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Local art lovers vote for bird’s fleeting visit

Sarah Luttrell clearly has a knack for winning the votes of Kiwi art lovers, after receiving a third people’s choice award for her painting.

Aratoi announced last week that Luttrell’s painting, A Fleeting Visit, won the most votes for the People’s Choice Award, during the recent New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Wairarapa Art Review.

The finely detailed painting of a miromiro [North Island tomtit] on a black background was painted by Luttrell in about three months, in the spare bedroom of her Masterton home.

The former Wairarapa College student and experienced manufacturing jeweller said it was “quite a shock” to win the award.

“I paint when I can, when our son is at school,” Luttrell said. “I’m quite a slow painter, so not terribly productive. I use watercolours and also open acrylic, which is slow drying and gives me time to work with the paint.”

Luttrell thanked photographer Glenys Robertson for allowing her to use her images of birds as reference photographs.

Luttrell has won two other people’s choice awards, both at national art events in Taranaki — “so this one makes it a hat-trick”.

Growing up on a family farm at Western Lake, Luttrell was first inspired to paint by her artist grandmother, but gave it up for about 20 years while she travelled and ran her own jeweller’s business in Martinborough.

Now once again immersed in the fine art world, she has begun to paint local landscapes using gold leaf and has joined the artisans’ collective at Te Hupenui Greytown Gallery of Contemporary and Fine Art.

“Artists can be very critical of our own work and it’s hard to put ourselves out there. With a collective, it’s lovely to be alongside like-minded people.”

Luttrell’s painting and other category winners from the art review will be displayed at Carterton Events Centre until March 8.

Aratoi director Sarah McClintock said: “The Frank Minehan People’s Choice Award was a hotly contended competition. Hundreds of votes were counted and we are delighted that Sarah Luttrell won, her piece is stunning.”

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