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
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