Contact – alistairsart@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.
And always “subject to geological change without notice” (Durrant). It’s an invitation to alter and intensify – and challenge a bit.



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 stages of a process. This helped my own practise but in the end creative thinking was not at the centre of it.

Making art involves problem solving too of course: applying rules and critical thinking but then letting the creative side loose, calculatedly or not.

So, I like using that inter-change more now – being open to accidents and where it may end and, especially, 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 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 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.



  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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