Word pictures are bread and butter

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 08:36 10/06/2014
russell
DEENA COSTER/FAIRFAX NZ
Hawera artist Cecilia Russell with her painting Inner Space which recently won the People's Choice Award at this year's Lysaght Watt Art Awards.

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Cecilia Russell's art gallery has an historical difference.

For people who make the trek to South Taranaki for this weekend's Taranaki Arts Trail event, the painter will be welcoming them into the home she shares with husband Robert.

And although her home has a unique story of its own, she hopes it won't overshadow the extensive body of work she is preparing to show.

Originally from Kerikeri, the Russells live in the Charles Major's Office building on Hawera's Princes St. The building, which was built in 1879, was confirmed as a category two building by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in March.

The experience of researching the building's history has inspired a new exhibition Russell plans to hold in October, but it's the work she has been doing for more than 20 years that she is keen for visitors to see.

In particular, she will feature her word pictures, a concept she has developed and refined throughout the years.

Simply put, the pictures are scenes made up entirely of words.

"They take absolutely forever," she says.

She has sold many of her word pictures nationally and internationally, including in Russia and Greenland.

"They're my bread and butter," she says.

She says the word pictures appeal to people who may not traditionally consider themselves to be followers of art.

"All kinds of people buy them," she says.

One of the key things she wants to do this weekend is engage people with her craft and for their visit to be as interactive as possible.

On show at Russell's home will be a diverse range of her art work, including award-winning piece Inner Space, which recently won the People's Choice Award at this year's Lysaght Watt Art Awards.

She says she's looking forward to the weekend and hopes the trail will put Hawera and South Taranaki on the arts map.

"There's something for everybody here," she says.

The Taranaki Arts Trail runs from June 14-15 and involves a variety of artists across the region. For more information visit www.taranakiartstrail.co.nz

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- Taranaki Daily News

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