Kirsty Nixon, one of New Zealand's foremost artists portraying iconic Kiwi beach and coastal scenes, is staging her biggest solo exhibition in Devonport during the final weeks of the Rugby World Cup tournament.
Nixon will offer 15 of her best Kiwi beach and coastal paintings at Devonport's Art by the Sea Gallery from October 8 to 27.
She focuses on warm emotive Kiwi beach scenes which evoke memories of summer holidays spanning the generations. Her paintings usually include cabbage trees, toetoe, nikau, flax and pohutukawa.
''I just love cabbage trees. They are striking pieces of nature: sculptural and iconic. To me they just scream: New Zealand. I remember visiting Tauranga Bay up north and the whole road winding in had the most awesome crowd of cabbage trees, it just went on and on. I have often thought to leave them out in my paintings but have resigned myself to the fact that any of my paintings just don't look finished without one or more of them in it.''
Nixon said she is passionate about New Zealand and especially the coastal landscape. She likes to add kiwiana such as the old caravan or boat shed which implies a sense of nostalgic holiday connection for nearly every Kiwi.
Her exhibition paintings next month feature beaches and coastal scenes in the Bay of Islands, the Coromandel, Mahurangi, Piha, Matauri Bay, Rangitoto and Tauwharanui near Omaha.
''With such rapid development and changes taking place on NZ's coastline, my paintings are beginning to take on greater provenance as a slice of history of simple old-fashioned beach holidays which are slowly eroding away.
''The feedback that I get from people is that it reminds them of childhood summers at the beach. I will continue these themes and other rapidly uncluttered Kiwi beach scenes as we are growing rapidly through the 21st century.
''The Coromandel features most in this show. Nothing I have done of this place has done the day justice until now and I just wanted to keep painting. I think I love it so much because there is not one big mansion there to spoil it. Don't get me wrong I'm all for moving ahead but I do think some special places need preserving for sanity's sake.
''Each place I photograph in readiness for painting always has a story behind it. The day I took the images for Matauri Bay was spectacular as well. I remember coming over the hill and looking down into that glorious beach with all the caravans, makeshift loos and old vans lined up along the coastline.
''It's not so much that I don't want places developed. I just don't want every beach developed. Matarangi in the Coromandel is a lovely area but it really is a mini city with its perfect houses. And there is a place for that. Yet five minutes around the corner Kuoautunu is how it all used to be. There is something wonderful about having these places to escape to, away from the trappings we have become so used to. I wasn't brought up in a camping family and do like my home comforts, but now find that when I am able to get away from the city and away from all the stimulation advertising hoardings and TV etc. provide, I am never more relaxed.''
Nixon was born and educated in Auckland and has been painting seriously for more than 20 years. Her style, clear bright palette affirms her love of New Zealand scenery.
''There is just so much to be happy about in life in general and in this country in particular, and this is what my work concerns. The events in Christchurch in the last 12 months only endorse our desire to enjoy our beach holidays and protect what we love about the coast.''
To see more of Kirsty's work, visit http://www.kirstynixon.co.nz/