Painting another world

OCEANIC: Gisborne artist Leah McCann explores forms inspired by marine life. Her work is on show now at Verve Cafe. Pictures supplied
Leah McCann at work.

The light, colours and life under the sea have long fascinated Gisborne painter Leah McCann and those elements surface naturally in her paintings. Cellular, or coral-like, forms colonise her acrylic works on show at Verve Cafe.

“These have been a recurring theme throughout my life,” she says.

“I’m fascinated with underwater life. I went to Fiji last year and did some snorkelling. The corals were so fluorescent and colourful it was another world.”

That world reminded McCann of the movie Avatar and its strong underwater connection. Marine-inspired creatures will appear in Avatar 2 after filmmaker James Cameron’s record-setting dive in a submersible to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench.

The floating mountains that appear in the film were created by designer Steve Messing who travelled around China to get photographic references for the film.

McCann was struck by similar cloud-ringed mountains she saw in the sea in Vietnam.

“Painting is like a meditation for me,” she says.

“My work isn’t planned. It’s intuitive. I enjoy the process.”

She posts pictures of her work on Instagram where she is encouraged by a community of artists she has found there.

The light, colours and life under the sea have long fascinated Gisborne painter Leah McCann and those elements surface naturally in her paintings. Cellular, or coral-like, forms colonise her acrylic works on show at Verve Cafe.

“These have been a recurring theme throughout my life,” she says.

“I’m fascinated with underwater life. I went to Fiji last year and did some snorkelling. The corals were so fluorescent and colourful it was another world.”

That world reminded McCann of the movie Avatar and its strong underwater connection. Marine-inspired creatures will appear in Avatar 2 after filmmaker James Cameron’s record-setting dive in a submersible to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench.

The floating mountains that appear in the film were created by designer Steve Messing who travelled around China to get photographic references for the film.

McCann was struck by similar cloud-ringed mountains she saw in the sea in Vietnam.

“Painting is like a meditation for me,” she says.

“My work isn’t planned. It’s intuitive. I enjoy the process.”

She posts pictures of her work on Instagram where she is encouraged by a community of artists she has found there.

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