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Artist's city showing first in 7 years

KIMBERLEY CRAYTON-BROWN
Last updated 08:30 21/05/2012
Wayne Edgerton
SHIRLEY WHYTE/Fairfax NZ
GOING SOLO: Wayne Edgerton has returned to fulltime painting after several years teaching his craft, and is holding a solo exhibition at City Gallery.

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When Wayne Edgerton broke his arm in 1994 he had no idea boredom would lead to a new career.

After a week of recuperation it became too much for him, so he decided to buy some paints and pick up a brush.

Almost 20 years later, the self-taught painter is working fulltime as an artist and owns a gallery to display his work in Tuatapere.

This month a selection of his landscape pieces are on display at the City Gallery in Don St, his first solo exhibition in Invercargill for seven years.

His paintings can take from a few hours to more than 200 to complete – his record so far is 230 hours – but if there is something about the painting he doesn't like, it remains unfinished.

"If something irritates me, that's it. I'll stop, I'll put the brush down and never go back to it," he said.

"If I don't like it, I will never finish it and 30-odd per cent of what I paint, I destroy it."

Edgerton is a firm believer that one does not sell artwork, people buy it.

"You should be passionate about it. If you are doing it for money, you are doing it for the wrong reason. The passion has got to be in it, otherwise it shows it is not. It is not something you can force."

This is one of the reasons Edgerton does not tend to paint commissioned work. Family farms he will paint, copying details from a photograph or visiting the site, but he is hesitant to paint other scenes requested by people.

There was a risk that the scene would not look the way the person saw it when he had completed it, he said, and hehad turned down about 90 per cent of offers for commissioned work.

He has spent the past several years "giving back", teaching senior art at Waiau Area School (formerly Tuatapere Community College), has been an art adviser for Blue Mountain College, holds art workshops at Borland Lodge, and was the only online art teacher in the country.

Now Edgerton is focusing on his own work, putting in the hours to create 22 paintings since January.

"I am enjoying it. It is really, really good to be back.

"I have probably painted more so far this year than I did all of last year," he said.

"For me it is time to get back to this."

Wayne Edgerton's exhibition can be seen at City Gallery in Don St, Invercargill, until June 6

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- The Southland Times

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