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The rhythm of life

Wairarapa artist Jan Eagle’s exhibition at Heart of Arts in Carterton. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN



Carterton artist Jan Eagle is very aware of the “energy” found in nature, channelling it for her latest exhibition of works, The Rhythm of Life.

Eagle, who was born in Greytown to Jack and Stella Bull, said she had painted for as long as she could remember.

But it wasn’t until later in life that she made it into a fulltime career.

“I wasn’t very good at school, but I just loved painting.

“My parents said, you won’t make any money out of art so they put me as an apprentice to a florist in Masterton, so I’m a fully qualified florist.”

After selling her own florist shop in the 80s, Eagle went on to dedicate herself to her art “fulltime” – “it’s my life, it’s who I am”.

Eagle’s recent works, to be exhibited at Carterton’s Heart of Arts until November 29, explore the common theme of nature and observation.

“I don’t just paint objects, rather I use the paint to say something about them,” she said.

“It’s the whole process of observation and using the paint, getting into it, pushing it around and enjoying the process.”

Most of the works in the collection are nature scenes like the beach or a paddock full of sheep, but Eagle has also placed abstract pieces among the exhibition to enhance the flow of the works, “joining the whole lot together”.

“Everything has an energy with it, the sea, the wind, trees.

“It’s something I’ve been brought up with and something I am very aware of.”

The abstract pieces depict the colour and movement of grass – “each piece explores a different part of the rhythm of life”.

Eagle said she enjoyed observing people, watching their body language and attitudes.

One of her paintings tells a story about a group of teenagers on a park bench using their phones, and another shows a group of women in the nude running into the ocean.

Jan Eagle's untitled picture in her exhibition 'The Rhythm of Life'. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Jan Eagle’s untitled picture in her exhibition ‘The Rhythm of Life’. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

This particular picture is untitled, and so Eagle has opened the floor to the public to put forward their suggestions for a name.

Entries can be posted at Heart of Arts Facebook or at the gallery, and the winner will receive a Jan Eagle Print of their choice.

Looking forward, Eagle is working on a new art series that will tell the story of Joseph Meads and early Greytown.

She said she would love to hear from anyone who has a photograph of Joseph Meads.


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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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