December Art Update

Shell on blue

It is finally swimming weather and New Zealanders are flocking to the beach whenever possible. My local beach is Mission Bay and it is probably one of the busiest in the country. It has magnificent harbour views of the volcanic island of Rangitoto and is framed by mature Pohutukawa trees. A busload of tourists from many countries usually arrives early every day. Families from all over the city picnic on the grassy reserve and the ice-cream shop has long queues on hot days. The architecture of the restaurant and cafe strip is a mix of pastel art deco style buildings and a motley bunch of more modern fare. At night a large fountain is lit up with coloured lights and no matter how much city traffic impinges, Mission Bay always has the feel of a slightly faded but lastingly popular beach resort.

Seaglass and ceramics

I’ve always enjoyed a spot of beach combing and it is interesting what shows up after stormy weather. Many years ago I used to make jewellery using bits of sea glass. So I’ve been beach combing on and off for a long time now.

Seaglass jewellery

At this time of year one tends to get more rubbish and the debris of summertime outings. I started photographing some of the finds this year as a small project and posting them on Instagram. The state of the beach is a barometer of ocean health and it has been interesting to find out more about the marine life of the Auckland harbour and how it has changed over time. The colours of the shells are very subtle and beautiful and provide much inspiration. I have made a conscious effort to become more aware of my local environment over the past two years and to incorporate it into my art practise. It will be interesting to develop some of these ideas further in 2016.

Pohutukawa and shells

Fan shells

Here’s a photo from this morning with a lost earring and assorted shells. I often incorporate circles in my art so it feels natural to arrange the beach finds in a similar way.


Sea spurge

Endangered sea spurge, 2009

Two shells

I’m including a couple of Christmas pictures as it is one of my favourite times of year. One of our family traditions is to chose a native tree for our garden each year. This years’ native shiny tea tree was a really good find at our local garden centre, with lovely copper coloured foliage and larger, less spiky leaves than the more common species of tea tree. I would love to see more people using living native trees at Christmas time.

Wishing you all a safe and fun New Year. Please look after our gorgeous beaches!

Shells on paintings