09 March 2009

Alps at Kaikoura, NZ

watercolour on Arches 850 gsm rough,
47cm x 75.5cm

Kaikoura is a magnificent place on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Here, high mountains 'loom over' the sea, and eco-tourists flock to the Kaikoura peninsula for whale watching. In this place, i found two of my favourite landscape subjects: mountains and sea. This is the first watercolour, just completed, based very loosely on a photo i took of the mountains of Kaikoura. The painting is direct transparent watercolour to paper without preliminary drawing. i generally do not draw with pencil first as i once used to, unless i want the drawing to be integral to the finished artwork. But this is not a 'rule' i have set myself, rather just a way to help me interact with the emerging shadows and shapes that watercolour assumes on the wet paper.

08 March 2009


acrylic on canvas, 60.8cm x 30cm, 3-2009

These sea-birds have the largest wingspan of any bird on Earth.

I clearly remember, as a kid, watching them following our ship across the entire Indian Ocean (en route from Australia to Italy, via the Cape of Good Hope). [Albatrosses soar mainly in the Southern Ocean, and also North Pacific.] These amazing birds just seem to 'lean on the air', effortlessly. I distinctly remember the downward-pointing outer-sections of their wings when soaring/gliding. They spend incredible time-spans gliding with minimal expenditure of energy, every so often diving down to catch a fish, then returning very quickly to low-soaring mode (tending to soar close to the ocean). These birds regularly circumnavigate the globe (in the Great Southern Ocean).

19 of the 21 species of albatross known to exist are now threatened with extinction. The albatross nests usually on small remote oceanic islands. Introduced species have attacked eggs, chicks and nesting adults. Reductions in fish stocks largely due to over fishing and, also long-line fishing, have had devastating effects on the albatross.