An Artist's Journeys in Nature

Archive for July 24, 2015

The Journey

baggage-riconBy way of asserting my independence from all the non-art claptrap that has invaded my life in the last couple of years, I made myself do something I haven’t had time for in quite awhile – exhibit.

In fact, the last time I exhibited was in 2000, before my mother began to get really sick.

To coincide with Matariki – or the rising of the Pleiades (more later), some really enterprising locals held an art exhibition in our small town in late June 2015 – the first local art show ever, I think.

Having gone through the initial panic of ‘nothing to wear’, which for an artist translates as, “Help!  I’ve got nothing that’s ready to be hung”  (like: not framed, no fixings, not quite finished etc etc), I managed to dredge up 7 pieces.

One of which was “The Journey 1” – intended as the start of a new series and just recently finished:


The inspiration for this picture goes back to my days in government in Wellington, to a long weekend in 1975 when a friend and I took a workmate up to Mangaturuturu Hut on Mount Ruapehu.

At about 4pm, the mountain (given the right weather conditions) turns a magnificent shade of pink.  I took the photos below from the hut and I used them as a reference for this work, along with an old shot of Peter, taken in the Kaimanawas by one of his mates, as an inspiration for the pose of the figure.


Peter, who is still in Wellington, often says he needs to go in the hills from time to time to get ‘grounded’ – which is part of what this painting is about.  Maybe I don’t need to ‘connect’ so much now, because I live on the edge of a bush reserve, but I DO miss those mountains.

And the big bag (which you’ll note isn’t a tramping or hiking backpack) is there for a purpose.

Billy Joel’s ‘River Of Dreams’ has relevance here, too:

See also my follow-up post ‘Ruapehu Sunset‘.


Awards Night and More

Shore Whalers in the South of New Zealand

ngauruhoe-riconA lot has been going on since my last post – much of it not art, unfortunately

However, to pick up the threads, on Sunday 23 June 2013 I flew down to Christchurch for the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards ceremony on the evening of the 24th.

And something significant happened on that journey.  As our Boeing (the black Dreamliner 787-9) flew in brilliant sunshine across the Central North Island Plateau, notwithstanding that my seat was on the wrong side of the plane, I somehow managed to catch a glimpse of the summit of a snow-clad Mt Ngauruhoe peeking out from the sea of white cloud, as it disappeared on the port side.

THAT tugged on my heart, but – ah well, let it go?  There’s not a lot you can do at 45,000 feet?

Is there?  Unknown to me, there was to be a sequel …

We were late touching down in Christchurch, and Peter and Marnie Anstis were already there – great to see and catch up with them again.   The ceremony on the following night was a wonderful experience.  ‘Taketakerau The Millennium Tree‘ didn’t win, or get placed in any of the categories, but just to be there and to be selected among the 20 finalists was very exciting.

Shore Whalers in the South of New Zealand

And there were other perks.  An old friend from tramping days took me over to Lyttelton to see the post-earthquake recovery there, and get a glimpse of the Port Hills.  Next morning Peter and Marnie invited me to go with them for a look at the awful devastation in the center of Christchurch itself, followed by a quick lunch at the airport before we took off on our flights home.

Then unexpectedly, in August I was co-opted onto our local Health Services Trust, and in November 2013 became Interim Joint CEO for the Service – a 6 months’ stint.

Trust affairs continued to impinge far too much on my life until I resigned altogether in March last, and finally disentangled myself a couple of months later.

And as for Mt Ngauruhoe – watch this space – HERE!