From Natalie Hyland's palette

In New Zealand, two degrees of separation is literally 100% accurate, and my stumbling across Natalie Hyland's beautiful artwork barely even took that! A friend of mine had ‘liked’ one of her Facebook posts, and it had appeared in my newsfeed — I quickly put two and two together and realised that Natalie was actually married to a friend of mine, and I just had to talk to her to find out about her work. Small world, right? Have a read and learn more about Natalie and her beautiful creations.


Yarns: So to kick-start this interview — your artwork is beautiful! How long have you been painting and what inspired you to start?

Natalie Hyland: Thank you. I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember! The oldest drawing I have is from when I was three — very abstract to say the least! My parents also share art as a hobby. My father is passionate about photography and my mother is also a broad artist. It was my mother that would set up the lounge in drop cloths so my two older sisters and I could practise painting, mosaics, sculpting, and more beside her. During high school my parents exhibited their work together, and my mother sold paintings internationally. So at this age I can't remember a ‘start’, but rather myself carrying endless containers of crayons and pastels around the house and into the car, convinced that I needed them all on standby for my next creation!


Fantail, charcoal


Can you give us a brief rundown on who you are, where you're from, where you studied / went to school?

I am a self-taught artist who has a large New Zealand influence through my pieces. Now at 23 years old, the majority of my portfolio has been built over the last 10 years when I first got the advice to always hold onto my artwork, something I, too, recommend to those wanting to progress their artistic skills.

My roots lie in South Auckland, growing up in Manukau and going to Manurewa High School where I met my now husband. I have always been intrigued by art, but also by the sciences, and wanted a job that balanced a science with hand dexterity and precision. This lead me to the dental field where I studied at the University of Otago for four years and graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Technology with Honours — first class. Now at my job I get to mould, shape, and sculpt wax to make prosthetics that restore a person's smile and character. After my studies I moved back to Auckland for work, and had the joy of getting married, and now live in the CBD with my husband. With my studies, art took the back-burner, but now I find myself wanting to share it and make sure it is a priority, as it incredibly rewarding.


Californian quail, oil paint


Do you have a preferred material that you enjoy working with, or do you like to work with a bit of everything?

So, as you can see from my portfolio, I love to try a bit of everything! I find that I now match subjects with particular media. So for life drawing I like charcoal, which captures light and shadows, but for a New Zealand landscape, paint is more appropriate to capture the colour. While studying in Dunedin I gravitated towards pencils, as they are good value, space friendly, and easy to transport. This year I have tried watercolour painting, and this summer I look forward to painting scenes around Auckland with oils.


Rose, watercolour


You've recently launched your own website to showcase your work. How exciting/nerve-racking was that to put together?

Since showcasing in the Royal Easter Show 2015 — a lifelong goal to follow in my parents steps — I had the urge to do more as an artist and showcase my work. It was very nerve-racking to think, Where do I start? and, What would I want to achieve? Soon I was learning how to build a website, along with a Facebook and Instagram platform. With the first step, I felt those nerves transform to excitement, and things started to flow into place. Now my website is up and running and continually growing. I have added a blog and plan to add a store. In one year art has gone from my hobby and is now my life. I'm constantly thinking about art pieces I want to create, but also about the future of my brand.


Male life drawing, pen


What's the big plan for the future? Do you have a life roadmap, or are you just going with the flow?

I am a big planner: from my studies, the wedding, and now the website and my art career! My mind is always thinking about the roads ahead and which are the best for me to take. Short term I am looking into pieces to exhibit at the Snells Beach Art Exhibition over the New Year and the Royal Easter Show 2016. I will continue to grow my website, continuing the blog but also adding a shop so you can directly purchase originals. I would love to host workshops in the future to guide, teach, and encourage others of all abilities to engage with their inner artist. For now I have many plans on the drawing board (figuratively speaking), but I will be sure to take this journey one step at a time!


Natalie Hyland


Quickfire Q&A with Natalie!

  • Cats or dogs? Dogs
  • Summer or winter? Summer
  • Pizza or burgers? This question was extremely tough for me, but I pick pizza!
  • Wine or beer? Wine, but I prefer cider
  • Pen or pencil? Pencil
  • Physical book or e-book? Paper
  • Eyeliner or lipstick? Eyeliner

See more of Natalie's work on her Facebook page here or on her website here.