Tena Blundell likens painting to the serenity readers get when reading a book.
"You disappear for hours," the Paeroa artist says.
Tena is a quirky artist who paints and works with clay. She's having an exhibition this month at Paeroa Arts Society.
"When I'm doing art, I go into a different world... you're not aware of time or space.
"I am not a trained artist so when I apply, I just use a lot of paint. I have fun with it and I dance around when I'm painting... you enter a different realm."
Tena's art work was kicked up a notch five years ago after a devastating car accident. It was a long recovery, Tena says, but it taught her patience and helped her concentrate on herself, and to hone her art skills.
She finds a connection to clay healing.
"I always painted and dabbled in clay — clay is from the earth, Papatūānuku — you're getting inspiration from it. It really is a living thing and that creates this connection."
Tena's works are lighthearted but almost always have an environmental or bicultural element. Sometimes the elements are combined, such as depictions of people from other cultures but with garden tops on their heads.
Her current exhibition features a number of works, paintings, claywork, some "Easter bunnies" and some with pot plants on top.
"I've always been interested in painting and making people and animals from clay. My inspiration for this exhibition is gardening though — I've combined two loves.
"It's a celebration of plants and people and that human-to-nature connection."
Tena says her claywork helps inform her paintings and vice versa.
Tena has lived in Paeroa for 15 years and is a Paeroa Society of Artists member.
What: Tena Blundell's Garden Art Exhibition.
Where: Paeroa Arts Society.
When: Until April 30, 11am-3pm daily.