Untitled [Woodend Beach]
James Johnstone, 1945, Oil on canvas. UC/MBL/2217
Though James Johnstone was primarily a teacher in design and metalwork, and is best known for his contributions to the development of design in Canterbury, his artistic practice was not exclusive to these mediums. From his arrival in New Zealand in 1926, he regularly exhibited oil and watercolour paintings. Many of these were set locally, and Johnstone often chose to paint the same spots several times. The Camp, Woodend is one of several paintings which depict the Johnstone’s summer holiday at Canterbury’s Woodend Beach. The Woodend camping ground is situated in a pine forest, which provides shelter from the burning summer sun. Through dappled sunlight, we are presented with the view of the family tent. Its simplicity adds to the idyllic, isolated feel of the painting. The addition of a figure is unusual for Johnstone, whose landscapes are almost always devoid of people and even buildings. Walking towards the tent, the blonde haired woman wears a light blue dress. Though her face is unrecognisable, Johnstone’s daughter Ngarita feels that it is most likely to be her mother, Bessie.
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.