Art outside the square

Southland artist Steph MacDonald holds two of her artworks, one painted on a surfboard and the other on MDF.

SOUTHLAND artist Steph MacDonald is keen to share some of her art techniques, skills and philosophy.

With help from Creative Communities, MacDonald would be hosting an Art Mural Workshop + Painting Session at the Riverton Community Art Centre next month.

“It would be hands-on painting, and all the materials, including test pots, brushes and MDF board, would be included in the registration,” she said.

MacDonald said the workshop would focus on abstract art techniques.

Abstract art was important because it engaged the brain and created a different perspective, she said.

“It helps to tap into parts of your brain you don’t normally access and generate new ideas, new ways of thinking… outside the square.”

People were “conditioned, limited. They stick to their routines”.

Painting could be therapeutic, she said.

“It is liberating to paint really freely, which can be meditative and help with mental health.”

Some of her work was on display as part of the CBD Art Trail, which encircled the CBD rebuild on the Esk, Kelvin, Tay and Dee Sts block.

From the climbing wall cut into an outdoor backdrop to the interactive Dream Wings on Tay St; the teal leaf to We Are Wise, We Are One featuring an owl, on Esk St, MacDonald was one of many artists and community groups which had helped brighten the area during the rebuild by painting the large panels.

MacDonald said she had painted all her life.

“I was the kid at school who had paint all over my white shirt.”

Into her mid-20s, MacDonald various roles had included working as a make-up artist for films and advertisements, runway photo-shoots, graphic design and websites, as well as administration.

A decision to change her career direction had inspired her to study life coaching.

“During Covid, I gave myself freedom and permission to paint differently than any other way I have painted before… my own niche, style, which has not been seen by other people.

“It gave me confidence.”

Registrations would cost $50. However, due to space constrictions, numbers would be limited, she said.

To register, or for more information, email

  • Art Mural Workshop + Painting Session with Steph MacDonald, Riverton Community Arts Centre, Palmerston St, Riverton, Saturday, March 13, 10am-2pm.