“Southern Splash” Akaroa Gallery

Saturday 30th of January until Sunday 21st February 2021

In April 2019 approximately 35 members of Watercolour NZ descended on Akaroa for their annual South island “paintaway”.

A truly special time spent painting around Akaroa’s historical French township and its harbour of many bays, peninsulas and tidal flats. The “Show and tell” on Sunday night produced quite a stunning variety of paintings.

Akaroa is also home to our very special Nancy Tichborne whose husband Bryan, who was at the time president of the Akaroa Gallery, is credited with the suggestion that Watercolour New Zealand have an exhibition for its South lsland members at the Akaroa Gallery. l was charged with the task of rounding up the troops for this event. As the Akaroa Gallery is quite small, there was a limit to how many artists could participate. Bryan and his very professional team organised the dates and times while l provided the usual exhibition list of “things to do” with which most exhibitors had had experience.

The opening night of “Southern Splash“ was just like old times with masses of people, plenty of food and wine supplied by the Akaroa gallery members, lots of happy noise and chatter and, l’m delighted to report, record opening night sales for the gallery.

The occasion was also very special because of the artists who travelled to Akaroa for the opening. Claire Forbes from Timaru, Sue Simpson, Diana Marshall, Debbie Lambert and Lynda Scott from Ashburton, Fiona Carruthers from Hokitika, Roy Boston from Blenheim, Sue Currie from Chartaris Bay, Svetlana Orinko from Christchurch and of course Nancy (who just had to walk down the road), and me! Other exhibitors were Gary Hopkinson from Kumara Junction and Jane Smith from Tasman. Sue Wild from Wellington who had been (as she described) in the engine room of Watercolour NZ for many years, was our guest artist and her delightful little paintings of her European travels were popular.

Considering the diversity of styles, subjects, sizes and the shape of the gallery, the volunteers did a great job of presenting the exhibition and l’m pleased to see that they rotate the paintings to give all artists maximum exposure.

l often tell the story of one of my more enlightening watercolour moments when l was informed that my watercolours could be exhibited in this particular (unnamed) gallery “because my work was a good example of an
outmoded medium.” That was almost 30 years ago and now it’s so gratifying to see the membership of Watercolour NZ and the popularity of watercolour growing every year despite the derision of some arts academics.

Our first “Southern Splash” exhibition has been a wonderful occasion and a great success.

See you in Methven,

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