Gillian Buckley

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I started drawing 8 years ago after a long break from any kind of creative activity.  We had moved to the Far North of New Zealand and shortly after that my mother passed away suddenly.  It was a difficult time and to cope with the upheaval I searched for an art class that would help connect me with others.  I found a drawing class locally and took weekly lessons for about a year.  

I gained confidence in my ability quite quickly and felt very drawn to portraiture. I knew immediately that drawing people was what I wanted to focus on and right from the earliest days I was planning exhibitions in my head and wondering how I could get my work into galleries.  

Once the drawing classes finished I continued to experiment and by doing and through trial and error I developed a technique of my own that allows me to achieve the high level of realism that I aspire to with my work.  

A few short years later my work had evolved and improved enough to be noticed by a gallery in Dunedin and they continue to represent me today.  

Through portraiture, I try to convey a sense of stillness and beauty and a depth of emotion that feels palpable when viewed in person.  

The act of drawing itself I find is a meditative process.  It can be frustrating as my chosen medium of graphite has its limitations, however, I love that I can create a work of beauty from a humble pencil.  When a drawing comes to life before your eyes it feels like magic. 

I have been exhibiting since 2012 and have been a part of numerous group shows in Dunedin and Auckland plus two successful joint shows. In November 2015 I was the Auckland Regional Winner of the Clifton Art Prize and a finalist in the Peters Doig Marlborough Art Awards in 2016. 

Recently I have felt the need to push myself further with my artwork and have left a 20+ year career in the travel industry to now focus on art full time.  It was not a decision I came to lightly as it is a difficult industry in which to make a living, however, I wanted to see what I could achieve given the space and time to focus solely on drawing. 

The Parkin Drawing prize is a competition I have entered twice before and I am looking forward to making a start on my 2017 entry soon.  It is an important event in the New Zealand art calendar and an amazing opportunity to be seen and considered by some of the best in the business. 

Gillian Buckley

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