These paintings are from my most recent collection
Why I paint alla prima
As an oil painter, my style is probably best described as realist impressionism. I choose to paint alla prima as it is technically the simplest method of painting, and it best suits the way I work. This procedure forces you to work quickly and complete the entire painting ‘wet-in-wet’. It allows you to blend colours easier, and in my opinion, achieves a much livelier result.
The greatest advantage of oils is that the medium is more receptive to different techniques. It can be applied in smooth thin coats, thick vigorous coats, or whatever you choose for the area of the painting you are working on.
I use synthetic brushes because they hold their shape better and last longer.
ABOUT DON HILL
…and those who have inspired me
“The secret to so many artists living so long is that
every painting is a new adventure. So, you see,
they’re always looking ahead to something new
Painting has always fascinated me for as long as I can remember, but it was only a hobby, it was something I messed around with in my spare time. As I entered my early 20s I found a need to better my skills. The urge to do something about it was always there, but where to start?
One day in Wellington, I discovered an artist that would have a major impact on my artistic aspirations (though I didn’t know this at the time). I accidently stumbled upon a John Crump exhibition at McGregor Wrights Gallery. I spent the next few hours drooling over his paintings. I was even more excited to learn he lived not far from me in the Wairarapa, I was determined to meet this man so I knocked on his door one day. I introduced myself and tried to explain why I was there. Seeing his paintings in the hallway, I said “I want to paint like that!” He repiled “Well then, you’d better come in!”. I never forgot that, and I felt privileged to be there after arriving unannounced. He invited me to come along with him in his old VW Kombie one afternoon and observe him painting outdoors (plein aire) – I made the coffee! It was a great experience and he finished the painting in about 2 hours.
I still believe that single chance meeting with John, propelled me forward and gave me the inspiration to be where I am today.
The transition from having a regular job and becoming a full time painter though, is a long and sometimes frustrating process, and when raising a family it becomes almost an impossibility. Priorities take over and the brushes were put aside for long periods. Many years later, I finally made it, and began painting full time. For the last 20 years I have been lucky enough to exhibit in some of the best galleries in New Zealand.
As far as subjects go, one of my favourites is the snow capped high country of the South Island. I especially enjoy painting stockmen with their horses and dogs – it adds to the landscape and evokes strong feelings of nostalgia for a way of life that is increasingly disappearing.
I now live on a small rural property, just south of Wanganui. It is central to many beautiful areas of native bush, spectacular coastline and the magnificent Whanganui River. From my studio, I enjoy the view of surrounding farmland and a distant glimpse of Mount Ruapehu.