Burning desire to create unique art

Dunedin artist Shane Legg uses the Sun to create art on wood at the Dunedin Railway Station...
Dunedin artist Shane Legg uses the Sun to create art on wood at the Dunedin Railway Station yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
It is not just a trick of the light.

Dunedin artist Shane Legg has been "painting" wood art with a magnifying glass for nearly a decade.

He has perfected the process over the years, to the point where he could make the magnifying glass paintings "dance with the light".

"I call it solar pyrography ... it’s something I learned when I lived up in sunny Twizel.

"I've always been able to draw, but the compelling part for me is the fact I can create something without ever touching the wood."

He uses a magnifying glass to magnify the light and create a parabola effect, effectively "drawing with the light".

"I can paint anything on the wood, but I particularly like painting birds and mountains", he said.

"I enjoy painting architecture; I like the straight lines of buildings. I also get a lot of commissions for dogs."

The art required a certain amount of sunlight to be effective, he said.

"I've been a bit unlucky with Dunedin over the past couple of weeks. There hasn't been enough light for my pictures.

"There’s something natural about the finished result, the burning of the wood.

"It’s as quick as a marker pen— and it’s all about angles.

"As the Sun moves, I angle the hand. I don't get shaky hands; I'm pretty fluid — once I've got the wood burning, just the slightest feather of movement creates a wisp."

The effect was similar to that of a "human laser".

He advised people to wear protective eyewear, sunblock and have patience to find time to get the right light.

"It’s not that hard to do. If you have the ability to draw and the patience to find the tiny light, then it’s very effective. It’s just such a special way of drawing", Mr Legg said.