Becroft Gallery

Read about our upcoming and current exhibitions in our Main Building's Becroft Gallery


Ihumatao: A Unique Landscape - Russell Hollings

Sunday 11 September 2022 - Friday 30 September 2022

Russell John Hollings

Ihumatao - A Unique Landscape

Opening celebration: 4pm Sunday 11th September, Becroft Gallery

Artist talk: 11am, Saturday 17th September, Becroft Gallery

Artist Biography


Born Otahuhu, Auckland (1948).

"Some years ago when I was residing in Ponsonby, I was looking for an area close to home that I could resonate with and find inspirational as a plein air artist. I started to explore this area at the back of Mangere Mountain and found it to be exactly what I was looking for.
Old farming areas (which reminded me of South Auckland where I grew up, and began my journey as an artist), beautiful coastal areas with the wonderful Manukau Harbour as a backdrop, ancient volcanic outcrops, Otuataua Stonefields, and these wonderful old farm buildings which appealed to me as an artist.
This is one of the most historic areas in Auckland where Maori first settled in Tamaki Makaurau more than 800 years ago, which they originally use for market gardening and farming.
So began my obsession with recording in paint this extraordinary area, which I wanted to document before the land was sold up, and large commercial buildings began to dominate the landscape and change the face of it forever.
My working methods:
I work from observation and experience, and draw and paint what inspires me and I hope to confirm that what I paint is of lasting importance. 
With plein air painting it is coming to terms with the landscape, immediate response and seizing the moment, and working quickly.
Translating a subject into paint is a challenging and often mysterious business. I look for immediate response and begin to assess the composition, the tonal qualities, the colour, and the contrasting light and shadow.
I work principally in oils and I paint on prepared panels, canvas boards and stretched canvas. I always work on a suitably toned ground and immediately state the darkest dark and the lightest light.
I also work in Gouache, watercolour, acrylic, pastel and mixed media. I use a variety of artists quality papers and matt board.
For studio work (excluding still life), I use my extensive collection of sketchbooks and small colour notes (which are produced in situ) and provide me with endless information and ideas.
My larger landscapes and abstract works are produced in the studio from my artists notes and studies.
All of my still life paintings are painted from direct observation from the subject. I work for a period of perhaps say an hour, and then continue on other days under a similar light until I feel I have said enough, with possibly up to 10 sessions with much scraping back and re-working. 
After 50 years at the easel and over 38 solo shows, this gives you an introduction to my working methods."

- Russell Hollings