Golden Bay artist Bianca Dias is exhibiting a series of paintings themed "connecting with the feminine and nature" at Dangerous Kitchen in Takaka.
Her first and largest piece, Divine Passion, didn't involve any pre-planning and came after a long break from painting.
"I started painting the canvas in black and it all just started erupting out of me. There was no plan. There was no step by step, and I didn't know what I'd do with it at the time," she says.
She went on to paint the collection of mixed-media works exhibiting at Dangerous Kitchen, in Commercial St.
Dias describes her style as "very emotional. It's really just emotions out on canvas. I use lots of raw materials such as sand, flowers, sticks, leaves . . . the raw elements of nature."
She has painted all her life and is currently studying art by correspondence through The Learning Connection (TLC), which is based in Wellington.
"It's a fun, light, loose art school, not one of those serious ones," she says.
The feminine power theme features in her paintings.
"Every single painting I've done has this rising up to your feminine power theme. It's about becoming comfortable with who you are and projecting who you are into the world."
Her Sri Lankan heritage also influences her work.
"That's why I can relate to Golden Bay, too. It brought that passion for creativity and nature. The energies are quite similar. There's an innocence about growing up in a small community.
"Being a mum also inspires me. That's one of my favourite things to do in this world - it's so inspiring."
She's also strongly influenced by her natural environment.
"The answers are in nature, all around us: the cycles of birth and death, the seasons . . ."
Dias said it wasn't until she moved to Golden Bay that she was able to give serious time to her painting.
"I finally have this space to work creatively. Before that it was all a bit erratic.
"We've only been here for a couple of years; we came here from Australia in 2010. Before that we were travelling around for a year and a half trying to find a nice place to settle, until we found the bay," she says.
"It had this wholesome, genuine feel. People just looked happy. People seemed to have time for the good things in life. I saw parents on a week day playing in the park with their kids - you just don't see that in the big city."
Dias is also currently busy promoting the release of her first children's book, Your Soul is Like a Seed.
- Bianca Dias, Dangerous Kitchen, Commercial St, Takaka, till March 1.