Janice Clifton Wylkes drives along country roads looking out for old trucks and tractors — the forgotten ones that are parked up in paddocks or poking their noses out of sheds.

She restores them, in a sense, by painting pictures of them.

Whangārei's Clifton Wylkes' oil on canvas of an old Bedford, multi-hued and textured thanks to the patina of age, its doors open as if enjoying a cross-breeze under the trees, has been named the People's Choice piece of 13 finalists in the Northland Society of Arts (NSA) competition for a 2019 calendar.

''I feel very honoured, it's really pretty special to think so many people really liked this painting,'' Clifton Wylkes said.

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The art tutor's layers of oil paint and use of colour show the old truck to its best effect in a painterly way, and evoke a nostalgia that has as much to do with the style as the subject.

The truck is still solid and still carries an air of dependability, as it would have done carting its loads along rough roads.

Janice Clifton Wylkes with her People's Choice painting from the Northland Society of Arts' calendar competition.
Janice Clifton Wylkes with her People's Choice painting from the Northland Society of Arts' calendar competition.

It's an artifact from the New Zealand agricultural world of yesterday; an iconic Kiwi rural scene.

''I'm trying to convey that although he's old and neglected, he was once someone's pride and joy,'' Clifton Wylkes said.

''He's still handsome.''

She has other trucks in a solo exhibition opening at Reyburn House, Whangārei, next Friday.

That show, called Art of Distinction, comes 20 years after her first exhibition, held soon before she left New Zealand for a long stint living overseas.

Clifton Wylkes was one of many artists who rallied to Northland Arts Society's call for entries to the calendar competition.

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Thirteen were chosen by Whangarei Heads artist Douglas Chowns, and have been exhibited in the Society's home, Reyburn House, for a month.

The theme was to capture an essence of Northland. Old trucks, tractors and machinery fit the bill, but, look closely at Clifton Wylkes' Bedford, and on the door in faded signwriting is the word Raetihi.

The artist cheerfully admits she came across the truck in Ohakune, but similar scenes can be found down many a Northland country road.