What constitutes a drawing?

The finalists of the national Parkin Drawing Prize have been announced after attracting an impressive 472 entries this year.

Two Kāpiti artists made the 79-strong shortlist, with their entries being showcased and available for purchase at the Parkin Drawing Prize exhibition at the NZ Academy of Fine Arts from August 6 to September 8 in Wellington.

While the prize is a 'drawing' competition, the nature of drawing is up to the artists' interpretation, meaning artists take a slightly less traditional approach than traditional pen on paper.


Kāpiti artist Kate Hartmann, director and founder of Tutere Gallery and Creative Space, had her work Mothers Ruin shortlisted.

Mothers Ruin by Kate Hartmann.
Mothers Ruin by Kate Hartmann.

"It's been a work in progress that's been evolving over the years until it was finally ready to be exhibited this year, so I decided to put it forward for the Parkin," Kate said.

Mothers Ruin talks about the ideal of motherhood and how that can differ in reality.

"It's about being a mother and struggling with those huge life changes that come with it.

"This piece talks about being a mother and struggling with an alcohol dependence, about losing myself and not knowing who I was anymore and turning to wine to cope as lots of women do."

"It talks of a silent gradual erosion of self, the result of my ever-increasing dependence."

Starting the work when she was newly sober the emotionally complex work has been part of the recovery process for herself.

The work is composed of multi layers of calico and upholstery fabric that she has treated with inks, pencils, paint and red wine.


"I chose these materials, the calico and upholstery fabric because I wanted them to have their roots in the home.

"It's almost as if I've ripped the curtains off the wall."

"Individual threads have then been teased out and used to create line as one might use a pencil, to reinforce the concept.

"For me drawing with pencil or charcoal on paper wouldn't have had the impact that these materials have.

"I was thrilled to have my work shortlisted for this award and for it to have the chance to be seen by a wider audience."

Second time entrant Elisabeth Vullings from Paraparaumu was 'ecstatic' to make the shortlist for her piece Mātaki which in Māori means to gaze, watch, inspect, examine and observe.

Mātaki by Elisabeth Vullings.
Mātaki by Elisabeth Vullings.

Coming from an architectural background Elisabeth used mixed media painting on recycled building materials to create her work.

"It's based on the Ward Observatory in Whanganui, a small, humble wooden structure built in 1901," Elisabeth said.

"My work investigates this building both architecturally and historically and also delves further into astronomy."

The artwork is completed on an old door with a unique curved top, which is hung horizontally.

Through site visits, discussions, research and investigation including observational sketches, architectural drawings, research notes, historical data, recorded conversations and astronomy diagrams, the project findings have progressively been collaged, drawn and painted directly on to the door over time.

"Layers of information have been built up gradually over the past 12 months creating a textured and detailed surface through which the final composition has emerged.

"I was ecstatic to make the shortlist and am also excited that it may create more interest in the Ward Observatory which offers such a magical experience for visitors."

Launched by philanthropist and arts patron Chris Parkin seven years ago, the Parkin Prize attracts a major prize of $20,000, with 10 highly commended prizes worth $500 each also awarded to artists.

The winning submission will be selected and announced by esteemed art dealer John Gow from Gow Langsford Gallery at the gala evening on August 5.