It’s been said that you’re only ever limited by your imagination. And, although the very premise of this saying is formed on a fictional narrative rather than the ability to supersede physical limitations, it is none the less a sweet concept.
And yet James (Jim) Dykes has made good on this notion, not letting his age of 91 years get in the way of the production of an impressive 16.5m mural in Rangiora.
When the removal of a shed left the large grey concrete wall exposed at the Kip McGrath Education Centre in Ivory Street, James’ son, Director Dr Grant Dykes asked his dad for some ideas and he ended up putting his paintbrush wielding hand up for the task.
“I wanted to depict something of the emptiness which is so much of New Zealand,” James says.
“So I thought what better way than to represent the flood plain; the tussock covered riverbed with the sun still to come up.”
The fact that is has taken a year to complete, working just an hour at a time around the harsh sun and reliance on his wife Jean and daughter in law Delia for assistance, just further adds to this impressive feat of determination.
Outgoing Mayor David Ayers was on hand to unveil the masterpiece last month, pointing to the historical significance of Canterbury’s braided rivers and current significance of the region’s arts in his speech.
A perfectly formed art space with a multi award-winning framing service, Windsor Gallery is a century-long Christchurch icon, echoing its creative vibrancy.
Formerly on High Street, the gallery and framing workshop now resides at 386 St Asaph Street, east of Fitzgerald Ave, with easy off-street parking.
Owners since 2009, Philip and Tracey Wynands offer every custom-made framing solution under the sun – from affordable and simple through to exquisite ornate gilded framing with protective museum-quality glass.
Windsor Gallery is sumptuously aesthetic, showcasing around 15 South Island artists with a diversity to appeal to all fancies, including the thought-provoking Rhonye Mcllroy, renowned photographer Andris Apse, Philip Beadle and Sue Syme. Wilhelmus Ruifrok, a framer at the gallery’s workshop, displays his own enigmatically intricate work. Artists’ prints and sculpture are also on offer.
To meet and mingle with artists at bi-monthly exhibitions, join up on www.windsorgallery.co.nz for notifications of exclusive events – or pop in to enjoy a browse and chat.
Sarah Garland and Rodolfo Lopez began tutoring at Art Metro this year. We coax them from their easels to talk about why they love their jobs.
“I get to look at art all day and talk with the lovely students,” says Sarah. “Seeing works progress – it’s nice to know I can positively impact development.”
Sarah, who has a degree in Art History and in Fine Arts, tutors both beginners and advanced students, and is comfortable teaching all genres.
Visual art tutor and freelance professional animator, Rodolfo, says the diverse skill levels and interests of his students are both enjoyable and challenging. “It forces me to recall some of the techniques I learned and problems I encountered while working on my own projects.”
Sarah has great advice for beginners. “Try not to be apprehensive! We can break down the elements of a painting into manageable, achievable chunks. You will find success; everyone here is very positive and encouraging!”
Rodolfo’s advice to those returning to art after time out is to get back to basics. “Instead of creating a big masterpiece, do small studies; it will help get the feel of the essential skills and technicalities in painting.”
Sarah’s personal preferred medium is oils. “My style? Earnest contemporary figurative painting!”
Rodolfo’s favourite artist is Frank Frazetta. “Great art tells a story, evokes emotions, creates an imprint – it compels us to look again and again.”
Interview over, Sarah and Rodolfo rush back to their beloved easels. For more information, visit www.artmetro.co.nz.
Circling Barrington Gifts a few times is essential to see everything – the quirky, cute, surprising, interesting, unique and useful.
“I buy in what makes people smile and leave a little happier,” says owner Melissa Holland. “Gifts that’ll be talking points at birthday parties!”
She loves watching customers giggle over the locally made cards with witty sayings.
A local, Melissa reads her customers well. Those wanting renditions of loved pets were inspiration for her Infinity Prints, that she also wholesales with husband Matt.
Individualised 20 x 22cm artists’ watercolours are customised with bowties through to roses. Pearls on a boxer? Tiara on a pug? There’s cats in hats and caravans with clouds and more – it’s art at its most playful.
There’s amazing age-specific birthday items for 16 to 100-year-olds and great gifts for guys.
Parents can wheel pushchairs around the wide aisles, and layby and complimentary gift-wrapping is offered. Warning, there’s so much to choose from at Barrington Gifts in Barrington Mall.
Ladies and gentlemen, forget Paris, London and New York. The best in art is right here in Ōtautahi, Christchurch. For your viewing pleasure, we’ve gone in search of some of the latest and greatest. When it comes to art, these four favourites are exhibitionists in all the right ways.
ART METRO: With more than 400 students attending classes weekly, this art school is ace! There’s an ABC for beginners and for the advanced student, classes in freehand drawing, sketching, pastels and water colour; there are classes in oils, acrylics and pastel techniques and, for those into self-expression, classes in abstract art.
Children are offered after school painting, drawing and cartoon classes and the holiday programme is very popular. Do browse their gallery and chat to the artists at work.
BRYCE GALLERY: Their first 2018 exhibition is ‘Nature Speak’, a celebration of our native flora and fauna from artists J. Stewart, Min Kim and Galina Kim.
J. Stewart’s landscapes are mighty, magnificent works that draw the eye and hold your attention, while his C.F. Goldie inspired portraits are flawlessly executed. The subjects look into your very soul; their eyes speak of their stories, their history.
Min Kim’s native tree and birdlife works are exquisite in detail and rendering. Min’s Kowhai, for example, is of the brightest, fieriest autumnal hues, while her New Zealand Falcon pays full tribute to these noble birds of prey.
Galina Kim brings the flora component to the exhibition with flowers that you wish to reach out and touch. Her wildflowers are an untamed delight, while her peonies are delicate, yet flaunting and voluptuous. Planned since December 2017, ‘Nature Speak’ was definitely worth the wait!
Nature Speak – 15 March to 10 April
FO GUANG YUANG GALLERY: Taiwanese artisan Huang Da An is currently on exhibition until April 8, 2018. Huang is a self-taught artist who has recreated the traditional wood-firing ceramic art through a decade-long of experimentation. His ceramics speak for themselves; each piece is a joy – a wonder of texture and colour. Not to be missed!
Auckland artist Dean Buchanan’s works will be on display from April to mid-July. His oils, typically large in size, are colourful, vivid and dramatic, reflecting Dean’s passion and connection to his homeland. Rumour has it that if you’re looking for the painting to grace your home, it should be a Dean Buchanan.
CoCA TOI MOROKI: Peter Robinson’s solo exhibition Fieldwork in which delicate, sculptural forms (comprising wood, wire, paper, metals, magnets and nails) sprawl through CoCA’s galleries.
The intricate scale of the materials also highlights the nature of CoCA’s ‘Christchurch Style’ Brutalist Architecture. The exhibition coincides with the building’s 50th anniversary this year. CoCA was designed by Minson, Henning Hansen and Dines and was purpose built in 1968.
Fieldwork runs 3 March to 13 May.