Open for inspiration

Wānaka artist Lesley Faulks in her art studio, which will be open to the public at Easter. PHOTO:...
Wānaka artist Lesley Faulks in her art studio, which will be open to the public at Easter. PHOTO: REGAN HARRIS
After more than 20 years inspiring Wānaka’s youth to embrace their artistic instinct, local artist Lesley Faulks is ready to share her own creative spark with the rest of the world.

This Easter weekend, Faulks will open her Mt Barker art studio to the public, giving people the opportunity to view several of her paintings in the very place where they are brought to life.

Following a long career as an art teacher at Mount Aspiring College, Faulks has in recent years reduced the time she spends teaching each week, allowing her more time to dedicate to her craft.

This has included enrolling in a two-year online programme at the Milan Institute of America, from which she will graduate  in May.

Faulks said her time learning at the institute had proven invaluable and the art she has produced for the course  also earned her some additional accolades.

She said while her style and the materials she used were constantly evolving, her approach to filling the canvas remained methodical, and some ideas could percolate in her mind for some time.

"Some people go to the canvas and don’t know where it’s going. I have to know where I’m going."

Faulks’ pieces are what she describes as "representational expressionism", often incorporating landscapes and subjects in slightly abstract scenes that she hopes provoke more questions than they answer.

She said she drew inspiration from her own life experiences, including her travels, but also the works of other artists, particularly Frida Kahlo and Salvador Dali.

While she has worked on other projects, including providing illustrations for a book celebrating St Columba’s centenary and a children’s book about Shrek the Sheep, this weekend’s exhibition marks the first time she has opened up her own workshop to the public.

As for why she has chosen now to share her art on a larger scale, she said she was at a point where she simply felt ready.

"I’m just launching. I’ve been very undercover.

"This has all been just for me, and now I’m at the stage of OK, maybe I’d like people to know this is what I do."

The exhibition coincides with the launch of her "Wānaka Splash" series, a collection of four artworks printed on A5 cards depicting various drinks on landscapes representing each of the town’s seasons.

Faulks’ art exhibition runs from Friday, March 29, until Monday, April 1, between 10am and 6pm at 513 Mt Barker Rd, Wānaka.