Ahipara artist Kevin Griffiths, who paints by holding the brush in his mouth, is a familiar name far beyond New Zealand, and his international reputation is about to be further enhanced.
One of his paintings has been selected for a card that will be sold worldwide in the mid-year range by Mouth and Foot Painting Artists.
New Zealand Lake portrays a tranquil late spring setting, with peonies and daisies in the foreground, and cabbage on the right, framing the lake.
Kevin said he assembled the elements to make a picture that would be attractive to the viewer, which meant he could move things around to improve the overall result.
"I can go over the design and paint over aspects that I don't like, whereas with an actual scene, particularly one that is well known to the public, you really have to accurately paint what you see," he said.
"In the case of this painting, I have built it up from several photographs of different scenes that all contributed to the overall result."
Kevin has now been mouth-painting for 25 years, after he broke his neck and lost the use of his hands in a swimming accident at the age of 13. He continued his education after the accident, and became interested in various forms of art, which inspired him to travel extensively.
In 1991 he was awarded the Bruce Hopkins Memorial Award commemorating his contribution to Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) and to artists with disabilities throughout New Zealand. He was now won the coveted prize four times.
Members gain their income through the sale of paintings and products illustrated with their paintings. It began with Christmas cards, but now includes special occasion cards to jigsaws, tea sets, address books, calendars, Christmas serviettes and place mats, gift tags and wrapping paper.
There are several new products in the mid-year range this year, including bone china coffee mugs, greeting and gift tags and wrapping paper.