‘I could spend all day doing it’

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Oamaru is teeming with artistic talent, often tucked away in solitary splendour, so the Oamaru Mail is prising open studio doors to meet the creative people inside. This week’s artist is Daphne Marshall-Beuth.

Q What sort of art do you create?

I mainly paint landscapes, especially mountain scenes. The South Island especially has beautiful scenery, majestic mountains, beautiful lakes. All very different with the changing seasons. Amazing autumn colours. Such wonderful scenes to inspire me to paint.

Q Do you have formal training or are you more self-taught?

I am mainly self-taught. I have done a few classes with different people. Two classes in Waimate with Maree White, from Whakatane. A drawing class with Burns Pollock. After his class, I did a drawing of my husband. It’s the only drawing I have done and it hangs in our dining room. I have done other classes through the North Otago Art Society. Did a class with Deborah Lambert, from Ashburton. She really inspired me. She is the reason I now concentrate mainly on landscapes.

Q How long have you been involved in this art?

Probably since about 2003. Before that I was involved with patchwork and machine embroidery. I have made quilts for all my family, I have made table runners and wall hangings and cushions, some with a lot of embellishments of machine embroidery. I first got involved with painting on the West Coast when a friend suggested I should try painting as I had a good eye for colour.

Q What is its appeal to you?

I find it extremely relaxing. I used to get irritable with the sewing machine when I was sewing, but painting is the complete opposite. I could spend all day doing it. I also find it extremely satisfying to start off with a blank canvas, then when it is complete it is the most rewarding feeling. Even more so when someone buys one.

Q Do you experiment with new approaches and techniques?

I have experimented first with pastels but found I got quite messy. I then tried watercolours, then went to acrylics. I am now using water-mixable oil paints, which I am enjoying, but they do take longer to dry. The big advantage of these is that you do not have the lingering smell of turps, which a lot of people do not like.

Q Are you planning to branch out into other art forms?

Not in the immediate future. But then you never know. At this stage I am enjoying what I am doing. I have had a lot of comments about how my work has improved, therefore I am content to keep on what I am doing at present, improving more and more as I go.

Q How does your art fit into the rest of your life – is it purely for relaxation, do you earn income from it, are you aiming to make it a career?

It is mainly a hobby. I have work on display for sale at the North Otago Art Society rooms in Tyne St. I do have a studio at my home where people can come and see my work. I have a sign which I put out when I am open. I have sold quite a few of my paintings; that is always a thrill. My husband is very supportive of what I am doing and we purchased this house about three years ago so that I would have a larger room work in. Previous to that, I would use the laundry or other small rooms we had spare.

Q How responsive is the local community to artists and their art?

We get a lot of locals and tourists coming in to the North Otago Art Society rooms on the corner of Tyne and Wansbeck Sts. These visitors are most impressed with the artwork on display. We have I think around 70 members. We have a very diverse range of art on display in our four rooms. The hanging committee changes the displays about every three months, although when works are sold a new work is hung. There are usually works waiting to be hung.

Q If you could design a perfect world, what role would art play?

A perfect world would always need to have some form of art. Art has been around since the beginning of time in some form or other. Oamaru is well known for our heritage buildings, which is a form of art. Ancient civilisations have had different art forms. Indigenous people have all had forms of art, whether if be in rock drawing, dress or other forms. Art will always have a place in the world. Having artwork in a home is very restful, always lovely to look at. A world without art would be a very soulless place.