Wide View

From your wardrobe, have you ever chosen a shirt in which the aroma of another’s cologne still lingers? I love that moment; my mind zips back to a wordless past, while my body stands in the closet fumbling with buttons. When I return from a trip I live happily in this kind of collapsed time, as the memories of the place I have left rise to the surface and slowly evaporate.

I’ve been home now for 6 months and the details of the New Zealand landscape have dropped out and I’m left with a strong memory of great volumes of air bounded by steep mountains on which cloud shadows move across their vertical plane. Panoramas are so thrilling, and so difficult to represent; maybe it’s folly to even try. Nevertheless, I’ve been thumbing through photographs, sketches and color studies to recount the grandness of the New Zealand landscape in my New York studio.


It was often too windy in Glenorchy to set up the easel for oil painting.  At times like these, paper and pencil in the lee of a big rock were a better choice. It was a fun challenge to draw the wind, since it has no image, but can only be perceived by its action on things and its sound. These small sketches have become paintings.

January, 2012: Dart River, Glenorchy, New Zealand.
60″x45″, oil on aluminum panel

January 14, 2012: Glenorchy, New Zealand, 59º.
32″x40″, oil on aluminum panel

January, 2012: Mt. Alfred, Glenorchy, New Zealand.
32″x40″, oil on aluminum panel.

The following detail gives some sense of the surface of these pictures. The dark blue areas are thinly painted and the white, negative space is applied thickly and textured.

detail, January 14, 2012: Glenorchy, New Zealand, 59º.

January, 2012: Lake Wakatipu, Glenorchy, New Zealand.
45″x45″, oil on aluminum panel.

February 2012: Mt. Earnslaw, New Zealand.
45″x60″, oil on aluminum panel

January, 2012: Glenorchy Lagoon, New Zealand.
40×60, oil on aluminum panel

Field Paintings from New Zealand

The following selection of landscapes were painted in and around the town of Glenorchy on the south island of New Zealand. All are painted in oil on 24″x30″, aluminum panels. More paintings to come.


January 15, 2012: Summer Snow, Glenorchy, New Zealand, 42ºF


January 16, 2012: Wind, Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand, 66ºF


January 23, 2012: Cloudy, Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand, 52ºF.


January 24, 2012: Mt. Alfred, Glenorchy, New Zealand, 72ºF


January 25, 2012: Lagoon, Glenorchy, New Zealand, 68ºF


January 27, 2012: Route Burn, Mt. Aspiring National Park, New Zealand, 54ºF


February 6, 2012: Routeburn, New Zealand, 76ºF


February 16, 2012: Rees Valley, Glenorchy, New Zealand, 74ºF


February 17, 2012: Mt. Earnslaw, New Zealand, 70ºF


March 1, 2012: Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand, 55ºF


March 2, 2012: Diamond Lake, Mt. Aspiring National Park, New Zealand, 70ºF



Rolling Landscape

In the environs of Queenstown, NZ, an abundance of cars and trucks sport landscape inspired designs.  A few of these paintings seem motivated by whimsy, but most are the result of commercial interest; the Queenstown area is a Mecca for adventure tourism and the bodies of motor vehicles are [...] Continue Reading…

In Pursuit of the Unknown Outcome

Painting and teaching are both satisfying occupations, and the most significant difference between the two is the material. As a painter I work with physical stuff, and as a teacher I work with social relations. Both are creative endeavors and the artist in me does not need to know [...] Continue Reading…


I hiked up the Routeburn Track, one of the “Great Walks”, to end my sojourn in New Zealand. My goal was to reach the Harris Saddle, the edge at which the rise of one mountain chain falls into the valley of the next.  Walks don’t need destinations. Really, it [...] Continue Reading…

Double Barrel Falls

There should be a roundup of the inventors who have created seemingly insignificant and innocent things, like stickers on fruit, whose impact is actually substantial and evil. How many productive hours worldwide have been wasted picking at stickers on fruit? How much cultural damage has been done by turning [...] Continue Reading…

The Color of Time

At first I thought the color of Glenorchy and the Southern Alps was restrained.

The mountains are olive and celadon in the forested parts…

golden, where the  tussock grass grows…

and slate gray above the bush line.

The sky is most often a familiar cerulean…

and the water, full of minerals, reflects as emerald [...] Continue Reading…

A Change in the Relationship

I had a crush on Mt. Alfred. Viewed from the lagoon at the north end of Glenorchy, NZ, Mt. Alfred is a self-satisfied thing, its confidence rooted in geometry. The mountain is an isosceles triangle, the left slope equal to the right, and its base exactly twice its height. [...] Continue Reading…

Glenorchy, NZ

Glenorchy, New Zealand, where I’ll be for the next 8 weeks, sits on a lake that is 100 meters deeper than the surface of the sea and is fed by runoff from mountains named the Remarkables. The lake, Wakatipu, is shaped like a dog’s leg and Glenorchy is on [...] Continue Reading…

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