About

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

I spent my 20’s 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 maybe 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
Art is full of stories of the professional who quit to practise art full-time.
During a period teaching law, I developed a problem solving model for lawyers under a DO OR DIE acronym, involving choices of left or right brain thinking at stages of a process. This helped my own practise in law but ultimately, legal thinking is rules-based analysis with an open mind and applied social skills – creative thinking is not central.

Making art also involves constant problem solving of course: applying accepted theories and processes (for me, including noting down difficult colours as I go) but then the creative side can be cut loose, calculatedly or not. Van Gogh, for example, planned his paintings with care then executed robustly.

So, I enjoy that inter-change and owning the result/being more open to where the journey may end (although I now miss/have to create opportunities for left brain exercise – good problem).

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

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

I can see a strong mid-red against a mid-green, but it tends to disappear when the area is small or is within some mixes (such as browns, violets or pinks). I don’t see crimson/red flowers (pohutukawa) when on the tree – the whole tree is dark green – but I do see orange/red (rata) flowers. Tree trunks are also green.

Which means that I live in a parallel (colour) universe to 95% of everyone else. The next trick is to work out how to share that in my art.

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 a point of difference and a challenge. Plus, there is no temptation to do “realism”, which is liberating.

There are degrees of “problem” of course (mine is Moderate on the RGB Anomaloscope). 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, /https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_blindness and Colblindor http://www.color-blindness.com 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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