Hi Annita, tell us a bit about yourself and your art:
I have always loved art since a young girl... I pursued nursing as a career but I was always drawn to art and all things creative. At 19 I was offered a sign writing apprenticeship from a business owner who walked off the street and approached me as he had seen a window display that I had created. I didn’t give it much thought at the time and declined the offer, which in hindsight now I wish I had accepted.
My acrylic canvas painting journey began with the pregnancy of my first child, my son Luke 11 years ago. I wanted to have a present for my child from their mum for when they were born. So when I was pregnant and then heavily pregnant I came up with the crazy idea of painting a large canvas for my unborn child... I can remember being up at midnight, a day away from my due date, painting away in the wee hours trying to finish the canvas before I went into labour. That''s where it all began.
So from there I did a further two other canvas paintings as a present for the birth of my two other children, my daughters Vivy and Jade. Friends and family were impressed with my paintings and to my own surprise a lot of people said I should try and sell them and I had a few ladies ask me to create paintings for them as well. I doubted my ability and did not pursue it despite wanting to. My dad Dennis told me many times that the paintings were really good and I should sell them. My lovely neighbour Jenni bugged me for an entire year to start painting again and sell them.
So once I stopped worrying about feeling silly for wanting to paint I decided to listen to my dad’s words and I put up a Facebook post with a few pictures of my paintings and explaining that I was going to paint again and sell them. Within half an hour I had a customer for a canvas painting. Then another request for a canvas for a grandchild overseas, then another lady enquiring if I had ever illustrated children''s books and would I be interested in it and finally a lovely request to paint the toy library.
One of Annita's fantastic canvases in production:
So many friends commented on Facebook with lovely words about how fantastic my artwork was. It was a real compliment and gave me the drive to fuel the flame of painting again that was always there. I can remember always going into children''s rooms as seeing the artwork on their walls. Generally it wasn’t bright, fun, cute or colourful. I knew I was capable of painting something better than what I was seeing.
How did you get involved with the painting of Omokoroa Toy Library?
I was asked by the lovely Jen if I wanted to paint a giant mushroom at Omokoroa Toy Library. I had never painted on a corrugated iron surface but funny enough 2 weeks before I was asked to do this I made a decision to myself to say yes to anything that comes my way, even if I don’t know what I''m doing! To simply say yes and be brave. Then that process was challenged when I was asked to paint the library. I was really privileged to be asked and was so chuffed to give it a go.
What did you enjoy most about the painting?
I loved the challenge of painting on a corrugated surface. I Googled tips for painting on a surface like this and made a large mushroom template from the tips read. Being out at Omokoroa painting from 10:30am till 7pm for 2 days was just great. It’s such a therapeutic exercise to paint and create. To bring life to a plane old garage door was exciting.
Did you face any challenges with the task?
The challenge of painting the mushroom was that it was not on a flat surface but a corrugated one. Creating a picture where lines have to correspond correctly on an uneven surface is always challenging.
Annita in action:
We have had so many great compliments about the makeover. Are you happy with the result?
Yes I'm really pleased with the outcome as I tried something new and I rose to the challenge of doing something I hadn''t done before...with that comes growth.
Where can we find out more about you and your paintings?
My business name is " Buffytoes & Possum Pie Paintings”. These are my childhood nicknames. My mum always called me Buffytoes or Buffy and my dad called me Possum or Possum Pie. This business is dedicated to my hero and best mate, my dad. He gave me the encouragement to start painting again. He planted the seed and all it needed was a little water to make it grow. His words were the water. Sometime support and encouragement is all we need to get the ball rolling. Believing on ourselves and grabbing with both hands what we know fills our tank.
You can reach me through my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Buffytoes-Possum-Pie-Paintings-106616047475551/
If you’ve visited or driven past the Settlers Hall on Omokoroa Road before, you would have been excused for not noticing the shabby old shed at the back. But the same can’t be said today!
After almost closing less than 6 months ago due to a lack of volunteers, the Omokoroa Toy Library has gone through a huge transformation driven by a new committee. The once innocuous building has been transformed into a playful giant mushroom house. The red and white spotted roof can easily be seen from the road and the large mushroom painted on the door by local artist Annita Murray can’t help but draw the eye. New signage, by GTSigns, finishes off the outside makeover and showcases the new logo. “We wanted to do something drastic when it came to refreshing the Toy Library” says the new chairperson, Sarah Roche.
The mushroom house design was chosen for its simple but fun appearance and to tie in with the new logos, the vision of Jen Hague the new Marketing & Communications Manager. “With the new committee on board, we decided a full rebranding was necessary. The mushroom house was a fun and playful way to tie the logo and the repainted building together and catch the eye of passers by”.
The inside of the Library has also been refreshed with new paint, signage, carpet and solar lighting as well as a hoard of new toys. Members can hire ride-on toys, water tables, roller coasters, puzzles, musical instruments, science toys as well as role-play, construction and sports toys. There is plenty to choose from to keep those little hands and minds occupied. Toys are geared towards 0-5 year olds. “The Toy Library is a great community resource that gives you access to a huge range of age appropriate toys. And when the kids get bored of them, you just swap them out without cluttering up your home. We get lots of grandparents hiring toys in the holidays for their visiting grandchildren, as well as a steady membership base of parents.” says Toy Buyer, Amy Bailey.
The volunteer committee consists of mums and dads from the community who run the entire Toy Library in their spare time. Additional volunteer members assist in running the Library on Saturday mornings in return for discounted annual membership fees. Other membership options include non-volunteering annual membership and a 2 month trial.
The Omokoroa Toy Library Committee would like to extend a huge thanks to The Omokoroa Centre Trust for its grant that made this all possible. Also GT Signs, Annita Murray (artist), Brian Jeffs (painter), Omokoroa Print and Copy, Carpet Court and Alliance RV for their contribution to the makeover and of course all of our members who use the Library.
Omokoroa Toy Library is open Saturday mornings from 9:30 am - 11:00 am and is located behind the Settlers Hall (334 Omokoroa Road). Visit www.omokoroatoylibrary.co.nz for more information.