Creative journeys

It took a trip to Paris to spark Pamela Tinning’s interest in becoming an artist – and it took a move to the Hawke’s Bay to complete the quest.

After winning a hairdressing competition in the mid-90s, Pamela Tinning found herself of on a four-day jaunt to Paris. There, standing in front of works of the greats at the Pompidou Centre, she was so moved she vowed  to literally start dabbling on her return to Auckland.
But two decades of working as a powerhouse hairdresser pushed painting to the background of life. That is until Pamela hit the wall called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome four years ago, prompting the migration back to her hometown in the Hawke’s Bay – and  the emergence of art into the forefront of her life.


Today Pamela does “a lot of tea drinking and a little painting and photography” behind a roller door in the middle of a beige-on-beige storage yard at the end of a quiet street. But that’s where the beige ends.
Picking up a camera, Pamela talks about how she first began to “play around”, watching photographers on hair shoots and absorbing everything she could. This was not so she could learn to photograph in order to paint, but in the interests of applying a painterly influence to her photography.


Pamela describes her work as trying to “materialise an emotion” – the same emotion she felt standing in front of a Rothko in Paris all those years ago.
“I want people to feel the same feeling when they stand in front of one of mine,” she says.
The playful juxtaposition between her two signature painting styles is indeed moving – in the most invigorating of ways. One features calm and realistic cloud formations, methodically built layer by layer in oils. The other is an emotionally driven, playful colour field produced by a beautiful happenstance technique that only happens with acrylic.


Both of Pamela’s styles have a strong underlying reflection of formations in life and in nature. In this way the works are a true reflection of the woman who creates them: tranquil, systematic and
a little bit playful.

Pamela’s current works can be found in Bespoke Interior Design in Auckland or at

Words Gem Adams
Photography Heather Liddell


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