Works an `internal and external view of life'

Artist Eion Shanks with some of his recent paintings. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Artist Eion Shanks with some of his recent paintings. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
After a long break away from painting, Eion Shanks has taken up the brush again and is working prolifically. He talks to Rebecca Fox.

Having decided on a new direction in life, Eion Shanks put down the paint brush.

The Dunedin School of Art, Oamaru Campus, graduate was working as a stonemason in Wanaka and painting in the afternoons when he decided to follow his interest in acupuncture and the philosophy behind it and train in that field.

Shanks discovered that acupuncture was creative in its own way and his need to paint diminished.

``There are a lot of similarities to art.''

Once he completed his training in Christchurch and Auckland, Shanks moved to Oamaru to build a house on Cape Wanbrow above the town. It was while there that he began painting again, capturing the landscape of the Cape Wanbrow area.

When he realised how prolific he was, he began to think he needed to get word out that he was painting again.

``I'm hoping the painting will support the acupuncture.''

Fresh from an exhibition at Oamaru's Forester Gallery, Shanks is about to hold another in Wanaka, ``The New and Aforementioned Show'', which will feature new works as well as Wanaka landscapes completed prior to many of the town's new sub-divisions.

Shanks says his style has not changed - he still paints mostly on plywood with a palette knife - despite his time away.

``I find the natural surface of the woodgrain energetic and inspiring. I also paint and draw on paper and make etchings [prints].

He sometimes use images from his etchings in his paintings.

``My paintings are essentially landscapes painted en plein air, or studio-created images from dreams about my life. Or a combination of both.''

His time away from painting has resulted in it taking longer for him to complete a work.

``But that could be an age thing,'' Shanks, who was born in 1960, says.

He still liked to include a structure in his landscape paintings, so many of his new works of Cape Wanbrow included its old military bunkers.

``I'm spending more time on the drawing and then painting in the detail.''

Shanks describes his work as ``internal and external view of life''.

``[They] are either stolen or enticed out to show themselves from their place of hiding. They are my journey as I see it.''


To see

‘‘The New And Aforementioned Show’’, Rippon Hall Art Space, April 29 to May 31.

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