I have just been reunited with one of my old paintings. I painted it so long ago that I couldn’t remember quite the year or time or place. I had to do some memory-and-photo-album searching for clues. My sister, Jeannie, returned this painting to me on a recent trip to New Zealand. It is now the oldest art work in my possession; between 39 and 40 years old!
The photo I painted this from was taken in 1983 on my first trip back to New Zealand after moving to Sydney the previous year. I remember I was walking down Colombo Street in Christchurch and it was a most perfect winter’s day. As I walked, dramatic clouds began forming over the Port Hills. They heralded a southerly change after which there was no more blue sky but mist, rain and bleak mid-winter cold.
Here I am during that trip (in Stokes Valley, Wellington) with Jonathan and Marie; my nephew and niece. (Remember those 1980’s pullovers? Princess Diana wore one.)
A visit to the Clements family in Beckenham. I wasn’t married back then but now these are some of my brothers- and sisters-in-law, and nephew, Joseph. And Friend, Sarah.
At Christchurch Airport – my brother, Max, my sister-in-law, Clare, and friend, Sarah. I was returning to Sydney, Australia.
I was able to date “Southerly Change” to before I had my first baby who was born in October 1984. Here I am pregnant and waiting for the event – with the painting as part of the bedroom scenery.
Once the baby (Emily) arrived it was difficult to paint but I kept going and here is a photo (and painting) from early 1985.
What fun it is to have “Southerly Change” back and to reconnect with memories of that era. I am grateful to Jeannie for keeping things.
To see more oil paintings from the 1980s and 1990s of New Zealand click here
Oh Julie, what a wonderful stroll down memory lane you have had! What a talented and fascinating story you tell. Your oils are absolutely beautiful of course! Did you ever hold your own exhibition in New Zealand? Thank you for telling and showing us your memories; they are indeed very special.
Hi Joy, I’m glad you like it. I must say, I enjoyed getting this post together. It took a bit of detective work. Yes, I did exhibit in New Zealand, both in Wellington and Christchurch. That was way back when. But it is too hard to exhibit in NZ when you live in Australia; import taxes, freight costs etc. I couldn’t be bothered carrying on with it. Easier to exhibit in the city where you live.
This is so interesting to me Julie, to see these photos of some of your history and Max and Clare in their youth. What a beautiful young mother and baby pic! I’m glad Jeannie was able to part with that painting.
Thanks Sue. I thought you in particular would be interested in this due to the location. On that walk I was on my way to visit Barbara and family. Or perhaps I had visited and was walking further on, can’t quite remember. On that visit baby Joseph was plonked on my lap and immediately cried. I failed the baby test! ps Just added a photo of some members of the Clements family from that visit.
Loved reading this Julie! To me, the painting looks like the top of Colombo St near the intersection with Centaurus Road, a corner I’d have passed frequently en roue to Cashmere High School.
I remember that I had a cold in that photo 😆 Can’t believe how many layers everyone is wearing!!
Yes you are exactly right about where the location is. My wording wasn’t the best. When I wrote I couldn’t remember the year, time or place I was referring to when and where I painted the picture.
Ha – fancy you remembering you had a cold! Sorry ’bout that!
How wonderful to have your memories back through a painting. It’s the little things in life that bring us joy.
Thanks, Diane. Yes, it was lots of fun going back through mental and physical records – a little adventure.
A wonderful post. I enjoyed it very much. Thank you.
I am so glad. Thanks for letting me know!
A lovely collection of your paintings Julie, showing your artwork, your family, and views of N.Z. – one of my very favourite places.
Thanks very much, Brigitte.
Julie , thank you so much for sharing pictures of your paintings ! what a great body of work ! So good that you have documented what you have done over the years – and it is so consistently brilliant . A big pat on the back you may give to yourself !
Thanks Judy. Mostly I’ve documented my paintings but there are holes in my documentation. For instance I had not documented this painting. I don’t even remember what I called it originally. I made up the name “Southerly Change” on Saturday when I was writing my blog post. Therefore I should not give myself TOO big a pat on the back.
Reuniting with pictures from your past can produce mixed feelings can’t it – it seems that this one has been a wonderfully positive experience! You can see clearly this is your work, yet it is very different from your work of today. I think this is a good thing, shows a progression! Doing the research and going down memory lane must have been fun!
This WAS a positive experience and it was interesting to delve back into two thirds of a lifetime ago. When my framer returns from his vacation I look forward to getting this framed. It is a 40 year old painting that has never been graced with a frame.
I had fun putting this image on the FB site “Remembering Christchurch”. It got a lot of attention as people debated on what these buildings had been. Some thought a post office but consensus seemed to be that the little building on the right had been a police station – and some people even remembered the name of the policeman in charge.