Vonnie Sterritt

Vonnie Sterritt

Full time working artist

Vonnie was born in Clyde, Central Otago, she has a Fine Arts Degree from Canterbury University and is a Post Graduate of Massey University.She has worked as an illustrator for the University of British Columbia, Canterbury and Massey Universities and is the Illustrator of the "Maketu" series of children's books by Taramea Publishing. Vonnie's paintings celebrate the colour and light aspects of what are unique New Zealand landscape compositions, particularly the Manawatu.

International Exhibitions include, Vancouver, (Canada), Missoula, (Montana), (supported in part by a Palmerston North City Council Creative Arts Grant) , and St Louis, (Illinois). as a result of her International Reputation she was awarded a Resident Artist Scholarship to Southern Illinois University in 2006.

Vonnie has exhibited widely in New Zealand both as an invited artist and solo exhibitor.


"I paint because I do not know how not to!

Painting is both an obsession and vocation.

Growing up within the surrounds of the Clutha and now the Manawatu rivers mean water described gorges and plains are so much a part of who I am. Overwhelming light, skies, seasons, and landforms allow me enormous compositional scope. I am convinced there is a connection between painter and landscape that is emotionally intimate. My particular connection is the Manawatu river and the way old macrocarpa and Nikau punctuate this regions' landscape.

My endeavour is to construct beautiful paintings, with that little extra something, born out of the gift I have been given."

Studio Location :

791 Main Street, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Email :

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Vonnies Paintings

  • Light through the trees

    I love this old track in among the trees just down from Palmerston North’s Fitzherbert bridge

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  • Light on the track through the pines

    I’m always fascinated by the way light interacts with trees. I like the way it lures the spectator into the composition.

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  • Pohangina River

    Just past Totara Reserve. Sketched and Painted Plein Air. (on Location).

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  • The Clearing

    Originally this painting started as plien air. I find the West Coast inspirational. Particularly the Nikau Palms and small clearings dotted with cows.

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  • The Girls

    Summer in the Manawatu, these lovely jersey cows were picnicking in the afternoon. A plien air beginning and the painting was finished in the studio.

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  • The Back Paddock

    This painting is inspired by the paddock on the right at the Te Matai  Road end of the Manawatu River walkway.

    The colours are as I saw them, vivid and vital.... typical of a Manawatu summer.

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  • Old Macrocarpas on the Manawatu river walk

    We’ve all seen this beautiful avenue of trees along the river. Always a peaceful pleasure to paint

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  • Towards Himitangi

    A favourite view from the dunes looking North in the

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  • Early Morn

    This painting is the product of an early morning walk, the sun has just begun to warm the day. The colours are a lovely balance describing shadow and light.

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  • ‘Sunlight on the water’ at the Sledge Track

    Sunlight, transparency, stones in the water are always fascinating and challenging. This work is particularly peaceful and descriptive of the Tiritea stream.

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  • Iconic Coromandel Pohutakawa.

    Just had to paint this during the New Zealand Christmas vacation. After all it is our Christmas tree.

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  • Old Woolshed with Macrocarpas

    Composed and painted to celebrate an interesting old woolshed and beautiful old trees. 

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  • Road through the bush

    I call this ‘a painted sketch’. Briefly drawn Plein Air on the way up the Pohangina.
    It has the energy and honesty that always look for in my work.

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  • Taonga

    I have some beautiful Paua Shells and and precious old Kete .... just had to put them together in a still life.

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  • Pohangina towards Totara Reserve

    This work uses scarffito to draw the image prior to applying layering acrylics wash and glaze.The work was drawn on site near the tank on the hill above the Reserve cliffs. With Totara Reserve in the left for ground. The river is the Pohangina.

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  • The Falls

    An energetic gestural painting, inspired by Van der Velden, my favourite early New Zealand artist. He, however would not approve of the colour nor expression. This work is a current favourite of mine.


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  • The Manawatu River Walkway

    A well recognised spot from the walkway path

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  • The Ellery

    Towards the Arawata, West Coast of NZ. I have a friend living at Haast, one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand accessing the relatively undiscovered rough rivers and dense New Zealand bush. A wonderful place to paint.

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