Birds of prey in­spire artist

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - REXINE HAWES

Ani­tra Mur­phy loves her art work to be as ac­cu­rate to real life as pos­si­ble, so it al­most leaps off the page.

The Mata­mata So­ci­ety of Arts mem­ber has her work on dis­play at West­pac through­out the month of March.

Her col­lec­tion strongly fea­tures birds, which in­clude gan­nets, fal­cons and spar­rows.

She is so ded­i­cated to por­tray­ing a re­al­is­tic like­ness of the crea­tures, that she will spend hours re­search­ing and study­ing their habits.

‘‘I love the na­tive bird life, I like learn­ing about them, I try to read up on them and their habi­tats.

‘‘Now I know a lot of trivia about birds,’’ she laughed.

‘‘It helps me to pic­ture in my head how they move, how they are likely to be­have in the wild,’’ she says.

‘‘I get a pic­ture of how sun­light hits their fea­tures, how the shad­ows form un­der­neath them.

‘‘It’s a weird thing as an artist to travel the world and take no­tice of how light hits things.

‘‘Birds of prey are very im­pres­sive. The South Is­land falcon is be­com­ing ex­tinct and I don’t think many peo­ple re­alise that.’’

The ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tures a paint­ing of two gan­nets, which she painted af­ter see­ing a pro­file of them on the New Zealand doc­u­men­tary Coastal.

‘‘I fell in love with them, I thought they were amaz­ing. I did a time in mo­tion study on the gan­nets, from prep­ping the can­vas to seal­ing took 35 hours.’’

But she is also a fan of land­scapes and has in­cluded a paint­ing of low cloud on the Kaimai as she saw it from be­hind the Raun­gaiti Marae near Wa­haroa.

Mur­phy has been paint­ing for eight years, she en­joys ex­hibit­ing, but says that New Zealand is still very young in its ap­pre­ci­a­tion of painted works.

‘‘Peo­ple are not pre­pared to buy art in New Zealand, it’s a pet peeve. New Zealand is very young when in­vest­ing in art.

‘‘They could spend $60 to $150 on a paint­ing and when they don’t like it any­more they could put it away or give it away or sell it and make their money back.

‘‘Many peo­ple aren’t aware it’s an in­vest­ment and don’t re­alise the time that goes into them.’’

A Mata­mata So­ci­ety of Arts artist ex­hibits their work at West­pac each month and a por­tion of all paint­ings sold is do­nated to Pohlen Hospi­tal.


Ani­tra Mur­phy is the Mata­mata So­ci­ety of Arts, Artist of the Month.

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