Email                 alistairsart@gmail.com
Facebook       Alistair McDonald – Artist

I live at Bottle Creek, Paremata on the Pauatahanui arm of Porirua Harbour, 30km north of our capital city Wellington.

My work includes painting (oils and acrylics); illustration and cartooning; sculpting (wood, Oamaru stone, mixed media); and stained glass.

Hope you enjoy.

New Zealand Landscapes – Oils

“The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity” (Alberto Giacometti).
We live in a continuous postcard here: most of the colours and shapes with few flat horizons – the land bossing the sky,  visually at least.
It’s a very young landscape too – Ruamoko, the unborn and restless earthquake/volcano god, making his earth mother Papa “subject to geological change without notice” (Durrant) and his angry teenage brother Tawhiri forever wearing her exterior down with wind and storm. It’s an invitation to move images around and intensify – as nature does.



Japanese influenced – Acrylics

I got hooked on the ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) style via an exhibition of Ando Hiroshige’s fans at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London – bold flat expressive colours, clean line drawings and stories of another era and culture. I have tried to imagine how Hiroshige (1797-1858) may have shown views of modern Wellington, Auckland, Queenstown, Wanaka, Melbourne and Taranaki if he were alive today.

?? ? ?

3 influences on what I do:

1   Right v Left
During a period teaching law, I developed a problem-solving model involving choices of left or right brain thinking at stages of a process. Even so, day to day lawyering (25+ years) was mainly about analysis/communication and less about creativity.

Making art involves problem-solving of course: first, getting the technical/archival side right but then letting the creative side loose, calculatedly or not.

So, I enjoy using that inter-change a lot more now. I like being open to making mistakes – and especially, being my own client.

2   History and Myth
The stories are alive, doesn’t matter whose time or culture.

3   Colour Choices
I am one of the 10% of males (cf 1 in 256 females) who are red-green colour vision “deficient” where the reception of my red cones shifts (moderately) towards green.

I can see a strong mid-red against a mid-green, but reds disappear within some mixes (browns, violets or pinks) or when the red area is small. For example, I have to focus on shapes to see pohutukawa (crimson) flowers on the tree – the whole tree is initially dark green – but I do see rata (orange/red) flowers easily. Tree trunks are also green.

I avoided colour from age 5 (the very common purple sky/unaware teacher story) until turning 40 when I realised that I had 2 opportunities:
– a point of difference in that I live in a parallel (colour) universe to 95% of everyone else
– a challenge as to how to use that in my art.
And, like Giacometti, there is no temptation to do “realism”, which is liberating.

If interested, you could start with Colblindor http://www.colorblindness.com and /https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_blindness .



  1. Loved the paintings Alistair. They are technically very accomplished, they are fresh and the colours are vibrant and interesting. Keep up the good work. I would love to see them some time when I am in Wellington. I live in Nelson and am a friend of Lester Oakes.

  2. Alistair

    I’m so glad to see your web site established! Now others can see how creative you are!

    Paul Grimwood

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