Monday, February 13, 2017

Mice Gnawing At Your Dreams

On this day (Valentines Day) 3 years ago my son Sam was born at 6am in the morning. Three years have flown by - and I haven't gotten any older (stop sniggering!) 

So the annual twilight vigil in the kitchen happened lastnight. About 6 cups of sugar became a vision of wildlife and rodent cuteness. I finished (or gave up) at 3am this morning, had a shower and went to bed.  

Fifteen minutes into sleep I awoke with a terrible realisation....I had forgotten Maisey Mouse's tail! (Staying up really late heightens your sense of paranoia and dread making you slightly irrational).

This years cake is done and dusted. Happy birthday my favourite little man!

In case you thought the black-legged thing beside her was a tarantula....its her favourite toy Panda....

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

You're The Apple of My Eye

In the heat of summer (yes that’s right New Zealand, that two days in late December) you’ve got a hankering for a bite that’s sweet and crisp….maybe even chilled from the fridge…gasp!

Growing up in NZ we had the baked Granny Smith apples stuffed with dates and cinnamon; the stripey rose blushed gala apple (the staple of every school lunchbox); the deep magenta red of the Red Delicious with its knuckly bum (weird! - but Im right arent I??); bobbing for elusive apples at school gala days; and not to forget the mystery apple concealed under toffee (which was kinda growse if it was mushy and bruised – but hey, we only wanted the toffee anyway ay, and why couldnt they triple dip that sucker?).

Does anyone else remember their parents telling them that if they ate an apple core an apple tree would grow out of their head? I was terrified!

I think the coolest name for an apple variety is a Peasgood Nonsuch but my favourite apple is actually the Fuji – its HUGE and crunchy and slightly tarty (just like me - yes I AM crunchy).

So heres to summertime and the apples of your childhood. 
Hang a little sweetness on your ears.

The Apple of My Eye

Hand drawn illustration on acrylic medium.


To order email me at:

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How to change your worst habits for 2017....or not!

How did your New Year's resolutions work out so far?  I vowed to drink more water every day and 25 days into January I'm now drinking an average of one glass per day instead of the one glass per day I used okay.....its a work in progress!?? Change is hard ay, and water is boring - it would be no problem if it was coffee ("I must drink more coffee in 2017. Whoopeeeeeee!")

"So  there it is, I have a drinking problem".

There are so habits I cant change, and one of them is writing lists. I am CHRONIC. There I said it.  I have "To Do Today" lists, and "What I Got Done" lists, a shopping list, lists of things to fix, lists of things to build. I have lists stuck on the fridge, in my diary, on bulldog clips, on scraps of paper all through the house. 

SO, now there is THIS guy......


Stanley has aspirations. He is excited by the 
prospect of a new beginning....
BUT... he just CANNOT change.

He must accept his quirky habits are part 
of his uniqueness. It's a good thing!
I mean, its not smoking right??

Get your quirky on!!

(example of actual size)

Stuck Stanley earrings 
Hand drawn illustration on acrylic medium.

For more details email me at: 
or via Gabby McKenzie NZ Artist on Facebook 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Who lives in Canadia?

These lovely locals sold and are off to Canada! Have a great trip guys...take me with you!!! (I've always wanted to go to Canada :) )

There was that one embarrassing moment in school where I uttered aloud something about Canadians coming from Canadia. I would like to go and apologise to the people of Canada in person. And YES, that is a ploy to get me to Canada.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

All A Flutter with the Monarch Butterflies

I was trying to think what I could make for a christmas present for a friend who is butterfly mad. I painted a Monarch Butterfly brooch....and I liked them so much I made more!

I hand cut each shape from a polymer vinyl and then spend 4 hours hand painting in the details with acrylic paint. They do take a long time, and they're not going to make me rich, but I love them to bits! They're bright and breezy and fun to wear....and it helps that my favourite colour is orange :)

Sizes and shapes vary a bit due to the hand making process. The patterns are all slightly different making yours a unique one-off.

$35 NZD each plus postage

Monday, October 31, 2016

Abundant Yellow Inspiration...and the 30 hours that follow...

Down in the deep south the Kowhai trees are in full bloom now and the trees are heavy with glorious yellow flowers. 

I started taking photos of the flowers, which led to drawing the flowers, which led to drawing a tui....and then 2 weeks of mad-midnight-mummy painting to produce this: 

Tui In The Kowhai

Acrylic On Canvas

30 cm x 30 cm
FOR SALE  $325.00 NZD

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Flight Of The Kereru

My obsession with the Kereru (New Zealand Wood Pigeon) continues!  If you ever get to live in an area where these gorgeous birds reside you will no doubt also develop a deep affection for them (even if they eat your Kowhai tree half to death and leave it looking like a beaten twig).

The  2016 Great Kereru Count has just ended in New Zealand. I only recorded sighting three of them as I've spent most of my time indoors with a cold in the last week or so. Usually I see them every day that Im out in the garden. I've even had a conversation with one!  They try to initiate conversation with other Kereru by making an "oooo-o!" sound that rises in pitch at the end (sounds quite funny really). A Kereru was sitting on the power line about 3 metres above me but facing away from me. It said "ooo-o!" so I said it back. This happened 4 times in a row and then the bird turned and looked at me....and I swear if it could have rolled its eyes it would have.

This painting shows 3 stages of the display flight of the male Kereru which typically happens at the start of a nesting phase.  The bird flies up high into the sky until it is vertical with its wings outstretched and then plummets downwards again and flies away.

Flight Of The Kereru

Acrylic Paint on Canvas
65 cm W  x 25cm H

(Currently part of the Otago Art Society's Spring Exhibition Sept - Oct 2016
Exhibition Opens 30th September)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Heriot Row, Dunedin

Dunedin is such a stunning city for its heritage buildings and architecture. 

One day recently I was driving around town and turned a corner to find this row of old houses. I absolutely love how the different styles of house are wedged up together in the same street like little doll houses. I just had to paint these!

Many of these wonderful houses are in a fairly run down condition, so I paint them in the colours I would choose if I owned them and give them a new lease of life...if only in the art world.

This painting is part of the Spring Exhibition at the Otago Art Society in the historic Dunedin Railway Station building in October (exhibition opens Friday 30th Sept).

Heriot Row, Dunedin, Otago

Acrylic Paint on Canvas
30cm X 30cm
$295.00 NZD

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Plight of the Kakapo

The 2nd in the series of 4 bird paintings I am working on.

The Kakapo is a New Zealand native bird that is struggling against the threat of extinction. They are a nocturnal bird who are not prolific breeders, and remaining numbers are small.

In this painting I have tried to set the bird in his natural environment at night time but stepping out of the dark to be lit by a lamp commonly found in NZ homes. He is stepping into the limelight so that we can know him and fight for his survival. 

I see the male Kakapo as an old man who wanders the forest floor; a dear old gentleman who is unable to defend himself from predators.

Kakapo Stepping Into The Light
Acrylic on Canvas
15cm W x 20cm H

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Flight of the Rifleman

I adore native birds and we have so many stunning ones in Aotearoa. 

I've started a series of quirky paintings where the birds feature with props or settings that tell the viewer something about their habits/personality or history.

This is the first of the series = The Rifleman.  Others I am working on are the Whio, the Kakapo, and the Yellow-eyed Penguin.

It is thought that the name 'Rifleman' came from the similarity between the green of the birds plumage and the uniforms of the rifle regiments from the colonial era. 

The Rifleman is carrying a Lee Enfield rifle which was used in New Zealand in the Land Wars/Musket Wars against the Maori people. Here I have put a native bird of New Zealand armed with a rifle flying high above the land. Maori eventually came to own these rifles to defend their position on their land.

Acrylic On Canvas
20cm W x 15cm H

(Currrently featured at the Otago Art Society Gallery Shop)

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Wishing Tree

A couple of years ago I drew a tree in pencil on a really rough surfaced canvas. I never wanted to paint over the pencil image and it took me a while to figure out what to do with it.

I decided to paint in a magical night time scene with birds and a fairy so that the figure of the tree would seem other-worldly .

The Wishing Tree
Acrylic & Pencil on Canvas
55cm W x 30cm H

I really like how the fairy lights came out looking a bit vintage, and that the owl is a bit grumpy looking as if he's saying "what are you looking at??"

But I think the fairy needs to have a makeover as her face looks a bit crumpled and old. I'd prefer her to have soft rounded features that glow with a greenish tinge....and maybe have a nose that isnt so huge!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


This is a series of 7 little 10cm square paintings I started over 5 years ago that got shelved as we relocated from Auckland to Dunedin. 

I rediscovered them while unpacking some boxes a few months ago and still felt that these people needed to be painted. They have a reflective sadness about them showing past troubles, yet the fact that they stand upright shows their strength to continue on.

Acrylic on Canvas
For Sale Individually $55 NZD each or as a full set $285 NZD

Top Row SOLD

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Kereru Swoop - Flight of the Kereru continues

My second Kereru painting for the month of January.  The birds must know Im painting them as a flock of 9 Kereru flew over our backyard on Saturday. Ive never seen so many in one place at the same time. On Sunday one flew right up the narrow side of the house past the windows at speed - gave me a bit of a fright as I didnt know what it was at first! (Drone??) These birds can get up to 50cm in length so they're quite large.

Kereru Swoop
Acrylic On Canvas 25cm x 25cm 


Thursday, August 28, 2014

I'm Not Ready

Here is my latest artwork completed just in time for the West Harbour Arts Charitable Trust Art Auction in September at Port Chalmers.

I wanted to mix some illustration work with painted images and see if I could get a retro feel to the work. The boy is drawn on brown paper and the paint colours are mustard and aqua blue.

Mixed media on board
24cm x 24cm

Here I'm asking questions such as:  - how many of us are not ready to change from what is familiar but still feel external pressure to do so?  - how many of us would rather jump into the blue with our eyes firmly closed rather than openly admit we are not ready to? - are some of us never ready and spend our lives never quite making the leaps and instead remaining stagnant? - And if we were to always wait until we are fully 100% ready to change, would we ever reach a stage of being fully ready?

I can also relate to this image because I myself am afraid of heights and I have crouched in the same apprehensive way on the end of a high diving board when I was young - and ultimately chickened out!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

St Leonards School 2014 Art Exhibition

Well its that time of year again when local artists support the wonderful school at St Leonards in their annual exhibition.
Here is my entry for this year of a local place known as Tunnel Beach.

Mixed media (acrylic, paper, oil pastel) on canvas
300 x 300


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Stafford Street Dunedin - Miniature painting No.3

Its been a productive week in the land of tiny is number 3 of 4 paintings of houses on Stafford Street, Dunedin, Otago.  I do miss having paintings with a sea/landscape view, but these old houses are quite majestic on their own too.

10cm x 10cm (4 inches square)
Acrylic on Canvas

Stafford Street Dunedin - Miniature house painting No.2

Here is the second in the series for the miniature paintings of houses on Stafford Street....I could do every street in the city and create my own painted version of GoogleMaps!  ...but given it takes me 10-15 hours per painting I wouldn't finish it in my lifetime.

10cm x 10cm (4 inches square
Acrylic on Canvas

Friday, August 30, 2013

Stafford Street Dunedin - another vintage miniature

Well, its taking a long time: these works are tiny and take many hours with a brush that is about the size of a toothpick ... I have started another set of 4 miniature vintage street paintings. This time all of the buildings are along Stafford Street in Dunedin. Here is the 1st completed painting.

Acrylic on canvas
10cm x 10cm

Monday, August 12, 2013

New Zealand North Island Pied Fantail

This is my latest illustration in my bird series. This is a native bird to New Zealand - the North Island Pied Fantail, and they are gorgeous little birds with squeaky little voices who fan out their tails and tilt their fanned tail about like a geisha posing with a fan.

Watercolour & Ink
15cm H x 18cm W

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Woebot series continued.... "Shiny Dancer"

Watercolour & Ink
20cm H X 12cm W

The final in the Woebot series....maybe....I think I may be addicted to these guys!

Cards going to print tomorrow and will soon be for sale online! How exciting!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Woebot Series continued - "Unrequited Love"

Love is blind....this wont end well...

Watercolour & Ink
20cm W x 14 cm H

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Woebots - The Robot Who Forgot

....a handpainted card for a long overdue birthday card....hopefully its cute enough to get me off the hook!

Watercolour & Ink
14cm x 7cm

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What has he been up to? alec....has he filled the sugar bowl with salt? apple-pied your bed?  hmmm.....

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The stand off.....

A couple of days ago when I actually had time to sit back and sketch I just couldnt even think of something to draw. Sometimes you spend your days thinking "if I just had time to do more art"...and then when you get a whole afternoon the mind goes blank, the pencil rolls off the desk in a sulk, leaving you staring out the window like a zombie wondering whats for dinner (do zombies actually wonder whats for dinner? surely its the same meal every time?? - hmmm, maybe that was a bad metaphor...or a meat-aphor ...I digress)...

Sweet Thing - It's a monster candy sale - this week only at Illustration Friday!

Yet another question I asked in our household this week "If you were a monster what confectionery would you eat?"  - they're starting to look at me weird this week, too many questions, must remember not to verbalise these thoughts in future.

For Illustration Friday's theme "sweet" I bring to you - "The Monster Candy Sale!"

Ok, so its not a Monster Sale....its a pretty small pathetic sale... but it is Monster Candy - annnd its on sale! (drum roll please....pleeease?)

Watercolour pencil & ink pen
16cm x 8cm

Monday, May 27, 2013

The distant future (the year 2000) = Robots!

Outer space has crept into the inner space of my mind this week. Rather than robots who are shiny, perfectly manufactured and emotionally void, my collection of robots are a bit emotionally insecure and badly designed.These guys aren't about to revolutionize how we live or protect us from intruders ....

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ballerina Aspirations - the pursuit of a dream

We all aspire to be our goal too idealistic? our goal someone else's 'should' and not a vision of our own making? ...more importantly - will we ever make it? I use too many dots in all of my sentences?  ....
(This is very deep and meaningful...cue orchestral music ...)

 Watercolour & Ink pen
10 cm W x 18 cm H

Monday, May 6, 2013

Summer Apple

Shiny, crisp and sweet, the summer apple is something we dream of in the middle of winter...sigh. A tribute to simple food with a crunch.

Watercolour and ink pen illustration
8 cm W x 15 cm H

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Aerosmith in Dunedin last week

Steve Tyler brought Aerosmith to sunny Dunedin last week, and it reminded me of a bogus invention I drew a couple of years ago - the pea fork (unfortunately the pea fork, the juice filled lightbulb and the peach waxer "get that silky sheen like a nectarine" never made it to production) here it is for those of you who missed it...

Introducing the Pea Fork, invented in 1709 by Percy Peasnabber in an attempt to prong more peas than the average utensil. Unfortunately the market for such a fork did not eventuate as no person actually owned a mouth 4 inches wide to wrap around the fork (Steve Tyler and Mick Jagger were not born until the 1900's). 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Creative Process

I often think the creative process is like a form of torture, especially on days where the ideas don't flow into your head easily....or the idea is there but the skill to replicate it on paper/canvas is sorely missing. I love the days when my hands and brain actually do work it out and come up with great things...maybe the mental drought at other times makes us appreciate it when it does happen!

Ink pen drawing
10cm H X 21cm W

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Extinction Extravaganza - The Huia Bird

A few weeks ago we went to the Porcelain Punch Travelling Circus theatre show which was full of old world acts (everything except the bearded lady) and Porcelain Punch being the "best elixir guaranteed to fix ya!" (we bought 2 bottles just in case).

This old fashioned show inspired me to think of what creatures we could revive or reveal in a travelling circus of New Zealand wonders (mythical creatures like the giant Canterbury panther, or the mystery moose herd of Southland...much fodder here for consideration) and I couldnt go past my favourite extinct bird the Huia. Last sighted in Aotearoa NZ in about 1907.

So welcome one and all to the amazing, the incredible,the wonderful and supposedly extinct Huia (on trapeze for your entertainment)....

Extinction Extravaganza - The Huia
Acrylic on canvas
20cm x 20cm
$220 NZD

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

All the better to eat you with?

One of the felines at our house is a tad sinister looking, you never quite know whether he's summing up how much red meat you equate to or not....sleep with one eye open....danger lurks on the end of the bed.
Ink pen & watercolour illustration
12cm x 12cm

Wrapping up warm for winter - autumn down under

Well its that time of year again in New Zealand. Daylight savings is about to end next week, it will get dark early at night, and we will all be swaddled in layer upon layer of wool, looking slightly misshapen.

Ink pen & watercolour illustration
Greeting Card

And there in a small kauri wood a piggywig stood....

...the latest miniature painting from the Owl & The Pussycat theme....

Acrylic on Canvas
10cm x 10cm
 $40 NZD

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Owl and The Pussycat - a morbid tale by Gareth Morgan?

One of my favourite childhood poems was The Owl and The Pussycat (who incidentally went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat, for those of you who were unsure of their whereabouts). I decided I would start on a children's series of paintings that were a bit looser and fun than my "historic buildings" works I have been doing lately.

So Gareth Morgan (who has recently said in the media that all cats should be kept indoors, or be eradicated due to their impact on native birds in New Zealand) - so, does the pussycat truly love the owl (because shes a beautiful fowl) or will he attack and kill her the instant the viewer averts their gaze?

                                            (click on the image to view a larger version of it)

Acrylic on canvas
300mm X 300mm
For Sale $185 NZD

Historic Cityscape of Dunedin, New Zealand

Here is last week's effort - a cityscape of some of the historic buildings around central Dunedin.  A painting like this takes me over 40 hours to complete as the detail in the buildings (because of the small scale Im working at) is very fiddly!
This is being exhibited in the Otago Art Society's latest exhibition opening Friday the 8th of March.

Actual size is somewhere around 400mm wide X 300mm tall. Acrylic on canvas.

(Click on the image to see a larger version of it).


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Get your shirt together

Well its 2013 and I decided its time to ditch my terrible old brown boring painting clothes which were always the worst old clothes on hand....and move into brighter arty gear ....and what better for a painter & illustrator than hand painted t-shirts! 
So now if I  answer the door on painting days I wont look like I live under a bridge anymore....I will just or slightly unhinged  :)