Marle Woman: Briana Jamieson

Industry leaders, new talent, quiet achievers and progressive thinkers, Marle Women is a regular journal series featuring one-to-ones with women of all ages and stages of their lives; women who challenge, excite, teach and inspire us.

In our latest edition, we speak to artist Briana Jamieson in her studio in Te Whanganui a Tara, Aotearoa (Wellington, New Zealand), where we explore Briana's conscious practice of the arts, how nature influences her work and personal style and we chat about her proudest moments to date.



Hi Briana, please share a little bit about yourself, your upbringing and any defining moments that lead you to where you are today.

I grew up in Wellington with parents that care about the environment and love spending time in nature; and who are creative and always making things. Painting, drawing, writing and creating has always been part of my life - so has sitting in the garden and spending time with plants.
I went to Raphael House Rudolf Steiner School in Lower Hutt for intermediate and college; which also values the arts, creativity and nature. The school is up a hill, surrounded by native bush. There was a focus on art, music, theatre, writing, performing, tramping, and creating your own projects and achieving your dreams. In Steiner philosophy and art, colours are often soft and gentle. In early years we decorated our workbooks with borders made of pencil shavings rubbed gently on with a tissue to create soft auras of colour. There were school festivals that honoured the seasons, where you walked into the school hall through archways and tunnels made of ferns and branches. In younger years each morning was started by sitting in a circle around a small table with a little vase of freshly picked flowers, and lighting a candle. Each morning we said a verse together that started with “I look into the world. Wherein there shines the sun. Wherein there gleams the stars. Wherein there lie the stones…”

I think perhaps I have always been on this path, and it makes so much sense that I am a painter and am doing what I am doing.



How would you best describe what you do?

I make oil paintings of good feelings, experiences and things I am inspired by. Plants, skies, landscapes, candles, bowls, glasses, fruit, cakes, swans, water using simple, earthy colour palettes. My paintings are often described as soft, gentle and soothing. I make these paintings in my studio and exhibit and sell them with KAUKAU and a selection of other galleries.

With a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Massey University, did you always imagine working as a full time artist?

I went to art school because it seemed like something I would really enjoy and I felt drawn to it. At that time I didn’t think it was possible to have a career as an artist, I was just following the path of what I loved. And I did love it. University was a really great time; spending long days in the shared studios with all these incredibly creative, inspiring people. But it wasn’t until a few years after university that I really started to think and dream about having a career as an artist.



What has been your proudest moment throughout your career to date?

Showing my paintings at KAUKAU over the years has been so special and I feel very lucky that my paintings get to exist in such a beautiful, thoughtful space so my ongoing relationship with KAUKAU is a highlight.

There was a large painting I made of drooping creamy white angel’s trumpet flowers, glowing in a dark background. I felt a real excitement when I finished this painting. Like something very special and magical had just formed out of the paint. It gave me such a good feeling. And then someone in L.A. bought the painting, online via KAUKAU. It is very special to imagine this painting all the way over in L.A.



You’re known to move between oil painting and poetry, what is your process for creating and how do the two inspire the other?

When planning a series of paintings I often feel drawn to write a piece of poetic writing, usually about my own experiences, that acts as a reference point; grounding and inspiring the feeling of the series of paintings. Often I write this and plan out ideas for paintings (notes, thumbnail drawings and folders of photos) while sitting somewhere peaceful in nature. Once I’m clear on a feeling for the series, and have ideas for what the paintings could look like, I go to the studio and paint. I often spend long hours in the studio over the course of many weeks until I’ve finished the series. At the end of painting the series I revisit the writing and title the works. These words feel like a finishing touch, bringing it all together. Then I rest, refresh, and start at the planning stage again for the next series.



Outside of your art accolades, your bio mentions that you completed a certificate in Te Pou Hono ki Taiao from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. Can you talk to us about the motivation behind this?

I did the course with my flatmates; a friend who had done it the previous year recommended it. It was really special and important to learn about local Māori history in relation to areas of nature around Te Whanganui-a-Tara that I spend a lot of time in and around, set in a framework of connecting to and caring for the environment and how this exists in mātauranga Māori. It connected to my values and was knowledge I was really interested in learning.

Do you have any daily rituals or practices that you swear by?

If my day consists of yoga, dancing, music, being in nature, connecting with good people, and good food; then it is a really good day.



How would you describe your personal style and how has this evolved over the years?

Practical, comfortable, simple. Clothes made of linen, cotton and wool in lots of neutral colours: green, navy blue, brown, black, grey. I think I perhaps like to blend in and feel at harmony with my surroundings and the weather. If I’m in the city streets or it’s a cloudy day then black, blue and greys feel natural to me. And if I’m spending a day out in nature, sitting in the grass and trees, I like the feeling of wearing colours that sit well with those colours around me. Which is similar to my paintings - calm, minimal, earthy colours that sit at ease with their environment and are gentle on my eyes.
When I was a teenager I wore skinny jeans. Then while at university I was in a theatre group and we had rehearsals three nights a week, so I began to only wear clothes that I could move around freely and be active in. That was a changing point for my style and since then I have prioritised comfortable, flexible clothing that I can do anything in.

Marle is designed to add effortless ease to a woman’s wardrobe, how does wearing Marle make you feel?

They feel elegant as well as being comfortable and casual. A really nice combination. The wool pieces are so nice and warm, while also feeling light, floaty and breathable to wear.





What is your most treasured object and why?

Perhaps my journals (physical notebooks) and photos (digital files). Images and descriptions of some of the beautiful things I have experienced.

Favourite home cooked meal?

I love the recipes in ‘East’ by Meera Sodha. One favourite is the Winter Pilau.

Favourite thing to wear?

Comfortable clothes in soft, natural fabrics; that I can do anything in (paint, dance, walk in the bush, sit in the grass).

Your daily non-negotiables?

There are periods of time where I meditate or do yoga every morning or evening and that always leaves me feeling calmer, more at ease, comfortable, warm and glowy feeling in my body and mind. I try to include that in my everyday life as much as I can.

Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter?

I love them all equally

Last Book You Read?

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Current Podcast Recommendations

The Good Oil (Conversations with New Zealand Painters). I’ve listened to Hamish Coleman and Hannah Ireland’s episodes so far which are great.

Favourite Spotify Playlist?

Discover Weekly. I listen to music every day while I work and I love coming across new music.





Photographed by Jacob Pietras

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