080719 SS 0016 Carmen Lye webCarmen Lye has opened a sole exhibition in Methven. Photo Susan SandysTurning to Christianity later in life is fuelling a wave of creativity for Ashburton artist Carmen Lye.

The 46-year-old painter has just opened a sole exhibition at the Mt Hutt Memorial Hall Methven.

Lye studied art and design and became a graphic designer after leaving Ashburton College.

She became renowned locally as a prolific painter, with her colourful expressionistic and abstract works popular for their bright and contrasting colour palettes, combining the use of collage.

But when her children were young and she was busy with her graphic design business, she took a break for about 15 years.

Today, mum to 18-year-old Jake and 14-year-old Riley, Lye has only recently got back into painting, and one of her main motivating factors has been her new faith.

Lye said while she had always read the Bible and been interested in Christianity, she had never made the leap into becoming a practising Christian until meeting her husband Michael Lye about eight years ago.

“It’s a subject I have painted since art school, but only now am I painting from the viewpoint of a Christian,” she said.

Lye was aiming to speak to the spirit, “allowing possibilities and wonderment” to enter the minds of those viewing the works.

“I think everyone is searching for the answer to that question – what if there is more out there?” she said.

The exhibition features a range of subject matter including nature and the beginning of life on earth, tectonic forces pushing up mountains, angel’s wings and Jesus on the cross.

Many are inscripted with quotes from the Bible.

By Susan Sandys © The Ashburton Guardian - 9 July 2019