Visiting artists capture ambience

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When it comes to painting a masterpiece, there is no time like the present — so long as the light is right.

That was the case for Auckland artists Judy Moresby and Russell Hollings while passing by Cromwell’s Heritage Precinct recently.

Travelling with their easels, paint and brushes, they pulled up by Lake Dunstan and got to work.

Moresby chose the lake and surrounding landscape as her subject, while Hollings focused on the buildings, including the Victoria Arms Hotel.

The pair had a few hours to take advantage of the light at the time they started painting.

‘‘The main thing is you are trying to capture the feeling of the light, either in the morning or the late afternoon.’’

Once that changes, the opportunity to complete the work disappears, he said.

‘‘You are trying to catch the feel, the mood of the place, the ambience.’’

The duo had based themselves near Arrowtown earlier in the week, but while out and about discovered an opportunity in Cromwell, a place they had both once painted in before.

‘‘We were heading to Tarras and got side-tracked here and it’s beautiful,’’ Moresby said.

Setting the scene … Taking a brief moment away from her work is Judy Moresby, who was capturing the landscape in Cromwell last week.
PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

It was a much different landscape to the one they had been working from the day before.

‘‘Yesterday we were painting on the outskirts of Arrowtown. We painted an old Bedford Truck in a field,’’ Hollings said.

The process from start to finish is just a matter of hours, otherwise the light changes too much, he said.

Getting the drawing right, including the composition and scale was paramount.

‘‘You can’t just make do, it has to be accurate otherwise it will all look out of proportion.’’

Hollings has been painting for 50 years and Moresby for 10.

Hollings will have some of his works on display in Queenstown in the near future, after he was invited to supply some of his paintings of the area to Central Art Gallery Queenstown.