I was once asked if I ever did abstract paintings? I replied " Yes I do, all the time... and from a certain distance my paintings look like this "....
An artist's Disclosure
An Artist’s disclosure
There is nothing I have seen anyone doing that I would rather do, yet
there is nothing so exasperating, disturbing and rewarding to me as
drawing and painting.
From the age of six my architect father noticed my curiosity and
attempts to render my three dimensional world two-dimensionally. He
gave me an early grasp of the phenomenon of perspective that
continues to remain one of my most powerful perceptual tools. Along
with those, the control of colour and form were taught by my art
These tools allow me to create the illusion of light, space and form on a
After a lifetime of painting I know that this methodology and style are not
‘gifts’, but rather skills acquired through commitment and constant
Before starting a painting I need to achieve a state of stilling usually
attended by rituals of preparation of a board, brushes, paints and may
include memories or references to the original on-site working sketch,
often with notes scribbled on the image.
When I paint I see only pure transparent colour in patches, dots, lines
and edges - then quite suddenly toward the end, the illusion of
As my American artist friend, Ed Maher described - ‘Out of a very
unlikely combination of squiggles and washes emerges an intensely
realistic magical landscape’.
Water expresses and displays light better than any subject I have
studied. I wanted to deal with this complexity of optical illusions. I have
learnt that there are number of painterly devices with which the illusion
of brilliance can be induced. That this incredible illusion can be rendered
so persuasively continues to mystify me.
Water nearly always appears somewhere in my landscapes. Gradually
seeping in until some works show no dry land at all.
As Noel Fuller said - ‘I have spent a lot of time gazing over water and
looking through reflections into the places of silence, rhythm, solitude
and untiy. I have felt the touch of these places in David’s paintings.’
Generally I am wary of writing about painting, as so often over-
the perception of my work for others.
To counteract the mostly private occupation of drawing and painting, one
of my other interests is in the physical, competitive and social world of
sailing and boating.
Other avenues of particular interest to me are in architecture, multi-hull
yacht design, travel, photography, music, reading, documentary film
making, film, theatre and friendships, spreading now all over the world.
I sailed aboard a 50ft steel yacht to Antarctica, roamed Mexico on a bus,
and Russia by rail. I have walked through Italian towns, visited most of
the British Isles, the Greek Isles, coastal Turkey, and Panama by ship.
Lived in Fijian villages, been a guest in German shipyards, seen some
of Finland and travelled in Japan as a student.
With my wife, Tanya we at different times established studios in the Gulf
Islands of British Columbia, Canada, on the Giudecca in Venice, Italy,
and in London, while always maintaining a New Zealand studio, first in
KeriKeri and now Devonport.
My visual home has thus become large areas of the world.
I am fortunate indeed.
David Barker February 2020
Born: 1941, Chichester, England
Emigrated 1951: Auckland, New Zealand
School: Takapuna Grammar School
Tertiary education: Diploma Fine Arts (Hons) Elam School of Fine Art,
Auckland, New Zealand
Masters in Fine Art, East West Centre, Hawaii University, USA
Exhibitions and Collections: galleries and private homes in Australia,
Austria, Canada, Fiji, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New
Caledonia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom,
the United States of America, and the USSR.
There are various publications and a whole collection of illustrated log
My Gallery Details
The works shown on this site in the attached projects below are for sale
directly from my studio.
The price agreed on the works include packaging, insuring, mailing or
delivering by courier to your nominated address.
The frames on the larger works are already hand finished by me but if
preferred, works may also be sent unframed. Sketches and small
watercolours are mostly unframed.
I often undertake commissions for paintings and murals.
I also like to teach two to five day art workshops where individual
success can be assured as there are no secrets.
My studio is in Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand.
Contact either me or Tanya:
P O Box 32-194
tel: +64(0).9.445. 9970
David’s mob: +64(0).21.0875.8710
Most of the art works shown on this site are presently owned by the artist and are therefore available for sale.
Any of these may be purchased and will be packed, insured in transit, and courier delivered to any address you nominate without further charge.
The work may be sent at your request, either unmounted or in a frame custom finished by the artist.
An artist's thoughts
I have learned that the language of vision may not be easily understood but, like music, it may be learned.
Once understood, its devices can be used as a visually powerful and effective language.
I have found that in painting, methodology and style are not 'gifts.'
Rather they are skills acquired only through commitment and constant practice.
Although my studio paintings are based on actual locations, not all the field sketches I do become paintings.
The design and composition of a painting may be derived from several studies, often made months before. I seem to memorise every work I have ever done, and there are many such memories ! Each image tells a story. Each may be viewed as though it were a link with the past.
I have an endless curiosity about the way things look, how they work and fit together, like shorelines, trees and gardens, or sailing boats.
Almost since childhood a list of people who own my art has been maintained.
Architecture and Yacht design, Documentary film making, Music, Reading, and Photography.
b. 1941 England.
Exhibitions : Worldwide
Residential Workshops are offered as a productive means of teaching and learning. Some apparently simple concepts that took me years to formulate can be explained in minutes. Individual success can be assured. There are no secrets.
Present Studio :
44 King Edward Parade, Devonport, Auckland,
0744 New Zealand.
tele: + 64. 9. 445. 9970
I see my paintings as a link between a natural reality and my purely fabricated optical illusions.
I have chosen not to be ‘represented’ by a single Commercial gallery as I feel the financial cost to my collectors who acquire my paintings that way had grown unjustifiably high. However, the earlier relationship that I had with the reputations of various galleries was, at the time entirely necessary and understandable.
I continue to appreciate and value the people who own my work.
I also like sailing, film-making, writing, architecture, reading, most music, photography, and being with people who live in far away places.
I rarely photograph things I paint and seldom paint the subjects I photograph.
I often accept commissioned projects. The commissioned works, marine, architectural, and sometimes murals, are given the confidentiality they are due and therefor not shown here. Though I use permanent art materials I always undertake to restore my own paintings.
My wife Tanya is my best arranger, critic, and a friend always welcome in my studio.
I have made sketches as well as paintings and written impressions about many locations ...
An Alaskan town, a University in Hawaii, several Eastern States in Australia. I have exhibited in ten galleries in New Zealand, five venues in Canada, seen many of the United States of America, France, and South Africa. I sailed aboard a yacht to Antarctica, roamed Mexico on a bus, and Russia by rail. I have walked through Italian towns, visited all of the British Isles, the Greek islands, Chile, and Panama on a ship. Lived in Fijian villages, been a guest at German shipyards, seen some of Finland and travelled Japan as a student.
My visual home has thus become much of the World.
I am fortunate indeed.
David Barker, 20th November, 2019
One role of art could be as a gentle keeper of the human experience. My paintings invite you to resume your own experience in slightly more depth.
DAVID BARKER, Artist Dip. Fine Arts (Hons), Master of Fine Arts