Monday, June 15, 2015

2015 Taranaki Art Trail

On Sunday I took the opportunity to visit local artists who had opened their studios and their transformed garages to see their latest creative endeavors.

A week or so ago I went down to the Percy Thompson Gallery in Stafford with my friends Wayne Morris and  his wife Sarah to the official opening of this years art trail. The gallery featured a range of local artists involved and was a lively affair - complete with music..

The Percy Thompson is a real asset to the province and is always worth a visit.

Jan Huijbers
I was only able to spend one day last weekend to visit the artists and had to limit myself to a few artists in the the city and the North area. In previous Art Trails I have visited most of the artists  in the South and  West. It was a shame to miss out on  the stimulating experience of visiting the studios/environments of Marianne Muggeridge and Roger Morris,; Dale Copeland and Paul Hutchinson; the Spencer's pottery;  Alby Carter; and the Korver Molloy  Gallery . At all these places there is always more to see than just the art  for me it is also the lifestyle and commitment to their creativity.

Next year perhaps. There is only so much you can see in a day

Amanda's three flags
On Sunday my  intention was to visit artists whose work I have admired but whose studios I hadn't visited and I planned to complete my day by ending up at John and Chris McLeans and Howard Tuffery at Mimi.

So first stop Jan Huijbers. A great start. I had the artist to myself and he explained the use of patterns on shells as a core motivation  which he  interpreted to develop his own themes. I was really impressed with some detailed pen and ink drawing of tree ferns that he had completed  a few years earlier.

Tony Rumball - red chair
Then on to see Amanda Hewitt. Amanda is one of the key organizers for the trail and her work based on landscapes and historical references has always appealed to me.  Until more visitors arrived I had Amanda to myself and she expressed the ideas behind her paintings. One painting I really liked  was based on the flags of Titokowaru, Te Kooti and an invented one based on the dollar and individualism.

Saran Buist
Next stop an artist that has always attracted and confused me Tony Rumball.  Tony had his garage transformed into an amazing gallery. I loved his sense of colour, his range of  personal themes, and his exuberant/expressionistic painting style.  I spent a lot of time looking at his work and his wonderful photos books.

I called in to see my friend Greg Hepworth in Waitara. Greg is not included in the trail but I am a great admirer of his work based on his interpretations of native bush. Time fora cup of tea and some carrot cake.
Howard's bowl in garden

 Next visit was to Sarah Buist's newish studio. Sarah's drawings are very different and comprise of detailed abstract drawings  using pen, pencil or goache on paper.

By now I was running out of time so it was  time to head North to my final stop. Sadly I had had to miss out visiting a number of other artists - next year!

Chris  McLean
The gallery's of Howard Tuffery and John and Chris McLean were a great place to finish the day. I have known John, Chris and Howard for many years and their work is always an aesthetic delight. Equally importantly to me are the amazing homes and environments they have created for themselves. Add to this wonderful views of hills, valleys, bush and the Mimi river mouth it couldn't get better.

John's gallery and studio were full of his recent work, both paintings and prints. I particularly enjoyed John's recent return to local landscapes that usually provide the backgrounds for his narrative paintings.

Chris has some beautiful 'collages' that reminded me of some sort of abstract Viennese treasures.

Howard had on display a variety of his  unique time consuming stone and wood bowls.

Howard's bowls, garden and view

All in all a great day illustrating the wide variety of talent that exists in this province. A number of the artists visited are full time artists while for  others it obviously it is an important part of their lives.

Certainly motivation to get back into some art myself.

John and Chris McLean's gallery and studio.