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; sculpture (wood, Oamaru/lime stone, mixed media); and stained glass.

Hope you enjoy.

New Zealand Landscapes – Oils

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” (Proust)”

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 young and changing landscape too – Ruamoko, the unborn and restless earthquake/volcano god, making his earth mother Papatuanuku “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 object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity (Giacometti)

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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, Mt Maunganui, Taranaki, Sydney and Melbourne 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 as steps in 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 involves constant problem-solving of course: getting the technical/archival side right, and then letting the creative side loose, calculatedly or not.

I enjoy being much more in that inter-change now. I like how the result is always different from what I set out to do – very 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 I think so that my reception of red shifts (moderately) towards green.

Eg: I can usually see 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, at a guess.

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

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

Articles/Links

https://www.stuff.co.nz/…/te-hkoi-toi–more-than-one…

https://www.asiamediacentre.org.nz/features/in-the-style-of-hiroshige/?fbclid=IwAR2CXvgj1v-_N1cOQnfM3fb8dLzh3nttBKYiVWwDLMVOImUrGnjEeaag0Rg

https://www.regionalnews.kiwi/articles/aotearoa-through-a-japanese-lens

https://exhibitionsgallery.co.nz/exhib…/alistair-mcdonald/https://exhibitionsgallery.co.nz/exhib…/alistair-mcdonald/

https://exhibitionsgallery.co.nz/…/artists-in-lockdown…/

https://www.flagstaff.nz/collections/alistair-mcdonald

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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