Artist Margaret Scott's metaphoric self-portrait

Oakura artist Margaret Scott has recently launched a new book called Self Portrait of a Paua.

Oakura artist Margaret Scott has recently launched a new book called Self Portrait of a Paua.

While working as an art teacher at a rural high school, Margaret Scott came to realise how under-resourced some country schools' art departments really were.

With an art career spanning more than 40 years, the painter taught at Opunake High School for about a decade, finishing in 2002.

While there, the national syllabus required teachers to use New Zealand artists as teaching models. However, there was a scarcity of suitable books and resources on New Zealand art to use with country school children, she said.

"Students contact with original works of art was limited as many did not have original works of art in their homes, nor had they visited an art gallery."

This inspired Scott to generate a resource of her own.

Fifteen years on and the Oakura resident has just released her second book, Self Portrait of a Paua. The title is symbolic of Scott, whose work details Taranaki's landscape, and her time spent living along the region's coastline.

"It's a bit of a metaphor. I'm the paua."

The pictorial publication is a collection of vivid imagery, showcasing her artwork, tutorials and details of her life in rural and coastal Taranaki.

"There are also workbook pages that demonstrate painting techniques which makes this a valuable resource for art students and emerging artists," she said.

Scott, who continues to teach from her home-based studio, said while she was excited the book had finally come to fruition it was also a little "scary".

"While I was putting it together I was on the brink of giving up, it's quite intimidating putting yourself out there."

But Scott said she was "propped up" by her daughter, Natalia Sheppard, who is otherwise known as New Zealand drum and bass artist MC Tali.

"She helped me through the entire process. She's really good at english and so she read each chapter and sort of helped me.

"It's been really humbling how much support I've had, from my family especially."

Self Portrait of a Paua is available for purchase at most local bookshops. Scott also hoped the book would become a valuable resource for local schools' art departments.

 - Stuff

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