Group helps inspire artists
Want to be the next Colin McCahon or Dick Frizzell?
You'd do well to pop in to the old Papakura Central School hall on a Wednesday afternoon.
Local artists have been meeting there for 30 years to share their love of the craft and pass on tips and techniques from their work.
Known as the Papakura Art Group, the gathering brings together a wide variety of experience and skills, so once a month demonstrators are brought in to give in-depth art lessons.
That learning culminates in the group's annual competition in which members put forward original works for a show in the school hall.
The group's youngest member, 32-year-old Ritesh Patel, won this year's oils, acrylic and mixed media category with an oil painting of a family on a boating expedition.
Judge Jill Lane commended the work as "amazing".
"It was just so full of life and you see that [scene] happening all around the coast of New Zealand," she says.
First prize in the watercolour, drawing and pastels category went to Bombay's Derek Cookson for his watercolour Alstroemeria.
The painter isn't a big fan of flowers but he saw the picture in a magazine and was inspired by the unusual colours.
He approached the painting as "an exercise in trying to be neat and concise".
"I've added to it at least half a dozen times so there's a lot of paint on there. If I don't like parts I keep going back to it over and over again," he says.
"You shouldn't do that with watercolours - do one brush stroke and leave it, instead of fiddling with it or it tends to become muddied. But it's worked."
And Ms Lane agreed, saying the flower "stands out beautifully and looks so crisp - and the background is in the background, which is where it should be".
The winners were chosen from about 50 entries, many of which will be exhibited for sale in a temporary shop in the Selwyn Arcade during the six weeks before Christmas.
President Gwen Carter says new members are always welcome to attend the group's meetings, with an annual $30 fee plus a $3 charge per session. The meetings are at 57 Wood St on Wednesday from 12 till 3pm. Call Gwen on 299 8773 or email firstname.lastname@example.org