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 wearing her down with wind and storm.
All of which is an invitation to move the shapes around and intensify – as Nature does.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” (Marcel Proust)
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, Mt Maunganui, Taranaki, Sydney and Melbourne if they were alive today.
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 mostly about analysis and communication, some lateral thinking but not much core creativity.
Art was my antidote to that. It also involves constant problem-solving 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 – very best of all, I like being my own client.
History and Myth
The stories are alive, doesn’t matter whose time or culture.
I am one of the 10% of males (compare 1 in 256 females) who are red-green colour vision “deficient”(!) -“blind” (!), in my case I think 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 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.