North Island Memories

Two sketches, one watercolour and one pen and wash, from before COVID-19, done in Upper Hutt area.

From the top

On a lovely day, I went for a picnic at the top of the gondola. Sitting outside on a stone between the waving grasses, I could look at the view on both sides and quickly made these sketches. Later at home I put a wash on them.

Pen and wash, 9 by 14cm

Gum Trees

Out on the Canterbury  Plains I saw these gum trees, starkly outlined against the flat landscape, the fields going back to the far horizon with a line of trees, the sky very blue overhead, hazier towards the sky line, with woolly clouds moving along. The contrasts in lines and shades, while the colours were limited to brown, blue, yellow and their mixes made it an interesting puzzle to paint.

Watercolour, 20 by 26cm


On a trip to Halswell, I saw grey clouds in the sky, then an opening in which the sky behind those clouds was visible, light blue with white clouds, then another set of even darker grey came clouds rolling in behind and over the hills, a strange effect that stayed with me.

Watercolour 14 by 18cm


Lately I’ve been walking a lot in areas with ponds. Here are two quick sketches I made with pigment liner. Later at home I applied a watercolour  wash.

Pen and wash, 15 by 10cm

Brighton Beach

On a warm summer day I was walking on Brighton  Beach, found a tree trunk to sit on and scribble for a while. The waves were quite high and had dumped a lot of seaweed and some trees and branches on the beach. People were walking on the beach and paddling in the water, several dogs were running around and playing. Later, when home, I put a wash over my scribbles.

Pen and wash, 10 by 15cm

37 on the Plains

ON a hot day, 37 degrees, I drove over the flat Canterbury Plains. I could see the mountains inland far away, nearby grasses and lots of fields of grains were ripening. In some areas stands of trees were cutting through the landscape. The skies were constantly changing. This was my impression of that day.

Watercolour, 20.5 by 14cm

Misty Morning

On a lovely misty morning,  I walked on Brighton beach. A few people were walking on the sand and in the water, swimming in the sea, but mostly the beach was empty. The colours in the sky were reflected in the water just beginning to cover beach areas with the turning tide.  Because it was slightly misty, it was all a bit vague. This is my impression of that morning.

Watercolour, 24 by 31cm

Cloud cover

It was strange weather when I went up the gondola recently.  Clouds hung low and so the view was grey and misty, with just this strip of light and blue sky at the horizon. Sitting on a stone I made this sketch; I applied a wash later at home.

Watercolour, 20.5 by 14.5cm

From the top

A quick sketch from outside at the top of the gondola. I used my new coloured pigment liners and later at home applied the watercolour wash. It was a grey day, but just at the horizon was a strip of light, very interesting to watch, constantly changing. The flax seemed very happy in its exposed position. I liked the flashes of light, the brooding sky and brown, orangey, ochre colours and wanted to play with my new liners!

Coloured pens and watercolour wash, 19 by 14.5cm