On the Solway
James Johnstone, Oil on canvas. UC/MBL/2236.
Likely completed whilst on a trip back to his home country of Scotland, On the Solway is an oil painting of a small town on the southwest coast called Gatehouse of Fleet; which we can deduce from his own inscription on the reverse. Upon his return to New Zealand, he exhibited some of these paintings in Christchurch, and in the Group Show of 1938, he exhibited a painting that was also titled On the Solway. While we cannot be entirely certain that this is the same painting, it is not unlikely, and places the painting in the context of an experimental group of artists working in Canterbury. The painting itself shows a rocky, windswept coast under a textured grey sky, with a band of bright white clouds. In an interview, Ngarita Johnstone – James’ daughter – talked of her own obsession with clouds, and says that it was her father that taught her to first look at them when she was about eight – shortly before this painting was completed.
James Johnstone : A selection of artworks
Click on the thumbnails to discover more about this striking selection of artworks by James Johnstone. Images selected and written about by Alice Tappenden.