About me

Whether you’re a capricious Elven ranger with a swirly cape, fighting to preserve the beauty of your world. Or a daring, desert princess, dancing through palace politics in search of freedom. Or even a fearless gypsy girl who holds the key to saving your people…

My name is Ailene Cuthbertson and I bring fantastic heroes and stories to life for daydreamers who know that adventures should have dragons (or mermaids!)

Image in About me

After a nightmarish experience at my stuck-behind-a-desk job, I decided I needed more creativity in my life and started art school. With the help of The Learning Connexion, I’m discovering how digital magic and earthy clay can get the stories in my head out into the world.

Adventure, dance, swirly skirts, fantasy, mystery and magic…

You should be standing akimbo at the prow of a white-sailed galleon, dragons calling to you as they soar overhead. Or riding through the desert borderlands, sands stretching before you and the moon at your back.

  • You didn’t fit in at school so you escaped into books where you could be the hero (and got into trouble for reading in class because you had-to-finish-the-chapter!)
  • You secretly wish you’d had your own Sparkhawk to be your champion (of course you’ve read David Eddings). He’d teach you how to beat those bullies and fight by your side when things got tough.
  • You root for the underdog (admit it, you cheered out loud at the end of Stardust when Tristan told Victoria to get over herself and showed Humphrey how to really use a sword).
  • You wish they’d stop making movies of your favourite books because they never get them right (and the Lothlorian you played in as a kid was much more real!)
  • You’re sick of how fantasy novels have to be all gritty and “realistic” where nothing good ever happens and there’s definitely no happily-ever-after (looking at you Game of Thrones). Please give us likeable heroes who beat the bad guys and save the world!

7 things you may not know about me

  1. I live in the country on Old Mountain Road (yes, that’s where the Old Mountain comes from!) with hordes of calves, sheep, chickens and ducks – and the odd pig who escapes from the neighbours and comes to say hi.
  2. I’m sun-powered. I wish humans could hibernate – winter is so cold and dark and miserable.
  3. Give me the right music and a chance to move and I feel like I’m flying. I’ve danced for more than 10 years – mostly modern jive and latin and ballroom with a smattering of salsa, Argentine tango, west coast swing… At the moment, I’m back to belly dancing with my amazing teacher Elena.
  4. I’m a complete nerd.
  5. I made up my research project for English when I was 14 because world building was so much fun! (Did you know they discovered the ruins of an ancient Greek city in Cyprus, in a valley hidden for centuries by an earthquake? They even found a band of scraggly wild horses living there – an ancient Persian breed that turned out to be beautiful once they’d shipped them to a stud in New Zealand!) My teacher obviously hadn’t read Walter Farley. For some reason she didn’t like me much after that…
  6. I escaped my last year of school in New Zealand and went to French-speaking Switzerland on student exchange. Yay for being able to read fantasy novels in French!
  7. A few years ago I did the 100 km in 36 hours walk for Oxfam. My team and I learned a few things about the importance of an amazing support crew, blisters, sleep deprivation, muscles that were so tired they’d seize up if you stopped moving… but I’m so glad I did it and I know that my man will always have my back.

The official 3rd person bio

Ailene is a New Zealand artist based in Raglan. She started her artist life 4 years ago through The Learning Connexion School of Creativity & Art, and is now creating worlds full of magic and mystery. With a background in dance, she transforms herself into heroines that swirl and fly through their adventures. Her scenes invite you to be drawn in, wonder about them, and see where the stories take you.

Ailene is one of the artists at the annual open studio Raglan Arts Weekend, and is a finalist in the Cliftons Art Prize. When she’s not creating glimpses of heroic journeys, you’ll find her working as a software developer because she also loves being a nerd. Ailene likes constant sun, chamomile tea and fantasy novels with happy endings.

Say hi!

Enough about me. I’d love to hear about you! Introduce yourself! Easiest way is to leave a comment, or email me at ailene@oldmountainart.com.