Tīkapa Moana

Happy New Year! 
I hope you and yours have had an amazing start. Here is hoping the 2022 is an improvement on it’s predecessors.

Tīkapa Moana 2022 by ellaquaint

While up in Auckland celebrating Christmas with my own whānau (family), I was busy bringing a concept to life. Tīkapa Moana was conceived in 2020 with the hope to paint it while I was still living in up there. As we all know the 20’s are the decade where it appears few things go to plan, the project had to be pushed out. Logistics surrounding getting the whale tale blanks into the country were problematic and lockdowns continued to sabotage timelines.

Studio shot of Tīkapa Moana in progress

From Wānaka I had intended to fly up to Auckland to work on it, however Covid hit again and those plans were dashed. We were then in discussions about trying to get it down South, while I was trying to find a space that I could work in. As the final time line drew nearer, it was looking less and less likely that it was able to happen. The job I had didn’t work out, which was such a blessing as it meant I could dedicate some serious time to working on the project, while back up in Tāmaki Makaurau over Christmas. 

Back view of Tīkapa Moana completed

A special thank you to my amazing sponsors Vector Lights for sponsoring my concept. If you follow the link above you can find the program for the special light displays on the Auckland Harbour Bridge in celebration of the Whale Tale event. Thank you too to the lovely team at the Pukekohe Resene colour shop who helped me sort out my paint supplies. And last but not least, thank you to Lucy and the amazing team at the WWF Whale Tale project for going above and beyond to make this extraordinary event come to fruition.

Tīkapa Moana by ellaquaint in front of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, Tāmaki Makaurau
Photo credit Lucie Fowler

Tīkapa Moana in situ. I am so delighted with it’s position and I can’t wait to get back up to Auckland to see it installed as well as check out the other amazing works around the city. At number 12 on the trail you can easily find it on the Whale Tale interactive map app. Grab your whānau and some bikes and have a fun day seeing how many you can find!

Smiles for Miles

Happy Sun 2020


Things are a bit tough for some people out there. Many have lost jobs, are stressed out by a lack of an uncertain future or have been stuck in difficult situations during the Lockdown. We need more smiles! Purchase one for you or one for a friend who needs a pick me up. It will make you smile, them smile, me smile and help someone to smile who is involved in Gumboot Friday!
$5.00 from every sale will go towards Gumboot Friday to support the amazing work that they do to help our tamariki / young people.


These ARE original paintings
A5 148mm x 210mm
Gouache on 300gsm watercolour paper
Signed and dated.

$35.00 each (excl p&p)
$45.00 If you would like them gift wrapped, a hand written note, packaged safely in a jiffy pack and posted 😊🌈
Please inquire regarding international postage (if you are outside New Zealand).

Banana Smile 2020 by ellaquaint

I wanted to do some good and cheer people up.  Playing with colour was the easiest way to do that. So it started with the idea that an upside down rainbow could hold more happiness.
In art psychology, curves that act like bowls are seen to be positive due to their similarity to a smile. Smile curves can hold more.
Things are a bit tough out there, we need more smiles.
Bright colours too are meant to have a beneficial effect on mood also 🌈😊
Their naive child like rendering also gives you those warm fuzzy feelings. 
Hopefully they put a smile on your face 😊

May the 4th Be With You!

Baby yoda

Here is a little freebie from me to you. One of the great things about the lockdown is that for the first time every I have had the time to do an appropriate illustration Star Wars fan girl here from way back aaaaand I had a lisp as a kid 😉 Just click on The Child / Baby Yoda and it will take you to my Ko-Fi site. It appears to be less involved than doing downloads from my website. Print it out as is or have fun colouring it in.

I have fun drawing it, it is a continuous line drawing. The Child really could do with some shading of his eyes as they are looking more like Yodas, but that is up to you. Should you like some tips on how to use coloured pencils, you can check out a prior post here. Please note that as the artist I still retain the copyright. I hope you enjoy x

Digital Commissions

Jimmy 2020 by ellaquaint sml
Jimmy 2020 by ellaquaint

Would you like a digital portrait of your favourite pet/s or animal sent straight to your inbox? A digital commission is also a wonderful gift to send to a friend or your mum for Mothers’ Day, it is contact-less and super easy. I still have a few openings available. Get in touch via the contact form or my website and we can discuss options. Prices start from just $30.00 NZD. I look forward to hearing from you 🙂



Batman 2020 by ellaquaint v sml

20 % off!


In honour of Waitangi Day on Monday, here is a little surprise for you!

20% off every purchase NZ $29.00 (that equates to approx US$21.00 or 16 pounds) or more using the code ‘Waitangi’ at either my website, Felt or Etsy stores. To use the code on my website, enter it at the very last stages of paypal’s checkout process. It is a little like playing chicken.

Oh and a free hand gilded item with every fine art giclee print purchased. Ranging from a hand gilded in copper or gold gift card, to a greeting card to a gorgeous love inspired illustration. Please state whether you would prefer copper or gold at checkout x


Some of the freebies that went off to their new homes with orders today. Hand gilded the traditional way using size, gold / copper leaf, patience and a bit of elbow grease. The cards are available for purchase separately here too.

Promotion ends 13th February x


Rangitoto – Auckland, NZ

Waitangi Day is today in my native Aotearoa otherwise known as New Zealand. Aotearoa is te reo, or Maori for Land of the Long White Cloud. The long weekend is in honour of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi which was the founding document of our nation. Like all countries who were colonized, ours too is fraught with issues yet to be resolved, I am hopeful that we will get there eventually.

Motukorea – Auckland, NZ

Our city was founded approximately 175 years ago when Ngati Whatua, the local iwi (tribe), gifted land to the crown with the idea of establishing the city to be the capitol of New Zealand. That didn’t eventuate but it has become our nations biggest city.

When back in Auckland, this is one of my favourite local spots to walk. On days like today, it is particularly beautiful and I feel very fortunate to live 5 mins away from such a stunning view. At times being back in an urban / suburban environment can be a little overwhelming. However being able to get a daily nature fix makes you appreciate the city’s positive aspects.

Churchill Park – Auckland, NZ

Churchill Park is also on my loop. It is a farm park in the middle of Glendowie / St Heliers that is great for being surrounded by trees and greenery. Gradually the locals have been re-establishing the wetlands there and replanting native shrubs and trees. Careful pest eradication has allowed the bird population to flourish. A cute little clip of Piwakawaka / Fantails can be seen here on my instagram.

Churchill Park – Auckland, NZ

These lovely places help me to find my center while being back in the city again. I love being able to see more of my family and Auckland friends while being back for the Summer season, however I do miss the wildness of National Park and Ruapehu to pieces.

Where are your favourite places to get nature fixes?

Pink Pussy Hat Cat

Product testing

Today the unthinkable happened, who would have thought that The Simpsons could have been so prophetic. I was unable to make it to our Women’s March held here in Auckland but I wanted to demonstrate my solidarity for all folk who are going to be affected by the inauguration of President Trump. The result was this colouring page which I intended to be a freebie for you to colour as you wish. However I do think that the cat wants it’s hat to be pink.

Image of The Women’s March Washington courtesy of ABC News

You can download it from either my website ellaquaint for free! If you have any issues you can message me and I can send you the full sized file or you get it via my etsy store ellacute for a token gesture amount (at 25c it covers the listing and sale fee).

Colouring is said to be excellent for mindfulness, a technique that helps easy worry or anxiety. I have to admit that drawing colouring pages has a calming effect on me. An insightful thought by Matt Haig . . . ‘to be calm becomes a revolutionary act.’ Please enjoy this token of my passive resistance. When times like this happen it is important that we stand together and let the powers that be know that we are watching and we are judging. Kia kaha (stand strong) you fabulous folk in the U.S who are making a stand against that ridiculous man and all that he represents.

Pink Pussy Hat Cat 2017 by ellaquaint

Footage that I have seen of the turn out has been so inspiring and I get the sense that this is only the beginning. Thanks to Sway-rey for sharing this amazing clip of the phenomenal turn out across the US.

The hat pattern that inspired the had that this wee kitty is wearing is sourced from the wonderful Ravelry and is by Destiny Meyer.


Snow Beasts


There is something rather amazing about animals that have evolved to survive some of the most extreme conditions on the planet. The Arctic and other similar environments have influenced the evolution of such creatures as polar bears, arctic wolves and snow leopards. Like many folk who are aware of the increasing issues associated with global warming, how these stunning creatures will continue to survive in altered climates is a something that is of concern to me. It is alarming that increasingly we see in the news and social media evidence that the climate is changing faster than we can act.

Sir David Attenborough is one of my biggest heroes and I have so loved watching the programme Frozen Planet that was screened in 2013. Like many of his documentaries, it has been the source of inspiration for one of my most favourite series; ‘Snow Beasts’.

Polar Bear 2013 by ellaquaint

This series was attempting to explore notions around how animals who are dependent on arctic conditions could potentially survived in an environment where the temperature has increased. Already places are having issues with wild animals hunting / foraging closer to suburban / urban areas, due to habitat loss. Animals who are domesticated face a greater chance of survival.


Peruvian llamas as pictured here are marked with coloured tassels on their ears to note their bloodlines and ownership. This inspired me to experiment with similar adornments on wild animals who live in cooler climes.

Snow Leopard (unedited) and Arctic Wolf 2013 by ellaquaint

This was my initial idea, but while painting them, I started thinking that conceptually it was a great idea, actually having these amazing wild beasts with their ears pierced like cattle made me cringe. Also there was that 80’s association . . .

So in the end I edited out the ear tassels in Snow Leopard and I am very pleased with the results. I did however end up keeping the Arctic Wolf as I had initially visualized. It still alludes the ideas that I was exploring without being lost to 80’s pop music references.


The animals themselves were rendered using watercolour washes layered up very subtly in a manner akin to oil paint glazes. It is a time involved process and requires you to pretty decisive and quick so as to not shift and blend the previous layers of watercolour around. For the intensive pops of colour, I used gauache as it is near impossible to get that same sense of opaque saturation with watercolour paints.

Snow Leopard 2013 by ellaquaint


Arctic Wolf 2013 by ellaquaint

The limited edition giclee prints of these, both in A3, A4 and A5 format are still available for purchase. Some formats in the editions are getting low in stocks. Polar Bear, Snow Leopard and Arctic Wolf can be found on my website ellaquaint or on my Etsy store ellacute.

Because this is a blog article I wrote a couple of years ago, I was slack when it came to documenting where I sourced the images from that weren’t my own. If you recognize any and can let me know, then I can give credit where credit is due. Thank you!

Snow Beasts 2013 vertical pinterest logo.jpg