A few words from the Artist Ginney Deavoll about the artwork...
"Artist, Author, Adventurer. That’s how I used to describe myself and what most people have labeled me when talking about my life and work. The artist part sits well. I couldn’t imagine being anything else. And ‘author’ is ok too. I have a few published books out there, many articles, I write about my paintings a lot and I have some projects underway in that department. Adventurer however doesn’t sit too well. I’ve felt a bit of a fraud seeing that written these past few years.
I started using that word just after I had completed a self-propelled journey of the South Island. My husband and I sea kayaked 1000km around Fiordland; in and out of Fiords, catching fish, landing on serene still islands and on rough stony beaches with pounding surf. We followed that by biking 500km up the west coast then tramped north, following streams and rivers and traversing back and forth across the main divide until we reached the most northerly point of the South Island; Farewell Spit. I felt proud of my self-appointed title. I’d also paddled around Great Barrier Island, up the northland coast, hitchhiked from Croatia to Albanian, skied 100km across the European Alps, and traveled to numerous countries to work and play. I felt I’d earned the title of ‘adventurer’.
I was living the life I’d set out to create. I was taking myself off into the wildest corners of our beautiful land then sharing its wonders through paint and words. My hope was that I would inspire others to go and experience it for themselves and in turn want to be a part of protecting it for future generations.
However, it’s been a while since those days. I now have a husband, two sons, a dog, and a property. Life looks quite different. It’s got me thinking about what it means to be an adventurer. Does it require you to go off into the wilderness and complete the biggest, boldest, fastest mission? Or can you be adventurous in your everyday life? Is it a mindset rather than a physical act? Can buying a section and saying yes to moving a house onto that section without even having seen it first count as adventurous?
After pondering this for a while I’ve discovered that in fact life and the way I produce my art hasn’t actually changed that much. My adventures are much smaller, and I often follow two small but very observant and enthusiastic teammates. They have shown me the world around us in a whole new way. We may only be 1km from our house but to them, every plant, rockpool, and track is new and worthy of their attention. Through their eyes, they have shown me the wonder of my immediate environment and so my latest work isn’t of the wild and remote, hard to get to places but of my backyard seen through fresh eyes. We climb trees, sea kayak around islands, jump off the boat, snorkel, and ride waves to collect the reference material I need for each painting.
My painting environment has also gone full circle. I used to paint on the floor of the sea kayak guides flat, a piano on one side, the pool table on the other, and constantly in somebodies’ way. Things improved over the years and for four years I even had a beautiful, clean studio with a big table, natural light, and storage. These days I’m back to the kitchen table. The kids have their painting table behind me, Lego on the ground and miscellaneous objects are often piled around or on my work. It’s not unusual to sit down to paint and find a piece of seaweed or a fern that someone thought might be of use. I have the option of other quiet spaces to work but I wouldn’t change it. I love being amongst the chaos of everyday life as I work (so long as no one is being an egg).
I’ve always loved this quote and thought it sums up how I want to live my life;
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between her work and her play, labour and leisure, mind and body, education and recreation. She simply pursues her vision of excellence through whatever she is doing and leaves others to determine whether she is working or playing.” Ginney Deavoll Dec 2022