Saturday, October 22, 2011

"The Rocky Barron Hills," opens at Suite Gallery, Oriental Bay, on Thursday 24th of November

In May 1826, Thomas Shepard, a young draftsman stood on the deck of  Captain James Herd's barque Rosana and drew a quick sketch of the South Coast and the entrance to Wellington Harbour. He described it like this. 
"Half the width is full of rocks so the entrance is rather dangerous, left side of the entrance are low rocky barron hills and on the right side are high rocky barron hills." 
These new paintings look again at those hills. They will be exhibited at Suite Gallery, 108 Oriental Parade from Thursday November the 24th. Come along to the opening at 5.30 on the 24th. The Gallery is open Thursday and Friday from 11 am to 5 pm and on Saturday from 11am. to 4 pm. and by appointment. To contact Suite Gallery click here; 

Turakirae Head. Oil on board 120 x 120

Towards Tory Channel. Oil on Board, 20 x 180

Cape Terawhiti. Oil on board, 20 x 180 

The Brothers. Oil on board, 25 x 63 cms

Makaro/Ward Island, Oil on board, 25 x 63 cms

Red Rocks. Oil on board, 25 x 63 cms

Half the width is full of rocks. Oil on board, 25 x 63 cms

 Pencarrow and lake Kohangapiripiri. Oil on board, 25 x 63 cms

Monday, July 4, 2011

Win & Ron visit Rotorua

This painting was provoked by an image in an old family photograph album of a visit to Rotorua in 1927.

Oil on board, 174 x 120 cms

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Three Wise Men of Kurow

The Three Wise Men Was shown at Enjoy Public  Art Gallery at 147 Cuba St. in Wellington for two days on the 21st and 22nd of March 2011. Here is some historical background for this exhibition.

The Willows. Five panels, oil on board, each panel 120 x 90 

A couple of Kilometres past Kurow I park the car at the Awakino bridge. I climb the fence and follow the sheep and cattle tracks up the stream, after some minutes pushing through the gorse and broom I find I’m following and old water race. I wonder what it was for, irrigation or perhaps some long abandoned gold sluicing endeavour? There are rusting pieces of metal under the bare willow trees and when I come around a bend I find a flourishing apple tree.

It was here in the Awakino Stream that over 350 unemployed men and their families set up the Willows Camp during the worst years of Great Depression of the 1930’s. Many of them would have walked up the valley from Oamaru and finding there was no job they would have waited at the willows rather than make the long trudge back down the valley. They were hoping to join the 2000 men working on the Waitaki Dam which was being built a couple of kilometres up the Waitaki River. At the Willows they lived in tents and shacks made out of willow branches and beaten out fuel cans.

The hills on either side of the stream would have protected the squatters from the worst of the freezing westerly winds but they would also shade the valley and winter frosts would have remained for weeks. Local legend has it that ‘whiskey froze in the bottle and nappies hung like boards on the line.’

Girvan McMillan the Kurow doctor, Andrew Davidson the local headmaster and Arnold Nordmeyer the Presbyterian minister were soon in regular contact with the families at the Willows. It set them thinking.  The three wise men, as they were affectionately called, were appalled at the squalid living conditions.

Andrew Davidson had his school roll suddenly grow from 63 to 339. He was a tireless and innovative educator. He believed that each child ‘possessed a spark of genius somewhere’. It was the teacher’s job to find it. Nordmeyer’s sermons dealt more with the here and now rather than the hereafter and McMillan was known for his fast and furious driving around his large practice and his expectation that trains in the Kurow shunting yards should make way for him. He was running a local medical scheme funded by hospital board and local contributions.

The three men would meet in the doctor’s house to discuss the social injustices they saw around them. It was here they wrote down six points that they believed should form the basis of a national health scheme.

It should be free, it must be complete and it must meet the needs of all the people.
1       It must aim at the prevention of disease.
2       It must make provision for income loss.
3       It must provide all the facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
4       It must be based on the provision of a family doctor for every person.
5       The service must be based on the principle of the patient’s free choice of doctor.
6       It must include the adequate provision for research in all matters relating to health.

McMillan presented these ideas at the Labour party conference in 1934. They were adopted as Labour Party policy. In 1935 McMillan and Nordmeyer were elected to Parliament in the Labour landslide, McMillan in the seat of Dunedin West and Nordmeyer in Oamaru. In parliament they expanded their medical scheme into the Social Security act of 1938, which combined the introduction of a free-at-the-point-of-use health system with a comprehensive array of welfare benefits.

An act to Provide

‘An Act to provide for the payment of superannuation benefits and of other benefits designed to safeguard the people of New Zealand from the disabilities arising from age, sickness, widowhood, orphanhood, unemployment, or other exceptional conditions; to provide a system whereby medical and hospital treatment will be made available to persons requiring such treatment; and further, to provide such other benefits as may be necessary to maintain and promote the health and general welfare of the community.’
The title of the 1938 Social Security Act.

The following series of water-colours I call The Conversations. 

 It must aim at the prevention of disease.

 It must make provision for income loss.

 It must provide all the facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

 The service must be based on the principle of the patient’s free choice of doctor.

 It must include the adequate provision for research in all matters relating to health.

It should be free, it must be complete and it must meet the needs of all the people.

The doctors house, Andrew Davidson's original school building and Nordmeyer's church are still there in Kurow today. These are all oil on board 32 x 22.

 The School

The Doctors House

The Church

The Waitaki River Bridge. 
The Waitaki Bridge. Three panels, each panel 122 x 60.

The Waitaki Dam could be built because there was sound inert greywacke rock at the site, but also important was the railway terminus at Kurow and the bridge across the Waitaki. This bridge is the last great wooden truss bridge still in use (it is to be replaced in the next few years). I like to imagine Dr. McMillan careering across it as he drove furiously around his large practice. In his book Waitaki Dammed, Gil Natusch describes McMillan, 
‘He regarded himself as on call 24 hours a day, and without a surgery nurse he was willing to tackle anything from delivering babies to treating everybody’s ailments, extracting teeth, dealing with sickness and major accidents and emergency amputations. The ‘little Doctor’ is still remembered with respect and affection by those he served.’

A walk beside the Waitaki River