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The Art Lounge NZ Exhibition 'Petals and Pods | Jenny Coker ~ Artist

You're Invited!

Exhibition Opening: 'Petals and Pods'

Venue: The Art Lounge NZ

Location: 117 Willow Street, Tauranga

Date: Friday May 14

Time: 5-7pm

RSVP: to Mira at The Art Lounge NZ on

It is with pleasure that I invite you all to attend my first exhibition with The Art Lounge NZ, my New Zealand art representatives! I'm delighted with this new partnership and pleased with the paintings that have been coming to life in my studio with the beloved Peony as muse.

Once again my year began with an irresistible thought and throw-away comments that I would ‘slow down’ and that a ‘slower pace could suit me'. These half-uttered promises conjured images of of a warm in hand... and me gardening, reading, cafe-ing. Picture painted? Yes. Reality knocking? Yes. Oh, how exciting and how very typical of me to ignore these daydreams of slowing down and to instead accept with pleasure the offer of representation by a local dealer gallery. Not too much rest on the agenda for this year it seems! I’m already simmering with the desire to create ever better and deeper works of art.

The Art Lounge NZ is now presenting my classical oils and watercolours. The timing really couldn’t be more appropriate as I unleash my inner oil goddess onto canvas and board with a collection of still life and floral works.

Those of you who are awaiting the unveiling of my hidden contemporary prowess with bated breath... please keep breathing. That revelation isn’t due any time soon!

My current passion is for the soft cheeks of peony buds bursting into bloom, delicate petals and intricate pods. I am totally absorbed by the countless possibilities presented by the play of light and the colours of the exquisite peony. It is truly a landscape of creative opportunity. In the past I’ve begun an occasional peony painting but other priorities have colluded to deny me time and opportunity for their completion. This time... well, let’s see what is budding, developing, maturing!

The initial decision was to start with an imprimatura while a soft blue-grey sky made a gentle background for a tonal first layer of the delicate peony petals. I found I needed to reverse my eager start to more carefully sketch key petals to maintain proportion. Sketching in soft sepia allowed me to gently oil out what was proving to be a very dry canvas. Softly wiping off most of the oil left a tiny slick to assist brushes to lay their soft oils where and how I needed them to land.

Several weeks on, and with a few of life’s distractions faced up to, overcome, delegated, and with others embraced and enjoyed, I find several works are showing pleasing potential. I’ll not allow myself to get too excited... I’ve learned that lesson in the past. Let’s simply suggest that a feast is in preparation!

As the new peonies are mounting up on my wall easel in the studio and drying between layers, I am taking a break at the drawing board in my study to open sketching conversations with peony seed pods. These pods took my attention quite by accident while I was enjoying a few days break at Portobello, on the Otago Peninsula. They could have been missed, easily, with autumn shades melting into their fading branches. Later, as I studied them in detail for a sketchbook exercise, the gleam of bluish blacks and the beautiful range of colours led my fertile, creative imagination automatically into a number of visual possibilities!

When my gallerist, from The Art Lounge NZ opened a discussion about a collection of pieces for an upcoming exhibition, peonies were the topic. How ironic that these pods were becoming a player in an emerging plan and collection of work, forming in my mind. So, after a delightful southern holiday, seeds and pods arrived back in Tauranga to be brought to life again - on paper.

It appears a theme has begun here as I appraise the collection of gum nuts mounted in polystyrene blocks, packets of collected leaves, with little blue-green gum nuts collected at Moeraki alongside dried poppy seed heads from my garden. All will be lovingly recorded one way or another. Each season seems to reveal more for my creative mind, my hands, pencils and brushes to play with. It simply refuses to stop! Is it any wonder that my world is full or that I’m content?


Stay tuned for next month's update from 'Stories from My Studio'. Join my monthly e-newsletter update on the home page of my website and get a free digital botanical screen saver.

'Til next time,


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