Contactalistairsart@gmail.com or Alistair McDonald – Artist on Facebook

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

I spent my 20s working and travelling overseas, then worked as a lawyer for 25 years. Art was my weekend antidote for that. Now it’s mostly art.

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

Hope you enjoy.

New Zealand Landscapes – Oils
“Landscape belongs to the person who looks at it” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
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.
And always “subject to geological change without notice” (Durrant). It’s an invitation to alter and intensify – before nature does it for us perhaps.



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 modern Wellington and Auckland urban scenes if he were alive today.

?? ? ?

3 things that reflect what I do

1   Right v Left
During a period teaching law, I developed a problem solving model for lawyers involving choices of left or right brain thinking at various stages of the process. Even so, practising law was mostly about analysis.

Making art involves plenty of problem solving of course: applying conventions and analysis but mainly letting the creative side loose, calculatedly or not.

So, I use that inter-change a lot more now – I like being open to accidents (and being my own client).

2   History
The stories are alive, doesn’t matter whose 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 when on the tree – the whole tree is initially dark green – but I do see rata (orange/red) flowers easily. Tree trunks are also green.

As a result, I avoided colour from age 5 (the very common purple sky/unaware teacher story) until turning 40 when I realised that I had been gifted 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 share that in my art.
And 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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