Category Archives: Painting

Popping up at Deluxe

I have grabbed an unexpected opportunity to put up work at Deluxe Cafe in Wellington for the next two weeks.

This week I have popped up a few old favourites (see below) but all going well I will put at least one new big work next week. Watch this space.

Crossing Series

“Crossing Series #1” 2011
Limited edition (10) Triptych of Lambda digital master photographic prints
on Kodak Archival Paper
700 x 465mm each
Individual prints: $900 framed, $600 unframed
$2500 framed for the triptych (set of three)



“Offseason Ohakune” 2009
Limited edition (10)  – Giclée print on Rag
483 x 329 mm
$1100 framed, $600 unframed


The find

The Find 2010
Acrylic on reclaimed board 800 x 1100

Egg unveiled!

At long last I can reveal the design of my egg for The Big Egg Hunt (see my previous post for details). Last night it and 99 other eggs were hidden around Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Let me know when you find mine – send photos even!

Stranded in Paradice

and here are some pics of me painting it (taken by Lauren O’Hara)

Jason painting egg Jason painting egg

If you want the full rational of what the design is about here it is:

Stranded in Paradise
I interpreted the egg as a symbol of the start of a life – full of promise. Taking that as a start point, I turned my thoughts to my own birth and childhood growing up in Palmerston North – a small town in a small and isolated country during the 70s. During my teenage years I felt our isolation as a double edged sword – providing our unique lifestyle but small and distant from everywhere.

In the design I am represented by a fantail (relatively common in Palmerston North) yearning to take flight and explore the world (represented by the compass rose) but being held back by the isolation and conservatism of 70s life in NZ (the tendrils of paisley wrapping themselves around the bird). The title is a reference to the book of the same name released in 1988, the title of which struck a chord with me as a youth.

This egg is dedicated to the memory of one on the nicest blokes I have had the pleasure of meeting – Nick Linney.

If you haven’t read my previous post – the eggs from The Big Egg Hunt will be auctioned to raise money for Starship Children’s Hospital

Egg at WCC

See it on display in the foyer of WCC just off Civic Square in Wellington
NB Sadly it is not open during the weekend

And you can bid for it on TradeMe – all proceeds to Starship Hospital

An eggciting new project


Late last year I was approached by Starship Foundation (along with a bunch of other well known New Zealand artists and designers including  Greg O’Brien, John Reynolds, John Pule, Dick Frizzell, Max Gimblett, Karl Maughan, David Trubridge, Nigel Brown, Seraphine Pick, Hannah Jensen, Dame Trelise Cooper and Denise L’Estrange-Corbet.) and asked if I would decorate a giant fibreglass egg which would be auctioned off to raise money for the hospital.

This Easter the eggs will be hidden across Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch for 33 days, from 21 March to 22 April and members of the public will be able to join the egg hunt either for fun or to compete for the currently under-wraps grand prize. The Whittaker’s Big Egg Hunt will raise funds for the Starship Foundation, a charity supporting the national children’s hospital to provide world-leading care for almost 120,000 patient visits each year. All 100 eggs will be auctioned off for Starship – 80 of them on Trade Me, and 20 of them at a gala event in April.

I can’t reveal the design of my egg until next week but I can show you the photo I took of it on Seatoun Beach before I started painting on it (see above).

Watch this space for more news – I will update when I can show the finished egg.

Get involved – It is a fantastic cause!

More about the project:

About the Starship Foundation: Starship is New Zealand’s national children’s hospital. There are nearly 120,000 patient visits to Starship Children’s Health every year by children from all over New Zealand.

Full screen Kermadec web-o-net goodness!

Kemadec website


Fresh on the inter-webo-net. The brand new official Kermadec exhibition website in all its full screen image goodness. Plenty to look at, read, video’s, artist bios … you name it. Pretty much the Kermadec Book online + more . Features work by all the Kermadec artists: (Phil Dadson,Bruce FosterFiona HallGregory O’BrienJohn PuleJohn ReynoldsElizabeth ThomsonRobin White) Darn fine!

More on the Kermadec Project

Wakey Wakey Wakey

Wakey Wakey Wakey

Wakey Wakey Wakey 2012 Acrylic on board 950 x 1350

I decided to hand-paint a’poster’ as a bit of a visual record of the Kermadec trip.  As well as our pseudo mascot the flying fish there is an aspect of each artist or their work intertwined with the stories of the Kermadec region and artist voyage.

The original painting and signed limited edition prints of the poster (330 x 483mm) are available – See the Kermadecs works for sale page

More about the Kermadec trip and exhibition

Exhibition opens in Tonga

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A slightly smaller scale version of the Kermadec exhibition has opened at the New Zealand High Commission in Nuku’alofa, Tonga this week.
Happy to report that the exhibition, the opening (attended by HRH Princess Latufuipeka Halaevalu Mata’aho Tuku’aho, the workshops, the school visits, and artist talks are all a huge hit – with fantastic attendance, feedback and coverage. And the exhibition looks fantastic too!
By the end of next week over 1,700 primary school children will have visited the exhibition. In addition some of the artists (Robin White, Gregory O’Brien, John Pule and Elizabeth Thomson and Bronwyn Golder will have visited more than a dozen schools – will send some pics of those visits shortly.
The Princess (daughter of the King), Australian High Commissioner, NZ High Commissioner, Japanese Ambassador, Minister of Tourism, the High Court Judge (a Kiwi in Tonga), school teachers, church leaders, and cultural leaders attended the Exhibition opening.

The exhibition will run from 22 May to 1 June 2012

More about the exhibition

Gregory O’Brien : Beauties of the Octagonal Pool

One of my fellow Kermadec artist, the super talented Greg O’Brien has a show on in Auckland soon.

Beauties of the Octagonal Pool
Feb 13 – March 10, 2012
Jane Sanders ART Agent
Level 1, Blackett’s Building, cnr Shortland and Queen Streets, Auckland. Phone 64-9 358 2625 mobile 027 280 9822

Opening Sunday February 12th at 3 for 3.30 pm – Guest speaker C.K. Stead. Exhibition preview and poetry book launch in association with Auckland University Press

In May last year O’Brien and eight fellow artists were invited by PEW Environment Group to visit the Kermadecs; an area National Geographic describes as “one of the last pristine sites in our oceans”. The experience resonated with O’Brien and the results can be seen in this stunning new suite of paintings and works on paper. These will be accompanied by a suite of original drawings, which feature, alongside O’Brien’s poems, in his new collection. A number of other recent drawings, paintings and etchings of a littoral nature will also be on show.

More info

Tauranga Art Gallery first to host major new exhibition

From the Tauraga Art Gallery website:

Summer visitors to the Tauranga Art Gallery will be among the first in the world to see work in a significant new exhibition, Kermadec.

Kermadec is an exhibition of all-new work by nine South Pacific artists, inspired by a unique expedition along the Kermadec Trench. It features work by artists including Te Puke-born Dame Robin White, Wellington-based poet and artist Gregory O’Brien, sculptor Elizabeth Thomson, and installation artist John Reynolds.

Completing the line-up are printmaker and novelist John Pule, photographers Jason O’Hara and Bruce Foster, inter-media artist Phil Dadson, and acclaimed Australian artist Fiona Hall.

The artists travelled on board the HMNZS Otago to one of the least known wilderness areas in the world. The Kermadecs, located between New Zealand’s North Island and Tonga, is home to a diverse range of wildlife and marine life, and also has a series of underwater volvanoes and a deep-sea trench. Tauranga plays first host to the exhibition as it is the closest public art gallery to the Kermadec Trench.

Gallery Director Penelope Jackson says in light of recent events around the Rena stranding, the exhibition offers a more positive angle about the ocean, which is quite literally at our back door.

“This is not just an exhibition of pretty pictures of the South Pacific but rather showcases how a group of contemporary artists were inspired and affected by their voyage. Each of them has taken the South Pacific to a different level, whether it is Elizabeth Thomson looking at the micro worlds on Raoul Island or Dame Robin White’s  tapa cloth that tells, in part, the stories of migration.”

Artist Gregory O’Brien says the trip in May was intense.

“It was rough and noisy and busy. Everyone was working pretty much every second of the way. The intensity of it was surprising,” he says.

The artists involved were a dynamic, diverse and positive group of people.

“What’s going to make it a great show is that it has very diverse ingredients and characters, kind of like the ingredients for a really good soup.”

The Kermadec Initiative is a project of the Global Ocean Legacy programme of the Pew Environment Group. As a supporter of the artists’ voyage and exhibition, The Pew Environment Group is looking to raise awareness about one of the greatest, least known, natural ocean wilderness areas on the planet.

“We took artists to the Kermadecs so they could experience its scale, see its surface and imagine the diversity of its depths,” said Bronwen Golder, director of Pew’s Kermadecs Initiative.

“I watched the artists gather impressions and emotions from the Kermadec ocean and its islands, and with them, begin to conjure words and images.”

Kermadec opens in full to the public on Saturday 19 November and runs through until Sunday 5 February 2012.

See the Tauranga Gallery website

9 artists went to sea,sea, sea!

Well to be more accurate I  should say that “9 artists (including me) will go to sea, sea, sea.”

I am very excited to be able to say that I will be joining 8 of this countries top artists on a voyage of discovery to the Kermadec Islands and then join them in an exhibition in Tauranga Art Gallery in November. The trip is funded by the US based  Pew Environment Group.

I think the best way for me to accurately describe what is going on is to quote from the document produced to promote the trip:

“In May 2011, a group of leading artists from the South Pacific region will travel on HMNZS Otago to a place rarely explored – the seas around the Kermadec Islands.

The “seariders” heading to the Kermadec region are Niuean-born John Pule; painter John Reynolds; inter-media-artist Phil Dadson; leading Australian sculptor/installation artist Fiona Hall; Wellington- based sculptor Elizabeth Thomson; Te Puke-born painter and print maker Robin White; documentary film-maker and photographer Bruce Foster; photographer/artist Jason O’Hara; and writer-artist Gregory O’Brien.In November 2011, an exhibition of the artists’ work – Kermadec – will open at the Tauranga Art Gallery.

The Kermadec Ridge (the undersea formation which includes Raoul Island where the artists will spend two days) is geologically linked with the Tauranga area. The Ridge stretches northwards from the Bay of Plenty, as far as the Tongan Trench. Through shipping, fishing, voyaging, migration, history, mythology, meteorology and geology, the Kermadecs are very much a part of Bay of Plenty reality. This exhibition will enhance these connections in new and illuminating ways.The Kermadec Islands are the most remote part of New Zealand . Despite their historical as well as mythological significance, public awareness of the islands and surrounding waters is slight. The voyage and exhibition aim to change that by documenting a unique, imaginatively-charged encounter with one of the greatest, least known, natural wilderness areas on the planet.”

All I can say is … This is going to be bloody great!

This years whale

Whataitai 2010

WHATAITAI – 2010 Acrylic on canvas with burnt reclaimed hardwood 1015 x 775 – Sold

Another whale to mark another year. This is painted on canvass with a base of reclaimed burnt timber from the house fire illustrated in the painting. Other details represent the capture of great white shark, the local whiskey drinkers club, Ross the ‘cave man’, the tsunami (that almost didn’t happen) and my parents moving into a home. This time the whale is a Southern Right to represent the recent visitor to Breaker Bay.

See it on my website


THE SPECTATORS – 2009 Acrylic on canvas and burnt hardwood 915 x 585

On Sunday the 7th of June this year a house fire in Breaker Bay left a mother and daughter with nothing but the clothes they stood in. It was an incredibly dramatic fire and many of the residents of the close community of Breaker Bay stood in silent witness as the firemen contained the spread of the fire.

It was a powerfully emotional experience for all.

This painting features wood from the remains of the house and depicts the owner, her daughter and community watching the fire while the gallant firemen fight it.


Proceeds from the sale went to the mother and daughter.

Coffee 32 on The Terrace in Wellington (owned by the lovely Marg and Owen)

Below are photos from the day of the fire:

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge