Oil Pastel on Archival Paper
19.25 x 25.25 inches
This is the first painting I made during my year long stay in New Zealand (2014-1015). It was inspired by a solo trip into the Urewera, a vast region of forested land 3 hours west of Gisborne. The Urewera are a forested mountain range that housed the last strongholds of the Maori resistance to English colonization. They are also the rumored home of the mystical tribes referred to in folklore as the “Children of the Mist”. Waikareiti is a small lake found a few kilometers down a rugged footpath from the larger and more famous Lake Waikaremoana. As with most of my explores in New Zealand, I found myself there utterly alone… no other visitors at all. Though I returned to this lake repeatedly, my first venture to it left me in a state of visual shock. I had no idea what the trees and plants were called, but they struck me, at the time, as life forms emerging from the imagination of Dr. Seuss. The lake and its surroundings are incredibly pristine. The water glimmers myriad shades of hot blue. In the center of Lake Waikareiti is an island with another lake on it, whose waters, the tradition of the Maori, have healing properties. Access to this island is now forbidden, due to the risk of the unintentional introduction of new species and disease.
The trail to Waikareiti.
Tree ferns found along the trail to the lake.
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