Enter your contact details and we will email a prospectus to you.

We will not share your information with any third party.

Louisa Chase: Moving from the Inside Out

Facebook Like Button

Louisa profileLouisa Chase has come to full-time creative practice later than many – she enrolled at The Learning Connexion (TLC) aged 52. But she is making up for lost time.

"Until I started at TLC I was self-taught apart from a few community classes here and there," says Louisa, who completed Level 6 at TLC last year. "I had tentatively exhibited and sold a few early charcoal works through exhibitions at The Petone Depot, and had also had a painting accepted for exhibition at The New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts."

It was through these experiences that Louisa met tutors and students from TLC, encounters that led her to the School. She enrolled in Level 6 on the basis of a strong portfolio, skipping Level 4 and 5.

"I already had a clear idea that painting and drawing were what I wanted to focus on, with a little side exploration into printmaking." She says beginning at Level 6 had one downside. "With hindsight I would have benefited from more time for exploration of 3D, photography, and all the other things on offer (in Levels 4 and 5)".

LC 33Louisa says the decision to study at TLC came form a burning realisation.

"I recall that at some point, I had the thought that if I ended up on my death bed without having studied art and committing myself to a full-time studio practice to see what could happen, I would feel terrible regret."

"It had always seemed too hard, or that being and living as an artist was for other people."

She is currently concentrating on painting and drawing, with movement as a basis for that practice.

"I studied ballet and modern dance when I was younger, but moved away from those when I came back to dance in later life. My dance practice for the last five years has been centred on a variety of dance forms which come under the broad umbrella of Conscious Dance." 

"Generally there are no steps to learn, and the focus is to listen intently to how one’s own body wants to move, and how it wants to move in relation to another or to the group," she says.

"It is a practice of moving from the inside out, of improvisation and spontaneity, and this forms the basis of my art practice. The key to all this is that it may not always be pretty, 'together' or coordinated. It is about including it all, accepting being out-of-balance, the moments of awkwardness, the 'ugly' and the 'unacceptable'."

"In doing this and finding expression for those parts that are often repressed, suppressed or hidden through fear or shame, we eventually move through them and find moments of peace, joy and beauty."

IMG 7062 1She says this organic approach has been integral to her painting and drawing practice. "I feel as though I often have to move through the ugly and unharmonious stages with a work or series of works before they find the quality of strong energy and clarity that I am seeking. Art as life! And there are no short-cuts or by-passes: the only way is through!"

Louisa says TLC has been a supportive place to explore this way of working. "It encourages the finding of our own particularity in how we work. I have been searching during my time here for a way of working that is aligned with my interest in more sustainable and earth-friendly living, and the expertise of Marc Hill in traditional painting materials and techniques has been invaluable for that, as well as the support of my Level 6 mentor Dan Wilkinson and others in trusting my own unique path."

That exploration is certainly paying off. She has recently had another painting selected for the Winter exhibition at The New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts – it sold on the first day.

She says the next stage of her work is research into a traditional plant from where she grew up in the UK, called Woad, which has been grown in Europe since the Stone Age. "It was used to make a blue dye and pigment as long ago as in Boudica’s time, when the warriors used it to paint their faces."

"Using the medicinal plant Woad is a natural next step which integrates my homeland connection with my study of Western herbal medicine, my interest in sustainable materials, and my art-making, and just feels so right! LC 1It’s another example of how a unique art practice is an integration and result of your whole life and interests."

Louisa says there is a lot she would like to explore as she continues her study with Level 7 this year.

"My plan is to keep deepening the connection I have with the materials I choose (or that choose me!). And the potency and potential of creativity to bring healing and acceptance – for self, others, and the non-human world, are key motivating factors."

You can see more of Louisa's work on her website and Facebook.

Portrait photography by Neil Chase


No one has commented on this article yet.