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Meet our members - Barry Driver

At the recent AGM held on 2 June 2021, Barry Driver was awarded Life Member of Art Group Nelson for thirteen years of valuable outstanding club service!!!

'Although it always came naturally to me to turn to painting as a creative escape, it never even occurred to me (nor would I have been brave enough if it had) to show my

work in public until I joined Art Group Nelson in 2007.

I found the group exhibitions provided an affordable way to test-the-waters from a safe distance, while a guest’s encaustic demonstration also inspired me to drop my brushes in favour of the more expressive tools I still use today.

I was thrilled to make my first sale at the 2009 Queen’s Gardens Exhibition and the confidence I gained from further early sales led to my successful application to the Nelson Suter Art Society in 2010 and the Art@203 (since relocated and rebranded to Wall To Wall) Collective Gallery in 2011.

I also started taking part in the big annual art shows in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Nelson around then, and I subsequently gained representation at a couple of dealer galleries.

I have dabbled with a variety of subjects and media over the years, but my default leaning has always been towards emotionally-inspired often-colourful abstracts.

My current favoured technique is to push acrylic paint around on glossy photo paper, working quickly in order to achieve a variety of mixing, scraping and layering effects while the paint is still partially wet.

The size of my work has gradually stepped up from A4 to A1+, although I often still crop to a smaller size to salvage a result I'm happy with - sometimes right down to A6 size, which I make into original artwork cards. To finish, I either frame work behind glass or, more recently, I’ve been mounting it on board and coating it with resin.

For me, it’s amazing to look back on how I’ve developed as an artist, and to think none of it might have happened if it weren’t for the kick-start the Nelson Art Group gave me.

Not being a people person, I have resisted formally joining the group’s committee but I have nevertheless been happy help out with numerous jobs for what’s turned out to be many years, including maintaining the old website, name tags, attendance list, exhibition floor-plans and stand-handling, leaflet editing etc.

I am humbled that these efforts have now been rewarded with life membership of the group.

You can view a selection of my work on my website at'

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