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Born in Central Otago, New Zealand, Rosemary graduated the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 1972. After the completion of her degree she began teaching Art and Art History in Dunedin, and then continued with teaching positions in Melbourne, Gisborne and Auckland. While simultaneously teaching and raising two boys she managed to devote time to painting and exhibited her works regularly.
In 1981 Rosemary briefly moved to Rome where she was able to work full-time as a painter, but returned to New Zealand by the end of the year after the unexpected death of her mother. After her return, while living in Gisborne, she featured on the TVNZ 1991 Sunday Arts Program which aired on national television.
In 1995 she moved to Auckland to work as College Head of Art Department until 2005 when she decided to retire from her career as a teacher to become a full-time painter. Also, in the year prior to this decision, she was Section Winner in the Rodney Arts Awards. Currently her source of inspiration for her painting is equestrian, specifically dressage. Rosemary has a long history with horses that began in early childhood on the family farm.
Nowadays, when not painting, she often rides her horse deep into forestry and along beaches of the Rodney District. "I feel it's necessary to paint the horse as if being ridden by the viewer because I recognise that I will never have the talent, skill or self-discipline to ever ride well enough to compete. Instead I focus what I learn on my horse and dream of being able to achieve, in paint, and in my imagery. I always imagine myself to be riding the horse I&rsquom painting, and I think this is why so many riders respond and relate so readily to the paintings. I try to paint for 5 hours before allowing myself to ride."
"What I have always wanted to express in horse imagery is the definition of their weight and mass, as well as their inherent power and elegance. These are so clearly seen in dressage, itself an art form based on both physical and visual aesthetics. Dressage enhances the way a horse moves naturally, and at the best shows full harmony between horse and rider horse and rider become autonomous. My intention is that my paintings should celebrate the athleticism and eloquence of this autonomy. I find that this demands a monumental approach, with simplicity and scale."
Over the past six years Rosemary has often contributed to the judging of local and regional horse shows and finds that this positively influences her work."My thanks to the generosity of both judges and riders, in New Zealand and Australia, who have so informed me over the past four years, and who so wholeheartedly encouraged me. The extraordinary response from the public, both the horse community and art collectors, to these large, simplistic forms, has given credence to the pure exhilaration of painting."
Rosemary enjoys the constructive criticisms along with with the plaudits. "Attending horse events and going face to face with the intended viewers who should be the harshest critics of my work, has been an on-going source of pleasure and inspiration."
In the middle of this year Rosemary flew to London to take part in the British Equestrian Exhibition in the prestigious Mall Galleries located midway between the Admiralty Arch and Buckingham Palace. In order to exhibit, individual paintings must undergo a very stringent selection process and even selection is not a guarantee that the paintings will be displayed. "The UK trip was a marvelous experience all round, Britain is the land of Equestrian Artists. I am now an exhibiting member of British SEA. All three paintings were selected in London for their show, and then later hung very advantageously. Fortunately they fitted in well with contemporary British painting. The exhibition night was quite a swanky affair and there were very good responses. It is great to get this affirmation. The organisers were extremely kind to me, and I was fortunate to meet and talk with other artists, especially Sally Martin."
"At the three subsequent horse shows, especially Hickstead and Hartpury, where I sold over half of my paintings, several riders from both Show Jumping and Dressage came to the two marquees to talk about the paintings. They were very interested that the paintings featured New Zealand horses and riding. At Fry's CDI** [Concours de Dressage International] I was interviewed by Horse and Hound and half the paintings as well as many of the prints sold even without any prior publicity, which seems to be the prerequisite. During the events I was also privileged to watch top British and European riders including Peter Storr, Carl Hester, Laurens van Lieren and Damian Hallam."
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