Cobden recreation area



Forever Changing

The coast line of the South Islands West Coast, constantly in a state of change with a continuous cycle of destruction and renewal, occasionally pausing to take a breath before the smallest movement starts a new cycle.
A series of four watercolour paintings, Forever Changing – is a moment in time when the inhabitants of Cobden beach make use of the discarded remains of our human history to take a breath, and have a break from the constant unrest.

The series was created as an alternative to a traditional mural for the beautification project at the Cobden Recreation Area, and an opportunity to push the boundaries of the artist and his preferred medium. This series was designed as one continuous image that could wrap around two corners of a building

But because scanning and material restrictions, was created in four parts. It wasn’t until the panels were assembled and installed onsite before the whole image was seen as the artist intended. After the completion of each painting they were scanned and printed twice their size onto panels. The panels were then cut around the contour of the picture removing most of the white space using a router table, before being fixed 24mm off the wall giving a floating appearance and adding more depth to the paintings.

Including the research and painting this labor of love took over 550 hours.

Cobden beach, stage 1 complete


The Resting Place

The first painting completed is as much a reminder of our past and how we came here, as it is a tranquil scene of a little Shag at rest sunning
The Shag’s perch or pile of weathered timber is the remains of the schooner Gipsy. The Gipsy was a small sailing ship chartered in Nelson by Arthur D Dobson to give him passage to the West Coast, so he could carry out his survey work and explore.

Because of unsettled weather,Arthur sailed up and down the coast surveying what he could from the deck of the Gipsy until conditions were favorable enough to attempt the crossing of the treacherous Greymouth bar. On Sunday, 13th, 1863, at high-tide around 1 p.m the attempt was made with fatal consequences for the Gipsy. The Gipsy lost control on higher than expected waves and was pushed North East, sending the little schooner on a collision course with the driftwood hills covering the Cobden beach, and in doing so becoming the first recorded shipwreck in the area.
  Luckily no one was seriously hurt in the beaching of the Gipsy. Arthur in later years, discovered a new route through the Southern Alps, making travel from Canterbury to the West Coast safer. The Gipsy was never re-floated, spending its final years resting on the beach until some years later it went up in a blaze of glory when the driftwood piles were burnt to make easier access up the beach.

A Safe Place to Nest

  Slightly contradictory to say a net is safe, but this painting illustrates how resilient nature can be if left to its own devices, and how the
wildlife in it can look at something originally intended to capture and kill and see only a warm safe nurturing environment.
On the hostile stony shoreline nestled amongst driftwood and the decaying remains of the Gypsy, a pair of banded Dotterel make use of a discarded fishing net with glass floats. These glass floats were in used during the early 20th century. These glass floats were painted as a connection to the larger fishing fleet of the 20th century in Greymouth, and the industry that help sustain it and the coast.

White-faced heron, watercolour 290mm x 420mm



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