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Patricia Howitt
Career on Hold for Sake of Art

by Bev Gailey
from Enterprising Northland
supplement to Northern Advocate, Friday 30 July 1999

Telecom Art Award Design
Exchanging a career in law and public service to become a full time artist is paying off for Kaeo artist Patricia Howitt.

Over 100,000 Northlanders will receive an example of Patricia's work when Telecom distributes its 1999/2000 telephone directory. Her entry, "View From The Top 2" was declared winner of the Northland segment of the 1999 Telecom Art awards. Patricia used computer design technology combined with her paintings to symbolise the dramatic, mystical and spiritual qualities of Northland's landscape in the work which will appear on Northland's telephone directory.

Judges Colleen Urlich, David Barker and Frits De Wit called Patricia's work "a powerful well composed and balanced design which captures the unique landscape of Northland".    Patricia says she wanted to convey a sense of mystery and reverence for the 'presence' which she says can be felt most strongly in the earth's wild places.

English born, Patricia's wide range of talents and interests could justify the term of renaissance woman. She showed early artistic and academic ability, but family insistence on training for a "real job" resulted in her choosing a legal career.

During her legal studies and after graduation she worked for the Customs and Transport Departments' head offices, and later for the ACC and Commission for the Environment in Wellington. Patricia says she preserved her sanity by producing artworks and tramping the New Zealand high country - the Tararuas, Ruahines, National Park and the northern half of the South Island - at weekends and holidays.

Tramping led to hunting and a two-year post as Executive Officer for the New Zealand Deerstalkers' Association. She produced a series of drawings of game animals as a limited edition portfolio of prints published by the NZDA, and illustrated government publications, a newspaper and a book on hunting. Her knowledge of landscapes and animals is reflected in her artwork.

In 1993 Patricia joined the computer age and took the NZ Introductory Certificate in Computing at Northland Polytechnic's Kerikeri campus. Combining her art with her newly acquired computer skills, she taught herself graphics software and in 1997 set up a small business "Computer Images", operating firstly in Kerikeri and later from home, offering graphic design, website graphics, packaging design and logos. Patricia produced all the graphics for the Voyager NZ ISP website in 1997, when Voyager was owned by OZEmail.

Art is still her first love and her ambition is to paint full-time.

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