Zoe Alford

APANZ (Artist Member of the Pastel Artists of NZ )

I live in Gisborne on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. For the past 20 years or so I’ve been painting primarily in pastels. I’m the Vice President of the Pastel Artists of New Zealand. My work has won National Awards and is held in local, national, and international collections.

Please contact me for purchases or commissions.

In the landscapes around Tairāwhiti (and elsewhere) at various times of the day and year, I find fascinating aspects that capture my eye and evoke a response in me. My attempt to capture these aspects and sensations in my paintings comes from the desire to preserve and share my experience with others. It’s an enjoyable challenge to interpret the scene in a way that conveys this.

Over the past 20 years I have found that using soft pastels affords me the best chance of conveying my interpretations. It’s highly tactile – a marriage of drawing and painting. Because I don’t have to mix colours before application (although I can on the painting’s surface) and I don’t have to wait for the pigments to dry, I’m able to work quickly, gesturally, and creatively. Pastels are especially user-friendly for sketching en plein air. The pigments are as bright as I could wish, and the pastels themselves invite unique mark-making impossible to achieve with liquid pigments (i.e., acrylics or oils). The crystal structure of the pigments in pastels means I can create light in my paintings which is much more than an illusion, with the ambient light actually refracting off the crystals.

As well as a creative exercise, painting for me is an intellectual challenge. It is a process of taking something apart, examining its individual components and understanding how they work together to create an overall image. I look for the best composition, how the colours might work together, how the values could work to draw the viewers’ attention to the focal point, what I can add, and what I can leave out. It’s like taking something apart to see how it works, with the tremendous pleasure of putting it back together afterwards in a way that creates something new.

%d bloggers like this: