I first met Flora Scales, at the invitation of her niece Patience Tennent, at Lake Rotoiti in 1975, just after her solo exhibition, Helen F V Scales, opened at the Auckland City Art Gallery.
Astounded by her story and the gumption, grit and tenacity it had obviously required for her to pursue her artistic goals and enthralled by the times through which she had lived, I determined to discover more about this relatively unknown artist and her beautiful paintings.
With the generous support and kindest encouragement of Patience I began the research, eventually enlisting the help of my mother-in-law Marjorie who, with her husband Theo, visited Scales on many occasions in the Rotorua Masonic Village between 1981 and 1985. Marjorie, with great skill, recorded verbatim notes of their conversations and wrote colourful descriptions of the drawing and portrait sittings Scales had with Theo as her subject.
Gradually, research intensified and material accumulated, the number of located paintings multiplied and the jigsaw puzzle, if still incomplete, became at least decipherable.
At this stage, my husband Angus and I decided to take up the challenge of cataloguing and publishing online as much of our information as possible. Behind this decision lay several driving points. Firstly, we were conscious of the trust invested in us by Flora Scales and Patience and the benefit of the open access we had been granted to family records. The responsibility of holding research material, not all of which is still readily available, also weighed on our minds.