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Walker & Hall Gift card Collaboration

Walker & Hall is thrilled to embark on a collaborative journey featuring artist Rebecca Hawthorn's stunning artwork on an exclusive gift card. The gift card will be available for customers in Walker & Hall stores and online to complete their gift with a personal touch.

Celebrating our longstanding partnership with the Waiheke Art Awards, Rebecca’s entry 'Sunrise', was chosen by the Walker & Hall team as a stand out design which provides stunning visual impact and communicates our values of quality and exceptional design.

We chatted with Rebecca about her inspiration, influences and artistic journey.

What was your inspiration for "Sunrise”?

My entry in the Walker and Hall Waiheke Art Awards ‘Sunrise’ is one piece from a body of work that I am currently exploring.  These dark, stylised florals are representations of my childhood imaginings of enchanted moon-lit flower gardens.  I’m inspired to create each painting as an environment for the magical inhabitants of a whimsical garden, held in time, just as the moonlight is hitting certain petals and leaves.

My method for developing these highly textural paintings was refined over many months of experimentation and investigation.   My process starts with building up many layers of petals out of acrylic paint combined with moulding paste to hold the shape of each brush stroke.  As individual petals are layered on top of one another, a delicate vein-like quality appears.  Foliage is added with a pallet knife to give depth and textural contrast.

Once I am satisfied with the composition and depth of texture, I paint over the entire piece in black paint.  Working quickly to ensure this layer of paint does not dry, I wipe away the black entirely in parts of the painting that I wish to feature and leave partially buried the areas that I wish to remain in shadow.  There is an element of surprise and drama as I expose the organic shapes and I’m never quite sure what I’ll uncover or be left with.

This process feels like an archaeological dig for flowers, it holds the wonder of a treasure hunt, and I am always delighted with the unpredictability this way of working allows. The final process is one of creative editing, what to expose and what to keep submerged in the depths, a push and pull that results in the final outcome.

Rebecca Hawthorn's 'Sunrise' painting
Rebecca Hawthorn

Tell us a bit about yourself and when you first started your artistic journey, and how it makes you feel.

I studied interior design straight out of school, and ended up working in the fashion industry for many decades before I started painting in 2018.  Leaving my job in the fashion industry was a major change of pace and lifestyle.  My role was very corporate and involved extensive international travel.  I had got to the point where I was burnt out and the joy had gone.

In my last few months as a buyer, I embarked on a portrait painting class at Te Tuhi, and while it was super frustrating it brought back all my creative memories from design school.  I can’t say I loved it because I was so out of my depth, but for some reason it just felt like the perfectly reasonable next step to give up my day job to become an artist!  I’ve always been one for following my intuition.

Becoming an artist has been one huge personal growth journey, not only in attaining a new skill set, but in letting go of all the things I thought gave me value in the world.  It’s very humbling to get to the pinnacle of one career only to go back to the beginning in another.

In saying all of that I absolutely love my art practice, and I look back fondly at the highs and lows along the way.  I have such an amazing balance in my life and although I will never stop learning, I feel I am getting closer each day to being able to express my creativity through my painting in a way that is satisfying.  I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting some incredible people along the way.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

What are your influences and driving forces.

My work is greatly influenced by my background in fashion and interior design.   I have always loved creating atmosphere.  I’m intrigued with the way our environment can affect our mood and thinking.  Whether it’s surrounding yourself in nature or spending time in a room filled with beautifully curated objects, the feeling of upliftment is tangible.

My appreciation and love for interesting proportions, harmonious colour and contrasting texture evolved over my years in the fashion industry.  Working with garments honed my attention to detail and finishing and has fine-tuned my awareness of balance.

I can see my desire to continue exploring these aspects of design expressed in my painting. If I had to sum up what I aspire to in my work or what the driving force behind continually developing my practice is, I would say beauty and harmony.  It’s these qualities that I hope to embody and offer through my work.

What would you want people to know about your craft? Or something people may not actually know.

How personal the highs and lows are when you choose this art life.  While I feel incredibly privileged that I’ve been able to take this journey it isn’t always smooth sailing.  It wasn’t until I started meeting other artists that I realised the things I struggle with are just the common thread of leading a creative life; the pain of being rejected or the frustration of a creative block, or just not feeling motivated occasionally and then beating yourself up because you’re getting to live your dream life, and why wouldn’t you feel motivated by that!

With experience I’m much kinder to myself, I know that rejection is part of the process and everything else passes if you give it time.  At the end of the day all of those human vulnerabilities, as well as the love and joy get expressed in my art practice.

I would say when you own a piece of original art you are also holding a little slice of every experience the artist has lived to produce the work.

What are you excited for in this partnership?

It’s been such a privilege to have my work selected for the gift cards this year.  I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with a wider audience and I gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Walker & Hall for supporting New Zealand artists in this way.

I produce my work from a space of appreciation, affection and joy.  It’s beautiful that there is a synergy between the way I create and the intention of the cards that my work has ended up adorning.

I also love the Walker & Hall brand, so it’s a real honour to be associated with such an iconic New Zealand company.

Walker & Hall Gift Cards

Tell us about your experience being a finalist in the Walker & Hall Waiheke Art Award 2023!

The standard of this year’s finalists was incredibly high, and I felt very proud that my work was selected for such an amazing exhibition.

My husband and I attended the gala evening for the awards ceremony at Cable Bay Vineyards.  We had a really fun night and the opportunity to meet lots of other finalists, some of whom I’d been following on social media for a while.

The whole event was a real celebration of all the artists involved. 

To see more of Rebecca's work, visit her website and Instagram page

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  • Raewyn Hawthorn on

    I am very proud of my lovely daughter-in-law. She is an amazing Artist and has worked very hard to perfect her craft.

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