Rae West


Hawke’s Bay artist, Rae West, calls her artworks “watercolours on steroids”. The large, circular works, which are actually created using resin and ink, have captured the imagination of viewers and draw out underlying feelings and thoughts.

West loves the way that her work engages people. “I think, because they are totally abstract, the mind kicks into the more subconscious; tapping into memories and emotions to help make sense of the work they have in front of them.

“One of my clients said a piece reminded her of flying home, looking out of the window onto the Saudi desert”.

West tends to work through phases of different colours and commits significant time browsing images for colour inspiration. “Each painting I do influences the next. When I have a solo exhibition, at one of the amazing galleries that represent me, I tend to pick a limited colour theme so there is some synchronicity and flow between each work in the space.”

Resin is not a medium which allows for total control, and West begins all work in the spirit of Picasso: realising that her initial idea can quickly become something else. “Working with resin certainly involves a bit of give and take. You have to be able to let go and allow the process to guide you. Differences in inks, air temperature and mixes will effect my end result, but that is where the magic happens. Some of my most beautiful pieces have either been mistakes, or I have taken that ‘mistake’ and used it to develop my unique style further.”

West finds the process of creating her colourful and expressive work very addictive. “I used to paint pretty birds, but after 10 years of the same techniques, life got a little boring! This resin stuff is exciting, and I’ve only just scratched the surface!”

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