About/Contact

Email                alistairsart@gmail.com
Facebook        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; sculpting (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”                  (Alberto Giacometti)
We live in a continuous postcard here – most of the colours and shapes with few flat horizons; a series of bowls with the land (visually) bossing the sky.
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 down with wind and storm.
All of which is an invitation to move the images around and intensify – as Nature does.

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Japan-influenced – Acrylics

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

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3 influences on what I do:

Right v Left
During a period of teaching, I developed a problem-solving model for lawyers involving choices of left or right brain thinking at each stage of a process. However, day to day lawyering (25+ years) was mainly about analysis/communication, some lateral thinking but not much core creativity.

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

So, I enjoy being in that inter-change a lot more now. I like how the result is always different from what I imagined – best of all, I like being my own client.

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

Colour Choices
I am one of the 10% of males (compare 1 in 256 females) who are red-green colour vision “deficient”(!) -“blind” (!), in my case so that my reception of red shifts (moderately) towards green.

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

So I avoided colour from age 5 (the very common purple sky-unaware teacher story) until I decided on turning 40 that I had 2 opportunities:
– a point of difference, in that I live in a parallel (equally valid) colour world to 95% of everyone else;
– a challenge, as to how to best show that in my art.
And, like Giacometti, there is no temptation to do “realism”, which is liberating.

Colblindor http://www.colorblindness.com and /https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_blindness.

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.

    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!
    Thanks
    Leah

    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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