Mackinnon Pass, Spring

Mackinnon pass Milford Track fine art mountain daisies

Mackinnon Pass, Spring



Call them what you will, Mountain Daisies, Mount Cook Lilies, Ranunculus lyallii, Mount Cook Buttercup, they are the most stunning alpine flowers we have. Something Richard delighted in finding when he went tramping on New Zealand's stunning mountain passes during late spring and early summer. 

(Believe it or not, this very popular plant doesn't seem to have the Māori name anywhere online, so I'd be very curious to know what it is.)

This painting features these stunning flowers on the world-famous Milford Track.

Oil on canvas
approx. 56 x 71cm


Wellington Artist Richard Ponder

With a career spanning nearly fifty years Wellington artist Richard Ponder has created several notable - and often imitated - art series, including, most famously, Wellington at Night. A well-respected artist, his discipline and eye for detail began back in the 1960’s as a geologist, when his thesis required the accurate drawing of hundreds of tiny creatures called foraminifera. In the late seventies, Richard’s brother Michael became interested in painting. Mike quickly picked up Richard’s knife painting technique and they challenged each other with new ideas and innovations, exchanging ideas and spurring one another on to become full time artists.
Richard’s love of roaming the New Zealand backcountry with his family led him to concentrate on landscape painting in the late 1970’s and early ‘80’s. Already, with his emphasis on composition and the interaction of between colours in different lights, he was beginning to show his true potential. During this period, the images in his paintings were based on early morning observations, with the excitement of dawn with its variety of light and colour. The work from this era was published in the long since sold out, limited edition book, Quiet Places.

On the proceeds of his success Richard visited art galleries all around the world to gain a deeper understanding of the greats. He fell in love with the strength of Van Gogh (from Van Gogh Starry Night to Van Gogh Sunflowers), the impressions of Monet (including the famous Water Lilies Monet), the colour of Perceval, and the exhilaration of Pollock. Their influences can be found in his quiet paintings, but in the 1990’s he threw caution to the wind. The dramatic change in his art came about after a trip to Bali where he fell in love with the work of Affandi and Sumadiyasa.

Richard now works more freely, playing with the light and colour, so that his stunning art now takes centre stage wherever it is. Known for his impasto technique, Richard Ponder loves using palette knives to create a three dimensional aspect to his paintings, that has to be seen to be believed. And works in progress can often be seen when visiting his studio at the back of the fine art gallery.