Contactalistairsart@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, sColblindor http://www.color-blindness.com and /https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_blindnessare 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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