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What is Happiness?

Recently we had to undertake an Insurance Valuation on our home contents. A painting we bought on a road trip, one last Australian fling before we moved back to New Zealand (9 years ago this month), needed a new valuation. We managed to contact the artist direct, in Australia, for an update, in context with his current work. The process was all pretty easy, but a point stuck with me, and its one of the reasons I create too. He was so chuffed that we were still, both my husband and I, so in love with this painting. It brings us connection to beautiful memories, a connection to each other and to that time in our marriage and in our lives, (where we had small children in tow, in a camper van for 15 days!). ...Which of course was all incredible until it wasn't, and then incredible all over again. And it got me meditating on that delicious painting too. Once again it drew me in. It's not a work of an incredible vista or a portrait of a loved one. Its a tumble of rolling leaves moving upward towards a distant light. It could speak to some of nothing at all or to others of the struggle of life, the beauty in the darkness, if theres a glimmer of hope of something good to come. And thats it, isn't it? Art is personal.

"You can look at a painting for a minute or hold it in your heart for a lifetime".

Who said that? I wish I knew.

But I remember a painting I saw on a trip in my late 20's. The content of it not significance now, but I still hold that painting in my mind. It makes me laugh even now. It was called "That Damn Dog!" I couldn't afford to buy it, having at the time just moved to Sydney. We were struggling to even comprehend the rental market let alone buy art! But its stuck with me, in my heart anyway.

In a study conducted by Prof. Semir Zeki at the University of London recently, volunteers viewed 28 works of art while having their brains scanned. When viewing the art they found most profound, their blood flow increased in a certain part of the brain by as much as 10%, which is equivalent to gazing at a loved one.

"Art should make your heart sing"

As Creatives, we do our work for many reasons; to entertain or empower, to provoke or to justify, to enlighten and educate or to just enjoy the process and the giving. When we buy art, when we actually make the decision to take it home with us, its because it strikes some connection in us, it adds to the substance of our lives and brings contentment. It also somehow helps solidify our place in the world and says a little subconsciously of who we are.

The Happiness Project

Turua Gallery

10a Turua St, St Heliers


3rd to the 15th May

The Happiness Project is one such Exhibition that hopes to sparks joy from art. Its a group show, in it's second year now and I'm genuinely so thrilled to be a part of it. Happiness, joy for the doing and the sharing is why I paint, so this one is very succinct for me.

The show starts this Friday, with the opening from 5pm till 7pm. So please join us. Its always such a lively engaging space and a lovely Friday night activity I find.

It runs for 2 weeks till the 15th May, if you want to get along.

Two works from me new series are part of the show...

"If the World Gives You Lemons"

440mm w x 540mm h, tray framed in white.


640mm x 640mm, tray framed in white.

In other news I was recently approved by an Interior Designer to use a painting in a publication photo shoot. I'm not sure I can say anymore at this stage except that I was excited to be offered such an opportunity. I did a new piece for her, which is a continuation of my current theme, the idea of creating abundance in a time where we are all having to scale back. We are all tightening our belts but we can still find joy in the gift of small things, be it a perfectly ripe feijoa to tuck into or in my case coming across a summer pomegranate and autumn fig at the same green grocers on the same visit! Unheard of!

Art, be it jewellery, paintings, sculptures, installations, fabric, written word, dance or music enlivens the spirit. And right now I'm getting a lot of pleasure from painting fruit!

I recently purchased a studio Lightbox. Primarily this will help with my more commercial photography work, but boy has it become my go-to when I'm photographing studio set-ups for my Painting references!

Though my usual assist is beginning to get a bit too cocky for my likening!

Well that's all from me for now. Looking forward to seeing all the beautiful work the other Turua gallery creatives have produced, come Friday. Hope to see you there too.

Oh, one last this, Turua Gallery is running a presale, Thursday, from 6pm.

 "If the World Gives You Lemons" will be part of the Pre-sale and will be online on Thursday.

So if you are interested, head to Turua Gallery's website or use this link

If you have any questions about eitehr work please give Liss a call at the gallery.

Kia Kaha

Sarah x

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