Full circle for artist

Stationed . . .Margaret Palmer in her home studio surrounded by her art work and utensils. PHOTO: BEN ANDREWS

Like many things in life, art is subjective.

Te Tipua artist Margaret Palmer-McKenzie sees this as just another piece of the puzzle in the process of creating her award-winning art.

Twenty-eight years ago she decided to dig deeper into that side of herself, she said.

She enrolled at the Southern Institute of Technology and started attending night classes where she learnt the skills of creating art.

She ‘‘just got a taste for it’’ and the taste developed from there.

Early on, she went to art exhibitions in Waikaka and Riversdale, gathering inspiration that helped her evolution.

Eventually, creating art became less of a hobby and more of a side-hustle.

‘‘When I was on maternity leave, or anything similar, that’s what it became,’’ she said.

After some time exploring her new side-hustle, she got her first opportunity to display her art in an exhibition.

In 1999, she was invited to exhibit her work at Gallery 55, in Invercargill.

Palmer-McKenzie recalls it went rather well.

‘‘I had to learn all the ins and outs of doing business with gallery directors.

‘‘I still haven’t met any artists who haven’t been spurned by them.’’

That was a big step into the world of exhibiting, she said.

Her second exhibition did not go as well but it was one of her fondest exhibiting memories.

It was held at the Invercargill Public Art Gallery, in 2002.

‘‘On the way down there my friends said, ‘Now, you do know you’ve put all this effort in, but it’s raining, people are not likely to come out to this exhibition and it’s a Friday night in Invercargill’.’’

Laughingly she said, ‘‘Oh well, it’ll be what it’ll be.’’

Luckily the night ended up a success, she said.

Despite this, it proved difficult to make creating art sustainable for herself as a one person team.

But she found a way, continuing to create art and exhibit; even earning a couple of pieces of silverware along the way. Palmer-McKenzie crafted her art by using life experiences and then turning them into paintings.

Colour, texture and movement in various mediums and subjects are an important aspect to her work.

She captured the essence of her subjects, whether that was landscape, life or still life.

Art, at the end of the day, is subjective, she says.

‘‘You can’t please all the people all the time, let alone yourself. You’re always looking for a better painting. It’s something that drives me.’’
The quest to improve herself always fuelled her passion, she said.

During October, her place was one stop on the Southland Arts Trail.

This month, she is back on the exhibiting circuit, as a guest artist at the 47th ‘‘Waikaka Arts Exhibition’’.

It is the same art exhibition that once inspired her to begin her journey.

She will speak this Friday at the opening night of the exhibition.