Break Out! Plein Air Drawing Trip to Riverton, New Zealand

After the six week COVID-19 lockdown in New Zealand, it became easier to stay inside due to winter approaching.  Creating my website and YouTube channel took up most of my time.

Late July, about a month after winter solstice, the gradually lengthening daylight and the crisp, clear days, beckoned me to get out of the studio.

Riverton, or Aparima in Te Reo, is a seaside village 40km from Invercargill on the south coast of the South Island of New Zealand.   

Spanning the Jacob’s River estuary and on the west end of Oreti beach, the village is known locally as “The Riviera of the South”. It is a popular spot for the Southland crib, which is a simple, usually unadorned holiday or vacation home for locals. The simple, good life here features plenty of bays in which to swim, surf and fish.

I’m heading to the rocks at Howell’s Point in Taramea Bay. On stormy days, my husband and I love to come watch the waves from the strong current of the Foveaux Strait pound against the ancient volcanic rock formations.

Stewart Island, is seen in the distance.

However, today is a sunny and calm day. I’ve chosen to draw the Sand tussock or hinarepa which are grass-like plants that help stabilise the area. I want my drawings to emphasise the dramatic conditions in which they thrive most days.

The winter seabreeze is cool so I’m sheltering in the back of my vehicle to sketch. The sound of the surf is relaxing and mesmerising. (watch my video to hear it)

After completing my preliminary drawing, I bid farewell to the seaside sheep and head back over the hill to More’s Reserve to enjoy the birdsong and sketch.

The cooler breezy temperatures compel me to enjoy creating in the warmth of my car.  I’m doing a study of the flora of the bush. Taramea Bay and Oreti Beach are in the distance.  The birdsong is incredible.  (You can hear it in the video.)

Back in the studio a few days later, I complete my sketches.  My efforts are spent deeping the values and developing the composition, especially in the distance.

These two sketches were meant to be studies. I’m happy with the results. 


Studio Edits made from Plein Air Studies

Img 2523 - Beverly Claridge, Artist
Sea Tussock at Riverton Rocks
Img 2433 - Beverly Claridge, Artist
Riverton Wharf at Jacobs River Estuary
Img 2521 - Beverly Claridge, Artist
Looking upstream on the Jacobs River Estuary
Img 2407 - Beverly Claridge, Artist
Howell's Point Sheep
Img 2418 - Beverly Claridge, Artist
View From Mores Scenic Reserve
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