Email               alistairsart@gmail.com
FB/Insta         Alistair McDonald – Artist

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

My work includes painting (oils and acrylics); illustration and cartooning; sculpture (wood, Oamaru/lime 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 (Giacometti)

Our landscape is a continuous postcard – most of the colours and shapes, a series of bowls shaped by water, never far from the sea, with few flat horizons and the land (visually) bossing the sky.

It’s a young landscape too – Ruamoko, the unborn restless earthquake/volcano god, making his earth mother Papatuanuku “subject to geological change without notice” (Durrant) and his angry teenage brother Tawhiri wearing her down with wind and storm.

Which is an invitation to move the shapes and colours around and change what’s there, as Nature does.



Japan-influenced – Acrylics

I got hooked on the ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) style through an exhibition of Ando Hiroshige’s uchiwa-e 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) and his contemporary Hokusai may have shown views of modern Wellington, Auckland, Queenstown, Wanaka, Mt Maunganui, Taranaki, Sydney and Melbourne if they were alive today.

?? ? ?

3 influences:

Right v Left
During a period of teaching, I developed a problem-solving model involving choices of left or right brain thinking at steps in a process. However most of my day to day work (lawyering) involved analysis and communication, a bit of lateral thinking but not much core creativity.

Art is constant problem-solving of course: getting the technical side right and planning (a bit); then letting the creative side loose, calculatedly or not.

I like being more in that cross-over now, and how the result is always different from what was imagined – best of all, I like being my own client.

History and Myth
The stories are alive, whatever the time or culture.

Colour Choices
1 in 10 of us males (1 in 256 females) are red-green colour vision “impaired”, in my case I think so that my reception of red shifts (moderately) towards green.

Eg: a strong mid-red works against a mid-green, but reds disappear within mixes (browns, violets, pinks) or when the red area is small. I have to concentrate on shapes to pick out pohutukawa (crimson) flowers – the whole tree is dark green initially – but I can see rata (orange-red) flowers easily. Tree trunks are mostly green, at a guess.

So colour was off limits from age 5 (the very common purple sky-unaware teacher story) until turning 40. Since then I have seen it as:
– a point of difference, being in a parallel (equally valid) colour world to 95% of everyone else;
– a challenge, as to how to use that best.
And there is no temptation to do other people’s “realism”, which is liberating.

(I mention all this in case it encourages anyone to not also abandon colour for 35 years – 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.

    1. Thanks Peter, much appreciated. This site is just a couple of weeks old – I hope to load up more pix this weekend 1-3 June – 15 years of work to chose from!
      Cheers Alistair

  2. Alistair

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

    Paul Grimwood

  3. Hi Alistair,
    Wanted to find out if you sell your work?
    Love the great wave Titahi Bay number 10, as a local!

    1. Hi Leah, sorry for delay, Im selling at Japan Festival tomorrow but dont have spares of this one, Ill be getting some prints next week, 2 choices of size, keep an eye on my FB page on Sunday for details

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