Julie Greig’s love of art spans almost 60 years, and counting.
The devoted Maniototo-based artist, who specialises in pastels, first developed a passion for art when she was a young girl.
She admits that was almost 60 years ago, but only took it up professionally in 1998.
Since then, she has crafted many intricate works, many of which depict scenes of shepherds clad in oilskin coats, mustering stock, often with a horse in tow and a dog or three by their side.
She has received numerous awards for her works, which went towards her gaining the status of master pastellist of Pastel Artists NZ in 2017.
“I just love painting. I love sharing the world as I see it and I’m so spoilt for choice here in the Maniototo,” she said, of the settings and scenery on her back doorstep.
Greig moved to Patearoa from the Mackenzie district.
Both locations have provided her with a prime backdrop for her work, but the move to the Maniototo has allowed her to dedicate more time to her art.
“Here, I’m painting all the time.”
She has transformed her second lounge into her studio where she specialises in pastels and a naturalist technique allowing her to focus on a subject, while making everything around it slightly blurred.
“Everything is there to support it.”
Greig, a former children’s book designer and illustrator, often works from photos, but does not create her works to portray a mirrored image.
Instead, she takes a photograph of local scenery and often “drops a stockman, horse and dog” into her works.
The process means ensuring the daylight in the image matches that reflecting off the subjects she adds in.
“You have to think about the lighting to make sure it works,” she said.
“I love the mystery of low light, the colours of shadows and tonal transitions. Sunlight slanting through a rustic old gate, the movement of grasses, reflections on still water, the sheen on a furry coat, clouds moving above; I look at these simple things and I feel inspired.”
Greig, who also paints in a range of other mediums, including oils, acrylics, graphite and charcoal, said painting was about learning to see and finding a way to share our unique vision as artists with the wider world.
“The subjects I paint are often commonplace. I choose these subjects based on my personal response to share a moment or a pose with us in our busy lives that there is simple beauty to be found all around us when we take the time to pause and really see.”
Julie Greig will host a soft pastel workshop at the Art Centre in Ranfurly in the coming months.