Acrylic on stretched canvas 406 x 508mm in natural floater frame complete size 444mm x 546mm A common sight in New Zealand backyards. This tree however is controversial amongst New Zealand conservationists. This juxtaposition I found the perfect example of taking sides. In a Facebook group I read the comments section where there was a heated debate about whether these trees planted to feed our people and wildlife were pests or valuable produce. Both sides had valid arguments and demonstrated that there are always two sides to any argue meant. In school we were taught to debate - yet as adults we’ve moved into a time of mud slinging and division - somehow losing the art of the battle. Many have fond memories of catching the cheeky Kererū in the loquat tree over the years. An example of the harmony evolving from a constantly shifting and changing eco-system.
It could have been us - Huia Pair
Acrylic on Canvas with natural Wood frame. Size 55cm x 45cm ‘It could have been us - a Huia pair’ is a part of my taking sides series that explores the plight of our native birds as they seek to survive in newly evolving less hospitable habitat. In each work I juxtapose a New Zealand native bird with an introduced plant or visa versa. Some birds have managed to thrive with minimal invention by humans and others are marooned on off shore islands until we can create an environment where they are safe from predators. The title suggests if these birds ( Huia ) weren’t hunted to extinction they could have been a part of our conservation efforts.
Extinct Bush Wren in the Magnolia
Acrylic on stretched canvas 406 x 508mm in natural floater frame complete size 444mm x 546mm I choose to show two extinct New Zealand native birds contrasting with the colonial British garden plants to remind us of the damage we have done and the steps we need to take to protect what we still have. Both pieces in this series that have extinct birds also have the sepia sunset colouring reminiscent of times past. The bush wren was recorded as going extinct as recently as 1972. Many of my reference books still feature this bird and mark its plight. I wanted to help the viewer to envision what it may have been like to have one in our garden if we had protected these birds in time. the white flowers are a memorial to it's passing from our time.
Pīwakawaka Olive Immersion
Acrylic on Canvas with white wood frame. 74cm x 54cm A part of my current Taking Sides series. I was inspired to paint this piece after a morning run back in autumn. I loved the framing the leaves made of the sky and it’s constantly shifting shapes and colours. The Pīwakawaka fly amongst the introduced plant species the Olive showing the juxtaposition of a unified new habitat.
Acrylic on 300mm Round 22mm ply face box boards. In this piece I sought to explore the juxtaposition of the native in nature amongst it's commonly more urbanised environment. Creating contrast between the rough and industrial and the more elegant and softly detained Tūī figure in the front. In most of my pieces the main protagonist seeks to look the viewer in the eye and connect on a deeper level - mimicking the experience in nature.
Swallows in the Kōwhai
Acrylic on 300mm Round 22mm ply face box board Capturing these beautiful birds in flight juxtaposed with the iconic Kōwhai highlights the beauty in diversity and the blended world we live in with all its introduced elements creating a new biodiversity.
Tauhou in the Pōhutukawa
Acrylic on 300mm Round 22mm ply face box board In these 'Taking Sides' works I explore the juxtaposition of Yin and Yang. The loud and the quiet, the native and the introduced, the dark and the light. This pair of Waxeyes/Tauhou sit on the native New Zealand Pohutukawa Flowers. The works highlight the beauty in differences, and are a symbol of hope in divided times.
Tauhou and Goldfinch amongst the Harakeke
Tauhou and Goldfinch amongst the Harakeke
Acrylic on 300mm Round 22mm ply face box boards. In this piece I juxtaposed the native and the introduced, the flowering and the leaves, the up and down and the circle of life. The sense of the beginning and the end, as all things in nature are.
Chaffinch in the Mānuka
Acrylic on 300mm Round 22mm ply face box boards. A pair of introduced Chaffinch in the Mānuka carefully composed showing harmony between sides, ying and yang, light and dark, native and introduced. From 1862 Chaffinches were liberated by acclimatisation societies at several sites in New Zealand. They are now one of the most widespread species in New Zealand, including on the Chatham and Snares islands. In this piece one bird reaches out and gently touches the other showing the easing of the divide. This piece is a vibrant expression of hope - reaching out to form a bond and peace.
Redpoll in the Pink Manukā
Acrylic on 300mm Round 22mm ply face box boards. In this ‘taking sides’ series I juxtapose the native with the introduced species who now create the modern bio diverse world in which we live. This piece features the introduced Redpoll juxtaposed with the native New Zealand pink Manukā.
Yellowhammers in the Manuka
Acrylic on 300mm Round 22mm ply face box board In these 'Taking Sides' works I explore the juxtaposition of Yin and Yang. The loud and the quiet, the native and the introduced, the dark and the light. The pair of Yellowhammers sit on the native New Zealand Manuka Flowers. The works highlight the beauty in differences, and are a symbol of hope in divided times.
Acrylic on 300mm Round 22mm ply face box board In these 'Taking Sides' works I explore the juxtaposition of Yin and Yang. The loud and the quiet, the native and the introduced, the dark and the light. The pair of native Piwakawaka or Fantails sit on the imported country cottage style rose vine. The works highlight the beauty in differences, and are a symbol of hope in divided times.
Acrylic on Canvas Framed 760mm x 760mm This commission piece inspired by the original 'A Small Crew' further explores the juxtaposition of native birds nestled amongst introduced plants. In this work we are looking forward to the future and harmony of the diversity we have created in nature and how these elements can work together in harmony celebrating their differences rather than rejecting them. A lesson for us all in these uncertain times.
Tui in the Taiwan Cherry *Commission
Acrylic on 300mm Round 22mm ply face box board A rich capture of colour with the contrasting black background and bold pop of the introduced Taiwan cheery and the native New Zealand Tui. In a lot of my works I explore these contrasts and collaborations.
Piwakawaka Takes Flight *Commission
Acrylic on 300mm Round 22mm ply face box board The native New Zealand fantail or Piwakawaka bird in flight. A positive aspirational image of strength and joy commissioned in 2022 for an Auckland based patron.
Gouache on paper framed 29.7cm x 42cm The Mohua or Yellowhead are endemic to New Zealand and currently under recovering status. Depicted here nestled amongst its common habitat the silver beech tree, The Mohua is a forest bird that can be found in the South and Stewart island of New Zealand. Once a common native, now endangered due to the introduction of pests such as stoats and rats, the reflection here shows it's skull below as an ominous future.
Miro Miro Tomtit Window
Gouache on paper framed 29.7cm x 42cm This stunning wee Tomtit, although not endangered in New Zealand, still requires respect and protection of our forests and habitat to ensure it's not wiped out by predators. In this depiction the live bird on top looks towards a bright future full of ripe berries while it's reflection or potential future warns of a bleak future if biodiversity isn't treasured.
Hihi Stitchbird Window
Gouache on paper framed 29.7cm x 42cm Stitchbird/hihi is a medium-sized forest species that is one of New Zealand’s rarest birds. I had the pleasure of spotting one up close on my visit to Zealandia in Wellington which inspired this piece. Shown here with it’s skull in the reflection facing forward this symbolises that this wee creature isn’t extinct but it’s brightly coloured reflection suggests it still needs our help in order not to become extinct.
Gouache on paper framed 29.7cm x 42cm The Kereru or Wood Pigeon as it's commonly known is a sight to behold when balancing its weight precariously on branches. Although not rare in New Zealand native forest their sheer size is a sight to behold when they swoop in loudly or take off with a whooshing of wings. In this bird's reflection the skull is quite faded as these birds have less risk of becoming extinct and have adapted to sharing their environment with humans.
Acrylic on canvas 45.5cm x 45.5cm In this piece I have shown the Adzebill in the reflection of a lesser known extinct bird of New Zealand. I was fascinated to learn about how many species of large bird existed in New Zealand in pre-human times and it was magical to bring them back so that we have a window to the past.
Auckland Island Merganser Mallard Hybrid
Acrylic on board (round) 60cm In the Auckland Island Merganser hybrid with a Mallard duck I look at the exploring the strange sci-fi combinations that could come about from playing with CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing and what this could look like. I have always loved surrealist art and how it makes you think differently about what you are looking at.
A Place To Land
Acrylic on canvas framed in pine. 76cm x 76cm A Place to Land has many interpretations. The inspiration behind it was from watching all the many birds in my garden - only one of which ( the Tui) was native to New Zealand. In the background is the Papamoa Hills where I live, which without forest also contain none of these birds. The picture seeks to remind us how rare these birds are and how important it is we protect them. They face off against the army of invaders, the Sparrow, Mynah and Blackbird. All introduced species to New Zealand.
A Small Crew
Acrylic on canvas framed in pine. 76cm x 76cm In my research for this series, I discovered that the word 'Crew' actually means a group of sparrows. In this piece the invading species surround the Tui pressuring and intimidating the native. When we think about the changes being made in science and the rapid evolutions are we able to make choices - or are they taken from us
Huia Pigeon Hybrid
Acrylic on ply board (round) 60cm The Huia Pigeon hybrid was inspired by my love of Surrealist works by Dali and Magritte. I sought to highlight the repercussions of experimental science such as CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing - which is how they plan to bring these extinct birds back such as the passenger pigeon. Are we playing god in experimenting with this type of science, is it safe for our precarious bio-diversity or should we work harder to protect what's there ?
Gouache on black paper framed 29.7cm x 42cm The kākā is a large parrot belonging to the nestorinae family, a group that includes the kea and the extinct Norfolk Island kākā. North Island kākā are At Risk (Recovering); South Island kākā are Nationally Vulnerable, Chatham Islands kaka are extinct. I chose to show this beautiful unusual creature on black paper to separate it from the Kea it's close relative and emphasise it's plight.
Gouache on paper framed 29.7cm x 42cm The kākāpō is a nocturnal, flightless parrot. And its strangeness doesn't end there. This Native Parrot is in serious trouble. The skull shown here is more visible than some of the other birds in the series due to its plight. The conservation of this critically endangered species has made the parrot quite a celebrity in modern times. Many books and documentaries dealing with the plight of the Kākāpō have been produced. Also named bird of the year in 2020.
In the eye of the Kea
Gouache on paper framed 29.7cm x 42cm Kea are considered highly intelligent birds, they have also demonstrated adaptability to changes in habitat. Due to the unique nature of these native ancient birds I chose to portray the Kea with an enlarged eye that carries the reflection of a skyline - a human dominated urban environment that threatens biodiversity across the planet. Kea looks out as if to remind us the answers are simple even if the decisions are hard.
Gouache on paper framed 29.7cm x 42cm This was the first piece to be completed in the series, this work was where I began to explore the juxtaposition visually of life and death. After reading an article about de-extinction science, the Huia, a hauntingly striking bird from our not-so-distant past, stuck out to me as a subject I wanted to explore.
Stout Legged Moa Reflection
Acrylic on canvas 45.5cm x 45.5cm In this series of three pieces I bring back the extinct birds of Aotearoa. This piece shows the skull on top facing backwards - as if bringing them back is looking backwards not moving forwards in science. The Moa is found in the reflection and its eyes shine out as if visiting us from the grave with worldly wisdom.
Eyles Harrier Reflection
Acrylic on Canvas 45.5cm x 45.5cm In this piece I chose the Eyles Harrier as the subject. This majestic bird second only to the Haast Eagle in size is another of New Zealand's extinct beauties. Another window to the past of a great creature that was wiped out due to human intervention.
Acrylic on Puriri wood round. 28cm In these works I have used native Puriri wood rounds to show the passing of time with the rings of the tree. The jagged gold sections are influenced by the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. The influence of this being that conservation is protecting what's precious or showing the precariousness of their plight. The Kokako in this work is a striking rare NZ Native bird.
Acrylic on Puriri wood round 28cm The Tui does well in the New Zealand ecosystem and is one of our nations precious gems - adorning many local brands including fertiliser and beer. This piece also demonstrates the influence of the Japanese style art Kintsugi.
Acrylic on Puriri wood round 28cm This third piece in the Puriri round series portrays the rare Saddleback or Tieke. The saddleback or tīeke belongs to New Zealand's unique wattlebird family, an ancient group which includes the endangered Kōkako and the extinct Huia. A gorgeous unique New Zealand Bird, this piece also demonstrates the Japanese style Kintsugi for creating beauty out of the broken.
Forest Reign ( Piwakawaka)
Acrylic on Pine wood round can be hung and comes with small easel. 36cm In this piece I chose a pine round to contrast with the dark native Puriri. This piece was inspired by my walks through the Otanewainuku forest where the Piwakawaka dance among the sawn off logs that have been cut to retain the track when a tree has fallen. They demonstrate resilience against the odds of predators and deforestation. They adapt and move forward.