Ron Esplin Paints Europe - 14th Oct 2012

Ron paints Europe:

As you can see in the photographs on the website, I have already started painting Europe. I made a start on the Colosseum in Rome and the beautiful town of Portovenere on the North West coast of Italy

Twelve day cruise on Celebrity Equinox:

We started our Europe sojourn with a twelve day cruise on the Celebrity Equinox which was outstanding. The cruise took us from Rome to Mykonos, Istanbul, Athens, Ephesus, Santorini, Naples, and back to Rome. We met lots of people, most of them very interested especially in New Zealand saying it was reputed to be beautiful and friendly. The only disappointment was missing the Amalfi Coast because of bad weather conditions, but we were taken to Sorrento and Salerno instead.

An Artist's Dream:

Santorini was an artist’s dream although I will have to buy more Cobalt blue paint.
Ephesus was the Turkish highlight, and it was special to sail past the Gallipoli monument in the Dardanelles. We bought Turkish delight from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

Northern Italy by Rail:

When we disembarked in Rome we went by rail to Venice, Florence, and Cinque Terre. We visited the Colosseum in Rome, and we believe Venice should be named as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Cinque Terre was fantastic, again an artist’s dream, and taking the boat round the coast afforded the best views of the picturesque towns spilling into the Mediterranean. Portovenere was lovely, but a little out of the way and the bus turned out to be a bit of a hassle. Florence deserves it's reputation as the Art Capital of the World, and how we enjoyed Italian dinners at authentic Italian Restaurants, favourite dishes were spaghetti with clams, and veal and mushrooms.

Piazza de Michelangelo Worth the Climb:

It was worth the uphill walk for the great views of Florence from the Piazza de Michelangelo and the photos should make great painting subjects. The train network in Italy, Trenitalia was fantastic, we were travelling at 260 km an hour between Florence and Rome.

From Rome to Split for a seven day cruise:

The last leg of our journey was to fly to Split in Croatia to join a seven day cruise of the Dalmatian coast.
We stayed in the most astonishing and stylish hotel room in Split, Trends and House and Garden all rolled into one, and we had the cheapest and tastiest Croatian burgers from the fast food place next to the hotel, plus a bottle of Sprite and four cans of beer for 9 Euros, $18NZ!

Like a Floating Backpackers:

The Croatian cruise was like a floating backpackers, but every day was 30 degrees, we swam in the Adriatic daily, and visited many beautiful towns on the islands of the Dalmatian coast. Dubrovnik, the spectacular walled city did not disappoint, terracotta roofs crammed into the confines of the walls, and the houses of the 1,000 residents separated by narrow winding streets. We enjoyed our succulent fish meal with wine in an alley in old Dubrovnik. We walked the one and a half hour trek around the walls and rewarded ourselves with a gelato which we devoured after climbing 800 steps to the top of the highest fortress.

The local buses were packed:

We survived the ride back to the boat in the bus which was jam packed with locals and tourists, having to squeeze our way out before the bus drove off. There were 43 other people of many Nationalities who bonded on the cruise, a few less than the 2,500 on Celebrity Equinox, but we have made many new friends on both.

The next job is to pick through 6,333 photographs for art subjects, not at all an unpleasant task, watch this space!

Photographs on the Website:

See some photographs on

"Four in the Frame" A Collaborative Exhibition Sept 11 - 19 Dunedin Community Gallery - 22nd Aug 2012

"Four in the Frame" Is "A Must See" Collaborative Exhibition:

Four artists who have inspired one another to stretch themselves and do something a little different will exhibit their work at the Dunedin Community Gallery in Princes Street Opening 5PM on Tuesday September 11 and running to 19 September.

And you are invited to the opening:

This is your invitation to attend the opening of "Four in the Frame" at the Dunedin Community Gallery in Princes Street Opening at 5PM on Tuesday September 11

Who are the four artists? 

Mauri Angelo, Pauline Bellamy, Manu Berry and Ron Esplin.  Pauline will be displaying “Large works from South Island Locations”, Manu a new series of harbour prints celebrating our wild life, and new prints celebrating the birth of his first child, Ron has produced a series of acrylic canvases of the staff of life entitled “Still Loafs”, and Mauri has exercised his multi media skills to portray the land in a new and exciting way.

Printmaking Demonstrations Thursday, Friday, and Monday:

Printmaking Demonstrations will be running on Thursday 13 September, Friday 14 September and
Monday 17 September. This is a great opportunity not only to see the prints that are on display, but also for you to see the process of producing the work. Pauline Bellamy and Manu Berry will be the artists demonstrating their printmaking skills in the Gallery.

See the poster that Manu has made to publicise this event at my website.

Thank you for your continuing interest, and I hope you can make it.

My work will be on display but I apologise for my absence at the opening as I am abroad gathering new ideas, my heartfelt thanks go to my colleagues who are supporting me in this initiative.

Ron Esplin

A sneak preview for you VIP's of Ron Esplin's new Series of watercolours - 25th Jul 2012


Don't you love the smell of the sea?

Edinburgh is my birthplace, but before coming to New Zealand my father Tom was Art teacher at Buckie High School on the Moray Firth in the North of Scotland. The smell of the North Sea left an impression on me, and I have always loved the sea and living close to it.
When we first came to New Zealand it was for a year, followed by another year in Scotland before returning for good as a family to settle here in Dunedin.

Two and a half times round the World in ships:

As a result I travelled one and a half times round the World by ship, then in 1969 I repeated the exercise returning to the UK for a two year OE, again circumnavigating the Globe.
With salt water running through my veins, it was a fantastic experience to return to Scotland in 2008 and revisit the many fishing villages along the East Coast of Scotland. I took as many photographs as I could, and had the satisfaction of often standing on the spot where one or other or both parents had sat to paint these very same scenes.

New series of Scottish Fishing Villages painted with love:

I know I am known for painting local scenes here, but I have started a series of paintings of Scottish fishing villages that you can now enjoy a sneak preview of.
Why don't you see if you can use Google to locate the first three, Findochty, Crail, and Portsoy.
I hope you like my renderings of them, they have been painted with love.

NEWS FLASH! - 26th Jun 2012


A mobile exhibition of Ron Esplin watercolour paintings of Dunedin:

"Window on Dunedin" has moved to 300 Moray Place. Thanks to the owners of the building, the Bowen family, the nine watercolour paintings that provide a snapshot in and around Dunedin will remain on public display.
I am happy to have feedback from any of you who take a moment to appraise them when you pass the "AON" building in Moray Place.

Mauri Angelo Exhibition at the Dunedin Community Gallery from Monday 1 to 8 July : 

Take some time to look at the stunning collection of art work at the Dunedin Community Gallery by Mauri Angelo, Artist, Teacher, Landscape Architect, and University Lecturer.
Please note you only have a week to catch this exciting exhibition demonstrating a lifetime of dedication to producing fine art. 

Check out Maurie Angelo's biography:

London City Literary Institute and Ealing School of Art ; Dunedin Teachers’ College Ilam School of Fine Arts, Canterbury University – DipFA 1965; Lincoln University – Post Graduate Dip Landscape Architecture . Awarded: NZ Institute of Landscape Architects Student Merit Award 1988; Woolf Fischer Fellowship; QE II Arts Council Grant .
Formerly primary and secondary school teacher NZ, Australia and London; Head of Department of Art, Cashmere High School, Christchurch; Tutor, Advanced Studies for Teachers Unit, Department of Education; Art Teacher, Christchurch Girls’ High School; Head of Department of Art, Shirley Boys’ High School; Lecturer in Design, Lincoln University. President, Art Teachers’ Assn, Canterbury.

Exhibited in NZ, Italy and London:

Mauri has exhibited paintings extensively in New Zealand, Italy, and London and the UK, having lived for a number of years in each of these countries. 
It is not often we have the opportunity to view work by somebody of his pedigree.

Have a look at his website as a taster:

Poster for Maurie Angelo Exhibition:

Follow this link to see the poster for Maurie Angelo's Exhibition:


"Window on Dunedin" Mini exhibition of Ron Esplin Watercolours of Dunedin - 7th Jun 2012

24 hour a day exhibition a dream come true:

Any artist would leap at the opportunity to have an exhibition that runs 24 hours a day, has high passing foot traffic, does not need to be manned, and is at no cost.
A dream come true? Well it came true for me when I entered the ANZ at 71 George Street and asked them what they did with the little cubbyhole wndow space that faced into the Main Street in Dunedin.

Two week slot in the first two weeks in June:

The teller directed me to the lady who administers the space , and as luck would have it there was a two week slot available in the first two weeks of June. 
I had not counted on my still being on crutches after my hip replacement operation, the supreme optimist in me assuming I would be leaping around like a rabbit within a month of surgery.
Ingenuity is required to transport the nine paintings and fill the space while two arms are still providing mobility on crutches!

Crutch contortions and dogged determination wins through:

I will not bore you with the details, but I did it, and am pleased with the resulting exhibit.
Take a look if you are passing along George Street and see if you agree. "Window on Dunedin" is a collection of nine watercolours with a focus on Dunedin and surrounds. 

"Window on Dunedin" Mini exhibition of Ron Esplin Watercolours of Dunedin runs to 15 June 2012.

Access the website and photograph on the following link:

"Window on Dunedin" Mini exhib ... ion of Ron Esplin Watercolours

Ron Esplin Painting contributes to Otago Hospice Charity Auction - 28th May 2012

Ron Esplin Painting contributes to Otago Hospice Charity Auction

Cocktails at The Temple Gallery Hospice Charity Auction:

The stunning Temple Gallery was the venue on 18 May for drinks and nibbles and an Auction to raise funds for The Otago Community Hospice.
Lyn Chapman, the Hospice fundraiser, and Anne McKenzie and Rachel Bird asked a number of artists including Ron Esplin to donate a painting around "Butterflies" as the theme.

Ron Esplin Painting completed in tight time frame:

The timing for Ron was problematic, as he went in to Hospital for a hip replacement the week before. The operation has been a success, however Ron went home on Tuesday 15 May, with the deadline on Wednesday 16 May the task was to complete the work in twenty four hours..
Undaunted Ron began his painting as soon as he arrived home, and completed it the following day in time for the Auction. He chose a close up view of a Red Admiral Butterfly because of the spectacular markings and the warm colours of these insects.

Mission accomplished despite Hip operation:

"Thank God for an occupation that can be applied when immobilised" Ron says.
The finished butterfly painting is 260mm x 130mm and features the creature in predominantly orange and red against a sky blue background.

Successful Fundraiser:

The end result of the successful evening was raising over $20,000 for the Otago Hospice, satisfying for all concerned.

You can view this item and the painting by following the link below.

Ron Esplin Painting contribute ... Otago Hospice Charity Auction

Arrowtown Art Escape - 3rd May 2012

Art Escape in Arrowtown:

The conditions were perfect as we drove from Dunedin to Arrowtown for the inaugural Arrowtown Art Escape.
The weekend had been planned to co-incide with the spectacular russett colours of Central Otago in Autumn.
Seven artists had planned to meet from points all over the South Island of New Zealand to enjoy a weekend of work and play in spectacular surroundings.

No time was wasted getting down to work:

No sooner had they arrived than the paints and easels were out and the artists were capturing the Autumnal glow on paper.
Adrienne Pavelka had positionned herself outside our base of Burnbank Cottage, and was creating a beautiful pen and ink wash of our temporary accommodation.  Ron Esplin was out on the Main Street of Arrowtown surrounded by the glow of the late afternoon sun filtering through the trees and doing a watercolour of the iconic scene.
Sue Simpson had arrived with her husband Bob and they were unloading their gear in eager anticipation.
The evening was spent in the convivial surroundings of the spacious modern additions to the back of the cottage and hidden from the street. The fire was blazing, the pot luck dinner and wine irrigated the conversation, and we turned in that night satisfied with the efforts of our first day.
The following day was Saturday, and activity began early as Don and Annie Offwood, Adrienne, and Sue wanted to catch adjacent Lake Hayes in the still of the early morning. Ron and Julie spent the day in the spectacular surroundings of the cottage in Arrowtown and practiced their crafts in the comfort of home.

Sing along Saturday night:

Saturday night was an even more social gathering, comparing the artistic efforts of the day, exchanging information on the process and business of art, and later singing all the old favourites with Ron on the guitar and Julie with the melodica.

An event to be repeated:

For Julie and I, Sunday was the day we returned to Dunedin, still basking in the warm glow of good company, superb weather, and honest effort..
The success of the weekend has set the scene for a repeat in 2013 and the hope that we can enjoy similar experiences, surroundings, and conditions.

To view the pictures click on this link: Arrowtown Art Escape

Balloon Flight over the Kapiti Coast - 19th Apr 2012

Documentary prompts visit to Feilding:

Documentary makers Mel and Tom Edmon live in Feilding and after hearing an interview with Jim Mora on National Radio  featuring Julie, they decided they would like to do a documentary on her.
So it was that at the beginning of April Julie and I flew to Wellington, then took the train to Waikanae to be picked up by friends and driven to Levin to meet Tom and Mel.

Fancy of flight follows filming:

After a day of filming inside, we drove with Tom and Mel to Feilding for dinner, then to their superbly situated rural property overlooking Palmerston North and Ohakea.
Much of the next day was taken up with more interviewing, during which Julie mentioned ballooning was on her bucket list. As luck would have it our friends in Levin that had picked us up the previous day had connections with a local balloonist.

Painting opportunity not missed: 

Ballooning being very weather dependent, Dennis the balloonist asked us to call him at 4.30AM the following morning to confirm the conditions were suitable for the flight. I spent the afternoon painting the superb local scenery on a perfect still Manawatu day and hoping the same conditions would prevail in the morning.

Conditions perfect and all go:

So it was at 6AM on the Sunday we were crammed into a four wheel drive with Tom and Mel and a load of filming gear driving to rendezvous with Dennis and his crew in a field near Levin.
The surreal experience of witnessing the giant envelopes unfold and expand against the blue sky was unforgettable. After safety instructions we tumbled into the basket, just Julie and I, Tom, and Dan the pilot, with Mel choosing to stay on solid ground to film us.
Our flight of 25 minutes climbing to 1200 feet and sharing the sky with flocks of white birds and cattle below us and Kapiti island in view beyond the coastline was memorable.

Soft landing:

 The silence was broken only by the roar of the burners every so often, and all too soon we were drifting to a remarkably soft landing in the paddock of a sleepy looking lady farmer, still in her pyjamas to see the spectacle of her unexpected visitors.
 After packing up the gear, we all congregated at a local cafe for a welcome breakfast, voluble and exhilarated after our adventure. 

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