Discovering the intensity of New Zealand’s natural colours as a child was a life-changing experience for Anna Evans.
“I remember wondering in the initial month of moving to New Zealand if it was all just a dream”
When 11-year-old Anna Evans woke up in a motel room on the edge of Takapuna Beach on her first morning in Aotearoa, she was dazzled by the vivid colours of sea and sky. It was an influential moment that has gone on to inform her work as an adult artist.
“It was nothing short of a spiritual experience,” she says. “An intense explosion of orange, reds, purples and pinks set behind a stunning row of palms and Norfolk pines (back then I called them ‘pineapple and Lego trees’).”
The contrast between the northern hemisphere light she and her parents left behind when they emigrated and this bright new world left a lasting impression on Anna, whose landscape paintings are imbued with the interaction of sunrise and sunset.
“I remember wondering in the initial months of moving to New Zealand if it was all just a dream. Would I wake up from this colour-saturated land into the dull-toned greyness of Northern Manchester? The sky here seemed unnaturally blue, and the sea actual turquoise. There were greens I had never noticed before, adorned by trees that came in shapes my young brain thought impossible.”
Anna spent hours as a child copying scenes from her Marvel comic collection, which she would then swap for tuck-shop treats at school.
Her biggest creative journey, though, happened in high school, under the influence and encouragement of artist and teacher Matt Elwood, who steered her towards a fine arts degree.
At Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland, she found herself in pretty good company, with peers Judy Millar, Peter Robinson and Michael Parekōwhai, and Don Binney as one of her lecturers. During her time there, she began to see the world of art in new and exciting ways and to question her work and explore creatively.
Anna’s landscapes and birds have a dreamlike surrealism, which she credits to the way in which her first impressions of Aotearoa were formed.
When Anna was asked by Woman to be our featured Resene artist, she chose a landscape that meant something to her. The Oruaiti is the name of the awa that runs near her home and could be described as her tūrangawaewae.
“Two years ago when I went into labour with my son, this is the view I had as I leaned against the ponga trees for support in and out of my contractions.”
The painting took about 70 to 75 hours to complete, although she admits it’s quite difficult to give a precise time. One of the reasons she loves using Resene acrylics is their fast drying time, which allows her to keep her flow.
Anna's painting will be auctioned off via Trade Me on May 11 to raise money for Paint New Zealand Beautiful, supported by Resene, to help beautify our communities with painting projects.
Get creative with Resene – Anna's Resene colour palette
From Woman magazine. Autumn 2022
New Zealand landscape paintings
This series of work features Kiwi artists using Resene Paints to paint New Zealand landscapes. Artwork is auctioned off is in support of Paint New Zealand Beautiful.