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

Hope you enjoy.

New Zealand Landscapes – Oils

“The object of [my] 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 and few flat horizons; a series of bowls with the land bossing the sky,  visually at least.
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 forever wearing her down with wind and storm.
All of which is an invitation to move the images around and intensify – as nature does.



Japanese 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) may have shown views of modern Wellington, Auckland, Queenstown, Wanaka, Sydney, Melbourne and Taranaki if he were alive today.

?? ? ?

3 influences on what I do:

1   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 various stages. However, day to day lawyering (25+ years) was mainly about analysis/communication, some lateral thinking but not all that much core creativity.

Making art involves 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 envisaged – best of all, I like being my own client.

2   History and Myth
The stories are alive, doesn’t matter whose time or culture.

3   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 so that my reception of red shifts (moderately) towards green.

I can usually pick a strong mid-red against a mid-green, but reds disappear within some mixes (browns, violets or pinks) or when the red area is small. I have to focus on shapes to pick out pohutukawa (crimson) flowers on the tree – the whole tree is initially dark green – but I do see rata (orange-red) flowers easily. Tree trunks are also mostly green.

So I avoided colour from age 5 (the very common purple sky/unaware teacher story) until turning 40 when I decided that I had 2 opportunities:
– a point of difference in that I live in a parallel (but equally valid) colour universe to 95% of everyone else; and
– a challenge as to how to best use 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 .


  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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