Arrowtown artist Jenny Mehrtens, whose paintings are in private collections around the world, is a prolific painter but above all enjoys hosting art lovers in her tranquil, purpose-built private artist studio in a picturesque corner of the historic village.
“My Arrowtown studio is unique in that people can meet the artist and see my workspace firsthand. Visitors find it interesting to see work in progress and I love discussing my art and its motivation. It is special to meet people from many places and walks of life and share my story with them.”
Jenny has been selling her art for 16 years, after being encouraged while attending Wellington’s Inverlochy Art School once her family had grown up.
She originally trained as a physiotherapist and later had her own design and clothing labels in Dunedin. Her creative drive led her to art school and a career as an exceptionally talented painter.
“We had a group exhibition at the end of my first year at art school and after selling most of my work I knew I was capable of achieving what I wanted. Since then I have developed my own way, my own style and I never run out of inspiration.”
Jenny has produced several series of works, developing her own distinctive technique using generic gold leaf as well as metal leaves, which are always a talking point with visitors.
She particularly enjoys painting portraits.
“When I am painting a portrait I am intrigued about the person and the life they have led. Everything is in a person’s face and especially the eyes which are always a feature in any portrait I do.”
Exclusive frames are designed for many of her paintings.
“I finish a painting then think about what sort of decoration I will use for the frame to set off the piece.”
Much of Jenny’s work is commissioned and while the advent of Covid-19 has, not surprisingly, had an impact on her overseas market the demand from New Zealanders to have a Mehrtens work in their home has grown.
“ There are a lot of people who are spending money on their homes, particularly the bigger builds, who either select existing work from my studio or commission a specific piece. They see it as an investment to cherish and while I stay true to my artistic values, I take onboard their thoughts and then they ‘trust the chef.’ There is more and more awareness in the community of what I am doing which in turn is attracting more visitors to my studio. I am incredibly grateful to this area and the people who live here – there has been so much local support.”
Jenny only sells online or from her own private artist studio enabling her to develop close relationships with clients.
“People frequently tell me their personal stories and often their reasons for buying my art can be very emotional. This is what inspires me and why I find what I do so satisfying. When I was aspiring to be a successful artist I used to imagine myself standing in a room of paintings that I felt good about – now I feel I have achieved that and I am in that room.”