Painting the Journey
A two thousand kilometre self-propelled journey by paddle, pedal and foot from Te Waewae Bay to Cape Farewell.
Often the most memorable moments from a journey like ours are never captured by the lens. The camera is securely packed away as the action unfolds. Our focus is entirely on the unfolding events. Not a thought strays to the camera. These are the experiences that remain etched in my memory forever and are the stories we share when asked about our journey. They evoke strong emotions when reminiscing about the adventures and experiences. I can still feel the sickening, all-consuming fear as a monstrous wave charged towards me; the wonder and awe at extraordinary landscapes or wildlife, the complete exhaustion after my limits had been tested and the onset of ‘sandfly rage’. A painting can certainly share a story and convey mood and emotions. Paintings can make a feeling or a memory come to life as if the artist’s DNA is embedded within. From an early age I knew without a doubt that I would be an artist. I also knew that I felt at home in the outdoors and that the thought of adventure made me shiver with excitement and anticipation.
After completing the Northland journey with Tyrell I began painting in my spare time, as I always did. However that time was different. In the past I was captivated by the colour, light and changeability of the landscape and enjoyed capturing this on canvas. However I now felt there was more of a story to tell, a deeper message than just what the eye can see. The images I created had taken on a design element; they were vibrant and felt like paintings of substance. They were more than just beautiful pictures, they told a story; the story of our journey. I endeavoured to capture those moments that were funny, terrifying or beautiful; the memories that shaped our experience. This series revealed my ‘Turangawaewae’ and the importance of painting in my life. I had discovered how to combine my passion for painting with journeying in the outdoors. Looking back it’s blaringly obvious that this is where my journey would lead me. This realisation was a huge turning point. From here my painting career gained momentum. I spent many more hours with brush in hand engrossed and inspired by events in my life I felt worthy of sharing. With each new series I had a focus, something to learn regarding either technical skill or style. Each series acts as a stepping stone constantly enhancing the quality of my work.
This book contains a series of paintings that share the significant moments of ‘...the long way’. They are designed from memory and constructed using details from photos taken on the journey. Using painting as a medium I aspire to use pattern work and colour to give you an insight into our lives during the course of our journey. Most of all I hope to share the simplicity of enjoying life one day at a time and feeling completely content. When I gaze at these paintings they transport me back to those places. I feel the sea spray in my face, the cold alpine air, taste the fresh seafood dinner and hear the cascading rivers. For me, these images show the story of my three month coast to coast with Tyrell.