Recent Paintings

This is a selection of some of my more recent paintings. For more details and how to purchase, please contact me by clicking the kiwi on the contact page. It is also possible to purchase giclée prints of archival quality.

Island Bay Sunrise ,Watercolour on Cotton Paper $320

One of my favourite paintings I thought I'd lost! Rather a small painting (about A5 size) it was painted in the Turner mode meaning I drew in the scene on the spot on an early morning walk then in the afternoon I painted it whilst the memory of the colours was fresh in my mind. One of those paintings in which the accidents and the planned all seemed to work together perfectly. The distant headland is called Sinclair Head or Rimurapa in Te Reo alluding to the abundant seaweed there. There's also a notch in the headland where there there used to be a gate - hence the other title 'Devil's Gate'. That ol' Devil sure got around building bridges and gates all round the world.

Easter 2022, Acrylic on Canvas, 24 by 18 inches, unframed, $700)

My response to the current situation in Ukraine. I don't think it needs much commentary. But... I have long been an admirer of the Flemish so-called primitives like Van Eyck and Van der Weyden in particular. Nothing primitive about them at all. I noticed this detail from a Van der Weyden crucifixion in a book I have been reading recently and it combined in my mind with the different colours. The originals were a red drape over a greenish brick wall. The Cyrillic lettering means Easter.

Notre Dame, Watercolour, (16 by 12 inches, unframed, $500)

It's still hard to believe the tragedy of fire at this great monument of medieval architecture. When I was living in London in the early years of this century I spent a lot of time in Paris, sometimes playing piano in small venues there, sometimes soaking up all the amazing galleries and art and sometimes taking my pencil out and trying to get round the intricate Gothic Architecture of this great church. This is one of a number I painted at various times of the day (including midnight!). I never quite finished the sky on this one – it was a flattish grey that may have reflected the look of the day but didn't give my feelings about being there on the side of the Seine absorbed in the task. So inspired by recent events I sat there looking at the painting for a long time until I saw what had to be done. Fortunately – and in watercolour fortune needs to be on your side – everything fell into place.

May the same be said for whatever restoration work needs to be done.

My Tapu Te Ranga, Pastel, (approx 14in., unframed, $300) SOLD

I call this my Tapu Te Ranga as it is the view I grew up with and am lucky enough to still look out on every day. Island Bay has changed, not always for the better, but the island looks much as it did 100 years ago, and maybe much the same as it did when Kupe first voyaged here in the distant past. Talking about the distant past, I started this pastel about 30 years ago and just recently finished it on the spot. The foreground foliage had changed but it was only Tapu Te Ranga that needed some finishing off so that was no problem.

Oriental Bay Memory, Watercolour, (approx 17 by 27in. $1,200)

This is one of my 'hundred windows' paintings - actually there may be many more than that including the boats. It is always a favourite subject for me and this one is based on some old photographs and visits to the bay itself to get the idea of natural colours. Not too much has changed but I prefer the old boats - not sure why that is but they were the starting inspiration for this painting.

It recently won the 'popular choice' award at the Wellington Art Club's annual end of year exhibition.

Towards the Mountains, Sicily, Watercolour, (approx 11 by 15in.) SOLD

Painted 'en plein air' on a bright autumn day near Campo Felice di Roccella, a town between Palermo and Cefalu. The mountains in Sicily took me by surprise by the their size and dramatic beauty and this painting is looking towards them from the coast. This brings back many happy memories for me.
Stormy Island, Acrylic on Canvas, (36 by 18 in.)

If you live in Wellington you need a taste for the dramatic in weather. A southerly storm gives rise to huge seas breaking in fearsome waves behind the protective cloak for Island Bay which is Tapu Te Ranga island. As a painter I particularly like the day after a storm when the sky clears a bit but the sea is still churning and the colours are at their most radiant. Here's a scene I have painted many times but I never tire of.
Kawau Sunset, Acrylic on Canvas, (approx 12 by 16in.)

A most beautiful part of the world, Kawau Island lies off the coast north of Auckland, most famous for the residence of the colonial Governor Grey and wallabies. No wallabies in this picture though, just a wonderful sunset which I sat and admired – the sky changing aspect every minute it seemed. Which one to grab in a painting?
The other challenge is the wooden jetty which taxed both my patience and perspective skills!
Stac Pollaidh, Acrylic on Canvas, (approx 12 by 16in.)

Stac Pollaidh, in the northלwest of Scotland, is a ancient volcanic plug apparently. It looks like a recipe for extreme vertigo on the side facing the road so I was surprised to learn from a teaching colleague he had walked up there with his daughter - all of 5 years old, if that.
The trick is to go up on the other side.
With the lonely looking house and road it had all the ingredients of the classic Scottish Highland paintings. I refrained from adding a cow!
St Hilaire d'Ozilhan, France, Pastel, (approx 16 by 12in.)

The Languedoc region of France is perhaps not as well known as its neighbour Provence but is just as amazing in its own way. We literally stumbled upon this village with this classic church of the type I like to paint. It was the middle of winter but clear and crisp – not too cold. The village was almost eerily quiet being the afternoon.
Stonehaven Harbour, Watercolour, (approx 6 by 7in.)

A classic harbour scene at the place I first stayed when I arrived in Scotland a few years back. Like much of Scotland the moods of this place change even quicker than back in Wellington, with the harbour a reflecting pond for the boats and buildings around.
Muchalls View, oil on board, (16 by 20in.)

Muchalls had caught my attention out of the corner of my eye whilst driving along the A90 south of Aberdeen to Stonehaven. I noticed the sharp outlines of rock stacks from the window and then found out where to go to get a closer look. This view involved clambering down to the bay in the foreground and then climbing up the other side. I've been told by a local that nearby here is the pool where Ophelia ended up in the Zeffirelli directed film of Hamlet. I'm sure even William himself would recognise that these cliffs 'beetle' with the best of them. Or was that a King Lear line?
Salvator Trump, Acrylic on Canvas, (20 by 16 in.)

The unexhibitable painting! What started out as a gentle satire on the power of money proved a flashpoint for an enraged punter as this painting was torn down from the walls of an exhibition in an Aberdeen pub in late 2011. Not seeing the irony of this depiction of the tycoon he just saw Donald Trump - a divisive figure in the granite city. To some a saviour with his 'greatest golf course in the world', to others he has ridden roughshod over planning laws and the rights of local residents. Me? Well I couldn't possibly comment... STOP PRESS Now Mr Trump is tilting at the presidency the same questions remain!STOP PRESS Now he is the president. And... now he is the ex-President!
Dee Valley Snow, Acrylic on Canvas, (16 by 20in.)

Well I guess it's relief to get away from the highly charged atmosphere of twisted planning regulations, dodgy land deals and environmental destruction. Or is it? From 2007 to 2009 I was lucky enough to live in Cults, Aberdeen - just round the corner from this beautiful vista. It inspired numerous paintings, drawings and watercolours. Now this view has been blocked by a row of houses built on the edge of the floodplain in the foreground. Strangely enough local councillors who'd promised to oppose this development fell mute when the actual vote took place to proceed or not. Sound familiar?
Linn of Quoich, near Braemar, Oil on Canvas, (approx 28 by 20in.)

As you may have realised by now, the beauty of nature is a major inspiration - and few things are more so to my eyes than a waterfall. Although this is hardly in the Niagara category, it's a magical spot as i discovered when I clambered down a bank from the track nearby. As usual though, getting a good view meant balancing on stones in the middle of the stream. Not easy but keeping feet out of the freezing water is an essential in Scotland - even in the summer!
Cefalu, Sicily, Gouache on paper, (10 by 14in. SOLD)

An hour or two along the road from Palermo is the more beautiful and unspoilt harbour town of Cefalu clutching a massive rock outcrop. Thanks to an invite from a wonderful friend and brilliant journalist, Toni McRae, I got the chance to find out that Sicily was a lot more than just the mafia - great architecture, friendly people and pastries, no, I'm not going to say "they're to die for!" I'd love to get back and paint there again.