Esme Upton- Bio of a fellow artist

Esme’s Watercolour Self-Portrait

My earliest memory was when I was 5 years old, in Sister Roberta’s classroom. I still remember that wonderful smell of wax crayons.” despite Esme’s love of drawing from a young age she was not allowed to take Art as a subject.

The Dominican nuns who were my legal wards, thought Art was not useful for a girl and delegated me to Sewing.” However Esme was not to be discouraged and she ‘would draw non-stop and paint at every opportunity.’ As she grew older she found new artistic outlets, “As a teenager I got the opportunity to design and paint posters for a charity ball…that gave me direction to be more confident of my creativity.” When she left school she worked as a Florist and after her children were old enough to all be at school she took various Art Classes.“I learnt the fundamentals of paint and its many forms and techniques. I gained a lot of experience using watercolours and was introduced to figure work and portraiture.” Esme joined various Art Societies and exhibited her work.

Esme is inspired by the Impressionists “for their spontaneity and painting of everyday life and their use of pure pigments.” If she could own one painting it would be “‘The Waterlily Pond’ by Claude Monet. it has always fascinated me how he made so many from the same subject. The painting is of a bridge going over a pond filled with lilies, it is a very vibrant picture with pure colour, the brush strokes have an isometric rhythm throughout the picture which I find restful.”

Monet, Claude Waterlillies, 1919, Oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum, New York

Esme responds to Art both visually and emotionally “Painted images always provoke emotion and curiosity in me. I have a desire to try their ingenious techniques or style.

Esme enjoys working in various mediums.

“I enjoy pencil and charcoal as it’s is a medium that is always available for use indoors and outdoors. It is not very costly and can capture an of the moment record.”

“Watercolour I find more difficult as it dries so fast but I love that you get translucent colours. The layering of colours, or glazing techniques is my preferred application to this medium. I have done a series of monotone portraits where glazing has been the key to building up my images.”

“Acrylics I have explored in great lengths and have tried most of the techniques depending on my subjects. It is also fast drying and I apply in thin glazes.”

After moving to New Zealand ,from Zimbabwe, Esme chose NMIT and doing a Bachelor of Art because “it was a lifelong dream and to equip myself for employment in the future.”

Esme has found the start of the course challenging because ‘ learning all the different programs at such a fast rate, because it’s all new technology to me and the media subjects are challenging.” However she is enjoying “all the subjects, photography and the fundamentals of the camera has opened a new alertness around me.” Esme has also “enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people that have the same passion as I do.”

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