Having lived in Whangarei for most of my life I can't help but be biased when it comes to thinking about beautiful places. In the countries I have travelled I'm sure most of the people feel similarly towards their own homelands. It just feels right to your eyes. However, familiarity often breeds contempt and after returning from my travels I've often noticed that scenes I pass regularly in New Zealand, however magical, would stir me less than they did the times before. It wasn't until I began painting my homeland at the beginning of 2002 that these familiar scenes once again became new and exciting.
I return to the beaches I've seen so often through my childhood and am filled with a new sense of wonder. A beach is so much more than sand and water. What is that feeling you get when you step onto a beach? How can you paint that? I can't. What I can do is show you a beach with no footprints, no people - a vast expanse of pristine sand which invites you to walk its length.
Here in Northland I see this daily. The beaches here are so many and some so long, the tracks of seabirds are often the only ones to be found. And yet I don't think I have ever felt alone on such a beach. There's something about being there: a sense of peace, of wholeness, something healing. To walk in the shade of a tree that's generations old, on a deep blanket of sparkling shells and rocks - the product of millennia, to hear the crashing of a wave who's origin was a gust of wind countless miles over the horizon. These are the things you return with, and these are the memories I want to stir with my paintings.
So when I look for inspiration I need not look very far. The coastline of Northland provides an endless stream of wonderful imagery. However, change is our only constant and I already feel the call to paint the great mountains and lakes of the South Island. But wherever I go I will ever be a painter of the one thing - light. New Zealand has a very special light upon it because of its position on Earth - a longitude shared only in part by South America and Australia. It is also the first country to see the light of each new day, which means the thoughts of the world begin here every morning. My thought for the day - you're only here for a short time, so spend it doing something you love.
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