Paula McNeill's Story

  • 27 February 2015
  • Sarah Holden

We spoke with our curator and artist Paula McNeill about her painting, what inspires her and the importance of being creative!

What is your preferred medium and why?
Mixed media - it allows the artist and painter to express, create, experiment and have fun with new and unusual mediums. It suits my personality and where I want to be.

How would you describe your work?
Eclectic, personal, expressionistic, romantic an at times spiritual but it always has a story to share.

How has your work evolved over time?
Mainly through study of colour and movement, letting go the control of early study and training to develop what works for me and I am not afraid to express it.

What inspires you generally?
People watching, the environment, family, light and dark values and dreams.

Where did you get the inspiration from for this particular piece, 'Stepping Through Time'?
The appeal for me is that it is painted on a composite support, under glass to create the feeling of actually moving through time - through what is behind and in front of us. The space creating rest and harmony, then travelling on, remembering the past but finding the future and innovation.

'Stepping Through Time' (Mixed Media with Graphite, Ink, Acrylic and Collage)

What, in your opinion, is the hardest step in creating a masterpiece?
The very first mark you make, the ‘where to from now’ and then moving forward.

Tell me a little bit about your relationship with art and being creative?
I am totally dedicated to the life of being a painter and creator of stories, and believe in what I have to say. Perhaps I am ‘tunnel visioned’, yes, and I don’t like ‘wearing the same overcoat everyday’. It is often said about my work that it is like experiencing an exhibition by a group of artists which pleases me, as the desire to be different is very strong and positive. However, your signature is always apparent.

Which artists do you admire, past and present? Why?  What draws you to their work? 
I enjoy the Polish, Russian Schools, the German Expressionists and some of the new American contemporary painters - because they are creating for themselves and leaving it to the public to judge and critique.

'People Watching People'

What are you working on at the moment?
Mixed media work, incorporating ink, acrylics, oils and compounds, simplicity of movement and design.

How do you know when a work is finished?
I never do. I just have to accept that I must stop and ‘feel’ for the work and be content.

What’s your favourite artwork?
I have far too many to be able to respond!

Do you have any claims to fame? Awards? 
The public is my judge and only time will tell.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself?
I enjoy painting quirky plates, jars and urns. This releases snippets of how I see the funny side of life.

Tell me something you like about The Little Gallery in Tairua and why you choose to exhibit there.
The sense of pride, dedication to detail, variety, intimacy and high standard of work all make it such a pleasure to belong.


See more of Paula's work currently in the gallery online here. 
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