About

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 – first as a litigator and later in commercial/property. Art was my weekend antidote to 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.

NZ Landscapes – Oils
“Landscape belongs to the person who looks at it” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
I am drawn to landscapes, unfashionable or not, given that we live in a continuous postcard: most of the colours and shapes with few flat horizons – the land bossing the sky.
And always “subject to geological change without notice” (Durrant). It’s an invitation to alter and intensify – and challenge the viewer a bit.

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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.

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My Story
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 stages of a process. This helped my own practise but in the end, legal thinking is rules-based analysis plus social skills – creative thinking is not central.

Making art also involves constant problem solving of course: applying accepted rules and my own processes (including noting down difficult colours as I go) but then the creative side can be cut loose, calculatedly or not.

So, I enjoy that inter-change – and especially being my own client/more open to where the journey may end.

2 – History
The stories are alive, doesn’t matter whose culture.

3 – Colour choices
I am one of the 10% of males who are red-green colour vision “deficient” where the reception of my red cones shifts (moderately in my case) towards green.

I can see a strong mid-red against a mid-green, but reds can disappear within some mixes (browns, violets or pinks) or when the red area is small. I have to concentrate 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 my 40th birthday when I decided 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; and
– a challenge, as to how to share that in my art.
Either way, there is no temptation to do “realism”, which is liberating.

Feel free to message me if you have a colour vision “deficient” child (1 in 256 females, it’ll be a boy) – don’t let him waste 35 years. Otherwise, Colblindor http://www.color-blindness.com and /https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_blindness are good places to start.

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5 Comments

  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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