Mel McKenzie - New Zealand's Bokeh Artist

Blurry bokeh fine art; aiming to soften your view of the world & fill your cup with beauty and light.

My award-winning oil paintings are blurry & beguiling, they're often familiar & always enriching. 


Hello from Southland, New Zealand, Mel here! 👋🏽

Speaking of filling cups, my literal cuppa is a fragrant jasmine green tea (yours too?), but my figurative 'cup of tea' is turning

  • a dewy sunrise,
  • a night-walk through the city or
  • a stroll in the park
into distinctive bokeh paintings. These paintings evoke a dream-like nostalgia and call for a softness of being.

bokeh work in progress in nz artist the penny drops studio

Fueled by tea - and a glass-half-full outlook - I'm driven to paint the beauty always around us, while banishing the humdrum details of life to a unobtrusive blur.

Enriching spaces with art

I'm a self-taught artist with an academic and professional background in the places Geography and Public Health intersect. A natural progression to embrace the beautiful ways art can improve your space and your wellbeing.

These rich oil paintings remind you to cherish the gift each day brings, help you practice shinrin-yoku and moon bathing, while encouraging you to use art as a form of creative expression in your home. What do your walls say about you? 

When I'm not painting

I'm also a trustee for Arts Murihiku, Secretary for the Southland Art Society and support other artists to thrive in their art businesses through Amanda Heath's Thriving Artist Business School.

Four growing-too-fast kids call me Mum, and I'm wife to a 4th generation farmer, a dog's best friend and chief ear-scratcher for 2 rescue cats. 

Putting softness on a pedestal

From a hill above the rising sun, I see beauty from dawn 'til dusk (and beyond!): in the fog cloaking the valley below, the soaring clouds above and the (infrequent, but always impressive) Aurora Australis. I see the beauty in kids holding hands instinctively, the way an unsolicited compliment makes you feel and strangers who return shopping trolleys for frazzled mums.

Through a blurred lens, copious mugs of tea and an (almost) daily art practice in a historic studio (soon to be replaced #exciting), I'm making art to stop you focusing so damn hard all the time, and help you to look softly instead.

Look for the light, the beauty and the good.

x Mel

A favourite quote

"Her messy hair a visible attribute of her stubborn spirit.

As she shakes it free, she smiles, knowing wild is her favourite colour."

The Penny Drops

The Penny Drops has been my studio name since my first forays into 'making things' over a decade ago! The Penny Drops represents the literal ‘dropping’ of my maiden name - Penny - upon marriage, but also The Moment when it clicks – an approach suited both to making paintings and buying them. Trusting your gut instinct when it says ‘this is it’.

After many years of not knowing where my calling lay, the penny has dropped and I now confidently know ART is it for me.

I love when The Penny Drops for you too - that moment of falling in love with a painting.

x Mel

Don't tell the others, but this one's my favourite 🤫