Painting and pottery in Darfield

by Kent Caddick

One of New Zealand’s foremost watercolourists and a local potter will be part of the latest exhibition at the Selwyn Gallery in Darfield.

Painter Bernadette Parsons and potter Allan Hooper along with Debbie Lambert will feature in the Oil and Water exhibition, which opens in the gallery on May 4.

Malvern Community Arts Council arts coordinator, Katrina Ellis, said a love of the natural environment, and an influence of spontaneity, threads the three artists together in the May exhibition.

“While this title of the exhibition, Oil and Water, suggests two paint media it has yet another meaning for this show, since it includes two very different kinds of art — painting and pottery.”

Bernadette Parsons, who has been painting for more than 20 years, is regarded as one of New Zealand’s foremost watercolourists.

Her work is held in private collections nationally and internationally, while books about painting include her work.

She is passionate about painting the humble landscapes near her home, the Whangamarino Wetland area in Mercer.

“Spontaneity is something I value most in my paintings, as this is what will make them special,” Bernadette said.

“Watercolour is a medium that you work with in a partnership allowing it a freedom, which create never to be repeated happenings.”

Allan Hooper was working as a general engineer when he became interested in working with clay.

After a visit to the Darfield Brickworks in 1972 searching for a specific kind of brick to build a smelting furnace, he began to read about pottery, kilns, and the processes involved in working with clay.

He engineered his own potter’s wheel, as well as other machinery and tools for working in clay and with the knowledge and skill he developed, he was able to open Albion Brick and Pottery in Darfield early in 1984.

Now in his seventies, Mr Hooper still enjoys working with clay and firing up his kiln.

Debbie Lambert is a popular tutor and artist of oils and watercolour both in the studio and outdoors.

Recent trips to the Arthur’s Pass and Greymouth regions have resulted in her current works, which celebrate the moods and diversity of the countryside in oils.

The Oil and Water exhibition opens on May 4 and runs through until May 31.