New Zealand Diary: Arrival in Auckland

Our journey began in Auckland, where we got first impressions of what was to come and could fuel our anticipation. We got a sense of how many new things we would experience, be it nature, food, or the mentality of the people.

Our welcome committee – a good omen! 🙂

DAY 1, DECEMBER 14, 2017

After 30 hours of travelling, we arrived in Auckland at noon (local time). Then we took the SkyBus into the city and had quite a schlep to our accommodation – which was something like a student dorm and quite difficult to get to. But maybe it just seemed that way because we were totally tired and somehow counting the hours until we could go to sleep without getting even more jetlagged.

To stay awake, we walked to the harbour and through Queen Street. We ate something at „LE CHEF“ – I had cauliflower beignets in aioli and olive bread – and had our first New Zealand coffee at Cafe Stopover across the street from our accomodation.

While we were half asleep and wandering around, we came across the entrance to Albert Park and made a note of it for the next day.

What strikes you immediately are the impressive trees everywhere. Huge! Super beautiful shapes and colours – and I already know after half a day that I will paint them

I just remember crawling between the (thankfully very clean) sheets, and the next thing I know we were woken up by some pretty strange noises…. I couldn’t see it from my window, but my sister called me into her room and showed me what was going on:

So, we still don’t know what they were doing, but they weren’t very quiet, so it could hardly have been a crime, even if it looked like one…. 😉

The first brushstrokes I made in New Zealand. I was delirious. I have no idea whether it was day or night. I don’t even remember if I couldn’t sleep or if I was trying to keep awake.

No, wait, I checked my journal!

…something between 4 and 5 o’clock and instead of lying sleepless in bed, I write my Morning Pages […] And it’s kind of nice to watch the dawn […] Now it’s bright, just a little bit of pink in the sky […] I want to draw a pink Morning Page now…

DAY 2, DECEMBER 15, 2017

As our nephew and his girlfriend had been to New Zealand exactly one year before us, we had a suitcase full of suggestions and recommendations. So the next morning we dutifully walked to the nearest Columbus Coffee for breakfast (bagel with pesto, tomato and avocado). On the way there, we found a beautiful old cemetery, which we of course visited – those who know me know that I never walk past an old cemetery.

Symonds Street Cemetery

In all honesty, it probably has to be said that our stay was a little atypical because we had to plan our time around a visit to the Auckland Art Gallery, seeing the new Star Wars movie and picking up our rental car. We walked around the city a bit and visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral before the gallery opened.

Wikimedia Commons, by Jason Pratt, derivative work by Rabanus Flavus

Toi O Tāmaki – A Place for Art.

The Auckland Art Gallery is an award-winning building by architects FJMT+Archimedia (world building of the year). It’s situated right next to beautiful Albert Park, and it has been called one of the most significant public buildings in New Zealand.

Kauri timber was used for this stunning entrance which links it „to Tāne Mahuta, the Māori deity of man and forests, and the creative spirit that dwells within them“ (Chris Saines).
It is an amazing building filled with beautiful, fascinating art!!

This is where I first came into contact with „Pacifica“ (as a museum shop employee called it) and discovered art that was completely new to me. It was so exciting!

„Kehe Tau Hauaga Foou“ (To All New Arrivals). This extraordinary work of art by John Pule became one of my favourites instantly. I fell in love with it immediately when I saw it. It’s beautiful and fascinating while at the same time incredibly complex and dealing with difficult issues.

Our next stop was Albert Park. You cannot imagine the amazing trees we’ve seen! I *love* trees!!

And this is the iconic University Clock Tower, formerly known as the Old Arts Building. It is 54 metres high and open to the public for free. (We admired the kitschy christmas tree inside…)

After picking up our car, we had time for one more stop and visited the Cathedral Church of St. Mary in Parnell. Fortunately, we met a staff member who had the time and inclination to show us around and tell us something about the history. In 1982, the whole St Mary’s Church was turned around and moved across Parnell Road to its present site beside the Holy Trinity Cathedral, all without a single glass window being broken.

Our nephew insisted that we see the new Star Wars in a „real“ cinema, so he got us tickets to IMAX in Auckland for Christmas. Here we are, just before „The Last Jedi“ started:

Coincidentally, due to the time difference, we were among the first to see this film.

Oh, and just so you know in advance, my sister and I are really bad with selfies.

Finally, we had snacks at Hugo’s Bistro – very tasty toasted bread with black olive butter. Chilled out atmosphere there, very relaxed.

The next morning we started our road trip. We still had no idea where we would be the next evening.

Back home, when it came to making art, nothing else but the skyline would do as a motif for the first Auckland painting:

Of course, it was clear from the start that the series of New Zealand paintings would include a city view of Auckland – and that it would be the skyline. But when it came to painting the picture, it was not so easy… I didn’t paint the pictures in the order of our travel route, but rather in a rather wildly mixed up way, geographically speaking. In the meantime, I had developed a variation of my style for New Zealand’s landscape paintings, which didn’t fit at all for Auckland. So I had to go back to my ‚usual‘ way of painting.
I also decided that I wanted to use more or less only one colour. To help me choose, I searched for Pantone’s Colour of the Year, which in 2018 was „Ultraviolet“.
The painting was created in August 2018. It’s made with soft pastels on watercolour paper, size 42 x 56 cm.