At the age of fourteen Toni had an accident on a trampoline and broke her neck. As a result of this she became a C5/C6 tetraplegic, meaning she is confined to a wheelchair with no use of her lower body and very limited use of her upper body.
While in the Spinal Unit during her rehabilitation she witnessed other people in similar situations painting by holding the brush in their mouth. At the time this didn’t really interest her as she felt she couldn’t paint before her accident using her hands so there was no chance she could be any good using her mouth.
Approximately eleven years ago she met a mouth painter doing a demonstration and he encouraged her to have a go. To her surprise she was quite good and decided to have some lessons. She has been painting by mouth ever since.
She was awarded Student membership in 2000.
She predominantly paint in watercolour, but has been experimenting with acrylic paints on canvas and venturing into the world of mixed media.
She enjoys painting New Zealand scenes, flowers and abstract paintings with a sense of New Zealand and the Pacific about them.