I’ve learned so much over the past 4 days it’s hard to get my head around it all. I feel so lucky to be down here painting in this fantastic place. I can see why so many painters move here for good. Yesterday I had the great good fortune of starting of the day in a sour mood, probably brought on by the completely overcast sky- not what I was hoping for. It was 11am before I gathered the willpower to pack up my paints and cycle 5km along the riverside in the hope of finding a scene which would inspire me out of my gray funk.

Nothing presented itself. Finally I stopped cycling and sat on the pebbly beach in despair. The gray weather persisted but after a few minutes brooding the autumnal trees along the shore caught my eye as a possible subject. Even in the gray light the golden leaves looked cheery by comparison. After another 10 minutes of scouting around the scene I set up shop and got to work.

I had begun to talk myself around, feeling that I could perhaps manipulate the lighting in the painting to my advantage. Soon I had the canvas covered and was painting in earnest, painting on the fly, painting with gusto, with passion, with guts - I even started singing. As the painting evolved I made faster and bolder decisions, feeling more like a real artist than the copiest I had been the previous two sessions. I decided where I wanted the light and just put it there. The gray clouds still did not budge, so I took the colors I needed from nature and figured out the others when required.

After 3 hours I was finished and happy and as I signed it the almighty Sun decided to make an appearance. It sliced through the clouds and poured onto the beach in front of me - revealing the very same lighting I had just been inventing in my painting - finally! It was as if God was validating all the day’s struggle in a single sun-kissed moment. You know what I love about believing in God? Being able to say thank You.

So that was yesterday. Today was even better. The sun shone all day with barely a cloud in the sky. I drove around Lake Wanaka to return to Saturday’s unfinished painting, set up quickly and had it finished within the hour. Moderately happy with the outcome I packed up and paid a visit to Christy and Ken in the Art-Up-Stairs Gallery where I’ll be holding the workshop this weekend.

After a relaxing hour and a half of coffee and home made muffins I took to the road again in search of the next likely scene. I found it within a few minutes whilst passing over a bridge. I was setup within minutes and painting furiously, determined to make a passionate painting to shame the morning’s stilted attempt.

It all came together. This time I decided to use the scene as inspiration and not be shackled by it. I painted the scene how I wanted it to look rather than exactly how I saw it. Part of me expected a bad decision to ruin the whole thing at any moment but my brush seemed to know what it was doing so I let it paint for me and tried not to interrupt

After only one hour and twenty minutes I had signed it and was in the truck riding a high all the way home. Don’t get me wrong - I know these aren’t the greatest paintings in the world, but they feel good to me, and that’s enough to make this painter happy.

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Comment by Christine Bender on October 1, 2012 at 6:39

Such a great sharing of your thought process as you experience painting...great insights for me and illustrates the mental process that can happen behind the painting...can't wait for the brush to lead :) 

Comment by Cindy W on August 27, 2012 at 0:49

Wow!  Thanks so much Richard.  Just saw this blog post and found it so inspiring!  It's a grey day here (Wisconsin, US) and, thanks to this, I am excited to paint today!  The colors in the first painting are so wonderful - I really want to go there.  Also - re: "You know what I love about believing in God? Being able to say thank You." - Yeah!

Comment by Joan Brantome on August 14, 2012 at 5:36

Richard, you just keep inspiring.  You able to go inside and trust your brush.  I am joining the very next class on line.  Can hardly wait to start learning to trust myself more and learning from such a master will certainly help.

Thank you.  Joni Brantome

Comment by Maureen Murray-Wilcox on March 13, 2012 at 17:53

These are just great Richard, I hope to be able to paint like this one day.

Comment by debbie piro on February 27, 2012 at 23:47

Richard, you sure had a great day. somehow you started off on your bike but ended up going home in a truck???..your first painting, maybe God was testing you, still looks good. By the last painting you just let the juices flowed and look at what you created.....good on yah...fantastic stuff.

Comment by Dorian Aronson on January 23, 2012 at 18:29

Richard I save the images of all your painting and have them on my PC..........thank you for these.

Comment by Annie Cullen on November 14, 2011 at 16:44

Thanks Richard - great to see your final painting of the view (and it makes me homesick for NZ - Oz is great but very different from NZ). I love the way you have interpreted the colour!

Comment by Annemieke Batorfi on October 22, 2011 at 21:52
I wish I could let myself free like that!!
Comment by Anastasia Reed on July 8, 2010 at 23:34
You,ve shown us that good painting locals are all around us if we only take the time to see and feel them. Thanks for opening my eyes. You inspirt me to pick up my brush just about every day
Thanks much,
Anastasia....I sign my my paintings Stasa... The Greek nick name for Anastasa
Comment by Fay on May 21, 2010 at 6:58
Easy as a, When in the right frame off mind .Well done


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