As we drove around New Zealand, one of the things that amazed me was how much forest land there was, and how varied. I saw it whiz by as I rode the bus, I saw it up close and personal as I walked through, and I saw the New Zealand forest reflected in the sometimes crystal clear lakes. Some were dense rainforests; others were “prehistoric” with huge ferns everywhere. There was one tree I’ve never seen anywhere else, but every time I asked what it was, I got a different answer. There was a big bushy tree that bloomed big red flowers in the summer (December/January) that the locals called the Christmas tree.
Here’s another painting of the forest in motion, sunlight seen through the trees, reflected in my memory.
Finally finished organizing my many photos from our recent trip to New Zealand. What a wonderful country! New Zealand is an inspiration, in many ways. Artistically: beautiful and sometimes improbable looking trees; so much green, yet also orange and brown and silver in the volcanic areas. Ecologically: NZ is incredibly varied: rainforests, some of which look positively prehistoric; volcanic areas that look incredibly alien; glaciers advancing and retreating at amazing speeds; the Southern Alps (aptly named); some 2000 earthquakes each year…
And the people are fascinating. NZ is a frontier society and a mecca for people interested in extreme sports (bungee jumping is just the beginning). They are also incredibly caring about protecting their environment, recycling with a vengeance and making sure that their wild areas are preserved. And art is everywhere: the myriad galleries in Hokitika, the public art everywhere in Christchurch helping to compensate for the pervasive damage done by the 2011 earthquake, the Maori portraits in the Auckland Art Gallery. Truly impressive.
So as is my wont, I try to preserve my memories by painting. The photos I take are great reminders, but it is the act of painting that really cements the memory. In my first two paintings I am trying to capture the trees rushing by as we traveled from here to there, the feeling of motion while standing still. Different times of day, different kinds of light shining through the trees or reflected in the water.