Although I remain a practicing lawyer, I still endeavour to paint every day. I am convinced that Ken Howard, the popular English impressionist, has it right when he says “being an artist is the same as a musician, you have to practice every day”.
Given that I live in the very south of New Zealand, the winter months in‑particular necessitate a fair amount of my finished work to be done in the studio. However, I always prefer, where possible, to do my work in plein air. Not only do I enjoy working outside in front of the motif, I actually find the whole process easier. If the weather is simply too bad I will sketch various aspects of a scene, take photographs and then use those to develop a painting back in the studio that reflects my attraction to the scene in the first place.
What I find exciting is the challenge of recording in visual language a particular point in time. It isn’t the actual motif that will draw me to paint it, but the effect that light and shadow have on a particular scene. It is very seldom that you can’t, as an artist, extract something different from the same scene on different days or even different times of the day. Most scenes will change pretty dramatically after an hour or two.
Nearly all of my paintings are from the Lower South Island/Southland area. Although we may complain from time to time about the weather in Southland, our geography is magnificent and would satisfy any artist for several lifetimes.
I have had a number of influences throughout my artistic life. My father was a very keen amateur painter and for many years operated a gallery in Queenstown. Art and the discussion of art was second nature at home. More recently, the current Australian Watercolour School is very strong internationally with the likes of Greg Allan, Joseph Zbukvic, David Taylor and Alvaro Castagnet. Other international artists that continue to influence me are Edward Seago, Sorollo, Sargent, Wyeth and Homer. Closer to home, Douglas Badcock and Peter McIntyre are artists who I greatly admire and continue to influence how I approach my paintings.
Thank you for your support. It gives me great pleasure and encouragement that I am doing work that other people wish to include in their lives.