I’ve finally been into the city to take the last of my ‘pen vs earthquake’ photographs. The Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu was closed following the 22nd February 2011 earthquake and only opened its doors to the public again last December. The building may look fragile but it not only survived 2011’s big shake, it was used as Civil Defence HQ for seven months after the event. Most of the repairs to the building are now complete and the new and improved gallery looks better, and shinier, than ever.
The sketch was originally part of astudent projectin 2011. The art gallery photographs were taken a few days ago. Ben Heine’s ingenious Pencil Vs Camera images inspired the series.
P.S. Five years on and we’re still getting the odd quake ― we had quite a big one on Valentine’s Day, of all days! My thanks to those who contacted me to see if we were okay. Yes, we’re fine. We’re still not in love with earthquakes, but we’re fine.
‘CBD’ is another favourite that is now available as a note card. This one sprang from my ‘In the style of…’ drawing experiment and was inspired by the work of Jim Flora. You can read the original post here. It is based on a photograph I took of Christchurch in 2010. The centre of town looks nothing like this now… I really need to go in and take an ‘after’ shot ― I suspect that the only thing still standing will be that tree.
I wrote about Shand’s Emporium in one of my ‘pen vs earthquake’ posts a couple of years ago (click on the photograph below to read the article). Relocation has taken years rather than months but moving day finally came last week.
My final painting for this month’s art show was inspired by one of my favourite photographs (below) which I took using an eight-second exposure. It was quite a windy evening and so the kinetic sculpture is moving just as much as the tree, something I really wanted to show in the painting. I’ll post WIP photos later in the week. There are a few more photos of Phil Price’s wonderful sculpture ‘Nucleus’ in action here.
Anyone who knows Christchurch will appreciate that although the sculpture is still standing, the Majestic Theatre/Majestic House (on the left) and the ANZ Bank Chambers building were damaged beyond repair by earthquakes a few years ago and are no longer with us. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to take lots of photographs in the central city in the months prior to those devastating events.
This commission was a bit special, both for the client and for me. The Press Building was the home of The Press newspaper from 1909 until February 2011. A beautiful building situated in Cathedral Square, it was one of the casualties of the Christchurch 2010–2011 earthquakes. Even though the painting shows its last autumn (in 2010), we wanted it to represent happier times and evoke fond memories.
The painting is a combination of two of my In the Style of… paintings: the building and tree from The Press and the leaves from Tram. The red geraniums originally appeared in Press Lane, an experimental sketch I did in 2013. I photographed the final painting on a dull day — the tree is actually very dark brown, not black. And at 40″ x 54″ (1015mm x 1370mm), it’s my largest ever painting.