Conical Hill, Routeburn Track

30 March 1853, Van Gogh’s birthday. This is Conical Hill on the Routeburn Track, Fiordland, NZ – the 3rd one sold by Exhibitions Gallery, Wellington last month.

The Routeburn Track in Fiordland is one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. It’s 37km and 3 days worth, or 2 longish ones in my case with the weather closing in (of course some over-achievers run it in an afternoon). The range of scenery – mountains, waterfalls, beech and fern forests, epic glacial valleys and tarns, ending beside Lake Wakatipu in hobbit country – is a bit special.

Many of the impressionist works I saw in Europe in 2017 were, it seemed, finished off with confident brushwork and relatively small brushes given the sizes of the work. I tried mid-sized flat brushes here but reverted more to smaller ones as it developed, especially for the background. The sky is stolen from Van Gogh of course, he painted wind so brilliantly (the combination of sun and wind is also very common here in Wellington, as today).

Oils on canvas 460 x 610mm

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