W A I M A U K U
On Taylor Road: Bryan's Kanuka 2008 oil on linen 1000 x 600mm
Taylor Road in Waimauku follows a ridge, characterised by brushy kanuka and scrubby mapou, criss-crossed by power lines running between perilously leaning poles. Across the valley, Renall’s Farm surges up to the iconic stand of kahikatea, taraire and kanuka. My paintings are intended to reflect the nature of this familiar well-loved landscape, vibrant with birdlife.
On Taylor Road: Kukupa / Valley 2008 oil on linen 1200 x 600mm
On Taylor Road: Kukupa 2008 oil on linen 1000 x 600mm
The islands of native bush nestling in the nooks and crannies on Renall’s Farm distinguish the rhythms of the hill. Their darkness makes the land glow. Mist separates the layers of hills towards the head of the valley. Like wood pigeons materializing from their camouflage when sunlight turns their feathers to an array of gold, alizarin and viridian, ridges and valleys that are normally concealed in their mantle of native bush become apparent.
On Taylor Road: Wharauroa / Kukupa 2008 oil on linen 1200 x 600mm (Private Collection)
I love the way the kanuka staggers along the skylines, and regenerates so easily everywhere; the flat ribbon-like quality of the cabbage tree leaves, their rattling swords. I love the symmetry of Renall’s hill, as it stretches alongside the full length of Taylor Road, like a great manaia keeping pace with the ridge.
On Taylor Road: Renall's Hill II 2008 oil on linen 1950 x 300mm
On Taylor Road: Wharauroa Valley 2008 oil on linen 1950 x 300mm
I begin each work by observing, and an aspect I’d like to explore becomes apparent. I choose to use oil paints for their malleable character and colours that are true pigments - for the most part, earth colours - and linen for its very characteristic texture and strength. I love the glow of warm cadmium yellows through the paint, the sparkle of alizarin left at an edge, the texture of linen revealed when the pigment is brushed lightly over or rubbed away.
On Taylor Road: Renall's Hill 2008 oil on linen 1950 x 300mm
I am well-known for my use of unusually long canvases - more than six times as long as they are high. The width enhances the sense of space within the frame; but I believe it also stretches the imagination, and infers the idea of the landscape extending beyond the edges of the canvas.
Contemplating this valley fills me with a powerful sense of belonging. When people see my work, I'd like them to feel a more profound connection with the energies that underlie the landscape, and a greater sense of our place within it.
Sarah McBeath August 2008