Thursday, April 03, 2003

I had another look at Grahame Sydney’s web site tonight and I never cease to be amazed by the way he creates a painting from the most unpromising material, a limp windsock on an airstrip in a bare landscape dominated by the sky. Or an old shed which may be used for shearing or as the bar of the Dog Trials Club. Central Otago is a strange lonely place and he captures the spirit of the place perfectly. I only have a brief experience of it and I couldn’t make any painterly sense of it. Grahame Sydney Gallery/shop Page 6

I spent a month sketching my way around New Zealand and had more luck on North Island where the character of the landscape is quite different. There is open space but there are the trees and lush vegetation of the bush. You are also acutely aware of volcanic activity on North Island – there are still active volcanoes and the hot sulphur springs are indicators of the fact that molten magma is not far below the surface. North Island’s thermal reserves are fascinating places full of colour from the brightly coloured algae which thrive in the hot springs. One of my favourites is Orakei Korako near Taupo. To reach it you are taken by boat across the Waikato River to a laid out trail in the bush which climbs up silica terraces passing several hot springs and steam vents. I made a pastel painting based on watercolour sketches made on the reserve.

Orakei Korako, Silica Rapids. Pastel

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