Peoples Choice

During Art-x the viewing public has the opportunity to choose their favourite artist and be in the draw to win a Luxury Weekend at Taupo. Patrons are invited to fill in a form, which is in the catalogue, identifying their favourite artist. At the end of the event the entries are tabulated and the artist with the most votes is awarded the Searle Travel Art Award. This is a prestigious monetary award to the artist who is “The Peoples Choice” and is a reflection of the most popular paintings on display.

Those who submit their forms for the Peoples Choice go into a draw for the Searle Travel Luxury Weekend in Taupo. Generously donated by our Sponsor, Searle Travel, the weekend includes two night’s accommodation for two and a cruise on Lake Taupo.

The list of the Peoples Choice contains many well known artists. This award is a reflection on the skill of the artist to produce art that appeals to the majority of the viewers.


The Peoples Choice artist for 2017 was Nancy Tschetner. Inspired by nature, Nancy has a unique style of art solely using over 25 different shades of natural New Zealand sand. She paints with paintbrushes and adhesive and applies the sand layer after layer. Nancy created her first `sanding` in 2004 and over the last 10 years has perfected her unusual medium.


The Peoples Choice artist for 2016 was Heather Denison. Heather is a full time artist who works from her studio in the countryside of Hawkes Bay. Painting exclusively in oils, her work focuses on our connection to the natural world. She has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions and won several awards, with paintings held in private collections in NZ and overseas.


The Peoples Choice artist for 2015 was John Horton. A fulltime landscape and marine artist for the last 35 years, John exhibits regularly in Auckland and Wellington. He conducts demonstrations and workshops for North Island Art Groups. John works mainly in oils in a representative style and has won over 40 art awards in New Zealand and Australia. His studio and small gallery is at Whitford, North Howick.


The Peoples Choice for 2014 was awarded to talented young artist, Donna Lee.

This prestigious monetary award to the artist who is “The Peoples Choice” is a reflection of the most popular paintings on display decided by the voting viewers. Donna has been painting under Tutor Brent Redding for over three years. Her chosen medium is oil on board and she is fast becoming known for her ability to paint horses and cattle, capturing the energy and vibrancy of these animals. In 2013 she won the ”colour and light” section in the Art HB Exhibition.


The Peoples Choice for both 2012 and 2013 was awarded to Michael Blow, a great achievement. “For as long as I can remember I have been in love with the visual world around me, with its spirit, its emotion and beauty. To explore and bring those things to life with paint is an ongoing inspiration”. MB   He is considered one of New Zealand’s foremost representation artists.  As a full time professional, he has been painting for thirty-five years and in that time has exhibited in over one hundred solo and group shows. His training began at Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Art and after graduation he worked in London at the Sir John Cass School of Fine Art.  In 1971 he returned to Napier and tutored for the Hawke’s Bay Art Gallery and Museum in painting and drawing, before beginning his career as an artist. Michael has always had a special feeling for people, flowers and still life, as well as some studies from Europe.” www.michaelblow.co.nz/‎


2011KevinMcCardle.coatsculptureThe Peoples Choice Award for 2011 was awarded to Kevin McCardle for his wonderful sculptured coat “Satin and Lace” carved in kauri. Kevin showed an early talent for drawing. He joined the Police Force after leaving school and became a police artist involved with identikit pictures. Kevin now concentrates on wooden sculptures using ancient swamp kauri, especially sculptures of clothing that look so real you want to touch the softness. He has won many awards. Quality and finish, skillful use of texture and close attention to detail are some of the reasons Kevin’s work is acclaimed world-wide. Earning International recognition as a wood sculptor, Kevin’s work has been exhibited both in New Zealand and the United States, and has had considerable success in juried shows. www.kevinmccardellsculptor.com


In 2010 it was Ross Lee of Whakatane, renowned for his stunningly realistic landscapes of New Zealand. A professional artist with 25 years experience, he has a Fine Arts Diploma and paints landscapes in oils, showing exquisitely fine detail, emphasizing light and depicting breathtaking NZ scenery. He exhibited three paintings, “Tasman Valley”, “Doubtful Sound” and “Kaikoura”.

Waiheke Island artist, Wayne Sinclair was the recipient for 2009. Wayne travels extensively which often provides his subject matter as he has been painting for over forty years. He has a varied approach to his work.  The subject dictates the style, the concept sometimes being colour, light or detail. He exhibited three paintings “Quiet Morning”, “Morning Stillness” and “Venice Stroll”.  http://www.sinclairbarclaygallery.com/


Susan Higginson from Waipukurau was the Peoples Choice in both 2006 and 2008. Born in Western Australia she emigrated to NZ in 1987. She was living in Dannevirke, working as a signwriter then moved to live in Central Hawke’s Bay in 2004. She has been painting for 23 years and began painting in oils in 1985 and more recently has been working in acrylics. 2006 was a double coup for Susan- winning the Searle Travel Art Award the first time she had exhibited and she also sold all her paintings. She primarily paints beach scenes, birdlife and animals.  Local paintings she exhibited in 2007 were “Aramoana”, “Cape Kidnappers” and “Ruahine Ranges”.  www.susanhigginson.co.nz/‎


Peter Wallers from Taupo took the award in 2006. Peter is an exhibiting member of the NZ Academy of fine Arts and is a dedicated traditional artist. Painting mainly in oils but enjoying working in pencil, chalk pastel and gouache as well, he specialises in landscape and coastal scenes. He exhibited “Dusk towards the Mountains, Taupo”, “Te Mata Peak, from River Road” and ”Fishing the Mohaka”. www.socaart.co.nz


Our thanks go to Searle Travel for making this Award possible.