Marie-Claire is both a writer and nature artist. Writing in a wide range of genres, her work covers personal essay, memoir, poetry, YA, literary / mainstream fiction.
Publications include Lane Cove Literary Awards 2016: an Anthology, Kapiti News, The Coaster, the Rodney Times, Coromandel Life Magazine and Utilities Magazine.
Influenced by a childhood divided between Sydney and a vineyard in the Upper Hunter Valley the nuances of nature are layered throughout her work. As an award-winning artist Marie-Claire is also focused on projects that meld both her writing and her art. These include illustrated poetry collections, and a book on vulnerable to endangered species 'Minus One-Minus All', combining her writing/art with those of respected scientists and notable persons around the world.
Marie-Claire’s work delves into the heart of the message she feels driven to communicate. She is currently crafting a real-life contemporary romance that explores the price of living with illness, the desolation of grief and ultimately the strength of hope. Her Young Adult novel is in the final stages of editing.
She can often be found at three in the morning dashing down words that won’t let her rest till captured; or dripping wet scribbling on a scrap of paper when the muse distracts her from a shower. Her family well know the creativity that leaves the washing up half-done and the coloured pencils vying for space with the stack of handwritten notes on her desk.
Connect with Marie-Claire and subscribe to follow her projects, buy artwork and learn of novels and poetry collections in progress. The progress of her current projects can be followed on Facebook and Instagram.
As an artist and writer, Marie-Claire specialises in lifelike wildlife and nature inspired paintings and drawings, plus poetry and novels.
Now dwelling in Sydney, Australia, her professional career began in New Zealand, where she resided for nine years.
While working directly with the Mayor of Auckland City, John Banks, she participated in the Mazda Art Awards, exhibiting a painting of a brown kiwi at dusk. This painting was licensed to Jason Products for use on home decor products. She has been awarded places in most competitions entered. Even having Australia’s Ken Done create a new section for the Mosman Bicentennial Awards to enable him to grant the title ‘Most Promising Artist’ at age sixteen. Further awards include third place for drawing in the 2019 Sydney Royal Easter Show and two consecutive years in the Merriwa Art Awards, attracting entries from around Australia, and ‘Best Natural Fauna’ at The Kapiti Observer Rotary Art Show.
Many of her poems are in essence intimate images of the natural world. Her poem 'Sleeping Is How We Awaken’ reached the finalists stage of the 2016 Lane Cove Fiction Awards, published in the Lane Cove Literary Awards 2016: an Anthology.
Marie-Claire has held exhibitions featuring birds throughout New Zealand’s north island and been covered in New Zealand local and national press. One of her brown kiwi paintings was the cover for Coromandel Life Magazine Spring 2018 edition with other paintings in the series illustrating an article on the New Zealand Department of Conservation. International sales include to Europe and Asia as well as New Zealand and Australia. Her passion for nature is expressed through a number of series including New Zealand and Australian birds and botanical watercolour / ink drawings of Australian Grevilleas.
Commissions include a painting of a Brown Kiwi for the Tawharanui Regional Park TOSSI committee to celebrate the work of volunteers and commemorate the opening of a predator-proof fence, plus paintings of endangered birds for an investment art collector, paintings of Australian native animals for a multinational businessman and wildlife and pet portrait drawings and paintings for numerous private collectors. Many of her paintings have been featured in restricted release series of calendars.
Marie-Claire has illustrated rare deep-sea shells for scientific journals and provided sketches for speleological journals detailing micro-bats and cave systems. She was personally invited to participate in the Kiwi Recovery Programme and allowed access behind the scenes to photograph New Zealand native fauna for reference in her paintings.
The current long-term project is the creation and exhibition of a body of artwork with the ultimate goal of a published book. The contents will include her art and writing, alongside messages from notable people around the world. Both the exhibition and book will highlight the global decline in animal species diversity and Why it matters.
This drive to inform the public of how our actions impact on the environment and to record nature has shaped her artistic career. To quote Fiona Edmonds Dobrijevich, (lecturer and Marie-Claire’s high school Art teacher), ‘Her precocious talent for realist drawing was evident at a young age, but she has sustained this focus and skill within her art practice throughout her adult life… Her spectacular photorealistic drawings are detailed, layered and textural, giving a real sense of the threatened species she depicts.'
Naturalists and conservationists like Sir David Attenborough and Don Merton have given direction to Marie-Claire’s work. Meetings with Sir David Attenborough over the years as an avid admirer and her own engagement in nature have cemented her desire to depict the wildlife around us. This she has faithfully been doing since first beginning to draw and write as a young child.
Self-taught, it is through dedicated practice that Marie-Claire has learned to write and to illustrate wildlife. And it is a subject matter that will remain close to her heart.
Connect with Marie-Claire and subscribe to newsletters to follow her projects and learn of novels and poetry collections in progress. Take a sneak peek at the artist’s life. Learn of the wildlife Marie-Claire paints and writes about, discover techniques and tips, promotions, latest artwork, exhibitions and news. Follow on Facebook (marieclairecolyer) and Instagram (mccolyer).
‘As a wildlife artist I strive to capture the essence of each creature I paint. The natural world is fascinating and precious. It is both enduring and fragile. In some small way I wish to touch the heart of those that view my work. If I interest only one person in protecting what surrounds us, then my art is worthwhile.’
- Representing Gallery,Kiwi Art House Gallery, 288 Cuba St, Wellington, New Zealand
- Representing Gallery, Kapiti Coast - Artel Gallery, Waikanae, Kapiti Coast, New Zealand
- Representing Gallery, Auckland city - Next Door Gallery, Birkenhead, Auckland, New Zealand
- April 2019 – Sydney Royal Easter Show. Awarded Third Place for Drawing in this national exhibition
- Nov 2014 – Taranaki National Art Awards, Taranaki
- Oct 2014 – The Kapiti Observer Rotary Art Show, Paraparaumu. Awarded ‘BEST NATURAL FAUNA’ in this national exhibition
- Sept 2014 – ongoing, Frameworks, Paraparaumu Beach
- Aug - Sept 2014, Café Rosetta & Gallery, Raumati South, Kapiti Coast, Wellington
- Sept 2011, 'New Beginings' St Andrew's, Birkenhead, Auckland, New Zealand
- July 2011, New Zealand Art Show 2011, Queens Wharf, Wellington, New Zealand
- March 2011, ‘Reflections’ Exhibition, Estuary Arts Centre, Orewa, New Zealand
- August 2008, Mazda Artworks at the Hilton, Princes Wharf, Auckland, New Zealand. Opened by the Mayor of Auckland City, John Banks
- Oct 2008 - Gallery Q, Waimauku, New Zealand
- April 2008, Puhoi Art Exhibition, Centennial Hall, Puhoi, New Zealand
- June 2007, Hola Mexican Restaurant, Orewa, New Zealand
- May 2007, Whangaparaoa Library, Whangaparaoa, New Zealand
- March 2007, Opening Exhibition, Estuary Arts Centre, Orewa, New Zealand
- March 2007, ‘New Zealand Collections’ Exhibition, Whangaparaoa Library, Whangaparaoa, New Zealand
- Feb 2007, Puhoi Art Exhibition, Centennial Hall, Puhoi, New Zealand
- Aug 2006, ‘Feathers, Birds of New Zealand’ Exhibition, Orewa Library, Orewa, New Zealand. Attended by the Mayor of Rodney, John Law