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New Zealand Tripping

Sometimes you have to leave your homeland to see it through fresh eyes.

New Zealand is a nation fringed by oceans. The sandy beaches and rocky coastlines lead to rolling farmland, on through bush and hills to a backbone of mountains. We are a user-friendly country, safe on the whole and visually very beautiful.

For an artist there are a million and one scenes to paint. I've spent frosty mornings getting damp feet in long grass with blackberry bushes at my elbows, trying to capture the light on a country road, on the road signs, trees and hills. I've set myself up next to the railway line at Paekakariki to paint the old signal box before it was moved for restoration. The offers of cups of tea from some of the railway enthusiasts tinkering away at the old carriages was great.

Taking groups of artists away in New Zealand has given me the opportunity to connect with many fabulous artists including exquisite watercolourist Nancy Tichborne of Banks Peninsula in Canterbury, the colourful Jane Evans of Nelson and fabulous horse painter Julie Greig of Wanganui.