Picture perfect win

20:27, Apr 09 2013
Wendy Gordon
WINNING ENTRY: Wendy Gordon with her first-placed piece ifOh Africanf at the Royal Easter Show Art Awards.

Wendy Gordon couldn't believe it when she won a Royal Easter Show art award.

The open art competition is the largest in New Zealand with up to 2000 entries on display in the pavilion at the ASB Showgrounds during the annual event.

Wendy entered two pieces. It was her large airbrushed picture of an African girl titled Oh Africa that took first.

She has studied fine art for years and is a former president of the Catherine Mitchell Arts Centre. Wendy was drawn to airbrushing by her brothers who decorated their cars in their youth but it wasn't until two-and-a-half years ago she took a course in Auckland and discovered it's a difficult skill.

"I have a co-ordination problem. I've always had it. There's something wrong with my neural paths and then of course there's my age."

Course tutor Tony Vowles let the 61-year-old repeat the course six months later.

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This time, at the end of the three-week boot camp, and despite "wanting to walk out so many times" her determination prevailed and she came home with an airbrushed work of Gollum.

Back in her "art shack", a converted shearers' accommodation shed on her property in Awaawaroa Bay, Wendy went about perfecting the artform - always mindful of her mantra: "Don't give up."

"Every time I went to put my airbrush down out of frustration, I looked at the cartoon drawing on my wall that says not to give up."

Wendy went on to paint a zebra, rose, husky and Marilyn Monroe. It was after finishing the representation of an African girl, a picture that took five months to complete, that Wendy felt confident enough to enter the Easter show.

She picked the professional category because she was unsure of which one to enter.

At the awards ceremony she was "totally buzzed out" to win with Oh Africa.

"I had friends there supporting me. It was absolutely thrilling."

A few days later, show organisers told Wendy that her winning entry and her other contribution, the picture of Marilyn Monroe, had both sold.

"Now I really am a professional," she says.

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