tania has had several artworks published in art related magazines including Pastel Artist International and Australian Artist magazine.