When Covid hit New Zealand lots of people started picking up new hobbies, and for Gabrielle Clark painting was that hobby.
Clark, who is 18 years old and from Waikanae, started painting more last year, during her first year at Otago University, to help her destress from her studies in biomedical science.
“I just found it a nice, relaxing time in break of studying.”
She was ordering canvases online and using acrylic paints in her small room in the university’s halls – and they were taking up a lot of space.
So, she brought them home with her to sell in Kāpiti.
She had sometimes walked past the Paraparaumu Library and seen artwork on display in their gallery, the Roderick and Gillian Deane Art Space, and when she saw it was available she knew she wanted to showcase her artworks there.
Her mother, who is involved in the Kāpiti Coast Art Trail, priced all the paintings for her, and the two of them hung them in the gallery together.
Clark said while it is sad to be selling them, she has photos of all the paintings, and will “just be happy if they go to a nice home”.
One of Clark’s favourite things to paint is water, so many of her paintings feature the ocean, because “I just find it fascinating how the light reflects off the water, and I’m attempting to capture that”, but she also became quite keen on painting birds too.
“In my room [at university], out the window, there were all sorts of different birds that would come and sit on the tree, and I thought ‘they’ve actually got really unique colour schemes’.”
Her paintings are also inspired by her friends – with one painting she created of Hobbiton, in Matamata, being inspired by a friend who lived nearby and had photos.
One of her favourite things about her work is seeing people recognise the places in the paintings.
She recalled one person who came into the gallery and recognised New Chums Beach, and a member of staff at the university recognised a painting of Clutha River.
“When I was painting it, I was in the halls, and the lady who comes and cleans the rooms recognised it.
“It was really nice – that made it special to me.”
You can view or purchase Clark’s paintings in the gallery until February 22, and Clark is hoping to sell any remaining ones in the art trail.