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Jack has been praised by art critics and described as painter of Maori ....likened to "Goldie".(NZ Herald)

Jack Willetts, born 1922, began painting as a young man in 1944, without formal training.
He discovered then his attraction to portraiture.
In 1946 he began community farming in Motueka, He married and he and his late wife Nancy had six children. He supported his family with a variety of jobs - including running a Saw Sharpening business. Jack then enrolled in a diploma of figurative studies course at Whitecliffe College of Art and Design.

Jack travelled to Florence when he was 57, where he began to study under a master painter. As a result of these studies he began his career as a painter. In the 80s with his family grown, he began to devote his time to portraiture. In the late 80s he spent more time in Europe and London to study and paint copies of the great European masters. He gained a commission in Philadelphia in 1989, and in the early 90s toured Canada for two months, painting for his keep.

After some time painting in New Zealand again, he began to find enthusiastic subjects to sit for him - the local Maori. He painted 18 portraits of decorated tribal elders for Maniopoto Maori Trust Board, and 17 of the founders of Te Wananga O Aotearoa. These paintings are hanging throughout New Zealand, in meeting houses, maraes, trust board rooms and private homes. You can see some samples of Jack's Maori paintings if you click here.

Jack works in a traditional way, using patient sitters prepared to spend a few hours keeping very still. If a sitter isn't available he'll work from photographs - but prefers a "live" sitting to achieve a better result. His self portraits are painted using a mirror. If you would like a portrait made you can go to the Commission section to get more details of the requirements.


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