My husband and I are permanent house sitters which meant during lockdown we were homeless. We managed to find a tiny Airbnb to stay in for a month In Hawkes Bay at a reduced rate, where I drew daily and my husband wrote.

The drawings are highly detailed, confined patterns enclosed inside of patterns. They reflect the isolation I felt and general sense of being overwhelmed by multiple concerns about our future and that of our young adult children.

Sometimes I would bury a person deep within the image – there but not there – but mostly I drew abstracts, loosely at first with no preconceived plan and then building layer on layer of intricate detail all woven together much like life, a life lived. When I work I zone out for hours, completely wrapped up in the process of making, creating without a single thought in my head. A kind of meditation, I suppose, and a release from the stress of the real world.

I have been painting for 25 years but due to stress and anxiety exasperated during lockdown I was unable to paint. As being creative is a large part of how I define myself as a person I was encouraged to do some journaling. One thing led to another and the writing turned into small sketches and the sketches developed into more and more elaborate drawings. Some purely abstract and others with people or surreal landscapes in them.

I drew every day up to 12 hours a day. I have never been great at drawing so this was a completely new way of creating and expressing myself and I became totally engrossed in the intricate details in the work.

Drawing saved my life. Without that medium and sense of purpose I would have been lost.

All drawings are indian ink, gel pens, pencils on watercolour paper.


Tallulah Nunez was born in 1963 in Paraparaumu. She exhibits at Muse Gallery, Havelock North. Her awards include:
2020 Finalist Miles Art Award
2019 Finalist Parkin Drawing Award
2019 Finalist Arts Gold Award
2019 Finalist Tasman National Art Award – Ariel
2019 Finalist Tasman National Art Award – After Paradise After Cecily
​2019 Finalist Cleveland Art Award

More of her work can be found at her website. The works in ‘Above and Below’ were painted in the last couple of weeks; they were started 12 months ago.