At 3am one morning Brenda Cash had a revelation.
Unhappy with the direction her painting had taken, Cash promised she would only paint fun art for the next 12 months - then give the proceeds away.
"We'd had a challenging few years and my painting was starting to get very dark and dull.
"So, I set a target of painting fun, light-hearted works for the next year."
The 43-year-old Warea woman has stuck to her guns and early last year held an exhibition where all proceeds went to the SPCA.
Her second exhibition, Blue Skies, starts this Friday at Real Tart and any money made will go to the family of C J Taamara - a Rahotu boy with a rare liver condition.
C J had a liver transplant last week and is now on the road to recovery. Cash said the exhibition was not only to help C J and his family, but to raise awareness around organ donation.
"It's for people who may not be a donor on their driver's licence to perhaps think about it, or prompt them to have that discussion with their families."
Although there were no financial gains for Cash, she said raising money for those in need was something she had to do.
"A while ago I nearly lost my family in a flood out in Okato. I remember going into the local Four Square and seeing a donation jar they had to raise money for my family.
"I couldn't believe it and I just wanted to do that for someone else."
While recovering from surgery last year she heard about young C J.
"I just thought about local people helping local people."
"Although I'm not making money, it's very rewarding and I think as an artist your work takes on a different style and meaning."
About 30 works will be on show during the month-long exhibition and the paintings have a carefree, holiday-type theme about them.
"I was working on abstracts for a long time, but these paintings are my life.
"I drive a Morris Minor, I live in an old house that's falling down, so this is me."
She hasn't long been painting, after giving it up for "real work" some time ago.
"It was the 1980s and I thought I would never get a proper job in art.
"I didn't get a haircut but I did get a real job. I became a librarian and didn't paint for 15 years."
Having lived out the Coast for 17 years, Cash says she is now "almost a local", and is enjoying painting the objects and themes that make up that "rugged lifestyle".
Although the 12 months is up, she had a few more charities in the pipeline that she wouldn't mind helping.
"My 12 months is stretching."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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