Updated: Mar 24, 2020
I have returned to Christchurch to live, after almost three years living in Victoria, Australia. Everyone keeps asking me why and I keep replying, 'for a myriad of reasons,' but most of all because it just felt like the right time. And given the outbreaks of corona virus since my February 15 return, I think I might have chosen the right country to be in.
Everything is familiar here, yet after three years away, it is just different enough to be be especially interesting. Post-earthquake Christchurch is changing every day in the central city. There are dozens of new buildings that have sprung up in my absence and landmarks I remember, are often no longer there. I have been disorientated on several occasions as a result.
Before I left Christchurch, I had spent almost seven years photographically cataloging the decline of the city in the wake of the multitude of earthquakes it suffered. (You can see that record on my old blog). Now I am fascinated by what has and hasn't changed.
In recent weeks I have been out driving a lot to re-familiarize myself with the city; and coming back here, after re-starting my painting career in Australia, it is interesting to view the city again through my sketching eyes. I have delayed painting (on canvas) because I feel the need to 'discover' Christchurch again slowly, to find what it is that inspires me as an artist.
In Australia, I was fixated on gum trees and the raw, rich, desolation of the Australian outback. Sitting in Australia, I couldn't imagine what I would want to paint in New Zealand.
Suffice to say, I am a very different painter today, to the person/artist I was 30 years ago when I worked full-time as an artist in the North Island. Since then, there has been a long career as a journalist and author and I have changed enormously in that time.
I need to 'touch base' with the creative person I now am in New Zealand.
I need to find my way back to my New Zealand me.
I believe time will show me what I'm supposed to do creatively.
But so far, Christchurch's Port Hills are figuring strongly.