Born and raised in Wales, artist Jane Coombs first came to New Zealand with her Kiwi husband in 1986.
They both love the outdoors and do a lot of mountain biking and hiking, and Coombs references the outdoors in many of her paintings.
She said the spectacular mountains of Queenstown remind her of Europe but the softer hills of the Maniototo bring to mind her Welsh upbringing.
The couple was based in Christchurch for 14 years, where Coombs studied a foundation year at the Christchurch School of Art and Design, but returned to the United Kingdom due to her father’s health.
What was intended as a short stay stretched into 18 years, but the Coombs have now settled in Queenstown, where they built their home, beginning the project while still overseas.
Her exhibition at Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery, which opened last week, is her first solo show since returning to New Zealand in 2019.
Titled Broken Fences, Weatherboard Dreams, the paintings are inspired by old and often neglected buildings she had come across in her travels.
‘‘I thought I would do more traditional landscapes and paintings, but I found myself attracted by these derelict buildings,’’ she said.
‘‘There’s a poetry in decay, there’s a beauty and a whimsy in it. I started painting a couple of these and it just snowballed.’’
Because she cannot take her canvases with her biking or hiking, she termed herself a studio painter, but said she takes references and sketches while exploring.
Many viewers would recognise some of the buildings in her paintings, Coombs said.
- The exhibition runs until November 3 and Coombs will host a ‘‘Meet the Artist’’ event on October 15 from 3-5pm.