Head for the Hills, a solo exhibition from Wairarapa-based artist Bruce Ingoe, showcases vistas of the Wairarapa, Central Otago and Wellington, many produced en plein air (painted outside on location).

“Painting a landscape on location, in ever-changing conditions, is an intense experience, to capture the feeling and spirit of a particular time and place. To feel the heat of the day, to smell the dust or the scent of approaching rain, pine needles, the sweet smell of silage, the glare of the sun on water. The studio allows time to create depth, to work a larger canvas, creating big skies and allowing the eye to follow trails across the scene.

I am drawn to our local landscapes, the grand vistas and tick box locations I leave for others while I try to capture those we drive past everyday, glance at over the fence or catch out the laundry window on an early morning. I started painting young, in oils, and have always done so. The richness and depth of colours attracts me and the smell is the icing on the cake.

The Wairarapa, it got so far under my skin I bought a piece of it and moved there. I feel it epitomises all that is the New Zealand agricultural landscape, as a region with the first large scale farming in New Zealand, this landscape has had time to settle into the mixed personality it holds. The old wool barons have left their mark with stands of Oak, Alder and Poplar which leap out of the landscape when their autumn colour shows through, twentieth century avenues of pine resist the northwesterthe neighbouring stands of totara lead onto pockets of native bush. All framed by the Remutaka and Tararua ranges to the west and the Eastern Highlands towards the coast.

A bucket list holiday tour of Japan in mid 2020 was, of course, nullified by the arrival of Covid. Plan B courtesy of the tour company, was travelling the Otago Rail Trail (just a little further down the bucket list) which was undertaken in November 2020. As a first time visitor to Central Otago the big skies and big landscapes did not disappoint. A couple of days in Queenstown followed by 5 days on a bike with painting and sketching supplies on board was the catalyst of the works in this series.”


Scroll to Top