Janine Whitelaw

Janine is a professional artist inspired not only by the beauty of Aotearoa’s nature but also interior design and colour, her recent series explores the collation of the two into a fusion of mixed media works, using bold damasks and patterns to create a rich multi-layered scene inhabited by our native birds. She lives in beautiful Northland with her partner and two gorgeous boys, 

 She began painting fulltime in 2004 after successful exhibitions in the community while on maternity leave with her second son. After returning home from London where she worked as an occupational Therapist to have her first son she began studying oils for the first time with a local tutor. Taken by the beauty of New Zealand after living abroad she began a love affair with the unique nature of Aotearoa. She remembers vividly returning home and being in awe of just how beautiful our country is, as if discovering and appreciating it for the first time. In 2005, after successfully selling in galleries and establishing a professional career she met Lawrence Berry who she has studied with ever since. Lawrence has been instrumental in developing the sense of creativity for purpose and challenges her to explore her creative intent and develop ones sense of self in the paintings. Because of this Janine is forever exploring new methods and techniques which transpire into her ‘commercial’ work , leading her on a continual path of self discovery. Because of the creative journey she is on her works are constantly evolving and flip between the use of pure oils on canvas to acrylic and multimedia works on board. A prolific painter, she can sometimes be working on four to five different series at a time, constantly evolving as she goes. Inspiration for many of her work comes from living on the east coast over the entire summer period where the never ending source of nature and beauty is around her. Establishing a lifestyle where she is able to spend endless summers with her boys has had an influence on a number of her series of work, especially the patchwork series where small icons and moments of time are overlayed like postcards in a scrapbook, to review and contemplate the memories that are associated with them. Most of the landscapes used are generic from memory but are painted in a way that the viewer is able to place his/her own time/place on them. Through her paintings Janine realised that she saw things in their smaller unique form than the whole. Rather than being captured by the huge pohutukawa tree in all its glory she would be drawn to the small strangly flowers sitting on the outmost skirts of the branch or the one golden spear of a harakeke leaf streaking out past the other greener foliage of the bush. Spending her summers at the beach with her sons influenced her fascination with small icons of beauty as well ,as they collected fallen pohutukawa leaves and kina shells for their ‘treasure troves’. She credits the success and popularity of her paintings to the fact that they evoke the viewers own memories/experiences and emotions of our land to them.