From the age of seven I started winning school holiday art awards, then cameras, books - even a family holiday to Hawaii, culminating with my winning the 1974 Benson and Hedges National Art Award.
I have always loved oil painting, but when I was only 19 my studio apartment was burnt down because of a combination of my oils, solvents, a heater and an attempted murder between two visitors to my studio. The experience dramatically altered my view of painting and I decided to concentrate on quality, not quantity. When non-flammable media were created for oil paints I returned to oils for their flexibility, softness, richness and depth.
I have always been a realist/surrealist. My still-life paintings with plant roots showing the passage of time consumed me through the 1970''s and 80's, and the last paintings in that series were exhibited at London's Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2001.
While painting Shifting Sands, a mantelpiece in the sand dunes reminded me of a waka and inspired my first 'Maori' painting, About Time, 2006. These and my subsequent Maori paintings have the meditative inner spirit I sought, and are a joy to paint.
Alvin, Ephra and Matthew in the Parnell gallery.
We have been in Parnell Auckland for 12 years.
Ephra with support from her sister Dara is managing our Parnell Gallery. Our son Matthew and I are in Parnell once a week in the winter. Matthew is in the Pauanui Gallery with me weekends only from May to November and 7 days in the summer.
2013 AUCTION $55,000
"About Time" 2006. Sold in auction at International Art Centre 2013 for $55,000. Bought in our gallery for $40,000.
These paintings are part of the New Zealand representation at the 8TH BEIJING INTERNATIONAL ART BIENNALE CHINA.
Show running from 26th August to 23rd September 2019. The first official inclusion of New Zealand.
"Maybe Tomorrow" 1974
The winning painting in New Zealand's largest Biennial Art Award in 1974. It was purchased by the Dunedin Art Gallery for a New Zealand record price. The painting is painted from the viewpoint of the old man reflected in the mantelpiece mirror . The mirror above the mantelpiece reflects the back of his head, and the vandalised derelict room of the present. He is looking at the derelict room and remembering how it used to be. The roots represent time that has passed in the same way cobwebs, dust, rust and decay represent age.
"Regeneration" 1997 One of two paintings accepted for 2001 ROYAL ACADEMY Summer Exhibition London. The first time ever overseas artists were invited.
"Self Portrait" 1969
The first painting I painted after the fire. My face was illuminated by candlelight (firelight) showing how I felt as a 19 year old, after having spent months in hospital recovering from my burns, and losing everything I had. The bust is supported by the back view of the skeleton of a foot in a hole (I must have felt insecure.)
The SELF PORTRAIT was on the cover of the Young Contemporaries Touring Exhibition.