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Central Otago art lovers have yet another gallery to peruse with the opening, by appointment only, of the home studio of artist Darren Roberts.

Mr Roberts and his wife, Ali, moved to Alexandra from Queenstown, where he said they lived for 18 years “and got caught up with all the busy-ness” of the resort.

They built a home gallery nestled among vineyards in Letts Valley and he now has the environment and time to commit seriously to painting again.

He said he had always been drawn to art; he trained as an illustrator and graphic artist when young, then worked in that field for about four years before heading overseas and becoming “a bit of a nomad”.

He played softball in both the United States and Australia, and said the game, art and travel were his life at that time.

“Wherever I was, the first thing that I would do is go look at the galleries.”

Until recently, his works had been primarily realist in style, and mostly landscape paintings, and he had been using a boat to get to places in New Zealand he would not otherwise be able to reach.

Lambs were also a pet subject.

However, he was transitioning more towards abstracts and using thicker paints, layering thick oils with a palette knife, his fingers or large calligraphy brushes to create extra depth and texture in his work.

His work can be viewed online on his artistdarrenroberts.com website.