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His first reaction when viewing the ''beautiful house'' designed by Austrian architect Ernst Plischke in the 1950s was ''wow''.
There was ''something about the mid-20th century period'' that was very special, and it didn't take long to feel like a local, he said.
''You really are here - you really are living it.''
With an exhibition of Central Otago landscapes at Milford Galleries in Dunedin scheduled for October, the artist's residency was well timed.
Previous visits to Central Otago had been more pressured and his normal ''flying visits'' usually involved a flight to Queenstown, renting a car and then he and his wife would ''go like the clappers'' for about 10 days ''and try to harvest as much imagery'' to inspire his paintings.
His Auckland studio was set up to accommodate the large scale of his landscapes - ''some of these big things are 3m long''.
Being able to ''take my time and dig in a bit deeper'' by spending several months in Alexandra had enabled him to ''have a more leisurely look around''.
When coming from Auckland to Central Otago during the winter for skiing or holidays ''you come down knowing you are coming to a cold place''.
But a stay during the warmer months enabled an appreciation that the South could turn on the sun.
Arriving in February ''it was hot as hell'' with the chance to get outdoors.
Living in a warehouse in Auckland with no garden he was delighted to have the opportunity to get his fingers into the dirt.
''As soon as we got here I had lettuces and basil going on because I was determined to see if I could.''
He enjoyed the dramatic changes when ''all of a sudden'' it started to get colder - ''it's like you've never felt cold in your life''.
Nevertheless, the seasonal changes were ''wonderful''.
• Frizzell will be exhibiting at the Milford Galleries from October 5 to 29.