Untitled [Woodend Beach]

Untitled [Woodend Beach], James Johnstone, 1945, Oil on canvas. UC/MBL/2217

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.

Allandale Springtime, James Johnstone, c. 1953. Oil on Canvas. UC/MBL/2330
Untitled [Botanical Drawing], James Johnstone, Graphite and watercolour on paper, 1920. UC/MBL/2133
Untitled [Design for Chalice], James Johnstone, Pencil and ink drawing on paper, Date unknown. UC/MBL/2061
Untitled [Sheet of sketches for decimal currency], James Johnstone, Graphite, pen and ink on paper, c. 1966. UC/MBL/2138
Diploma of the Edinburgh College of Art, presented to James Alexander Johnstone, 1920. UC/MBL/2151
Floral Design, James Johnstone, Graphite and watercolour on paper. UC/MBL/2109
Untitled [Head Study], James Johnstone, Charcoal on paper, 1913. UC/MBL/2154
On the Solway, James Johnstone, Oil on canvas. UC/MBL/2236
Untitled [Design for Centennial Stamp, ChristChurch Cathedral], James Johnstone, c. 1949, Watercolour on paper. UC/MBL/2103
Untitled [The Camp, Woodend], James Johnstone, 1945, Oil on canvas. UC/MBL/2212
Untitled [Woodend Beach], James Johnstone, 1945, Oil on canvas. UC/MBL/2217
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