Stock farmer captures landscapes



Time stands still in the landscapes of Richard Parsons, of Waikerikeri Valley near Clyde.
By day Parsons is a beef and sheep farmer, but when twilight approaches he takes up his brush and creates quiet and restful paintings of the mountains, hills and valleys.
‘‘I try to capture the colours and shadows we get in Central Otago.’’

Parsons began painting about 30 years ago when he took night classes run by Neil Driver at Dunstan High School.
Since then his work had become popular both at home and abroad, and he won first place at the Central Otago Art Society Blossom Festival Exhibition twice, in 2010 and 2014.
Working in oil, Parsons used smooth brushstrokes in soft colours that showed the curves and shadows of the landscape.

He usually began by capturing scenes on camera.
‘‘This gives me an idea of what I’m going to do and then I start doing my own thing.’’
With the photo as a reference he created evocative landscapes.
‘‘A lot of the foreground is completely original and the background is just the basic structure.’’

All evidence of human life was removed from his paintings.
‘‘I try to keep it like what it might have looked like 300 years ago.
‘‘It just lays open the landscape to its own devices, you are not cluttering it with anything else.’’

Most of his landscapes were rendered with the muted and misty colours of early morning or twilight ‘‘when you get the best light’’.
‘‘That is when Central Otago shows off its best really.’’

Removing man-made structures like power poles and buildings made the landscapes timeless, he said.
‘‘As soon as you see what man does that puts a timeframe on it.’’

*‘‘Timeless Vistas’’, a solo exhibition by Richard Parsons, will be on display at Eade Gallery in Clyde until February 27.

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