Norman Riley


click on images for a closer look
Beatrix Potter on Plympton St Parihaka Pa by Cracroft St

Paradise Garden by Cracroft St Tui by Bell St The Eight O'Clocker with Exeter St

My Art History

I was born and had most of my childhood in Opunake, where I enjoyed watercolour painting. Each year at Primary School, our class entered in the local Spring Flower Show painting competition, which I always won. I also had some success in newspaper competitions etc.

My final year of school was at New Plymouth Boys’ High School, where I studied art under Tom Kreisler. I was intrigued by his South American background and later travelled to Mexico twice on tours.

In 1970 I studied at Wellington Polytechnic Design School for a year before leaving the course and going to Ilam Art School in Christchurch for another year before failing that course.

The Polytechnic introduced a commercial art emphasis, with lots of skilled techniques, whereas at Art School there was a greater concentration on art history.

Back in New Plymouth I worked at the railways and did oil painting mostly, before becoming mentally unwell, and stopping painting in the late 1970s.

In 2004 I began an art course at the local WITT educational institution, and I completed my Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2007.

This course was less about being spoon-fed information and more about doing our own research, with tutor guidance. The computer had a major part to play, with which I had assistance.

After study I began painting again, this time with acrylic on canvas. My style of painting combines realism with design and text. This relates to my early influences. I regard it as traditional meets modern, or the Post-modern School of thought, where you can make use of all previous artwork in world art history.

My technique involves often using very small brushes, under-painting and over-painting, thin layering, using acrylic additives, masking off areas, tracing on design images and lettering, and a lot of colour mixing. I have a concern for green political issues, and enjoy the presence of trees in

our communities. In my local street paintings I find that trees considerably soften the views away from hard straight lines of man-made origin.

I photograph them from the trees' point of view.

My other found images relate to my street photographs, and compare how other societies live in relationship with trees, both past and present. There is careful negotiation between different parts of my paintings.

Norman Riley.

Norman lives in New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand

email Norman at   normanriley357 @ (remove spaces)

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