When I paint in the open environment in New Zealand I experience a very intense raw relationship with the land and feel the power of the forces of nature in shaping the land. Painting on Dunedin’s John Wilson’s Ocean Drive I experience the rawness of the changing weather – the wind, the rain and the sun. Painting at Te Waewae Bay in Southland brings other challenges – as well as the colder weather I have to contend with hordes of hungry sandflies! The West Coast Port Elizabeth painting graphically shows these powerful forces at work on the land.
Equally the forces of human struggle and habitation leave indelible marks on the land both physically and spiritually and these stories people the landscape. For example I was very privileged to be support crew on Te Heke, a journey retracing the footsteps of Te Maiharoa and his people who were evicted from their land in Omarama in 1879. A pacifist, Te Maiharoa walked to set up a new village at the mouth of the Waitaki River. The feelings and the history were raw in their intensity, the weather was scorching hot and the land was dry,stony and limestone, interrupted with the intense blue of the lakes.