why this, why now?

I've decided to try out a blog because I seem to have ideas and get ideas all the time, with no central and accessible way of documenting these ideas. It could be ideas for my own personal projects, ideas for teaching design, design inspiration, or a place to put up some of my own design/art/creative stuff.

So here we go, lets see how well it suits my intentions....

Friday, November 11, 2011

More Mt Victoria

the latest work in progress... Lovely old homes on Austin Street, Mt Victoria, Wellington.  
Watch this space for how the painting develops.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Havana Coffee Works, Tory Street, Wellington

Acrylic on canvas - 600 x 300mm.  
A great place to walk past everyday on the way to and from work - or even better as a coffee getaway during the day.  Wellington-ions, if you haven't been yet, check it out!  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Edinburgh 2004

I did this painting while living in Edinburgh in 2004.  Acrylic on canvas 900 x 450 approx (from memory)
This one is similar to the painting I have just completed of a house on Mt Victoria with the lights on inside at dusk.  The thing about this particular one is that it was from quite late at night in the middle of summer when the light stays in the Scottish sky til close to 11pm.  Whereas the Wellington one is more like 5pm on a winters evening.  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dusk in Mt Victoria

200mm x 400mm acrylic on canvas
started, ended and blogged this one all in one day....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Shigeru Ban - proposed design for Christchurch

Japanese Architect Shigeru Ban has come up with a design for a cardboard cathedral for Christchurch.  It was presented on TV3 news on Sunday although this link shows it in more detail.  
Interesting responses from my students when they saw the news article.  I don't think that the idea is as elegant as other temporary/cardboard buildings he has designed, but interesting and debatable nonetheless...
Here are some of his other interesting buildings that are in response to earthquakes....
and this video is really good.....
Shigeru Ban video

shigeru ban, paper bridge, cardboard bridge, structural cardboard, bridge
Cool picture - I love bridges...

an oldie - wellington waterfront - kumutoto series - details

these are details of a painting made up of 3 canvasses which can be arranged either lined up vertically or horizontally   

snippets of the completed painting

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

wild west coast of wellington

Boomrock.  Acrylic on Canvas.  About a metre long.  This was a commission in 2005.  Managed to do the whole thing in less than three weeks.  Am hoping I can pick up the pace on the current one!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

time to paint...

For the latest painting I am hoping to record the process from start to finish.  This is in Wellington, from the city to sea bridge looking down at the lagoon, St Johns and the new Wharewaka, as well as Te Papa in the background. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wellington High School 125 Year Jubilee - Design

Over Easter weekend Wellington High School celebrated 125 years of the school that Riley began - known previously as The School of Design, Wellington Technical College and now Welington High School.  It was a pretty special occasion and I was involved in the design of signage, programmes and photo display aspects of the jubilee.  It was fun to actually produce some design work.  Here are some pics of the signage and photo displays that were spread all over the school.  It was a mammoth job, but pretty satisfying and enjoyable in the end.  Big thanks to everyone who helped - it was a great team effort!

Back and front cover of the programme. 

Signage and photos beyond

color coded levels with different photo desplays on each

other examples of signage in the main foyer

examples of the photo displays and all the ex-students trying to find old photos of themselves

It was also exciting to have the Phoenix Foundation play at the jubilee dinner - they are ex-Wellington High School students, and it was fun having a wee chat with Samuel Flynn Scott himself. 
Loved the old school images projected behind too! 

Joseph Churchward's business cards

It was pretty cool to meet Joseph Churchward at the Wellington High School 125 Year Jubilee. He's a legend typographer who went to the school in the 1940's.  He gave Kylie Merrick and I a collection of his business cards, it started with just one, but then he handed us another and another, because he has so many different designs!  See links to the left for more info. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

thorndon by night

Sunday afternoon's effort.  Coloured pencil on brown paper otherwise detined for the recycle bin.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

good inspiration

Its so cool when you are presented with some new inspirational images and you can link them to other ones....The story goes that years ago when travelling in California I got to see a lot of Richard Diebenkorn's paintings, and loved them especially this one (bottom)  "Cityscape" 1963.  Now, being recently exposed to some of Shaun Tan's amazing books and illustrations, I went in search of more about him.  Now, here on his website, I find this painting (top) called "footpath, Fifth Avenue" 2004, based on his local neighbourhood in Perth.  Cool connection huh!  I'm hoping these images will help provide the inspiration to do some more drawings and paintings of my hood Wellington!  check out Shaun Tan's website.... http://www.shauntan.net/

Frank Gehry

Saturday, February 19, 2011


This is part of a drawing study I did for a painting I am hoping to complete soon.  It is the back view of Gateway flats in Roseneath. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

design sketching - contours and cool copic markers


I showed this video to my students today - its showing how to sketch using contour lines.  Its pretty cool and the year 11 students (hello if you're reading this) reactions were so great - they were overwhelmed at the skill and impressive drawing technique, and some of them thought they would never be able to draw like that, but, what they didn't realise was how many of them produced the greatest drawings of their own designs in the remaining time of the lesson.  It was a good teacher moment.  A good Graphics teacher geek moment. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Buenos Aires Unicorns - Philippe Starck design

This image is for my students - its the crazy white unicorns on the walls in particular that are worth checking out. When I was in Buenos Aires a year ago I made the pilgrimage to one of Philippe Starck's recent interior designs of note, and it really was an amazing experience - see the link to the left for the whole website of this spectacular hotel and its opulant design. 

View from Mount Victoria looking towards Wellington airport

This painting was done back in 2005 when I was at Teachers College.  Its one of my favourite paintings, currently hanging in my lounge.  Acrylic on canvas, 450 x 600 mm.  As yet untitled. 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mt Victoria houses

This drawing was done during winter 2010.  I'm hoping to do some paintings based on this at some stage. 


I really got into painting when I was living in Galway, Ireland.  This is my favourite painting from when I was living there in 2003/2004.  I sold this one and two other paintings of Galway to a local man. This was approx 900mm x 300mm, acrylic on canvas. 

IdN magazine - International designers Network

IdN™ Magazine® — IdN v17n5: Wayfinding+Signage

This is one of my favourite design magazines in terms of inspiring me for ideas for my teaching.  This current issue has sparked an idea for my year 13 Graphics students first design project for the year which will be based on signage, mapping and wayfinding. 
An interesting quote on the cover from Robert Luis Stevenson that "it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive" 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Designers - links

I have started adding links to websites about Designers that interest me and that I use frequently in my teaching.  The intention is that I will keep adding to this so that my students can utilise the links to help inspire their project work and so that they can keep widening their design knowledge and appreciation.  A lot of the links are directly from the Design Museum website.  I loved visiting the Design Museum in London, where I saw Toord Boontje's work for the first time back in 2003, as well as all the iconic furniture they had on display at the time.

process, enjoy the journey

Looking through some of my stuff I found these 2 images, which i have never seen together previously.  Its interesting to see how the painting began, and how it ended up.  This process is what I really enjoy about painting.  Although unless you document this process, all you see is the finished product without appreciating how it all began.  Kind of like the design process in that students often want to get to the final design, without really documenting or indulging in the process enough.