Inspired by native Australian landscapes
“Green Hills” is the title of Antoinette Ferwerda’s original painting that was selected for endota’s limited-edition Mother’s Day 2021 packaging. It is a beautiful piece influenced by the changing colour and light of the seasons moving across the serene Australian landscape.
You’ll notice rainbow-like arches, curved lines and a lush, natural palette, that is a joyful representation of rolling countryside hills under calm skies.
“As a child, I loved bush walks and going for drives in the country. My mum was a teacher and always encouraged us to go outside to observe and enjoy what’s around us,” Antoinette says.
“She focused my exploration and appreciation of the natural world, uncovering its many beauties and complexities in pattern, colour and form. I still love being in nature, watching the light change upon surfaces to create a myriad of colour in the shadows. Mother Nature herself is my most incredible teacher and influence.”
Antoinette Ferwerda & her painting "Green Hills"
The art of following your creative heart
From a very young age, Antoinette wanted to be an artist. And while it took some time, career twists and life experience to make this dream a reality, she is now following her creative passion wholeheartedly.
“Art has always been my first love and it’s been a long and slow process at times, but my heart longed to paint,” Antoinette says.
Her mum, Gemma always encouraged her love of learning and has endlessly supported her career and artistic endeavours. Antoinette reflects that Gemma has always been very practical, compassionate, kind and clever with an inquisitive love of learning.
“She taught me to care for precious things, to love my siblings, to make things myself, to sew, to draw, to bake, to budget, to paint and to grow things,” she says.
“The most important lesson and wisdom Mum passed down to me when starting out was, 'keep your real job so you always have money to fund your hobby. After some time, make your hobby your real job'. Which is what I did, and I haven’t looked back.”
Turning passion into a profession
With this in mind, Antoinette started painting at night and on weekends, creating early pieces in her garage. When the family bought a new home, Antoinette’s husband saw the opportunity to create an artist studio to encourage her work. And this was a huge turning point.
“My children were at school and I continued to explore my collage and acrylic painting techniques, which resulted in the evolution of my signature “Hills” story. My creative flame was now well and truly lit and my first solo exhibition in 2014 in Melbourne sold out,” she says.
This led to painting larger scale artworks for private commissions and gallery representation, leasing a studio space and now working as a full-time artist, with a gallery in Brighton East. Click here to explore Antoinette’s work.
“These days, I still dream about and wake up thinking about the next piece of art I will create. I’m motivated by my passion to create and I’m inspired by what I see in the incredibly beautiful world around me.”
The creative gifts of motherhood
Being a mother to two children who are now 12 and 14, motherhood has had a very positive influence on Antoinette’s art practice and work over the years. This included exploring their creativity when very young.
“I loved learning about the world through their wide eyes, watching them as their drawings and paintings emerged at our kitchen table. Barely gripping their crayons, watching their bold colour choices and sweeping strokes across paper and table,” she says.
“I was in awe of the artistic mastery of my 2 and 4-year-old contemporaries. I’ve still got some of their drawings to remind me to paint without expectation, to use broad strokes and bold colours with freedom of mind and joy.”
Antoinette says if she could paint the gift of motherhood, she would try and capture the invisible connection she feels with her children.
“It would represent the three of us in a fiercely protective bond, like a force glowing around us as we share a giant hug.”
3 generations: Antoinette Ferwerda & her daughter Tehya and mum 'Nana Gem'
A day to appreciate all women
Mother’s Day is a time for Antoinette to reflect on all the mothers and women, past and present that have passed down wisdom and express gratitude for their love and guidance.
“There are so many hopes I wish to pass down to my own children. To be yourself because you are more than good enough, remind yourself to laugh more and not sweat the small stuff and treat others the way you wish to be treated.”
She also wants to pass her favourite recipes, a strong work ethic, a legacy of beautiful artwork, and family heirlooms and stories from Nana Gem and Great Grandma Elisabeth.
“It’s most important for them to know that I’m always there for them, that we can put the kettle on and share a moment over tea. This can be carried on throughout their lives, that a problem carried becomes lighter once shared,” she says.