Alison Hale

I was born in Westport and grew up beside the Buller River. My subject matter is often drawn from my earlier life working on the rugged west coast land.

My life has been totally focused on horses, with much of my childhood hours spent riding on the Westport beaches on borrowed horses. At sixteen I was working at the Brackenfield Hunt Club in Canterbury, a year later returning to the West coast and I was a successful competitor in many equine events in the region. I lived and loved the rural life, married to a farrier/contractor, working with cattle and horses and helping to raise a family in the following years. Drawing what was happening around me at every opportunity.

In 1993 at the age of thirty nine I went pursuit of my passion, painting/drawing. I spent four years studying in Dunedin at the Otago School of Fine Arts, majoring in painting.

I moved back to Reefton in 1997 where I have been painting full time since, establishing a studio at the old Courthouse.

I work most often from memory which allows me the freedom to paint how it feels for me to ride, to describe the emotion, rhythm and gesture, the extension of oneself when riding, i.e. lengthening of the legs. Movement both implied and depicted are treated as equally important in my subjects as I try and capture the often subtle relationships between people and place.

I work in oils primarily on a large format, stretched canvas, but I’ve also mastered the technique of applying oil paint to a glass surface. It creates a unique depth, translucence and fluidness that is entirely captivating. The image is created in reverse.

I’ve been fortunate to be the recipient of several awards throughout New Zealand and my work is collected both nationally and internationally.