Kathryn Carter

Inlets, beaches and coastline punctuated by sheer cliffs dropping into the sea, knotty clumps of pohutukawa clinging to the rocks with flax and bush above and rocks below, white slips of sand with emerald seas reaching offshore toward tiny islands, describes much of NZ 's coastline.

Geographically separated from the mainland but similarly described lie the 600 plus islands of the NZ archipelago.

From the Kermadecs to the Auckland islands and the Chathams to the Bay of Islands they represent many forms. 

From lonely rocky outposts of habitation for plant, sea life and shipwrecked sailors to thriving communities of fishermen and farmers and holidaymakers the islands also hold many manifestations of existence on their shores. 

The islands of the Hauraki Gulf northwards including the Poor Knights and Bay of Islands hold a special visual and experiential interest for me because of their variety of terrain and variation in accessibility. 

Some are barely rocks; the Poor Knights jut out of the sea with high cliffs and archways of stone covered by dense bush clinging to the rock lines while tuis call from the trees. On clear days silver bell like notes ring through the air across ravines reaching the sea below.


The Bay of Islands have a bigger occupational history, the colours, Maori and European cultural history, geography and landforms inspire my painting of these places throughout the days and the seasons. 

One of my notes taken whilst painting describes what I saw one morning near Cape Brett, "after the rain the verdant green bush colours against a cobalt blue and grey sky, a green sea and fresh white breakers. Sunlight hits the bush on the island headland then ochre below and above the great brown black rocks are illuminated as in a theatre".

The range of island landscapes and coastline experiences of mine are described in these paintings. 

Kathryn is interested in painting the effects of light on landscape.

In NZ it is constantly changing with many seasons occurring in a day, and therefore the constant change provides continuous variation in the visual field. She paints in Northland and Auckland and images of Matapouri Bay and the Poor Knights Islands reoccur in her work although the paintings are not always tied to a literal view of the Northland or island landscapes and seascapes. They provide a departure point for an investigation into perceptual experience of seeing .

As the light changes so does perception of what we see. What the land looks like in the morning may be quite different in the middle of the day or the evening. It is the same place but it has changed.

The journey through the day reflects the change that occurs through time and therefore in perception, so the painting of these landscapes represents a desire in the artist to capture the passage of time and the transient nature of light as a metaphor for the fragility of life.

Kathryn paints in inks on archival paper and in oils on board. Both media capture different aspects of the landscape, the oils possessing more solid form, the inks more transparent and delicate.