Art Exhibition by the “Monday Group”

Left to right - Lynne Chapman, Laurel North, Norma Frazer, Elaine Collins, Avon Aspden, Annabel Brechelt, Stella Owens and Jan Backhurst. Audrey Jenkins is absent.

Opening on August 5 and running until August 26 at the Art Centre Helensville in the basement of the War Memorial Hall will be an art exhibition by a group of well known local artists who call themselves the “Monday Group”, unsurprisingly, because they paint together on a Monday.
The group came together many years ago as members of Art Kaipara and painted at the old art centre. Since then, more people have joined and they have moved to the Helensville Community Church, where they not only paint but enjoy the companionship and the vital tool of being able to critique each other’s work. There is also a very large dose of humour and not a little cake.
Just a little about the ladies. Norma Frazer is an accidental member as she was looking for the café attached to the old venue and was encouraged to join even though she had never painted before. She hasn’t looked back, using acrylics to paint land and seascapes, with sunsets and waterfalls firm favourites. Avon Aspden has “doodled” forever and this has now developed into pictures made of little dots, technically called “stippling”. Her Churchill and Hitchcock pictures are amazing; her pictures of cats and teddies are delightful and totally different. Laurel North has painted all her life. She paints “practically anything” and her love of Helensville shines through in her paintings of local scenes. Her imagination runs riot, producing amazing, pleasing results. ‘Suffocated artist’ is what Jan Backhurst calls herself, as when young she desperately wanted to go to art school but it was not to be. Finding an outlet in hairdressing, Jan has been involved in all manner of arts and crafts and is active in the Floral Art Group. She went to Hungry Creek Art School and enjoyed it so much she felt she was where she should have been 55 years ago. Jan has an amazing touch with colour and texture.
The next five ladies were all members of the Art on Track Gallery, which closed last year. Elaine Collins has painted all over New Zealand and was a member of the North Otago Art Society, where she had great success. Elaine paints in acrylics and literally paints everything. She is never afraid to experiment and has amazing mixed media techniques, which result in some quirky results. Stella Owens has a lifelong interest in the arts, with the last of very many influences along the way being painting with Waitoki artist Liz Sutherland. She works in all mediums and her colours are always bright, often including her signature purple. Although she now lives in Whangaparoa close to her family she still joins the group whenever possible. Annabel Brechelt is well known for her beautiful realistic paintings of our native birds, often painting them on smooth pebbles to great effect. She has painted several commissions of beloved pets and also enjoys sea and landscapes. She has been painting for about 25 years and is mainly self-taught. Audrey Jenkins paints in oils and her exquisite use of colour shines through in all her paintings, be they land sea or any other subject in styles ranging from bold representational, through to impressionism, which she loves, to experimenting with mixed media abstracts. Soft lines and the play of light and shadow inspire her to make her landscapes surreal. Lyn Chapman, like Jan, was a “suffocated artist” until when, living in Zimbabwe, she was lucky enough to secure a place at the Peter Burch School of Art in Harare. She has not stopped painting anything and everything since, particularly loving to use earthy “African” colours.
All the artists have exhibited far and wide for may years supporting Rodney Arts, Agricultural Shows and Art Kaipara and are all winners of various awards too numerous to mention. So, come along to the exhibition and have a look at what these “older persons” produce in their close-knit, supportive, fun-loving group. What better way to spend a Monday they say!!

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