Saved from her ‘worst time’ by painting
‘‘I'm yet to meet Bill and Hillary Clinton. They invited me over but I haven't been.’’
When Christchurch artist and jazz singer Rhonda Campbell took up art as a career she was at a low point, but painting brought many positive changes with it.
As a child she had spent much of her time on artistic pursuits — painting, playing guitar, singing — but did not start painting as a career until later in life.
During the stock market crash of 1989, Campbell lost her job, was facing losing her house and was recovering from injuries sustained from being hit by a car.
By chance, the real estate agent selling her house convinced her to pick up a paint brush again.
‘‘It was one of the worst times of my life. It was such an epiphany to start painting. After that I just couldn’t stop painting.’’
Campbell began her 28 year career displaying her work ‘‘on the fence’’. Literally on the fence that once stood outside the Art Centre, a popular spot for budding artists.
Since then she has painted thousands of pieces and exhibited all around the city and beyond. She paints impressionist pieces, landscapes, Picasso inspired cubist pieces and ‘‘a wee bit of abstract’’.
Her work is especially popular in the United States of America; at one stage she was regularly sending crates of her work to Amer- ican buyers.
But her most well known clients were members of former American president Bill Clinton’s family after she was recommended to them.
She sold four pieces to Bill and Hillary Clinton themselves and and received hand-written letters from the former president.
‘‘I’m yet to meet Bill and Hillary. They invited me over but I haven’t been.’’
In the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, Campbell lost her regular outlets for exhibiting and selling her work.
She said she had been able to exhibit again for the last four years thanks to recently honoured New Zealand Order of Merit member and The Classic Villa hotel manager Peter Morrison.
‘‘He kindly offered me the walls,’’ Campbell said.
— Campbell’s work is on display this weekend in the hall and front room of The Classic Villa on Worcester Blvd. Saturday and Sunday 11:30am-4pm. Free entry.
Rhonda Campbell and Peter Morrison with some of Rhonda’s work.