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Making art for me is primarily about creating something I haven’t seen before – something that is a product of materials, surfaces, natural forces and unique manipulations.  I apply the same experimental approach to both paint and traditional drawing materials, ensuring that their application is anything but traditional. My drawings are in one sense observational but not based on observations of things I see in front of me that I want to represent. Rather, they come from close observations of what materials (currently ink and graphite) can do when given some fresh opportunities to perform, how they behave in non-typical circumstances and what this shows me. I observe what the materials offer me and run with that in my work. The finished pieces are the result of an almost complete immersion in the process over a period of days and emerge only when I’ve reached the point of total concentration and focus and after many attempts have been destroyed. Giving myself permission to destroy my work as I go has become a very important part of my creative process.

I’ve been selected as a finalist in the Parkin Drawing Prize for the past 3 years and currently am a finalist in the Wallace Art Awards with work in the travelling show. All the drawings have been made with Chinese ink and graphite on synthetic paper (Yupo). My drawing tools are variable, from a grim reaper scythe from the Dollar Shop to extra-large ribbed condoms. I think the Parkin is possibly the most exciting art show in Wellington. The work on show is always hugely varied in method, material, imagination and concept, with plenty to engage with. There is nothing ‘pedestrian’ about it and I love that it challenges to the point of being controversial at times. Art can’t evolve if that doesn’t happen.

When not drawing, I’m painting or running workshops. I’ve recently moved from Wellington to Waikanae and have taken time out to set up a new studio. It is finally ready and I’ll be advertising workshops on my website and social media very soon. I work as an Artist Educator with GOLDEN Artist Colors and my studio is filled with their wide range of acrylic paints and products, as well as many other creative materials. In addition to running topic-based workshops, it is my hope to recreate in Waikanae something akin to the Artist Sessions groups which I ran for 7 years in Wellington. They were focused on the creative development of artists who already have well established artistic practices, but welcome new stimulation and support.  This link shows us in action, including our end of year social event!

The Artist Sessions (Wellington)

I’m always happy to hear from people interested in workshops or sessions.


Morag Stokes

A Fresh Approach to Traditional Drawing Materials

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