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Artist Heather Wilson takes a bite out of the Big Apple project

13 Oct 2022

Heather Wilson has taken a good bite out of 2022. The Hawke’s Bay artist has branched out from her usual scenic paintings to involved in the Big Apple Project which sees twenty extra-large fibreglass apples decorated in Resene and displayed throughout Hawke’s Bay. Her apple artwork called ‘Malus Domestica’ (the scientific name for apple tree) is an ode to Hawke’s Bay horticulture and features 40 export varieties of apple.

“I wanted to help shine a light on the amazing successes of our local apple industry in the Hawke’s Bay and on the world stage,” says Heather.  After coming up with the inspiration for my Big Apple I contacted the Apples and Pears Marketing Board and asked them how many varieties Hawke’s Bay produced for the local and international market and they gave me a list of more than 100!  As this was going to be too many to paint I decided that I would paint over 40 of the export varieties.”

To create her Big Apple, Heather started with a base of wallpaper from the Resene Anaglypta Wallpaper Collection before painting a basecoat of Resene Rice Cake. When choosing her Resene colour scheme, Heather knew exactly where to begin. “Resene paints are an absolute staple in my art room cupboard. I used Resene Rice Cake as my white base, as I use it in most of my work, and I also have it throughout my house. It’s my favourite colour as it also helps to complement other colours and makes them pop!” As for the apples, Heather dabbled with a wide range of colours - many of which had a food theme. “I wanted the colours for my apple to be fresh and uplifting.” A tasting platter of the Resene range used on Heather’s apple includes Resene Candy Floss, Resene Java, Resene Limeade, Resene Rice Cake, Resene Lemon Ginger and Resene Caper. When it came to the finishing touches, she turned to a Resene clear coat. “There are five layers of Resene clear on top to help it to withstand the elements.”

Heather’s friend Alicia standing next to her apple on the corner of Eastbourne Street East in Hastings.

Heather spent a month creating her Big Apple which is a departure from her usual artwork although there is some connection. “My artwork usually explores New Zealand scenery and symbolism connected with geometric patterns from my childhood. It is an explosion of bold and strong colour and texture. The repetitive nature of the apple shapes and this format’s bold and strong impact were exciting for me. I also enjoyed using Resene wallpapers to create the texture surrounding each apple, and it places interest in what would outwardly seem to be a simple pattern.”

Spot Heather’s apple outside the newly renovated Toitoi Hawke’s Bay Arts & Events Centre, located on the corner of Eastbourne Street East and Hastings Street South. If one of the works is the apple of your eye, there’s a chance to call it your own; the apples will be ripe for picking at auction on Wednesday, 26 October, Hastings Tribune Building (201/209 Queen Street East, Hastings).

Read more about the Big Apple at

See more of Heather’s work at

Heather combined her favourite Resene colour, Resene Rice Cake, with various Resene wallpapers to create the textured base of her fibreglass apple.

Published: 13 Oct 2022