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


2017 . . . there’s no pressure.

‘You know those days when things keep getting worse faster than you can lower your standards?’ Carrie Fisher

Well, we are very close to the end of a rather significant year. So many treasured icons have passed and it really did seem like we were thrust into another dimension with the passing of David Bowie. Ridiculous people gained copious amounts of power. I don’t think I have ever been more happy to be living in New Zealand, distance from the rest of the world can at times be frustrating, but in this sense it is such a good thing. Environmental disasters plagued the world like the fires in Indonesia. Humanitarian tragedies occurred, ones that seem like they have no feasible end as the influences upon the whole Syrian situation are so convoluted. Indigenous rights continue to be flouted to meet the needs of multi-national conglomerates and militarized forces being used despite the peaceful resistance that the water protectors are maintaining. Some of us also had some rather trying times in personal arenas. Frankly 2016 you weren’t the best. However there were times that you were pretty damn amazing. 2017 please look to those positive moments as the source of your inspiration so you can be ridiculously good.



Ooops . . . Broke my Blog


Bear 2016 by ellaquaint



This guy sums up the astonishment I felt at realizing that I could no longer log in and contribute to my old blog site. Blogger you suck! Admittedly it had been a while. The last post had been about Bears so I thought it was only fitting that the first post on my new blog featured a Bear also.

Welcome! Hopefully this space will evolve into an interesting collection to peruse. I have many wonderful ideas and great intentions that will hopefully manifest. Art, adventures, nature . . . maybe the odd art tutorial . . . these are just some of the notions rattling around in my head. Anyhow, it has begun.