Cafe becomes winter studio

CHARLOTTE SQUIRE
Last updated 12:58 23/07/2014
Muck the pig
CHARLOTTE SQUIRE/FAIRFAX NZ
HAPPY ARTIST: Painter Luanne Brauner has found her winter studio, the Wholemeal Cafe.

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A Golden Bay artist has found a new element for her work - painting at a Takaka cafe after moving her studio down from an isolated hill.

Fulltime painter Luanne Brauner found she was growing lonely painting from home, on Bird Clearing Hill, where the clouds often obscured her view of the lowlands.

She decided to find a public place to work.

"It gives me comfort, having people around me. We all need to be social in the winter, it's so important to be connected."

She said she had initially set up at Takaka's Dangerous Cafe and had been welcomed with open arms by the owner, who hoped other painters would also begin to work from there. But Dangerous Cafe had closed for winter, so she switched camps to the Wholemeal Cafe.

She works among the customers, enjoying the occasional profound conversation with people, many of whom want to know about her art.

"It is not that often that a painter works in public. People like seeing artists at work. I'm not a street painter. I normally do my own work in isolation."

She thought she was too shy to paint in public, but to her surprise found she could carry on working around people.

She even discovered she could paint while people talked to her.

"It's like listening to music and doing your homework.

"When I'm sitting here I'm very happy. I have inner peace and happiness. I've found balance, I'm a social person," she said.

Brauner is working on a "spiritual series" in water colour for the Golden Bay Church of Christ.

She said this body of work inspired conversation with people because it was about surviving crises.

"We have all been in a crisis, everyone has, it's human.

"One person came to me and he looked quite suicidal. He left with a smile and hope," she said.

Brauner is in demand as a realistic portrait painter. She also teaches art.

When the warmer weather returns she'll move her practice back up onto her mountain, where she can take breaks in her garden.

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- The Nelson Mail

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